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Letters July 2: Inadequate health care in B.C.; Big Oil's mess; Centennial Square approach is wrong

An east-facing aerial rendering of Centennial Square during a fall market in a proposed redesign. VIA CITY OF VICTORIA

Hospitals, care homes in a no-win situation

Re: “A 92-year-old veteran, sent home by ambulance,” letter, June 29.

At least this gentleman was sent home by ambulance, not a taxi.

The hospitals need their beds for acute-care patients, and there is an eight-month wait list for a bed in a subsidized long-term care facility.

A no-win situation that can only get worse as the aging population grows.

Thank goodness that MAID (medical assistance in dying) is available to those of us who do not wish to find ourselves in this poor man’s shoes at the end of one’s lifespan.

Bev Ashforth, age 88


We are all paying for Big Oil’s mess

Re: “Cumberland backs lawsuit against oil companies,” June 27.

The international companies that knowingly addicted us to their hazardous products should indeed pay their fair share of climate-devastating costs.

We are each the same taxpayer at municipal, regional, provincial and federal government levels, and you and I are paying all the damage and mitigation costs while those companies rake in ballooning profits.

It’s common sense to join the Sue Big Oil campaign, and I hope that readers will encourage their local governments to do so.

Connie More


Stop the climate harm, stop LNG construction

Re: “Barring an LNG plant came at a high cost,” letter, June 28.

Decades of climate change research has led undeniably to one straightforward conclusion: We must stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.

The only way we will be able to stabilize the climate, to stop the harm caused now by climate change from getting worse, is to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels.

Each time new fossil fuel infrastructure is built, the only solution we have becomes more difficult. It’s in all our interests to immediately stop allowing LNG plants from being built.

The cost of present and future harm of climate change is much greater than any short-term financial benefits of extraction and resale of more fossil fuels.

Ed Wiebe

UVic School of Earth and Ocean Sciences


Wrong approach to Centennial Square

Re: “Square revamp drops fountain and tree,” June 30.

Print conditions prohibit me from voicing my true thoughts, but in my opinion Victoria council has lost its mind with its idea for Centennial Square.

Remove the sequoia, remove the fountain and make way for more foot traffic in the square! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what type of individuals will be attracted to this area.

William Hamilton


Split the destroyer work between two shipyards

Re: “Halifax shipyard tests steel-cutting method for navy ships,” June 29.

The article highlights the poor state of the navy in Canada, a country that is supposed to be at the forefront of NATO operations.

The navy operates 12 Halifax-class frigates, which are at the end of their lives. These warships were built by two shipyards between 1992 and 1996. They are great ships and have served the navy well, but their useful life as warships have expired.

Now, the government will be ­replacing these frigates with 15 River-class destroyers, at the cost of more than $80 billion, and with all 15 to be ­operational by 2050. That is 26 years from now.

So, the frigates are expected to be at sea until then, these ships are now about 35 years old, and the navy will try to cope with these ships for 26 more years, which will make some of them over 60 years old.

This is not possible and makes no engineering or operational sense.

The government should at least split the building of these new destroyers into two shipyards, as it was done in the past, and finally equip the navy with operational warships in an acceptable time frame.

It should be remembered that the ­frigates are now the only ships that are fitted with weapon systems.

The navy’s arctic patrol ships and the coast defence vessels are not fitted with armament, are built to commercial standards, and cannot even be referred to as warships.

Roger Cyr, OMM, CD

Retired naval officer


Wallace Drive needs bike lanes for safety

Re: “We’ll ride our bikes, just not in Central Saanich,” letter, June 28.

Central Saanich council is fooling itself by saying that no one rides on Wallace Drive — it is part of my regular commute, three days per week.

I could take West Saanich Road all the way in from the end of the Interurban Trail, but I choose Wallace because I see it as less of a death trap than the alternative. That goes a long way toward describing the lack of infrastructure in the area.

Wallace has crumbling sides with no shoulders, yet I prefer to ride along it with its reduced traffic than the equally barren West Saanich and so far I’ve had few problems.

I do feel terrible for the drivers stuck going 30 km/h behind me, sometimes for several kilometres, because there is no safe way for them to get around me.

I’m not the only person to use this corridor. Some people even use cargo bikes to ride their kids to daycare, so maybe the council should reconsider this route for bike lanes.

Richard Despres


Entitlement shown in Oak Bay letter

Re: “Let Oak Bay continue just as it is,” letter, June 29.

The letter sums up the Oak Bay tweed-curtain mindset and oblivious sense of entitlement in a nutshell.

The letter implores the province to leave Oak Bay as it is, a quaint village with pretty gardens and cute shops. Apparently having a pleasant drive through a “miniature Cotswolds” is far more important than helping to address an acute housing crisis by densifying.

Some university students are living in their cars, but do go on about your right to an unchanging picturesque view.

P.J. Perdue


We just can’t handle all that immigration

We are responding to the “housing crisis” as if it’s a natural disaster beyond our control, like an earthquake, a massive flood or a hurricane. And the federal government seems to have successfully recruited most provincial politicians to their delusion, the premiers running the hamster wheel to generate more housing in dramatic fashion.

If we were to pause long enough to do the math, it would be obvious that our politicians will wear out their sneakers long before the wheel spins near fast enough.

Statistics Canada reports that the ­population grew by 1,271,872 people (3.2%) in 2023, 97.6% of which were immigrants.

To what end the federal government is targeting this kind of growth is unclear, certainly unexplained. Regardless, the housing industry, working near flat out, produced 240,000 homes last year.

Yet the federal government continues to target 500,000 permanent residents annually.

The equation is way out of balance: as long as we allow our population to increase faster than our ability to build, we will have a scarce supply of houses and, consequently, high prices.

Ironically, in spite of the pressing need, exorbitant prices are impeding new construction.

Our governments, federal and provincial, need to rein in the stampede. Step off the wheel, plan immigration to meet our ability to properly prepare and build for the kind of communities we want.

Finally, many mayors are now pushing back, asking the upper levels of government to show more common sense in their approach to housing.

Iain Donaldson


Putting ideology ahead of real results

Quoting a small section of a New York Times column about the City of Portland, Oregon.

“‘The inability of progressives, particularly in the Portland metro to deal with the nitty-gritty of governing and to get something done is just staggering,’ Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who has been representing and championing Portland for more than half a century, told me. ‘People are much more interested in ideology than in actual results.’”

The columnist, Nicholas Kristof, summed up his column with this: “We need to get our act together. Less purity and more pragmatism would go a long way. But perhaps the first step must be the humility to acknowledge our failures.”

If you care to, substitute the City of Victoria for Portland.

Annie Weeks


A national flag can stir emotions

During the 1960s flag debate, a popular proposed flag had a blue vertical bar at each end with a sprig of three red maple leaves on a white background in the middle.

The blue bars were to represent the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Arctic Ocean was ignored) and the leaves to represent the English, French and Indigenous peoples.

Red, white, and blue also being the colours of the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes flags made this version all the more appealing.

Following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 the Soviets demanded an East Bloc country be included in the UN peacekeeping force to offset Canada as a western NATO country. Poland was agreed to and much was made of the fact that the flag of each country was red and white.

Flags can evoke considerable emotion, and many Canadians found replacing the Red Ensign with the Maple Leaf flag difficult to accept.

Eric Ballinger


Plenty of good reasons to be vaccinated

Re: “B.C. ignores evidence with health care decisions,” commentary, June 26.

Alan Cassels criticized the government policy requiring health-care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Cassels creates the impression that Health Minister Adrian Dix made up the policy. Dix did not.

The policy, however politically unpopular, represents expert opinion. An expert may be only one person, but experts work together sharing and evaluating information.

COVID-19 is still out there and still evolving.

Cassels gives us no idea of what conditions would be like if we had no vaccine. Instead, he supports the idea that COVID-19 is not like other diseases and can’t be managed with vaccinations, so why bother?

That is wrong. When epidemics filled the graveyards with unvaccinated children, it was because there were no vaccines.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, there were bodies piled up and mass graves.

Please do not underestimate the ­benefits of public health measures.

Health-care workers are on the front lines of disease control and management.

Superstition or conspiracy theories, such as Cassel seems to support, should not prevent them from being vaccinated.

Heather Phillips


Firing health-care workers was extreme

Contrary to some opinions and the government’s position, the health-care workers who refused mRNA vaccinations were within their rights to refuse vaccination and that should have been respected.

It is easier, of course, in retrospect to look at the evidence. Vaccinations only modified the severity of illness and lowered death rates for people from 50 to 70 years of age with comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes and immunodeficiency. Vaccinations were of benefit to those 70 years or older.

All others had a greater risk of an adverse reaction to the vaccines than their risk of dying or being hospitalized would have been.

On overall population and societal analyses, the adverse consequences of the public health and political choices have been shown to have been excessive and very costly to our treasury and social lives.

Kids were subjected to useless masking mandates and loss of school days causing gaps in their social development and psychological harms.

Workers were confined to home with reduced or absent productivity and wages. Government finances were dealt a terrible blow with countless billions of dollars wasted.

It is important to look at and analyze the facts. Hopefully, when faced with another pandemic, our public policies and mandates can be better managed.

R.D. Kinloch M.D.

Retired physician

Shawnigan Lake

Government policies helped save lives

It is documented, extensively, by the World Health Organization and governments, that the development and use of COVID vaccines saved millions of lives, worldwide.

Policies implementing vaccine use were not “massive” failures! That includes ongoing boosters. Just like many serious flus, boosters are a way to keep COVID mutations at bay. And, once again, save lives.

This also helps to lighten the burden on health-care facilities.

Yes, it should be up to the individual whether or not to be vaccinated. Also, given that a majority of citizens have been vaccinated, the reinstatement of fired health-care workers should be considered.

Bottom line: governments that initiated science-based COVID policies saved lives.

Dawn Devereaux



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