Letters Jan. 11: Canada House size; sailing cancellations; John A. Macdonald

Canada House’s staff is too large

I noted with disgust the photo in the paper of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, standing in front of a bunch of people at Canada House in London. What a waste of money!

There were over 50 people standing behind them. If all of these people work at Canada House, we are throwing hard-earned Canadian tax dollars out the window.

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It just adds to my frustration with our Canadian governments at all levels, throwing our hard earned tax dollars out the window on useless activities.

I would add this to the fact that our governments can’t seem to figure out that all tax revenues come from the same source and the “piggy bank” is running dry.

North Cowichan, risking a legal action of possibly $30 million over something that should be welcomed into the community.

The provincial government blowing $96 million on the McKenzie interchange.

It would seem there is an infection that hits too many of our elected officials once they become elected. Spend as if there is no tomorrow. It’s somebody else’s money, so who cares?

We care, our pockets are running on empty. What with carbon taxes, property taxes, income taxes and more.

Taxes, taxes, taxes. Will they never end? Not likely, with the kind of narrow and single-minded people we keep electing to our governments.

By the way, I am a strong anti-monarchy person. Talk about the most absurd waste of money. They are it.

Jack Peake

Sailings are cancelled too frequently

B.C. Ferries cancels sailings yet again, causing huge hassles for hundreds of people, some of whom will miss vital medical appointments they may have waited months for, missed flights, missed important business meetings, had their vacations ruined, etc.

In the 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s, we very rarely had B.C. Ferries cancel. They would just say “it’s going to be a bit rolly folks, stay in your seats.” Now it seems there is a cancellation due to wind every second week.

Has B.C. Ferries taken their concern with “safety” to a bizarre extreme?

Richard Brunt

Qualicum/Parksville has ‘pool paralysis’

Victoria is not the only place on Vancouver Island suffering from “pool paralysis.”

We also suffer from it up here in Qualicum/Parksville, where tiny Ravensong Pool (one main tank, a children’s warm pool, hot-tub, sauna/steam room but no diving tank or waterslides) is the only public swimming pool serving Oceanside’s rapidly-growing population of some 60,000 (stretching from Nanoose up to Bowser and inland to Errington).

Like Crystal Pool, Ravensong continues to be the subject of numerous, expensive and seemingly never-ending reports and public consultations (another one due next week) with the current frontrunner being a plan to close our one-and-only pool for up to a year in order to add another tank — which still doesn’t resolve the problems of inadequate change rooms and other facilities.

This would not only leave lane swimmers, aquafit, swim classes, recreational swimmers and the local synchro club with no public pool at all, but it would also be devastating to the large local demographic of seniors who rely on the pool to maintain their mobility and keep them out of hospitals and nursing homes.  

Like Victoria, we live in an area that spends thousands of dollars a year promoting itself as a “vacation destination” for snowbirds and summer visitors alike.

But it dithers about providing its own citizens with the most basic type of pool and fitness centre found in even the smallest of Prairie towns — and then wonders why it can’t attract more young families to move into our Island communities.

There are several new subdivisions going up in Parksville, which will only increase the demand for recreational facilities in the Oceanside area.

Ann Jessey
Qualicum Beach 

How First Nations are governed

Re: “Whose land is it? Justice for First Nations,” comment, Jan. 10.

It takes a while for the writers to offer a thesis statement, but at the top of column four we find, “The elected chief and council system, imposed by the Colonial Government’s Indian Act, is designed to eradicate Indigenous governance systems.”

“Indigenous governance systems” is another way of saying “feudalism,” and “hereditary chiefs” is another way of saying “lords of the manor.”

But I wouldn’t be writing this were it not for this paragraph, further on: “Adding insult to injury, the B.C. legislature proceeded in 1872 to bar Indigenous peoples and Chinese settlers from voting, giving a minority of 10,000 white settlers a dictatorship over an estimated 40,000 Indigenous people and Chinese.”

Given that feudalism is the polar opposite of democracy, I find that rather ironic.

Ian Cameron
Brentwood Bay

John A. Macdonald’s achievements

Today, Jan. 11, is the 205th anniversary of the birth of John A. Macdonald. In fact, the day is a national commemorative day as passed by an act of Parliament on March 21, 2002: John A. Macdonald Day.

Macdonald was not a perfect man and is frequently vilified for what are felt to be racist policies toward First Nations in Western Canada.

We must recognize that Macdonald was also responsible for the inclusion of Western Canada into Canadian Confederation.

Without his determined efforts to forestall American interests from expanding into what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta, these areas would have been occupied and settled by Americans, an action which could have easily resulted in the loss of these territories in a manner similar to that experienced in Oregon.

This would have left British Columbia in an isolated position with only two viable alternatives: an independent colony and possible nation or annexation with the United States.

It is interesting to note that, in 1885, John A. Macdonald introduced legislation for Parliament to consider the vote for women, First Nations men, and blacks. They, like all citizens, would have to meet the voting requirements. His party refused to support him regarding the right to vote for women, but legislation was passed allowing First Nations men and blacks the right to vote in Eastern Canada. Unfortunately, this legislation was reversed in 1898 by the Laurier government.

Before we decide how to treat Macdonald’s memory, we should ensure we know as much as possible about him. I can recommend Richard Gwyn’s excellent two volume biography, Nation Maker and John A. as well as Macdonald at 200, new reflections and legacies edited by Patrice A Dutil. For a counter view regarding the First Nations policies, I recommend James Dashchuk’s Clearing the Plains, disease, politics of starvation and the loss of Aboriginal life.

Ken Johnson

A reward for good bicycling etiquette

Re: “A police officer who is a cool dude,” letter, Jan. 7.

I used my bicycle to ride to work a couple of decades ago in Saanich.

One day I heard a police horn behind me, I stopped and an officer approached me and told me that she observed me for a while and congratulated me for the way I rode and for using my hand signals. Then she said she had something for me: It was a voucher good for a bicycle jacket, redeemable in a Saanich bicycle store on Quadra Street. I still have that jacket and each time I use it I remembered the good deed of that day.

Paul Thanh

Treatment centres for mental illness

We see those with significant mental health issues wandering, often in abject poverty, around our communities. It is a shameful situation that de-institutionalization has not mitigated; actually it has made it worse. We need acute-care health centres committed to supporting and treating mental illness in this province; the streets don’t work.

John Stevenson

An exclamation that some find hurtful

What a rich country we live in. And what rich languages we have.

Please try to avoid the flippant use of “Oh, my God!” which is so hurtful to Christians.

This expression is appropriate for calling on the Most Holy God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

This expression is inappropriate for flippant, casual use.

Please enrich your vocabulary by omitting this exclamation, hurtful to so many of us.

Nellie Stadt

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