Letters Dec. 7: Circle route not realistic detour; defending Ben Isitt; U.S. health costs

Pacific Marine Circle not a realistic detour

Re: “Study due on Malahat detour route,” Dec. 4.

I have travelled the Pacific Marine Circle route from Duncan to Victoria on motorcycle, and by van and car a number of times. That twisty, hilly, one-way bridge route is basically a four-hour trip in good weather with little traffic. Anyone suggesting that the Pacific Marine Circle Route can provide an alternative route to a Malahat highway blockage needs to drive it to experience reality. Put two-way Malahat traffic on that route and that four hours will quickly become eight hours and more. Add tractor-trailer units and the problem will compound.

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The Pacific Marine Circle route is not a viable alternative to solving Victoria’s north-south transportation corridor problem. When put to the test, there is every likelihood that the route may not even function as an emergency route when stressed by heavy traffic during the winter season.

Brent Tilson
Mill Bay

Too many traffic lights on Island Highway

On a recent trip down island after visiting family in Courtenay I decided to amuse myself on the drive and count the traffic lights between the Courtenay/Cumberland Inland Highway overpass and the Helmcken overpass. There are 47 traffic lights on this stretch of so called highway. (I could be out by a couple.)

That accounts for a lot of idling, stop-and-go driving and many dangerous lane changes as traffic attempts to beat the lights. Commercial trucking companies must cringe at the added cost for fuel and driver time.

Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have the political will to fix this mess and get our Island Highway to the standards you see in other much poorer provinces such as Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

Mike Briggs
Esquimalt

Taxpayers should vote on council pay raises

Politicians at all levels of government should not be allowed to vote themselves a raise. This is the only job I know of where the employees give themselves a pay raise and the employers cannot prevent it.

They are all aware of the salaries at the time of the election.

If they feel a pay raise is needed, then at the next election, there should be a question on the ballot asking do we, their employers, agree to a pay raise and how much — five per cent, 10 per cent or cost of living.

Byron Propp
Victoria

Allowing Ben Isitt to express his views

Re: “After cool reception for council salary hike, Isitt says let’s discuss job expectations,” Dec. 4

It was nice for a change to see Ben Isitt’s views treated objectively in a Times Colonist article. In the opinion of this reader at least, he’s been mostly subjected to tiresome hatchet jobs by the paper’s city hall reporters and editorial board. Lindsay Kines’ piece liberally quoted Isitt, allowing him to speak for himself rather than have his views filtered and distorted.

As Kines noted, Isitt received the most votes of anyone elected to council, indicating that his stance on the most challenging municipal issues generally reflect those of a great many city residents. All the more reason why they’re deserving of respect rather than ridicule. Here’s hoping your latest coverage becomes the norm.

Marv Gandall
Victoria

Concussion offered taste of U.S. costs

While in the U.S. recently, I had the misfortune to fall backward, striking my head. I was transported by ambulance, spent three days in hospital, including 20 hours in intensive care, suffered a small bleed, underwent three MRIs, then was released, having been diagnosed with a concussion.

Total cost: $55,000 US. My co-pay under their system would have been $17,000 US.

The ambulance alone was $2,700 US. Fortunately, my insurance covered all except a $1,000 Cdn deductible.

If we open up the door to private care, it will cost us all more, while enriching the pockets of the private health-care system. Corporate profits do not belong in health care.

Richard C. Parsley
Nanaimo

Defence spending and support for NATO

Re: “PM to mark NATO birthday amid questions about alliance’s future,” Dec. 3.

NATO member nations agreed in 2014 to move toward spending two per cent of their gross domestic product on defence. Canada is being criticized for spending only 1.4 per cent of GDP on defence and ranking 20th out of 29 members on defence spending.

This by no means indicates a lack of support from Canada. Defence spending as a percentage of GDP is meaningless as a number by which to measure NATO support.

Money spent by various nations on defence does not necessarily equate to NATO support. For example, defence departments of many countries fund national police forces, coast guards and even customs services.

And certainly not all military spending goes to support NATO missions. The true measure of NATO support is the money provided to NATO for its yearly operating budget.

Canada ranked sixth in its contribution to the NATO budget in 2019. This is real money going to fund NATO projects. The percentage participation by nations was: U.S. 22 per cent, Germany 15 per cent, France 10 per cent, United Kingdom 10 per cent, Italy eight per cent, and Canada six per cent.

Canada does indeed support NATO. We need to remember those 158 Canadians who lost their lives in support of NATO in Afghanistan.

Roger Cyr
Victoria

We couldn’t reserve a cab after 9 p.m.

We organized a dinner party for a Friday night. Called a cab company to reserve one and were told they won’t reserve after 9 p.m.

What a joke. No wonder they are against ride hailing. Holding the public at ransom! Ride hailing should be available during busy months at least.

Dave Morgan
Saanich

Limit motor traffic on Richardson Street

Richardson Street has been a speeder’s cut-through for far too long. It is the favoured route for people using bikes, and the city should be applauded for planning to make it safer and more attractive to people choosing to walk and cycle. 

Janet Simpson
Victoria

Start by cutting back on fossil fuels

A recent correspondent said that if we cut back drastically on fossil fuels, we would return to a medieval economy. Of course, he was quite right, but if we do not make some drastic cuts soon, we will return to being a hunting and gathering society — that is, if there is anything left to hunt and gather.

Another writer claimed that the climate activists want everyone to stop driving. We can drastically cut down on fossil-fuel consumption by just being less profligate in our use.

Live as near to work as possible and try to make it feasible to walk or bike to work. Do as many things as possible in one trip. Stop driving the kids to school, as it does them good to walk or bike. Get rid of your gas guzzler.

Tax gas to the point that it deters use. Expensive gas in Europe makes people drive smaller cars, but they still drive a lot.

Ray Ferris
Victoria

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