Letters July 11: Quebec’s religious symbols law, Victoria council doing its job

It’s a Quebec issue, not a Victoria one

Re: “Victoria councillor wants city to oppose Quebec’s Bill 21 prohibiting religious symbols,” July 9.

The relevant question in this matter is whether defined religious symbols worn by public servants in Quebec is of significant importance to Victoria’s voters.

The answer may well be confirmed when Victoria’s voters, at the next municipal election, don’t re-elect a councillor who devotes time and effort in provincial or national issues at the expense of local priorities.

If we can’t prohibit religious matters in local government, let’s make it abundantly clear that any elected representative promoting such a ubiquitous issue as religious dress is at electoral risk.

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Ron Johnson


Respect Canada’s division of powers

Re: “Victoria councillor wants city to oppose Quebec’s Bill 21 prohibiting religious symbols,” July 9.

Regardless of ones feelings on Quebec’s Bill 21 prohibiting religious symbols, and Mayor Lisa Helps’s feelings on resource development in a province in which our city is not a part, it’s time for our municipal politicians to take a reality and constitutional check regarding their powers.

Articles 91 and 92 in the BNA Act clearly spelled out the division of powers between the provinces and the federal government, which continue to the present.

Municipal governments are not even recognized constitutionally and exist only at the behest of provinces.

I’m with Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$, at the city level: “I want to hear about potholes being fixed or better allocation of police resources.”

Victoria council, stay with what is under your aegis, and stay away from areas over which you have no authority, wasting taxpayers’ time and money.

Mike Spence


Council represents city’s demographics

Re: “Municipal councils need to be reined in,” editorial, July 10.

The editorial contains many confusing statements that appear to wilfully ignore or misrepresent the simple truth.

“There are deep-seated issues at Victoria council that are not being addressed and what we’re seeing on a regular basis is distraction.”

The electorate said loud and clear that the cost of housing was, by far, Victoria’s biggest issue and the current council has taken the boldest steps to address this in a generation.

“Many people have lost faith in the people they trusted with their votes.”

Baffling. Laurel Collins, Sarah Potts, and Sharmarke Dubow were the first Victoria city councillors to publish exactly what they wanted to do in an election platform online and more than 10,000 people voted for it, and now they’re doing it.

Politicians keeping their promises! Is the Times Colonist upset by this?

“They do not hear a voice at the council that represents their point of view.”

A deeply ironic statement, because the current council has more representation and is a more accurate cross-section of Victoria’s social, economic, racial, and age demographics than it ever has been, for essentially the first time.

Marcus O’Sullivan


Victoria council is doing its job

Re: “Municipal councils need to be reined in,” editorial, July 10.

Has the newspaper been taken over by trolls? Where is the evidence that council is not functioning well? All I see is opinions from people who didn’t even vote for this council in the first place.

It’s pretty bold to say that council wants people to be disengaged. Again, where’s the evidence?

When I emailed one of our councillors last week about a municipal issue, he responded immediately and we arranged to have a walk in my community to discuss the issue.

When we met, he suggested several ways that I could get involved in municipal projects and encouraged me to get my friends and neighbours involved as well.

Not only is the editorial false, it is irresponsible and anti-democratic. We voted for these folks, they won, and they are doing the job that we elected them to do.

Start covering that and all the great things that council is accomplishing by fulfilling the mandate that myself and many other happy taxpayers elected them to do.

Rebecca Russell


Times Colonist shows its bias

Re: “Municipal councils need to be reined in,” editorial, July 10.

Your bias has overwhelmed your capacity to see reality, and threatens democracy.

Council members are doing what the electorate elected them to do.

Stop with the sophomoric anti-council editorializing.

Bruce Elkin


Working hard on many issues

Re: “Municipal councils need to be reined in,” editorial, July 10.

I am a Victoria resident, property owner and taxpayer, and I am definitely not grumpy.

Our council has worked hard, and continues to do so on housing, public health, transportation and more.

So, the editorial left me confused. It stated dissatisfaction with the current council and mulled radical solutions such as yearly elections and recall campaigns.

However, the editorial provided no facts, metrics, or any data to support the contention that the council needed to be reined in.

As anecdote, Stan Bartlett, head of the Grumpy Taxpayer$, is quoted as saying “people are angry.”

We live in a democracy, some people are angry and express their anger.

This is not editorial-worthy unless evidence is presented of a groundswell of dissatisfaction, some actual opinion poll data to measure this dissatisfaction and evidence that the council is going way beyond mandate.

The editorial was missing all of these. While editorials are opinion and some latitude is reasonable, presenting opinion with no factual basis is not a useful exercise in journalism.

Bharat Chandramouli


Langford clearcut tied to global warming

If Langford goes ahead with allowing a developer to clearcut about 70 acres of forest, they show a blatant disregard to climate change.

Instead, this could be their opportunity to make a start in the fight against global warming.

It’s a known fact that trees are instrumental in trapping tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that we breathe.

An already mature and established parkland such as this is doing the job of providing health and happiness to its citizens in a city that is rapidly becoming paved and built over.

We should be planting trees, not cutting them down.

Heather Edwards


Hunt is right — it’s about reconciliation

I’m following the coverage and responses regarding Indigenous art sales at the Royal B.C. Museum’s store with great interest.

To my eyes, the response to Richard Hunt’s comments reflect an underlying, unquestioned belief that sharing Indigenous culture through the sale of images/items is a good thing as long as the artist is compensated.

What we aren’t questioning is the system of commodification of these ancient images and stories.

Is supply and demand a good way for non-Indigenous people to connect to these ancient cultures when the buyer commands the price? The power stays with the money and the Indigenous artist is forced to participate in a system that dictates their work’s value.

Do Indigenous traditions and teachings support this method of sharing? I don’t know, but I do know that the idea of “art” is not equal in settler and Indigenous cultures so it would seem to follow that the use and role of it would differ as well.

I’m with Hunt on this; it is a reconciliation issue.

We have to question all the systems that create inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Tanya Chassé


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