Letters July 19: Victoria council’s priorities, protecting trees, bats and rabies

54 trees protected, but billions are not

Thank you, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson, for saving 54 trees! I feel almost confident that my great-grandchildren may be able to visit these majestic beings in a future tree museum, where, per Joni Mitchell’s advice, the government can generate revenue by charging citizens “a dollar and a half just to see them.”

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Meanwhile, at five per cent remaining, B.C.’s old-growth forest is now a mere remnant of what was once its former expanse, even though we know this forest is vital to the preservation of myriad species.

Meanwhile, raw log exports, worth $3 billion between 2013-2016, continue unabated as local mills continue to close.

Meanwhile, the government allows logging in caribou country, threatening this species vital to several Indigenous nations.

Meanwhile, the government allows the continued use of Monsanto glyphosate to poison alder groves, the natural fire retardant in our forests, because the forest industry doesn’t want to fuss with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I am truly grateful for the reprieve granted these 54 beings, but it is the other 54 billion trees in B.C. I’m really worried about.

Hendrik de Pagter
Victoria

 

Don’t protect single trees, protect them all

I am afraid that we cannot see the forest for the trees. It does not make sense to protect 54 trees in British Columbia and forget the forest.

In the Capital Regional District, we should protect one Arbutus, two Douglas firs, three Sitka spruce and one western red cedar.

We have to protect the whole ecosystem! In the Capital Regional District, protect all the old-growth forest!

For me, the forest minister’s news conference in Francis/King Park was a great new chapter from the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

Adolf Ceska
Victoria

 

Councillors should work for everyone

Re: “Victoria council is doing what it was elected to do,” opinion, July 16.

The commentary on behalf of Together Victoria’s board of directors claims that councillors Laurel Collins, Sarah Potts and Sharmarke Dubow, who ran under the Together Victoria platform, are just carrying out the platform they were elected on.

The article also states that criticisms of the way council carries on its business undermine the democratic process and is harmful to our democracy.

A plurality-at-large voting system is used in B.C. municipal elections, while in other provinces and capital cities a ward system is used to elect city councillors in order to ensure that all areas of the city are represented. The plurality-at-large voting system that is used in the Victoria municipal elections is supposed to enable a city-wide perspective at city hall.

The Together Victoria candidates won 6.96 per cent, 6.5 per cent, 5.74 per cent, respectively, of the votes. To carry out the idea behind electing councillors at large, they must move beyond their election platform and consider all citizens and regions, including the concerns and interests of those who didn’t vote for them.

The commentary states that these three Together Victoria councillors are under 40 years of age. That is below 44.5 years, the average age in Victoria, and certainly well below the 21 per cent who are 65 years or older (Canada census 2016). The perspectives of all ages need to be considered in decision making.

Because citizens are complaining about the priorities and ways things are done at city hall, the commentary does an injustice in calling these criticisms “anti-democratic narratives.”

Criticisms are not undemocratic and negative; rather, they present an opportunity for policy makers to reflect on choices made and implementation, and if they could have been done better.

Perhaps instead of labelling those who disagree with you as undemocratic, the writers should consider if the councillors are effectively making decisions in the interests of all areas and residents of Victoria — as a plurality-at-large system is supposed to.

Louise Manga
Victoria

 

Those opposed have a right to say so

Re: “Victoria council is doing what it was elected to do,” opinion, July 16.

The two writers claimed that the slate of new members elected to council represents the values of the majority that live here.

Considering the first-past-the-post electoral system, this claim is a blatantly misleading.

I am not sure they understand the nature of representative democracy. Representative democracy means that you elect people to represent all of the people of Victoria, not just a minority demographic.

The writers need to understand that all the people who did not vote for their slate actually still have a voice. They do not have to just shut up for the next four years.

James Knights
Victoria

 

Don’t pretend to know why people are upset

Re: “Victoria council is doing what it was elected to do,” opinion, July 16.

To the two who wrote about the Victoria council:

The election is over and we realize we are stuck with these people for the duration, unfortunately, so can stop the advertisements.

Also, please do not speak for the people, and say we are angry about the democratic process being undermined. People are also allowed to voice their dissent about elected representatives. Do not tell us what we are angry about; most letters indicate frustration with this council’s inability to even listen to its own staff recommendations.

Just because “team Together Victoria” is doing what you want, it does not mean that is what everyone wants. I believe at the end of this term your naïveté will be gone when there is no real change to all the social and housing woes you mention, because there are no realistic plans to fix them.

For example, giving free bus passes to Victoria youth. All Greater Victoria municipalities park downtown and pay for these “free” passes. This creates animosity between the fiefdoms, and isn’t it really the outer municipalities you would want taking the buses anyway?

Implementing 20 per cent affordable under market rentals to developers who will not develop equals nothing, yes?

I think a poll in Greater Victoria would find your statement about council representing the “values of the majority” probably in the minority.

When a mayor is elected due to vote splitting and declares “the people have spoken,” she clearly doesn’t get that, yes, the people have spoken, and you might want to take a good look at what you’re doing with the blinders off.

So today’s civics lesson is really this: It is not, as you state on your bully pulpit, “anti-democratic” when people have opinions other then yours.

Tim Murphy
Esquimalt

 

Council does not speak for the majority

Re: “Victoria council is doing what it was elected to do,” opinion, July 16.

The commentary says “we elected new members to council that represent the values of the majority of people who live here.”

To suggest billing the military for events such as Remembrance Day does not represent the values of the majority of people who live here. It represents the values of the Klantifa.

Removing the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald without consultation, around 5 a.m., does not represent the values of the majority of people who live here. It represents the values of the Taliban.

August 2018: Sir John A. Macdonald statue removed in Victoria.

March 12, 2001; After 1,700 years, Buddhas fall to Taliban dynamite.

If you want to know how Victoria will look like in five years, look what the same radicals did to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Jacques Clau
Victoria

 

Bats only source for rabies in B.C.

Re: “Bitten by a bat? Get treatment without delay,” editorial, July 17.

I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Times Colonist and other media to highlight steps people can take to protect themselves and their pets from rabies.

However, I believe it is imperative to provide an important clarification to the statement “rabies is usually transmitted to humans through an animal bite. Raccoons, skunks, coyotes and foxes are all carriers, as well as bats.”

The only source for rabies in British Columbia at this time is the bat population, and only a small percentage of bats carry the disease.

Rabies in B.C. is spread from bats to other animals and to humans.

Highly effective medical intervention stops the infection if administered as soon as possible after an exposure. The assessment on need for treatment is done by public health professionals in concert with community physicians and emergency departments.

The tragic passing of a young man who was exposed to rabies on Vancouver Island serves as a timely reminder of the importance of efforts to keep the public informed about rabies and how to react if there is suspected exposure.

Second chances are extremely rare with this disease.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website (www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/rabies) is an excellent resource for information.

Richard S. Stanwick
Chief Medical Health Officer
Island Health
Victoria

 

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