Letters Dec. 16: Orwellian politics; abandoned boats; religious freedoms

Premier’s decision reeks of Orwell

Re: “Premier’s riding gets edge, Greens left out,” Dec. 12.

If the works of George Orwell are no longer part of the curriculum in B.C., perhaps Premier John Horgan could release a special podcast, doing a reading of Animal Farm.

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With his 11th-hour manoeuvre on the eve of the election to secure for only his riding an edge in qualifying for government grants, he has proven himself qualified to take the part of Napoleon.

By denying this advantage to other, equally deserving rural ridings, he can deliver with conviction born of experience the line: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Carolyn Stout
Saanich-North and the Islands
(A less equal riding in John Horgan’s B.C.)
North Saanich

Clean up dead boats in our waters

Re: “Ship that went down 52 years ago fouling Nootka Sound waters,” Dec 12.

Oil from a dead ship is polluting “an area of ecological and cultural significance.” The ship sank 52 years ago, but the fossil fuels might be still leaking out.

This is the reason to clean up dead boats in the waters around Victoria. Those dead boats all contain dirty oil in their engines’ crankcases, and diesel fuel or gasoline in the fuel tanks.

When that stuff leaks out from a dead boat, exactly the same thing will happen as in Nootka Sound; on a smaller scale, but still, polluting fossil fuels.

Would you want to walk your children or dogs on such a beach? What do you suppose happens to the aquatic life in that case? Take a look at Nootka Sound to develop a fact-based answer.

It makes me think my answers would be “no,” and that I need to volunteer my help to the Dead Boat Society to clean those dead boats up before they leak.

Richard Kubik

Places of worship should not be needed

I’ve had it up to here with religious parishioners ganging up on Dr. Bonnie Henry to relax COVID-19 rules governing places of worship!

Let’s try a bit of reality, shall we: You’re in a place of worship. It catches fire. What do you do? Pray? Or get out?

If you need a place of worship to enhance your faith, you’re wasting your time because you don’t have it to begin with.

Donald Lang

Thanks to churches that follow order

I am baffled by the sense of outrage expressed by many people who think that not going to a house of worship is in some way diminishing their commitment to which ever entity they pray to.

Do the morals and values of these same people change when they exit their houses, go shopping or better yet when they enter a place of worship?

I think these same people can practise their devotion to a particular god or entity regardless of their circumstance or location, and if they can’t do this only at home, maybe their faith is not as strong or important as they think.

Thank you to many of the religious leaders for respecting Dr. Bonnie Henry’s decisions and not holding religious gatherings, in turn helping to protect the public.

Mike Wilkinson

How do we treat the most vulnerable?

The provincial government is preparing to claw back the $300 per month people on disability and incoming assistance were receiving during COVID-19.

Why do people with disabilities have to be further disabled by being made to live in poverty? These people did not cause or ask for their disabling condition, yet they are being financially punished for it, by having to live in substandard housing, if any at all, and often by going hungry.

What does this say to us as a province? We can do better, we must do better. It has been said that the moral test of a government is how it treats its most vulnerable.

Jeanette Aubin

They are humans, not in our way

Re: “The cult of individualism is toxic,” Trevor Hancock, Dec. 13.

Trevor Hancock can usually be counted upon to provide sensible direction towards the concept of a better world. This essay is no exception.

While I wince at his suggestion that current working conditions are similar to slavery, I can see his point that too many in our society are marginalized in the name of Individualism.

Indeed we must all make a stronger effort to look out for each other at any time and especially during challenges like the COVID‑19 pandemic. On another page in Islander, Carla Huber comments similarly with regards to traffic woes.

How shocking is it when we as individuals start to feel that other humans are in our way. That’s not the way of kindness.

Robert M.J. Thompson

Don’t simply dismiss the risk-takers

Re: “The cult of individualism is toxic,” Trevor Hancock, Dec. 13.

Trevor Hancock submits that “people usually get rich by exploiting the poor, the environment, or both.”

I’d suggest Hancock dismisses an entire class of modern wealth-generating entrepreneurs as something akin to robber barons.

I have spent much of my career working in the housing and development industry. I will admit that many of the leading participants in this industry are wealthy men and women.

Most came upon their good fortune by working hard and taking risks. But this industry does not guarantee riches.

Many fortunes have been lost due to bad decisions or circumstances beyond the company owners’ control. These firms employ thousands of workers in this province and provide good livelihoods to their employees and those in supporting industries including our local forestry sector.

To dismiss these risk-taking entrepreneurs as self-centred, egotistical and greedy is an insult to the hard working, taxpaying men and women toiling in our private sector economy.

Hancock’s column also reflects badly on academics in general and reinforces the view held by many that our current crop of university grads have precious little understanding about how the real world works.

Richard Goatcher

Manufactured-home parks a housing fix

Lack of affordable housing in B.C. is an epidemic. Working people who can afford everything else struggle to afford housing. My friend with a basement suite listed it online for 24 hours only and had more than 100 calls.

Manufactured homes are an obvious solution especially for seniors and young couples. Private developers don’t build manufactured-home parks in B.C. anymore.

Old ones are slowly being closed as we see in Langford. Instead of buying old hotels and funding low-cost housing at great expense, the province could buy small parcels of vacant land or use Crown land near towns and cities and build manufactured-home parks.

The government wouldn’t have to maintain buildings. Pad rent, not tax money, would pay for construction costs. Residents would own their own homes and not live in constant fear of eviction. Seems like a win-win to me.

David Littlejohn

Cook Street decision not based in reality

As an owner of rental suites in Cook Street Village, I have a great affinity for its culture and the unique elements that we all want to preserve.

Affordable housing of the kind advocated by city council is a commodity that we all agree should be more plentiful and in the perfect world, would be. The reality, however, is that housing is largely built by the private sector and market forces will dictate where and when it will be built.

The proposal put forward by Aragon Properties was the product of extensive consultation with area residents and planning staff, resulting in numerous revisions and amendment of plans, a $450,000 contribution to the affordable housing fund and a proposed partnership with the Cook Street Activity Centre for the benefit of area residents.

It would have offered 48 units in a building with beautiful architecture and amenities, many with two and three bedrooms suitable for families and also seniors wishing to downsize from their Fairfield homes.

Council’s decision to reject this exceptional proposal seems naive and not rooted in reality. It sends a clear message that practical and workable proposals such as this one can expect to be jettisoned unless they pander to political ideals that are not economically viable.

Tom Pink
Oak Bay


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