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Letters Jan. 16: Addressing addiction, the risks of winter travel, thank you to rescuers

The container ship GSL Eleni docked at Ogden Point in Victoria on Jan. 3, 2023. For large ships such as the Elena, a small reduction in speed makes a massive savings in fuel burned. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Let’s turn the tide to a better society

Re: “Bashing the homeless solves nothing,” letter, Jan. 6.

An excellent letter. The final paragraph says it all: “The problem is systemwide, the name of it is neoliberalism, a morally bankrupt policy that rewards the greedy and predatory, and causes hardship for the majority.”

We see it in the increasing amount of income flowing to the few at the top driving up homelessness at the bottom, we see it in the “freedom convoy” last year in Ottawa, we see it in political leaders bashing each other, instead of working together, we see it the number of pickup trucks bought as a family car with no regard for the climate change crisis, and fattening the profits of automobile manufacturers, and we even see it in the many Canadian flags out there, supporting nothing, and the bright red faded with time.

We as Canadians need to become more proactive in turning the tide to a more inclusive and kinder society.

Vince Devries


Rewards for those who are good citizens

Re: “Bashing the homeless solves nothing,” letter, Jan. 6.

The author is quite right when she describes the weird, imaginary alchemy of transformation from sentient individual into a drug-addicted, dumb, lazy, non-person when (s)he becomes homeless. It is a notional hump that those of us who are somewhat comfortable (for now) must get over.

However, that is where the sympathy ends.

People must understand that in order to live in this world (or any other one they may dream up), you must work to earn your keep.

Very simply put, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. (Exceptions abound, but I am not addressing the exceptions.)

When you work for someone, you are paid money; the amount of money is usually in proportion to what your labour is worth to the employer. One uses that money to purchase shelter, food, and the other necessities of life, in a scale proper to that income.

If one’s income is small, one lives in a basement apartment with a roommate in Langford or Sooke. One does not expect sole occupancy of a one bedroom in Fairfield. When income is insufficient to meet one’s needs, one needs to earn more money, usually at a cost of extra time spent on the job.

The system, with a few exceptions, does not reward the “greedy and the predatory,” it rewards those who do their work well, have planned, behave responsibly, and are good citizens.

That is simplistic, but it reflects the realities of life. Simply wishing it weren’t so does not change that reality.

Harsh words to write; harsher to read. But ultimately, true.

David Hansen


Oil, gas companies get a small piece of pie

Re: “The rumble over fracking,” Jan. 8.

Overall I thought the feature was very good and informative, but one item jarred.

To quote: “Then came the hydraulic fracturing industry, which in recent decades has brought vast wealth to oil and gas companies across the U.S. and Canada.” This is a distortion.

It does not mention the even bigger fortunes that went to provincial and federal governments, nor the economic benefits to the people and industries supporting the work, and not even the fact we all enjoyed cheaper gas as a result.

The fact is the shareholders of the oil and gas companies got a very small piece of the whole pie.

Bill Gibson


Reduce air pollution, make the ships go slower

Re the letters: “Do we levy fines? Do we offer shore power?” Jan. 5 and “A big engine idling and consequences” Jan. 4.

I agree that any idling car engine is wasteful and police and bylaw should fine the maximum. We should be aware of, and challenge a bigger source of local pollution though.

Off the Victoria waterfront pilot boats race to ships, then the ships race to anchor after a pilot gets on.

Ships go very fast between Gulf Island anchorages and Vancouver. Then go fast back to Victoria.

Before and after the pilot is on the ship it usually goes slower in Juan de Fuca Strait and offshore. Google any free AIS viewer and see the pattern for yourself on ships coming and going.

Faster ships make excess pollution for bad air quality and climate change. This burns tens of thousands of litres per ship-day more than is needed. Google “speed vs. ship fuel consumption.” It’s not linear, a small reduction in speed makes a massive savings in fuel burned per ship. Hundreds of ships per month go to and from anchorages to serve Canada’s biggest port, Vancouver.

An example, the GSL Eleni, 7842 teu, uses about 150 tons/day of fuel at 21 knots. At 17 knots only 60 tons. A ton of fuel is 1,176 litres. A five-knot speed reduction saves 105,000 litres a day.

One ship, one example.

I urge anyone concerned to do the research and communicate their concerns to the Pacific Pilotage Authority, Transport Canada, their MP, and the Port of Vancouver.

Demand slowing down of ships to improve air quality for millions of people surrounding the Salish Sea.

Michael Coey


Give us a fiscal plan, not more rate hikes

Hard to believe that with a million job vacancies in Canada, the central bank is aiming to have more unemployment. Is it also their aim to increase household debt, personal bankruptcies and visits to food banks?

After seven interest-rate hikes last year and inflation still at seven per cent, it’s clear that the strategy of punishing Canadians is not working. Relying solely on outdated monetary strategies is irresponsible. It’s time to implement a sound fiscal plan and stop the rate hikes.

Kip Wood


Tremendous return if we start in schools

Re: “Educate youth, keep them from addiction,” letter, Jan. 6.

As a former school trustee of more than 23 years, and a retired nurse, I heartily agree with the surmise that early identification and support for youth may prevent the need for tertiary costs later on for mental health and addictions.

Honestly, it was my personal focus and advocacy for many years at a local and provincial level, through successive governments.

If we can steer one youth away from that dangerous crossroad, we save so much in financial taxpayer relief and in human capital. I have seen tremendous improvements in focus and funding from all levels through that time, but always more can be done.

From opportunities for better education and employment (trades initiatives and dual credit initiatives to bridge the post-secondary barriers) to mental-health awareness and mental-health first-aid courses being offered to the safe schools (anti- bullying) initiatives, much has changed.

To their credit, the present government has hosted a number of initiatives and annual targeted funding is offered to districts for locally based programs. Again, in my opinion, it is not a “line item” so not guaranteed, nor is it enough, but it is a start. This favours larger school districts, since there is opportunity to enhance already running programs, while rural areas can struggle more in offering programs.

Early and flexible mental health (wellness) needs to be kept on the front burner of funding and awareness, so that we have less need for the housing and tertiary drug, alcohol and mental illness funding in future. Just think of it a public health funding — and increased public health funding for public health, not crisis management — for the future.

Margot Swinburnson


Christmas travel is filled with risk

Over the Christmas holidays I watched millions of passengers at airports, lined up like sardines, looking forward to spending this special time with family and friends.

After checking in and seeing their luggage on the conveyor belt, they waited for their flight to be called. They waited a long time before a flight delay was called and they decided to have a nap on the airport floor.

Our families are in three countries and we would not dream of trying to be with them, even at this special time of year. A phone call has to be our contact with loved ones.

When will people realize that trying to have an on-time, leisurely flight at Christmas, is a dream.

Reading that the airlines should compensate passengers for their travel problems is ludicrous. These passengers must have known what could happen.

I hope that the passengers who had awful flight experiences this past Christmas will think “wouldn’t it be great to be with our families in the spring or summer this year?”

Vivien Sansom

Qualicum Beach

After a hiking accident, a great response

Last week I had an accident while hiking on the coastal trail in East Sooke Park that resulted in a rescue by the East Sooke Fire Department, a trip to the emergency department of Victoria General Hospital and subsequent surgery.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who came to my assistance — the volunteer fire department, Capital Regional District park rangers, hikers along the trail, B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics and the staff at VGH.

The treatment I received was professional, timely and kind. Despite much publicity about the challenges facing our health system, I have high praise for the care I received and appreciate the show of generosity and kindness shown by so many that day.

Bonnie Yarish

North Saanich


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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