Letters Dec. 8: Cruise ships are not a problem; Halifax vs. Victoria; online shopping

Cruise ships are not causing problems

I am disturbed by the repeated efforts by some individuals to disrupt a vital source of income and pleasure for the people of Victoria by their obsessive and somewhat delusional desire to restrict our cruise-ship industry.

They promote the need to curb emissions from these ships, which the harbour authority recorded as being the equivalent of 3,241 vehicles on the road per year as of 2018.

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On an average weekday last week, and not at the busiest time, I counted 15 motor vehicles per minute travelling on Fort Street past Royal Jubilee Hospital. This equates to 9,000 for a typical 10-hour daytime period, and over three million in a year. All creating pollution at ground level and not high in the sky.

Cruise ships are no problem at all. I lived in Shoal Point at one time and now I live farther along Dallas Road, but at no time have I or family members with cardiac disease or asthma suffered from sitting on balconies overlooking and enjoying these ships.

Do those who oppose the cruise ships want us to replace them with sailing vessels? Perhaps we should only use horses and carts in James Bay to totally reduce pollution.

AB Masters, MD

Secure your garbage to protect bears

Even the conservation officer was very upset. Six bears, including babies, were put down because we have idiots that won’t look after their garbage. How many times do people have to be told?

The trick is, raise that puny fine to $5,000. That will get people’s attention.

Remember, we have taken habitat away from the bears.

Eileen Mae Nattrass
Central Saanich

Online shoppers get inferior products

Re: “The price is too high for Canadian Black Friday,” Nov. 28.

Reading Jack Knox’s column about online shopping reminded me of two Christmas presents I received a few years ago.

Both were of the same book in which I’d expressed an interest. One, I was later told, was bought on a B.C. ferry by an elderly relative, and the second by a younger person on Amazon.

And what a difference. The first was beautifully bound, printed on high-quality paper with a strong attractive cover, and altogether a book that I was pleased to add to my library.

By contrast, the online purchase was on inferior paper badly bound with a cheap-looking cover. Altogether of a much lesser quality. And the price? The online purchaser paid $1 more than for the beautiful book purchased in person.

So as well as ruining local businesses and sending our money overseas, online shoppers are very likely to be paying more for inferior products. It is so sad.

Valerie van Meel

A better use for Christmas lights money

Re: “$500,000 downtown Lights of Wonder display will open late,” Dec. 6.

The half-million dollars spent on Christmas lights could have been spent to help the needy with education projects, drug-addition counselling programs and job creation initiatives. These efforts could work to spring the poor out of poverty heading into the new year and break the cycle. How many education programs could the lights have paid for?

Moreover, when all the festivities, food drives, lights, carnivals and excess of winter solstice are done with, what have we accomplished? We need to keenly understand and remember that real, desperate needs will still exist in the cold, dark days of January, February, March and beyond as well!

David R. Carlos

Halifax provides best comparison for Victoria

Recent editorials and letters to the editor have claimed that Victoria city councillors are already well-paid compared with those in other communities. However, the communities cited are mostly small cities or suburbs that are not directly comparable.

Victoria is fairly unique in Canada, being a municipality of 92,000 that includes the urban core of a region with 400,000 residents. While the City of Victoria accounts for less than one quarter of the region’s population, it contains more than half the region’s jobs.

Urban cores such as Victoria’s, which contain a disproportionate share of the region’s jobs, institutions, commercial activity — and also crime — require a disproportionate share of resources to manage.

The Canadian metropolitan area that is most comparable to Victoria is Halifax — both are provincial capitals with regional populations of roughly 400,000. Halifax city councillors receive a salary of $88,344, nearly double Victoria councillors’ $45,384 salary.

You might argue that Halifax councillors should be paid more because the City of Halifax covers the entire region. However, in Halifax there are also twice as many councillors — 16 versus just eight in Victoria.

A fairer way to compare would be to look at the total salaries of all councillors as a share of the total city budget. In Victoria, city councillor salaries accounted for 0.10 per cent (one one-thousandth) of the total 2019 budget. In Halifax, city councillor salaries accounted for 0.15 per cent of the 2018-19 budget.

If city councillor salaries in Victoria were increased to account for the same share of the city budget as in Halifax, salaries would rise by 51 per cent to $68,545, which is just shy of the $70,100 being proposed.

Steven Murray

Victoria councillors should focus on their city

Re: “City of Victoria granted intervener status in challenge of carbon tax,” Dec. 7.

A member of council states most councillors are working too many hours. When did the federal carbon tax become a City of Victoria duty? If the councillors would only work on issues that involve overseeing the operations of the city, maybe they wouldn’t be so overworked.

It is time they did the job that the taxpayers of Victoria elected them to do and stop involving themselves in issues for that are the responsibility of federal and provincial politicians.

Eileen Cannon

New day is dawning with Declaration Act

Re: “Indigenous Peoples bill has good goals but overpromises,” editorial, Nov. 3.

In response to the unsigned editorial in the Times Colonist claiming that “the unifying authority of government has been fragmented” by the province’s new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, I am writing to express my dismay.

From the dark days of the Oka crisis to the pending Declaration Act, we have come a very long way. A new day is dawning in which Indigenous people actually get to be treated to the same rights to life, liberty, equality and self-determination (the right to decide what happens on their land) that we as settlers have been so privileged to enjoy.

Now that the truth of the Residential Schools, the Indian Hospitals and the Sixties Scoop are being told, it is time to right the wrongs of our forefathers. The First Nations people have been here for thousands of years and have been shamefully abused and have had their lands and resources stolen from them by settlers.

In Indigenous culture, it is their hereditary duty to be caretakers of the land. Today, we stand shoulder to shoulder as nations to honour those values so that we can all share in the wealth of our land, while respecting the environment so that we can all prosper.

This land belongs to the people and for far too long has been in the hands of a few elite families and corporations to amass wealth to the detriment of the land and its people. I stand in strong support of the Declaration Act.

Jane Devonshire
View Royal

Bill 41 key to building more resilient province

Settlers, in our high-handed way, have traditionally discounted First Nations ideas of working with nature to ensure that our communities remain sustainable for our lifetimes as well as for those of future generations. We should not be using methods of “development” that place immediate monetary gain over a respectful long-term governing of our resources.

All of us really need to be thinking of how to care for people who are living now and for those who will inherit what we leave after we’re gone. We need to be using our natural resources in a respectful way. Ultimately, we need to be thinking about the future of this planet. We have to protect water, our forests, long-term jobs and all of our communities from being taken advantage of over the years.

Now, in an unprecedented move, Premier John Horgan has officially recognized Indigenous title and rights. This is a key step for Indigenous communities asserting their freedom and self-determination.

The province now plans to update its laws to align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a resolution adopted by 148 countries including Canada.

This is good news not only for Indigenous families and communities, but also for British Columbians as a whole. Grounding our laws in Indigenous rights is key to building a more just, sustainable and resilient province.

Jean Jenkins

Ethanol is an immediate fossil fuel replacement

The sadly missed “tool in the toolbox” in combating climate change is replacing fossil fuels with ethanol. There are many misconceptions about ethanol that cannot be addressed here. The benefits, though, are significant.

It is not a greenhouse-gas emitter and any carbohydrate can be a source, not just food. It is so safe that people have consumed it for thousands of years. It is chemically stable and not a blend.

All modern cars have sensors to adjust combustion based on in-situ gasoline-ethanol mix, meaning you don’t even need to modify your car to use it. Production of ethanol does not create environmentally toxic byproducts, it can be done on a small scale and could drastically reduce B.C. fossil fuel dependence.

Dan Richards

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