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Letters Feb. 29: We need school-liaison officers; not paying attention at the crosswalk; one more police force

Teach a valuable lesson about the police Re: “Supporters rally for return of police officers to schools,” Feb. 27.
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Students attend a rally calling for the return of school-liaison police officers, outside the Greater Victoria School District office.

Teach a valuable lesson about the police

Re: “Supporters rally for return of police officers to schools,” Feb. 27.

If I’d known about the rally outside the Greater Victoria School District office on Monday to support the discontinued school-liaison officer program, I would have joined the 12 participants to make a baker’s dozen.

I have been a teacher in Victoria since 1995, and I remember Victoria Police Chief Del Manak when he was a school-liaison officer.

I also remember when I began teaching at Spectrum in 2001, Const. Dan Mayo, who was a liaison officer for several years.

Know who else remembers them? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of kids with whom they, along with many of their colleagues, interacted in positive and impactful ways over the years.

I disagree with school board chair Nicole Duncan’s opinion that, because of possible “trauma and harm” that some students might feel from a police presence in schools, the liaison program should have been discontinued.

The best method to help students to overcome their anxiety and fear is not to remove the cause — this simply reinforces the problem. The best method is to educate them, support them and help them face what is causing their anxiety and fear.

Removing school-liaison officers reinforces in the minds of students that police officers are to be feared. Reinstating the program and then supporting any students who feel anxiety, perhaps even having them meet and talk with the officers, would help the students face their fears and overcome them.

In addition, it would teach them how we all should view the amazing police officers in our city — as people who dedicate their lives to keeping us all safe, even in the face of grave danger.

Those of us in education call this a “teachable moment.” I hope we can use it as such, for at this point, it is a missed opportunity for teaching our kids a valuable lesson as well as bringing our community closer together.

Christopher Parker

Victoria

A young pedestrian, not checking traffic

At the pedestrian light at the junction of the E&N Rail Trail and Lampson Street in Esquimalt recently, a youth walking on the opposite side of the street from me hit the crossing button and then immediately crossed before the light changed.

He did not turn his head to check for traffic. When a driver slammed on their brakes and skidded to a stop, the youth did not turn his head. When the vehicle honked there was no reaction.

The look on his face was one of complete lack of interest in his surroundings as he continued to cross.

I suspect youths like him are why “younger road users are over-represented in the most serious crashes and are most likely to be killed in a crash, with the 15-to-24 age group making up a third of all fatalities recorded,” as mentioned in a Tuesday report.

Kim Christensen

Esquimalt

One more police force? Time to amalgamate

The issue of policing in Esquimalt is coming up again.

There is such a mixture of forces in the Capital Regional District that I think this is one case for amalgamation of all police forces.

I do not know what it would cost, but surely it would be more efficient over the long term.

Blair Humphrey

Fairfield

Maybe we need yet another police force

Time for Victoria West to have its own police department. Enough of these rascals across the bridge or from Esquimalt preying on us!

Peter Foran

Songhees

Victoria West

More supported housing would help Canada

In my recent letter on affordable housing, I misquoted a statistic for the United Kingdom. The figure of 70 per cent of households in public housing should have been attributed to the Netherlands, not to the U.K.

Britain’s four million households in public housing constitute a smaller ­percentage, locally varying between zero and 40 per cent depending on the area.

However, the principle remains the same. Canada has only three per cent of households in supported housing, a number that certainly contributes to the housing crisis.

If we rose only to the minimum U.K. proportions, the spin-off benefits to society in increased workforce stability, health improvements and better family life would more than offset the added cost.

Waiting for private development to accomplish that is a forlorn hope; the individual municipalities must fill the gap.

Alec Mitchell

Victoria

Settle the question of double jeopardy

Re: “Arsonist banished by First Nation argues against jail sentence,” Feb. 25.

As is often the case, courts in the United States have already decided the issue of whether being convicted and sentenced by a tribal court and a U.S. federal court for the same illegal act amounts to double jeopardy.

In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the proceedings in both courts were valid and there was no double jeopardy.

The reason? Tribal government in the U.S. is based upon inherent powers of a limited sovereignty that has never been extinguished, which means that the tribal prosecution and the federal prosecution were brought by separate sovereigns.

So, just as a federal prosecution does not bar a subsequent state prosecution of the same person for the same act (and vice versa), a tribal prosecution does not bar a subsequent federal one.

The prosecutions are brought and the punishment is imposed by different sovereigns for different offences.

In Canada, therefore, the result might depend upon whether tribal governments have the sort of limited sovereignty long recognized in the U.S.

If tribal governments here do enjoy this sort of sovereignty — which seems likely — a band member who was banished from the reserve for six months for setting a house on fire could not invoke the protection against double jeopardy contained in s. 11 (h) of the Charter to bar a federal arson prosecution for the same fire.

However, if there is no such limited sovereignty, that is, if the tribal government is simply the creature of the federal government for prosecution purposes, then the federal prosecution would violate the protection against double jeopardy.

Of course, the situation in Canada is very different and a different analytical approach could well be adopted.

As Justice John Hunter is quoted as saying in your report, the case “raises questions of sufficient complexity” to ­justify providing publicly funded counsel for the sentence appeal.

Hamar Foster, KC

Professor emeritus

University of Victoria

A simple solution for acute health-care needs

Many times we need help with a relatively minor and easily diagnosed ailment like strep throat, the flu, an ear infection, etc.

In the United States, you will find “minute clinics” in most pharmacies and many grocery stores. It is simply a small office with one nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant treating people with mild, acute illness.

You sign in to the computer in-person or online, and you’re given an appointment time to return. If there’s a wait, it’s usually no more than a few hours because there are many of these small clinics. Imagine that.

With all of the recent stories about the lack of urgent care, B.C. could really ­benefit from these clinics:

• Nurse practitioners can be trained far faster than doctors. Train them for free if they’ll work in B.C. for three years. Pay them well.

This program could be up and running relatively quickly.

• Even those with a family doctor will be happy to have these clinics available when they have a mild, acute-care need after hours, on the weekend, or when they can’t get into see their doctor same-day. Many family doctors’ schedules fill up immediately after opening for same-day.

On a personal note, I went to a minute clinic with shingles on a Saturday morning and got prompt treatment. If I had delayed treatment even a couple of more days, the situation would have been far worse for me.

The minute clinics won’t fix the whole health-care system, but they are an easy and quick solution to provide same-day care for acute, mild illness while reducing pressure on the ER and urgent care facilities.

Liz Steffanick

Victoria

Interesting sculpture, but add a plaque

As regular visitors to Victoria, we are always challenged to find new and interesting sites. Last September, on a visit to Cattle Point, we saw the stone sculpture of Stqéyə, the wolf.

Fortunately, our knowledge of the sculpture was helped by a local Oak Bay resident who offered to explain the story and point out the carved images in the rock, which we initially missed.

This included the significance of the view of Chatham and Discovery islands through the cutout in the rock pointing to where the wolf spent his time.

On the weekend, we revisited the site with a friend and were surprised not to find a plaque or further ­information to enhance an appreciation for the ­historic story that the sculpture offers.

Along with the addition of a plaque a QR Code would also be helpful for visitors to the site.

Bob Whitelaw

Ottawa, Ont.

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