Letters Aug. 9: An apology for not intervening when racist slurs were screamed

Racist slurs directed at young men

I write this letter regarding an incident involving three young Middle Eastern men who were at the receiving end of a diatribe of hate and slurs in downtown on Saturday evening. I hope that they will see this note and forgive the lack of action on their behalf.

These guys, likely visitors to our country and city, were relaxing on a bench on the corner of Fort and Douglas when a mentally troubled and deranged man sat down across from them and screamed racial, homophobic slurs and death threats at them. I am embarrassed and sorry to say that none of the dozens of people around, myself included, did anything to discourage this intensely disturbing rant. The young men eventually got up and left.

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To them, I say a huge sorry, and to myself and our community, I say, we must do better. We can call on each other in the crowd to stand together and oppose hateful behaviour. There is courage in numbers — and a group of us could have urged the disturbed screamer to move on, and offered our support in some way to the young men. We could have called for law enforcement — so graphic and violent were the threats. Doing nothing in a situation like this is not an option.

Doing nothing for the mentally ill in our midst is not an option either. Again, we need to band together as a community and come up with long-term solutions to ease the distress of individuals who would engage in this disturbing behaviour. As a city and a society we must make it a priority to address this issue.

Let us be inspired by Jean Vanier who writes, “It is fear … that prevents us from being most human … [However] it is that place of belonging … where we can discover that we are part of something much bigger, that together we can do something beautiful.”

With apologies, and hope,

Cathie Lamont
Victoria

They were here first, so acknowledge that

Over the years, our Indigenous people have been referred to as Indians, natives, and now First Nations.

I don’t think that any of these words reflect reality. There are no people living in Canada who didn’t come from somewhere else including our Indigenous people, who came from Asia.

We should adopt the term “First People” because that is the truth of Canada. The first people in Canada came from Asia.

Hopefully, some day we won’t have to bother with all of this anymore. We’ll just all be Canadians.

Paul Arnold
Saanich

Look to Manitoba for fresh ICBC ideas

Rather than invent a new and complicated insurance system, perhaps ICBC could look to Manitoba for inspiration.

Manitoba insures the car but also insures the driver. Drivers pay insurance on their licence and their rate is determined by their driving record.

Ken Weatherill
North Saanich

Mandatory medical exam for driving is not fair

The way the mandatory medical exam is imposed on every driver in the province when they reach 80, and each subsequent second year thereafter, is confusing and unfair.

I agree with the basic premise that we all need to be driving safely.

The form that arrives to inform people of this states in bold print “if you do not comply with all the criteria within a given time frame, your licence may be cancelled.”

The doctor will submit a charge for this, and the patient is responsible for payment.

There is a huge discrepancy in what people are being charged and it just screams of unfairness and creates resentment.

If this is mandatory, as the form states, it needs to be delivered in a way that treats everyone the same — why not a professional panel, with a standard fee for all and a referral to the family doctor if further investigation is necessary. I would think that doctors who are already awash in paperwork would welcome that.

Also, a little respect would go a long way, the way this was implemented could suggest that seniors may be intimidated by the wording on the form and simply comply. Well, we are not that dim witted.

Marilyn P. Lindsay
Sidney

Forget the U.S., release Meng Wanzhou

Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are naive if they think the U.S. president is going to go to bat for them for any request, not exclusively the two imprisoned men in China.

Canada has waited almost seven months for the U.S. to extradite a Huawei tech mogul with nary any hint of movement to do so in sight.

Canada must be made to realize the time to act is now, diplomacy be damned.

Release Meng Wanzhou because dealing with an unreliable, lying, incompetent U.S. president is illogical.

Steve Hoffman
Victoria

Riding a bicycle like living in a cave

Re: “Readers weigh in on the ‘war on the car’,” column, Aug. 2.

I like, no, make that love, driving my cars.

I own two. I’m a senior, a survivor of two hip replacements. I rode a bicycle 50 years ago, but now I enjoy driving my sedan, listening to my favourite 1960s music in air conditioned comfort. Or driving my two-seater sports car with the top down.

I’m in decent shape and walk often, including four times a week on my golf course.

To me, the idea of being pressured into riding a bike again, against my wishes or physical capability, is akin to to being encouraged to move back into a cave like our far-distant forefathers.

Both decisions would likely contribute to saving the planet, but darn it, these are not things I’ll do willingly, and without a fight.

Stephen Kishkan
Victoria

Protecting citizens is a top priority

The fact that Victoria Chief Del Manak had to cut back hours at the front desk and cut the crime reduction unit, and is talking about further possible cuts because of budget constraints, tells me that Victoria council doesn’t know the first thing about running a city.

One of the core responsibilities of any local government is to protect it citizens and maintain social order.

It doesn’t matter if problems are created by the local population or transients from other jurisdictions, be it Saanich, Oak Bay, the Western Communities, the Lower Mainland or south of the border.

Instead of allocating the necessary resources, they want other jurisdictions to contribute to their policing costs — or have the province force a regional policing model on all of us.

They want everyone to come to city of Victoria and then complain about it.

Bob Broughton
Saanich

Multifaceted solutions for climate change

Re: “Climate-change myths and utter hypocrisy,” comment, Aug. 4.

To call climate change a myth in presence of overwhelming scientific evidence is boorish ignorance championed by people like Donald Trump and the author. It is a global crisis for our generation and requires actions on all fronts. Per capita pollution by rich countries far exceeds that by poorer countries.

A moratorium on big oil and using oil company profits to develop clean technologies is only one component of the solution. Use of LNG in place of coal, major reduction of deforestation, change in dietary habits, aggressive planting of trees and clean energy transportation are all equally important.

This can only be achieved through global policies and accords. Perpetuating policies that have brought us to this sorry state of affairs and claiming pollution as a right is burying our head in the sand.

Surinder Kumar
Victoria

Learning the facts about climate change

Thank you for the excellent article by Gwyn Morgan on factual data about climate change. I hope that all school teachers are saving a copy to help educate their students on the facts of the matter — rather than have them grow up believing what they read on Facebook or Twitter, or from listening to protesters.

It has always amazed me that tankers are allowed to service the East Coast and through the St. Lawrence, while they have been barred from taking oil away from the West Coast. Why are we supporting the economies of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola and Nigeria to the detriment of our own economy?

Betty Petrie
Parksville

We need a variety of views on controversial issues

Re: “Climate-change myths and utter hypocrisy,” “Turn down the heat or cook the Earth,” comment, Aug. 4

I appreciate the objectivity that the Times Colonist displayed by publishing opposing views about the climate change controversy. I strongly disagree with the writer who reacted to that by opining it’s a good thing “major media around the world have agreed to stop publishing this kind of misinformation and to start reporting on climate change as the imminent crisis it is.”

If in fact that is the case, then it is not a good thing. In an open and democratic society the free exchange of different opinions — and citing of facts — on any controversial issue (from abortion to gay marriage to universal health care) should be promoted.

The media should not yield to the totalitarian mentality that there is only one acceptable view that can be presented on a controversial issue.

I’m sure David Suzuki would agree with the aforesaid letter writer: Suzuki has in the past urged that politicians and other influential public figures expressing skepticism about anthropogenic global warming should be put in jail. Just because there is consensus among a majority of climatologists today that global warming caused by human activity is advancing at a precipitous pace shouldn’t preclude our being exposed to alternative points of view; after all, back in the 1970s there was a consensus among climatologists that the Earth was on the verge of another Ice Age.

Barry Gaetz
Victoria

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