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Letters Jan. 20: Canada's military priority; don't judge first-time home buyers

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Anya Korostenska reacts at the funeral of her fiancé Oleksiy Zavadskyi, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on Jan. 15, in Bucha, Ukraine, on Thursday. A letter-writer says Canada’s military priority should be supporting Ukraine. DANIEL COLE, AP Anya Korostenska reacts at the funeral of her fiancé Oleksiy Zavadskyi, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on Jan. 15, in Bucha, Ukraine, Thursday. A letter-writer says Canada’s military priority should be supporting Ukraine. DANIEL COLE, AP

For Canada, Ukraine is the top priority

Major-General Cam Ross (retired) draws a fair and balanced picture of whether Canada should, or should not, deploy a military force under United Nations auspices to bring stability to a benighted Haiti.

Canadians hold a rather nostalgic view of our former role in UN peacekeeping. A deployment to Haiti would involve more peacemaking than peacekeeping in a country riven by rival, heavily armed gangs.

And values aside, what is our strategic interest in intervening in Haiti? Even if we held a hemispheric good neighbour policy (which we do not) it is hard to see that the upside of becoming involved again in Haiti would outweigh the downside.

And the tantalizing possibility of a sweetener from our American friends, on a quid pro quo basis, just won’t cut it.

And then there is the question of capacity. The Chief of Defence Staff has pronounced that our army could not cope with two major simultaneous deployments, one to Latvia, which we have just enhanced, and to Haiti.

The Latvian mission is as much in providing support to Ukraine against Russian aggression as it is in reinforcing Baltic NATO member states. I suggest that our first priority at this time is in supporting Ukraine.

So, as Ross obliquely concludes, Canadian participation in a UN mission to Haiti simply can’t be in the cards.

David Collins
Retired Canadian ambassador
Victoria

Please do not judge first-time buyers

Re: “If you want something, work for it,” letter, Jan. 18.

At one time in my life I would have agreed with this letter-writer. When we got our mortgages the rules/guidelines were you were not allowed to spend more than 32 per cent of gross income on principal, interest and taxes and purchase a house at no more than three times gross income with a 25-year amortization.

Incomes have not kept up with the rising prices of housing, so my understanding now is that people are paying up to seven times gross income on the purchase of a house with payments way over that 32 per cent PIT.

So I think we have to be not so judgmental on new buyers trying to get on the bottom rung of the market. Times have changed and not necessarily for the better for future homeowners.

Susan Clamp
Esquimalt

Items from wreck littered the beach

Recent stories about finding the 1875 wreck of the SS Pacific leave out an important local connection. When researching the history of Otter Point a decade ago I came upon the rest of the story.

In his account of the wreck to the Thermopylae Club and in Ursula Jupp’s book Home Port Victoria, the credit for first finding wreckage and sounding an alert about the mishap belongs to Oscar Scarf.

Born in Esquimalt in 1864, he lived for a time as a foster child with the Tugwells in Otter Point. While there he came upon the wreckage on Nov. 7, 1875.

Jupp quotes his account: “I at once notified Mr. Tugwell who, after seeing the wreckage, sent a man on horseback with a letter to Mr. Michael Muir, the postmaster at Sooke, who in turn sent word of the wreckage to Victoria. The three-mile beach from Otter Point to Muir Creek was covered with doors, buckets, and life belts plainly marked SS Pacific. We also found the Golden Eagle carried on her pilot house.”

The first account of the wreck appeared in the Nov. 9 issue of the British Daily Colonist.

Arnie Campbell
Saanich

Community benefits agreements are disaster

B.C.’s so-called Community Benefits Agreements have sunk to a new low. It’s no wonder the province is being accused of “lip service” after workers at several Cowichan Tribes contracting companies were barred from the Cowichan District Hospital construction site.

It doesn’t seem to matter that the project is being built on traditional territory, or that perfectly qualified local workers are being shut out, even though they’re among the underrepresented groups that the province pledged would get first crack at training and job opportunities when big projects are built using these agreements.

The public has been hoodwinked into believing that the Community Benefits Agreements were designed to benefit the community. The reality is, they were contrived to reward the government’s favoured building trades unions.

Only workers who pay dues and belong to the trade unions can build major infrastructure projects that fall under the CBA framework. That’s how it is, even though 85 per cent of B.C.’s construction workers have chosen not to belong to the BTUs.

As time goes on, it’s even more painfully obvious that the government’s CBAs are a disaster.

Paul de Jong
President, Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
Victoria

Alcohol guidelines and injection sites

Experts, what would we do without them? Now some of them from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse have found that two drinks of alcohol a week should be the limit of your alcohol intake.

I would imagine some of these experts would agree that free drugs daily, at safe injection sites, is the proper way to handle the drug crisis on the streets.

Bob Beckwith
Victoria

Another vote for restoring Clover Point

Re: “Please Victoria, fix Clover Point,” letter, Jan. 18.

My husband and I loved sitting in the car almost daily watching the ocean, the windsurfers and other water activities taking place at Clover Point.

One of the very few areas for daily head clearing “getting in motion with the ocean,” relieving stress and escaping continual worries that come with old age.

The majority of the action takes place on the west-facing side, which has been totally eradicated for those of us who find it difficult to get in and out of vehicles to walk over to the west side. It leaves us breathless due to medical issues. We are senior citizens with mobility and medical issues, unable to walk the incline if we parked on Dallas Road.

Planners need to take into consideration the plight of the elderly when redesigning this once-beautiful city, and give us elderly some of the enjoyment back, one of the reasons why we actually chose to reside here.

Please, Victoria, fix Clover Point.

Marylyn Emberley
Victoria

Picnic tables? What about all those dogs?

The recent letter about Clover Point prompted me to write about what a huge mess Dallas Road is in. That little area of Clover Point is the only area where a person can possibly picnic or children can play freely without the intrusion of dogs, if they are lucky.

Astoundingly, the rest of that beautiful sea view is given over to dogs. It is a huge tract of land that right now resembles a plowed field and in the summer resembles a dust bowl.

Dallas seafront is an area that could accommodate itself to so many other uses, such as a place where children can run and play freely. A place that might be used for blanket-type picnics. It could include a properly cultivated cedar running track. It could have an area where visitors who visit the food vendors in the summer can have a peaceful place to enjoy their purchases.

It’s also got to a point now where the off-leash issue continues to be a problem. I live on Dallas Road and I daily walk and cycle in this area, and dogs off leash are still a hazard on the coast path; the cycle/walking park; Clover Point; Beacon Hill Park; Ross Bay Cemetery; and of course on the seashore.

So right now, we will take these few picnic tables down on Clover Point until the City of Victoria enters into a consultation process regarding the excessive amount of land given over to dog use to the exclusion of many other activities. The current situation is not working.

Brendan Elliott
Victoria

Clover Point should not have barriers

I agree with the letter-writer who asked Victoria council to please fix Clover Point. Council may consider moving the picnic tables and lounge chairs into the middle green, which is unused. People do not sit often at the picnic tables or lounge chairs.

During my entire life in Victoria, I and others have certainly enjoyed driving around the point and parking briefly to view the weather coming in. That pleasure no longer exists.

Please, council, reinstate the drive-around and parking. It would be a very simple matter to remove the barrier posts, as well as the picnic tables and lounge chairs.

Let us all enjoy beautiful Clover Point without barriers.

Margaret Wood
Victoria

Housing co-operatives deserve investment

Being a lifelong supporter of the NDP, it saddens me to say that I think Premier David Eby made a huge mistake when he decided to force strata corporations to resolve the housing crisis for him.

Had Eby decided to promote and invest in more housing co-operatives, everyone would have been in a better position.

Builders could develop more, renters could become members in their co-operatives, and strata owners could live next door to other owners who have a financial interest in their property.

Brian Rosval
Victoria

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• 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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