Letters July 12: Victoria Pride Parade, role of city councils

Pride, if we like the way you look

Apparently following the lead of other cities, Victoria (or its parade organizers) decided to ban the participation of certain groups based on their appearance.

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Perhaps next year’s event could be called the Pride and Prejudice Parade.

(Apologies to Jane Austen.)

Douglas Bailey
Campbell River

 

Sidewalk for safety in Pride’s first year

Re: “Victoria Pride through the years,” July 7.

We who walked the first Pride parade were asked to walk on the sidewalk not because we couldn’t afford a licence — that was given to us — but because there were no police available to protect us from traffic.

The police were engaged on Dallas Road protecting 3,000 Christians who were marching there.

To compensate I had my partner at the time, dressed as a Mountie on a built-in horse, lead the parade.

I know this because I applied for the first licence and I was there.

Barbara McLauchlin
Victoria

 

Ward system would help fix council

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

Contrary to the immediate responses to the editorial, I agree with the assertion that many Victorians are unhappy with the way their council is conducting its business.

Reducing the four-year terms back to three could help, but I think there is another solution which would partially resolve the voters’ frustrations.

As one letter-writer said, there is indeed a core of about 10,000 who will always vote for the six councillors who are linked formally or informally by a common political agenda and mission of social engineering.

But that leaves 20,000 other voters with only one or possibly two voices to represent them at the council table, not to mention the many business owners, professionals, government workers, police and firefighters, patrons of the arts, hospitality and tourism operators etc., who all have a vested interest in a well-governed city, but have no vote at all because they happen to reside in a neighbouring municipality.

A ward system for municipal elections would partially resolve the problem. Eight wards, roughly following the boundaries of the neighbourhood associations, would allow voters in different parts of the city to elect their own representative on council.

The city-wide, multi-vote election is first-past-the-post gone rampant with a minority of voters, representing one section of the population, electing not one but six councillors.

Perhaps with a ward system we would have a better mix of views and more local representation.

John Weaver
Victoria

 

Let’s try term limits for municipal councils

With all due respect to those expressing a desire to see the B.C. electorate granted a more effective means of recalling elected officials, it seems to me that term limits might prove more effective.

In Langford for example, there are members of city council whose tenure can be measured in decades, and many in the community believe that some council members have become out of touch with the community they are meant to be serving.

Elected office was never meant to be a career choice. It can certainly be argued that adopting a two- or three-term limit for elected officials in British Columbia is both well advised and long overdue.

Unfortunately, we are forced to rely on our MLAs to initiate such a policy, and they will argue that the voters have the ability to end someone’s time in office through the ballot box.

Alas, at the municipal level, people can too easily become virtually entrenched. The potential for featherbedding, indifference, arrogance and outright corruption demands that elected municipal officials’ time in office be restricted.

But don’t hold your breath.

Greg Longphee
Victoria

 

Scrap those councils, let’s just elect a mayor

Why do we need anything other than a mayor? The councillors are dead weight and serve no purpose. They just keep raising issues that only they care about.

Now one of the councillors has tabled a motion to support a challenge of Quebec’s religious symbols law.

Unless we have party politics in local government, who are you going to blame for too many bike lanes, for example, or for too many administrators with too high wages. If you are going to lobby for a issue, why do you need to convince five people?

With nine votes you need five votes to pass anything. And next election who are you going to vote out if you are not happy with the council and mayor?

With only a mayor you know who to blame or praise.

Clear lines of accountability would exist. The buck stops at the mayor’s office and no one else.

Maybe the voter turnout would be higher then 44 per cent if the direction the city was going to take would change if you replaced the mayor.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was partly right when he cut Toronto city council from 47 to 25. He just didn’t go far enough and get rid of them all, leaving just a mayor.

Gordon Neuls
Victoria

 

Bill would ensure fairness in access

Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow wants Victoria to take a stand against Quebec’s new religious symbols law in support of the legal challenge to the bill launched by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Quebec’s Bill 21 prohibits teachers, police officers and other public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work.

This law does not end diversity or restrict people’s freedoms. Rather, it ensures that when people have to access government services of a coercive nature, they feel the system is fair and unbiased.

We are a country with a diverse population from a variety of countries, political systems, and religions. Many of our immigrants and refugees have experienced violence and discrimination in their home countries that was based on religion.

Or perhaps Canadians have family or friends in their country of origin who are experiencing religious-based violence and discrimination. To now have to deal with a government employee in a position of authority displaying similar religious symbols, one could be uncomfortable and feel that the system is biased and unfair.

Dynamics of power creates negative experiences. Witness, for example, the Pride Parades where policemen are not allowed to participate wearing their police uniforms because of the negative treatment many in their community have received at the hands of the police.

Police can participate, just not in uniform.

Before condemning Quebec’s law, Dubow would do well to imagine he is someone who had negative experiences from a particular religious group and now has to interact with someone in authority who is identified with the same religious group.

It is the duty of the government to provide fair and unbiased services and Bill 21 is how the Quebec government will ensure this happens.

Louise Manga
Victoria

 

No bully pulpit, we are in Victoria

The exchange of views about the issue of Victoria city council and Quebec’s religious laws appear to have drifted off topic.

The central issue is this: Should a seat at council table be used as a “bully pulpit?” The simple answer is “no.”

A council member in Victoria does not have the broad mandate of an American president that Theodore Roosevelt was referring to when he coined the phrase.

Rick Goodacre
Victoria

 

$10-a-day child care? What happened?

I would argue that the key reason the B.C. NDP received the support they did in 2017 was the election promise of $10 a day care child care.

This resonated with many young voters, as well as voters like myself, a grandfather who watched two young families cope with the enormous cost of childcare while the parents out of necessity due to the cost of housing both had to work.

Recently, Health Minister Adrian Dix blamed the former Liberal government for today’s doctor shortages. This is just one of many, many front page stories where the NDP continue to point fingers at the previous government.

I personally find it a little tiresome that two years down the road, that the NDP still use this as their mantra. It’s time to stop blaming the Liberals and just move on.

And a good place to start is that carrot of $10 a day childcare that neither of my kids has seen.

Ted Daly
Saanichton

 

Thanks for tackling the annoying Rumbles

Re: “Washington state sues U.S. Navy over Rumbles rattling Islanders,” July 10.

Kudos to Washington for suing the U.S. Navy over their jet noise. The U.S. Navy has been extremely high handed in this matter of the noise and their microwave warfare exercises despite much resistance south of the border.

I’ve been disturbed by the noise from these jets on Salt Spring Island since they started operations years ago. And God only knows what effects their playing with microwave weaponry may be having.

Tom Pickett
Salt Spring Island

 

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