Letters July 28: Why shame Canada at the Olympics?; fighting drought with enforcement

Why shame Canada on the world stage?

So the Canadian rugby team lashed out against racism and prejudice so it would seem that they don’t represent Canada, they didn’t wear Canadian team uniforms and instead they represented a cause.

Was it to shame Canada on the world stage? Wait a minute — our politicians are doing a first-class job of telling the world that we are a genocidal and systemically racist country.

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We are going through one of the most divisive times in our history, pitting one race against another, and voices to the contrary are immediately labelled hateful slogans.

I am sick of the labels: colonizers, settlers, white privilege, white fragility — the list goes on.

Did the rugby team hope to dissuade any future immigration to this hateful country? What have they accomplished?

To quote Conrad Black, “Canada is a rudderless country,” and I would add that most Canadians are not racist, do not see colour and believe that we are all part of the human race.

Merle Somers
Victoria

Rugby sevens team exists because of colonialism

Don’t you just love the little ironies that life throws up so plentifully, like mushrooms after the rain? I know I do.

Like the other day — a player from the Canadian women’s sevens rugby team, referencing her group’s dedication to anti-racism, stated: ‘This is what it looks like when you decolonize your space.’

Hmm.

Well, for starters, her sport takes its name from that famous English “public” school, Rugby, which was devoted to raising that country’s young men to be the ruling class, including such activities as colonizing just about the entire globe. At this they were phenomenally successful, to the point that their culture grew roots in far-flung spots such as New Zealand, Tonga and South Africa. And Canada, of course.

Among the gifts they imparted with the rest of their culture was the game of rugby, which was embraced with such enthusiasm that those countries are now amongst the world powers in the sport — although it must be confessed that Canada remains a bit of a laggard in that regard. But not for lack of trying.

So, sevens members, you just might want to acknowledge that as you enjoy your rather privileged status as our representatives at the Olympics, you are actually reaping the rewards of colonialism. I assure you, whatever the young women of pre-colonial times in this area were doing, it wasn’t travelling the world chasing an oblong ball up and down a field.

Good luck in your endeavours. But maybe lighten up just a little on the self-righteousness.

Michel Murray
Saanich

Government inaction boosts drought impacts

B.C. has reached significant drought levels in much of the province and a number of streams are under stress, including the Koksilah River on Vancouver Island.

I am part of a team of recently retired water experts who have repeatedly requested that government take action to stop the illegal use of water around the province.

It is well-documented that the number of wells drilled since the licensing requirement came into force does not match the number of groundwater licences granted by the province.

It is also known that wells draw water directly or indirectly from streams like the Koksilah River and are potentially operating illegally, and yet we are not hearing about illegal operations being shut down.

It would simply be a matter of spot-checking whether a well drilled after the new requirement was passed is using the groundwater for non-domestic purposes without a water licence.

For those wells, their owners must not operate until the water-licence decision is made, even if it takes years for that to happen.

Government has asked operators to voluntarily reduce their water use in many parts of the province, yet government action against illegal water use is almost non-existent.

Is this lack of action in part because of the embarrassment of water-licensing decisions taking so long?

What is needed? Government needs to enforce the law and send the message that illegal use of water won’t be tolerated and remove the hypocrisy of asking for voluntary reductions while looking the other way when illegal water use is taking place. Government also needs to provide the resources needed to speed up licensing decisions.

Isn’t it curious that licensing decisions at the Oil and Gas Commission for oil and gas operations can be made in much shorter time frames?

How is this possible when the water volumes are usually much larger and the cumulative impacts in the areas they are operating in are often extensive?

Donna Forsyth
Victoria

Doctor shortage is the real crisis

After reading the letters and hearing accounts of walk-in clinics and urgent and primary care centres being at full capacity first thing in the morning, I know I’m blessed that I currently have a GP.

I want to scream when I hear this described as frustrating.

Frustration isn’t the problem. The problem is that this is dangerous and frightening. We can all learn to deal with frustration, but we can’t learn to deal without medical care.

Working on anti-racism committees and correcting Canada’s past wrongs is fine, but the No. 1 priority for every politician should be the health and safety of all Canadians.

Do the PM or our MLAs, MPs and premiers have to make failed daily attempts to see a doctor for prescription renewals or lab requisitions? They should be working day and night until this crisis has been resolved, then they can go back to working on social justice.

Wendy Dashwood
Esquimalt

At the end of the day, there’s only one taxpayer

Re: “End the trickery in corporate taxation,” editorial, July 23.

The editorial left out one important issue which must be fully explored. To equitably pay, from private wealth, the common costs of sustaining the society in which we wish to live and raise our families, there is only one taxpayer.

The support for fundamental change in global corporate taxation is based on the premise that there are two — corporations and individuals.

In reality, corporations and businesses large and small never pay a tax. All companies, global or local, are tax collectors for municipal, provincial and national governments. Their customers, you and I, provide all the revenue by purchasing their goods and services.

France’s Louis XVI’s finance minister, Jean-Baptist Colbert, put it so well: “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with a small as possible amount of hissing.” Little has changed in this regard since the 16th century.

The false distinction between taxing businesses or taxing people (voters) finds its way into every election cycle in every jurisdiction in this and most other countries. This, too, is true trickery.

Politicians prefer to discuss the taxation issue in terms of a game of checkers, with two colours and limited options for either player. In reality, such is the impact of decisions taken that it is far closer to chess, complex beyond belief.

Reform remains important for all of us, but we are long past the need for an adult conversation on how taxpayers can most fairly generate necessary revenue, with no reference to the myth of two taxpayers.

John Treleaven
Sidney

Federal jurisdiction over fisheries must end

I would like to see a concentrated effort to bring the management of natural resources to B.C. from the federal government.

The federal government has shown many times that it fails miserably at direct management; see the East Coast fishery and the repeat of the same mistakes again 30 years later on the West Coast.

The resource is no different than the oil that Alberta manages or the forests that B.C. manages. The West Coast fishery should be managed by B.C., whose citizens have a direct relationship with the health of the resource rather then some distant bureaucrat in Ottawa.

Why this specific resource is in Ottawa’s hands is in direct conflict with provincial management of provincial resources, and I call on our provincial government to press the federal government to give up their mismanaging of the fishery to the province so that we can start the process of undoing the past.

Tony Maude
Salt Spring Island

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