Letters Feb. 18: Cancel culture hypocrisy; container-housing village

Warning of cancel culture is hypocritical

Re: “Why cancel culture threatens our basic freedoms,” editorial, Feb. 13.

The Times Colonist criticized efforts to rename places and remove statues as misguided examples of “cancel culture” that threaten “our most basic freedoms.”

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Such acts are portrayed as being the result of “group-think” and “intolerance” that should serve as a “warning” to freedom-loving people.

If this argument sounds familiar, it’s because it comes straight out of the right-wing talking points we have seen south of the border among apologists for statues, monuments, and place names that honour Confederates, leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, slave-owners, eugenicists, and other white supremacists.

As a cultural geographer who has studied the politics of commemoration for nearly two decades, the hypocrisy of these claims never ceases to amaze me.

If we want to talk about cancelling cultures, many of the historical figures who have been placed up on a pedestal in the public square were the quintessential culture-cancellers — promoting genocidal policies, banning Indigenous cultural practices, and so on.

If we want to talk about the “narrowing of dialogue” and the “closing of minds,” one need look no further than the tunnel vision of Eurocentrism that has produced commemorative landscapes in which the vast majority of honorifics are bestowed upon white, European men who build their reputations and legacies by cancelling the cultures of “others.”

The renaming of places and removal of statues is not a narrow-minded form of cancel culture. Rather, it is a means of reckoning with the legacies of historical injustice that continue to shape our present.

Reuben Rose-Redwood
Professor of Geography
University of Victoria

Is it suppression to reject a letter?

Re: “Why cancel culture threatens our basic freedoms,” editorial, Feb. 13.

“Cancel culture” is new terminology to me. It has become a catch phrase and I was interested to learn what it means.

According to speeches and articles, including the editorial, the inference is that removal of certain postings on social media is suppression of free speech.

I believe these platforms should have implemented controls long ago. They may not get it right every time, but a start must be made!

The editorial cites violence and hatred as the line that can’t be crossed. The distribution and perpetuation of misinformation on social-media platforms has produced similarly dangerous results.

It is not splitting hairs to say that the right to free speech does not equate to a right to broadcast that speech in print, over the airwaves or on social-media platforms, especially speech that is based on falsehoods.

When you reject printing my letters to the editor, is it suppression of my right to free speech?

Laurie McDonald

Firearms announcement is just a distraction

With more than 17,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, overdose deaths running up to double that, nearly 70 per cent of Canadians are no longer impressed or reassured with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s smiling face telling us “we are all in this together.”

So what does he do to divert attention from this dismal failure? He “moves swiftly” to ban the already restricted AR15, which might have accounted for fewer deaths than you can count on the fingers of one hand.

He also does not mention that two-thirds of firearms deaths are suicides anyway. (The $2-billion long-gun registry resulted in a zero net reduction in mortality.) Do you feel safer? I certainly don’t.

Frankly, I feel insulted by this obvious attempt to divert attention from him being totally out of touch with realty and using my tax dollars to try and show he is “doing something” to make our lives safer.

Just for the record, I don’t own an AR15, nor have I any intention of acquiring one

Peter M. Clarke

Build permanent village of container housing

The City of Victoria always seems to be saying “look at me, look at me,” spending money on things that don’t need fixing.

Cars and pedestrians have been using Clover Point for years. What a concept — people and cars in the same place! I don’t remember any problems.

The city and province need to fix the homeless problem for good. Container housing seems to be working in other cities, why not ours? Purchase a permanent place, not the parking lot of a ball park. They keep moving people and spending money on a band-aid. Purchase an open lot and build a permanent housing village, container housing with common areas (washrooms, showers and so on), maybe even a veggie garden that they maintain.

Make the homeless not homeless.

They might even start to feel good about themselves.

John Guy

A simpler change for Clover Point

For much less than $250,000, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and company could simply reclaim a few feet of parking pavement from Clover Point’s outer ring where the cars park, lay down new curb and then, beyond, place a nice new wide sidewalk and some benches.

There is plenty of room without eliminating parking spaces. Cyclists can share the road.

While they’re at it, we can reclaim direct access from Fairfield to the shopping area on upper Vancouver Street.

Use the savings to open up Vancouver by jack-hammering out those ridiculous blockades.

Paint some bike lanes and go back to the share-the-road concept with cyclists, which worked just fine for the past hundred years or so.

Dave Paul

Decriminalization won’t help without treatment

Re: “A simple solution to the drug problem,” letter, Feb. 16

I appreciate the writer’s satirical wit and he does have a point when it comes to the economic advantage of a government opioid business, but some may argue with this simple solution.

During the Prohibition era, governments recognized that selling liquor was indeed a cash cow, and it did not take them long to control the product and set up shop.

Unfortunately, just as easy access to liquor did nothing to stem the tide of alcoholism, decriminalization and provision of opioids won’t do anything to stem the tide of drug addiction.

It is a band-aid solution that may suspend death, but it will not stop the bleeding without strong recovery-oriented addiction programs, an investment the government must make.

David Mansell

Stuck in frozen Regina, dreaming of the Island

For the past few years, my wife and I have been blessed to be able to come and visit the Island to get a break from ­winter on the frozen tundra of Saskatchewan, and to see our children and their family.

This year, with the pandemic, that didn’t happen, and it hurts!

Hopefully, this comes to a quick finish and we can come back to enjoy all that you have to offer!

Gordie Gherasim


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