Letters July 21: Boats on Gorge, wonders of Butchart, climate change, showing courtesy

Bring the boats back to the Gorge

The organizers for Gorge Canada Day and the Gorge Swim Fest are both missing the boat. (Literally and pluralistically, “missing the boats.”) The recent Canada Day on the Gorge was bigger and better than ever before … but, with the exception of a couple of canoes offering rides, the Gorge itself sat sadly empty and bereft.

On a gorgeous day as what we experienced on July 1, there should have been canoe, kayak and paddle board races as well as swimming races alongside the festivities on the shore.

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And with today’s Gorge Swim Fest, the lack of planned boat activities goes against the historical grain of such use in the early 20th century.

Wouldn’t it be a huge bonus to everyone if these two wonderful, enhanced events were to be amalgamated for Canada Day 2020?

Richard Krieger

From war-torn Iraq to the wonders of Butchart

My partner and I were at Butchart Gardens with the Iraqi refugee family who are living in our house in Fernwood.

Butchart was as brilliant and fabulous as ever, and the mother of the family outright wept when she first saw the sunken gardens. That incredible first shocking view that most of us know so well, hit her like a ton of, well, flowers.

Father was stunned into silence and a broad smile at the sight of the rose gardens featuring the little signs identifying roses from countries around the world.

Their 24-year-old son was in utter wonderment at the magnitude of beauty and peace of the place — and the range of languages we heard as we walked along the paths.

Of course, they were all deeply struck by the story of how the gardens came into existence. I suggested to the son that the original work of the Butchart family seems to me to be a great example of a possible outcome when people are willing to work hard to nourish their passions.

The family’s powerful reactions are not surprising considering their home in Iraq was bombed and their home community destroyed and they have lived in a refugee complex in Libya for several years.

I am so grateful to live in the welcoming climate of Victoria; in this family’s case, facilitated by our very own fabulous Intercultural Association. I am proud to live in a community with such a thriving agency rooted in demonstrating the power and value of treating human beings properly.

I am proud of the Butchart Gardens, too. Time there represents so much more than a visit to a garden.

Thelma Fayle

Not a health-care model that would work here

Re: “Our doctor solution is south of the border,” letter, July 14.

Although some of the pros of his praise of Kaiser Permanente, like salaried doctors rather than fee-for-service and the strong emphasis on preventive care, might sound like the answer to what ails us in Canada, let’s examine this proposal more closely.

Do salaried employees provide better care? By emphasizing preventive care, are those who need care looked after appropriately or are they shunted aside?

Let’s examine more closely this company, Kaiser Permanente. It is involved in a dispute with employee’s unions, it has faced civil and criminal charges for the falsification of records and patient dumping, it has faced action by regulators over the quality of care provided, especially to patients with mental-health issues and it has faced criticism from activists and action from regulators over the size of its cash reserves. Suspicious for a supposedly non-profit company.

So, while the “solution to Canada’s problem of a shortage of primary-care physicians should encompass continuity of care, efficient management of resources, quality of care and shared access to medical information,” I don’t think the model presented by Kaiser Permanente is the solution to health-care problems in Canada.

W.J. Ross

Just a way of killing innocent life forms

I agree that catch-and-release is cruel in the extreme. Yes, it should be banned. I’ve often wondered how a human would react if he or she had a fish hook in the mouth.

I stopped fishing 75 years ago after I caught a small fish and couldn’t get the barbed hook out. I still see that hideous hook half-way down the poor fish’s throat. I tried to keep it alive by letting it swim in the water, but it eventually died. I was heartbroken.

No one considers that a wounded fish is easy prey for predators. If you were in a forest, trailing blood from a serious wound, you too would be prey.

In my view, catch-and-release is not a sport; it’s a way of killing innocent life forms.

Manuel Erickson
Mill Bay

Do not support candidate slates

I live in Victoria and agree with the Grumpy Taxpayer$. I am angry with my city council.

I never vote for a slate because they always vote together and this is proved by recent voting at the council meetings.

Because they are a group of five they determine everything that happens in this city. I can’t wait for the four years to be done.

I voted for one of the slate of five but they won’t get my vote next election. I much prefer independents who can think for themselves.

Eileen Cannon

Victoria’s intellect can fight climate change

Re: “Victoria’s thoughtful, committed citizens,” letter, July 10.

The writer might have hit the nail on the head with his thoughts about the ability of the citizens of Victoria to solve the impending global climate crisis.

Victoria is home to several environmental groups, associations and societies, which have been actively working on many fronts for several years.

The two most environmentally astute political parties, the NDP and the Green Party, are seeking solutions to the impending climate crisis, and have found Victoria to be their spiritual and moral base.

The University of Victoria has growing programs to address Indigenous, legal and land management issues.

To this mix, we must also add the many newly retired professionals from different levels of government, academic institutions and businesses from across Canada, who have chosen Victoria as their new home.

We additionally have our fair share of new immigrants and refugees who have experienced the effects of climate change, warfare, and poverty.

Freed from the constraints of their former lives, these people have brought a wealth of insights of how systems really work, or not.

No other city in Canada has this depth of cultural richness and awareness. As far as being only a tiny part of the world population, with too few of us to effect change, we must not forget anthropologist Margaret Mead’s dictum: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Victoria is not only the capital of British Columbia, it is also the Intellectual Capital of Canada. Together we just might use that capital to pull it off.

Thor Henrich

We could all show more regard for others

Re: “Ring a bell for safety while riding a bike,” letter, June 30.

Fair comment, but it cuts both ways!

As someone who frequently cycles our various cycleways, I remain incredulous with walkers, joggers and dog owners who will not change to single file when being approached, joggers who refuse to give up the full width of the paths to others, dog walkers who don’t control their dogs on leashes and finally, strollers who are so busy texting while they walk that they often careen into your path without even looking up.

Aimlessly strolling across the full width of the trail is both dangerous and unnecessary.

The preceding comment also applies to cyclists who frequently treat these trails and paths with the same disregard for others. These aren’t designed for high-speed pelotons!

John Stevenson

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