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Letters Jan. 25: Military's role, Langford input

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Roger Cyr writes that the Canadian Armed Forces should be reorganized to focus more on defending firstly Canada and secondly North America. JEFF McINTOSH, THE CANADIAN PRESS

World order is changing, so military is needed

Re: “Military should focus on protecting Canada,” commentary, Jan. 21.

The author states that it is ludicrous to think that Canada should defend itself from threats such as Russia and China. This statement is illogical, as that is what countries do and Canada has historically done.

We do this by joining alliances such as NORAD, NATO and bilateral agreements with other countries. The price of joining these alliances is for Canada to provide its fair share of defence capabilities.

For decades, Canada has failed to provide such capabilities and has allowed our military to atrophy with most major capabilities rusting out before being replaced.

Canada will soon find itself shunned by our allies, who are increasing their defence spending to above two per cent of GDP while Canada spends almost half as much.

No nation can ramp up building modern military systems in the short term, and this is particularly so for Canada, as indicated in the extended time it takes to build a single warship or produce munitions.

The war in Ukraine shows that the world tomorrow can change in a blink. The head of the UN recently stated that the world is in a dark place with the world order as we have known it dissolving.

Our allies will not be amused with a Canadian military whose focus is mainly fighting floods, fires and long-term care.

Captain Robin Allen MSC, OMM, CD RCN (retired)

Victoria

We’re lagging behind in military preparedness

Re: “Military should focus on protecting Canada,” commentary, Jan. 21.

The commentary claims that “if the world’s situation dictates a major build-up of weapons systems, then it will occur, as it has always done in the past.”

A fanciful strategy these days — and even in the 1930s, when British prime minister Stanley Baldwin admitted that “democracies are always five years behind dictatorships.”

How would the author have explained to Ukraine, last year, that their immediate need for weapons was all very well and good, but we would have to build the stuff, not take it off our shelves (which, of course, Canada can’t do because it has let its military slide into near oblivion)?

Roger Love

Saanich

Many Langford residents could not speak

Re: “Langford offered many chances for public input,” letter, Jan. 23.

I have been a resident of Langford for 25 years. I was one of many Langford residents who was unable to be heard at last week’s Langford council meeting regarding the tree bylaw.

For the new mayor to suggest that every resident that wanted to be heard was in fact heard at the meeting is at best laughable. If Mayor Scott Goodmanson intends to continue to run Langford for the next three and half years, it is not too late to start being truthful with Langford residents.

Mike Morton

Langford

Victoria’s big spending on new washrooms

In case any readers still wonder why their property taxes are so high, bear in mind that the City of Victoria has approved the spending of $14 million to upgrade 18 public-park washrooms.

This is an average of $778,000 per washroom, which is nearly as much as the price of an average house. Now consider that the average house is much larger than the average public washroom, it has two storeys, several bathrooms, a kitchen with cabinets and appliances, and is finished to a much higher standard. The price of a house also includes the land!

Consider also that the $14 million is not for acquiring land and building new washrooms — it’s just for “upgrades to address accessibility barriers” on property that’s already owned by the City of Victoria.

There will be no property transfer tax to pay and no municipal fees and charges. Even if the washrooms were demolished and rebuilt from scratch with marble floors, granite countertops, and gold-plated fittings, the cost would not come close to three-quarters of a million dollars per washroom.

What is council thinking? These washrooms make the Johnson Street Bridge look cheap.

M.H. Ward

Victoria

Our health system needs help quickly

Re: “Nurses stalled by roadblocks in upgrading, returning from retirement,” Jan. 22.

As a boomer blessed with good health and the time to follow the debacle we call “health care,” reading the feature was a heartbreaker.

Money and talk has no chance of defibrillating the flat-line of the status quo.

Choking on the regulatory sclerosis, our morbidly obese bureaucracy gnaws away at any chance of recovery.

Miraculously, our frontline nurses and doctors muddle through in spite of so many weak linkages. What we are seeing is a case for radical intervention.

If the Ottawa elites can outsource solutions to expensive jargon merchants, why can’t we chose to have similar privileges during this temporary overload of the War Babies?

It may seem a forlorn hope to break the monopoly of the “union” guarded, but an upgraded fast-tracked system is doable. Roadblocks are lives lost.

In the meantime, maybe we could have a “Wonder of the Seas” hospital ship bypass the barriers until those pesky boomers fade away. We have seconded so much else offshore, so a parking permit seems worth considering.

Russell Thompson

Victoria

More evidence to shut the herring fishery

The thousands of dead herring that washed up on beaches near Parksville a couple of days ago was the result of a malfunction on a herring seiner.

This incredible waste is further evidence that the herring fishery should be shut down. These herring are vital to sea life throughout the Salish Sea. Herring represent 90 per cent of the chinook salmon diet and southern resident killer whales need chinook salmon for their survival. We should be leaving these herring in the water to sustain these iconic B.C. species.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans states that it manages the herring fishery using the precautionary principle, but recent studies have shown that the herring returns have gone down over the past few years.

Jim Shortreed, a Victoria-based herring conservationist, says “at a minimum the volume of herring caught, killed and washing up on our beaches during the food and bait fishery should be deducted from the overall herring fishery quota.”

This is another example of the mismanagement of this valuable public resource by DFO that has resulted in four of the five major herring spawning areas on the coast being shut down because of overfishing.

Does it make sense to continue the fishery until the last one is closed down as well?

Grant Scott

Conservancy Hornby Island

Let governments lead with affordable housing

Much has been written about ­increasing the supply of affordable housing in ­Victoria. This includes building multi-­family units on single-family lots and streamlining approvals and permits required by developers.

In my opinion, these measures will do nothing to increase the supply of affordable housing for working families. Developers are in business to maximize profits.

By allowing them to build more densely and with less permitting costs, one has only increased their profits. In addition, units that they build will be sold at market rates to those who can afford to pay them, and these rates are currently out of reach of hard-working families.

As everyone knows, Victoria is a desirable place to live, and property values reflect that.

I have a proposal that would involve governments, at any level, building basic, moderately sized townhouse-type units. This is similar to the county council developments in Britain.

These could be rented or sold to working families at moderate, below-market rates to allow them to build up some equity in their units. Later, if they wish to move to a more expensive home, they will probably have the downpayment covered.

Corporations, developers and short-term flippers would not be allowed into this market, and future occupants of a unit would have to be of a similar financial status.

By having ownership in a unit, people would take pride in them and their community, and the system would be largely self-policing.

This proposal is aimed at working, law-abiding families, not the many individuals who currently are given free housing, and everything else, do not work, and have no interest in taking care of themselves, or their units.

We have ample social welfare agencies to take care of these people. This proposal should allow working families to stay in Victoria and contribute positively to the labour market.

Robert J. Russell

Victoria

A lack of honesty hurt Turpel-Lafond

Re: “Give Turpel-Lafond credit for what she has accomplished,” commentary, Jan. 23.

Starla Anderson’s commentary around the Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond controversy raises valid points, but she misses a few important details.

Yes, Turpel-Lafond did good work advocating for Indigenous youth and children. She’s a smart, caring woman.

But she has been less than honest regarding her ancestry and academic achievements. This happened over decades.

Over those years, it’s likely she got prestigious positions and honorary degrees because of her claims to be “Indigenous.” It’s disIndigenous to say otherwise.

Paper trails are important. Merely saying you are something does not always make it so. Self-declaration is a very troubling and growing problem in the Indigenous world.

Turpel-Lafond apparently grew up in a relatively privileged household in Niagara Falls, Ontario, not on a Northern Manitoba reserve.

Her story, accepted for so long by those who did not do their research, is insulting and disrespectful to those of us who have proven our Indigenous roots.

There were genuine Indigenous women working in the legal system in the 1980s when Turpel-Lafond began her career. Did she get jobs meant for true Indigenous women? Why did she do it?

Sometimes loud voices are needed to drown out deceptive mouthpieces.

Shannon Hamelin Moneo

Sooke

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