Letters Feb 11: What’s fuelling traffic-blocking protests; car-insurance advice from 1968

Fossil fuel industry made protests possible

Re: “Marchers shut down Douglas Street in pipeline protest,” Feb. 8.

Nice shot of protesters, wearing clothing and carrying various objects all made from, or produced with, the energy from fossil fuels.

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I really hope they were able to find some of the rare parking spots left downtown for their cars, while out there protesting.

Mike Spence
Victoria

No military uniforms at a protest, please

Re: “Protesters block Douglas, legislature steps,” Feb. 8.

In the central archway of the legislative steps, the protester, wearing what appears to be military beret (with regimental or corps crest?) is, hopefully, not also wearing a military uniform: This protester’s individual clothing worn was not seen in the photo.

The Canadian military (and civilian police) must remain apolitical during contentious issues that, too often, readily move from peaceful protest to civil disobedience.

Ron Johnson
Saanich

Inconvenience, but consider the message

My wife and I were headed from Esquimalt to a house concert in Rockland Saturday night: a 10- to 12-minute drive. But alas! The Johnson Street bridge was blocked off, so we had a 20-minute detour over the jammed up Bay Street bridge.

And so, 20 minutes late to the concert, which had already begun. What an inconvenience.

Yes, what a petty inconvenience and enlightening reminder that the two major issues facing us today — reduction of our CO2 emissions and reconciliations with our Indigenous Peoples — are being suppressed by our elected governments as they plough billions of our tax dollars into fossil fuel extraction and transportation across Indigenous lands.

Thank you, Times Colonist, for the two successive front-page spreads presenting the amazing work of the Indigenous youth leading these consciousness-raising non-violent demonstrations in support of their hereditary chiefs’ refusal to allow our colonial-based laws to override their traditional laws.

Both our federal and B.C. governments have proclaimed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be guidelines for their relationship with our hosts in this country. Now is the time to act on these proclamations — while we still have an environment worth healing.

Bruce Lemire-Elmore
Esquimalt

Planetary wisdom from the mouths of babes

A friend recently told me of a conversation he had as a small child. On a cold winter day, looking at smokestacks and car exhausts (winter makes a cloudy exhaust) he asked his father: “Won’t the sky get filled up with smoke?” His father responded by saying the sky was vast and it just couldn’t happen. It appears, with 1960s knowledge, that was the wrong answer.

I have a similar story. When I was in Grade 4, living on the prairies, we were studying rivers. The teacher said one of the things rivers did for us was take waste down to the ocean.

I put my hand up and observed that if we kept doing that, the ocean would get dirty. Her retort was that the ocean was always cleaning itself, and that it was so big, it would never get dirty.

Not to be deterred, I observed that no matter how big it was, if people kept dumping waste, it eventually it would get dirty. She reminded me that since I had never seen the ocean (which at that point in my life was true) I could never understand.

The conversation was over and she went on with the lesson.

Now we have young people out on Fridays telling us how dire the situation is for the planet. When will we understand that children are often wiser than adults? Perhaps it is because they have not yet been contaminated by the platitudes of politicians who pay undue attention to industry lobbyists.

Shirley McBride
Cordova Bay

Justice R.A.B. Wootton looked into insurance

In the summer of 1967, I was one of six university student researchers hired by the Royal Commission on Automobile Insurance, headed by Justice R.A.B. Wootton.

This commission was established by the W.A.C. Bennett government as a result of concerns of the high cost of automobile insurance, then totally privatized.

My assignment was to investigate the costs of lawyers in insurance claims. I remember that it was a huge cost, but our jobs as student researchers were simply to do background work and write reports.

It was the commissioner and his staff who took all the information from many sources and wrote their conclusions.

The Wootton report, published in 1968, was considered a radical report. It recommended automobile insurance be brought into a government agency such as a Crown corporation.

It stated that auto crashes were basically inevitable at a certain level, and that no-fault insurance should apply for all but the most serious situations. After the report was published, the lawyers and insurance companies were up in arms, as one would expect.

In 1973, ICBC was established by the Barrett government and was based on many of the recommendations of the royal commission.

Over the years, many changes have occurred to ICBC and the no-fault aspects have been largely lost. Now what I’m reading seems like “déjà-vu all over again,” except it’s being applied to ICBC instead of the private insurers.

It might serve well to review the Wootton report again. Granted, a half-century has passed, and there probably are twice as many vehicles on the road now, but I bet many of the conclusions still stand.

Eric Gelling
Victoria

For $50,000, you too could go green

So the Green Party requires prospective leadership candidates to pony up $50,000 to seek the leadership.

Puts a whole new meaning to the word “green”!

Van M. Buchanan
Victoria

MAID legislation about right to choose

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops seems to think — or at least wants to give the impression — that a medically assisted death is extremely easy to obtain.

In reality, there are a number of safeguards that offer protection.

The planned changes are designed to improve access for those who want assistance in this matter. Those who do not want a medically assisted death, perhaps because of their faith, have an equal right not to choose that option.

No health-care provider who does not wish to administer assisted death is compelled to do so; raising this along with other situations such as patients who have been abused is simply fearmongering.

No one is endangered by this legislation — it is about our right to choose. I am capable of wrestling with my own moral questions.

Mary Martin
North Saanich

Move campers to a field or parking lot

Why doesn’t the City of Victoria allow parking on an existing field or parking lot, such as the ones opposite the Beacon Drive-In or at Ogden Point, and monitor people who do not respect the space?

Rosemary White
Langford

Russia won the Cold War with simple steps

Re: “Two once great countries doing their best to self destruct,” column, Feb. 5.

Heather Mallick’s column about the national leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom was delicious. Her humorous approach is so helpful in coping with their relentless absurd statements and behaviour. If those countries are doing well, it is in spite of their leaders, not because of them.

And Ronald Reagan’s assertions to the contrary, it appears that Russia has won the Cold War.

And all Russia had to do was fan the smouldering embers of American ethnic prejudice and the fragile ego of a president who seems capable of loving only himself while hating the magnificent mosaic of people who make America so culturally rich and economically robust.

Consider the Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, for example, or the recent biography in the Times Colonist of the actor Kirk Douglas.

Liam Bender
Mayne Island

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