Letters June 17: Submarine fixer-upper; answering for residential schools

Pouring millions into a hole in the water

Ten years of repairs and retrofitting for HMCS Corner Brook, a vessel that was basically antiquated by the end of the Second World War.

How is the federal government justifying spending countless millions on such a relic, when Indigenous people live in mould-infested squalor?

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How will that submarine protect Canadians when it can barely get out of Esquimalt Harbour without the assistance of a tug?

Our government has lost sight of what is important, and merely pandering to what gets it elected.

It is a shameful waste of money.

Lorenzo G. Oss-Cech


HMCS Corner Brook and its proper home

Congratulations to HMCS Corner Brook on her second or third maiden voyage.

If born a cruise ship, she would be beer cans or razor blades by now.

It’s a good thing we don’t have a Maritime Museum at the moment, or she might have sailed there by mistake.

Vernon Miles


Maritime museum in a perfect location

If we are still pondering the future of Rock Bay, consider this. The nearby historic buildings have been beautifully restored and might be a terrific Maritime Museum location.

Then add a home for the SALTS ships, and a possible tall ship shipbuilding site, some wharfage for the harbour ferries, and some bus parking for the cruise ship visitors and you could have a winning solution.

Dennis Robinson


Churches must answer for what happened

Yes, the federal government must “step up” to take responsibility for the intragenerational trauma and unbelievable abuses and deaths. I read this and listen to it on news reports from Canada and around the world.

What I am not hearing or reading is why all the church organizations who operated, and made money, from operating the residential schools are not willing to “step up” to take responsibility for these abuses.

I do not understand why the churches involved, who have not come forward with an apology or financial compensation, are not being forced to share responsibility for the horrific sin against the children, families and communities.

Myrna Kerr

Cortes Island

Standing in support of Muslims in Canada

Like many Canadians the members of Lutheran Church of the Cross are horrified and saddened by the murder of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont. on June 6. We stand in solidarity with and concern for Muslim peoples everywhere in Canada and here in Victoria who experience the threat of violence and hate crimes.

It is critical we all commit to taking action to support the well being and healing of the Muslim community. We call on our national and provincial political leaders to rescind laws and policies which contribute to the harm suffered by Canadian Muslims.

We know that governments alone cannot change racist attitudes reflected in Islamophobia, but a National Action Summit on Islamophobia would be a significant step to dismantle systemic racism toward Canadian Muslims. We must act to change a social climate which encourages racial abuse and violence toward Muslims in our communities.

We are committed as a church community to supporting every effort to countering racist and colonial attitudes by seeking justice and encouraging dialogue with our Muslim neighbours.

Join with us in taking action to not only condemn all forms of racism but to act decisively to confront racism toward Muslim, First Nations and people of colour living in this community and across Canada.

In the Spirit of Reconciliation and Healing,

The Social Justice Committee, Lutheran Church of the Cross

Susanne Standeven, Sherry Coughlin, Bob Kohlert, Terrance Berscheid, Sabine Lehr, Barb Smart, Pastor Lyle McKenzie, Pastor Lyndon Sayers, Lois Karwandy, Craig Knight

Don’t compare Holocaust to residential schools

Re: “Is this Canada’s Holocaust moment?” commentary, June 12.

To suggest some sort of equivalency between the Shoah and the horrific treatment of First Nations children at Canadian residential schools, as did Richard Kool, presents difficulties.

Not because the one is any more or less horrific than the other, but because to do so blurs the vital distinction between the two and invites inaccurate and invidious comparisons.

Each arose in a different era and out of a different context. Because the results in both — deaths, racism, cruelty, inhumanity — appear similar to our 21st-century perceptions does not mean there is a nexus between the two, which the commentary implies.

Someone might suggest a conceptual link between colonial imperialism and Nazism, but to argue that the two have a direct link would require unheard-of and exceptional evidence.

Federal bureaucrats of the 19th century and those who continued to administer the residential school system were not Nazis, despite the brutality and crimes that were perpetrated.

And the Nazis, with their stated and explicit intention of mass murder in the form of the Final Solution, are not the same as those who originated and later ran residential schools as part of a larger plan to eliminate Indigenous culture.

Both committed evil acts that originated out of separate ideologies, and conflating the two makes it more difficult to remember and continue to repudiate each accurately and in detail.

By equating the two, we risk debasing our knowledge and understanding of what each event was and how they came to be.

Truth and reconciliation, not historical judgments, must now be the priority given ongoing revelations of the residential school legacy.

Those truths, and that reconciliation, must be rooted in the experiences of First Nations, along with acknowledgement and acceptance by all Canadians, of the inhumane and racist treatment of which the residential schools system was just a part.

To compare that with the Shoah of 20th-century European history can only detract from our current task of healing in 21st-century Canada.

Paul Walton


Invasive species? Well, this is a big one

Lately there have been letters and articles about invasive species to the area. The squirrel catches it, and of course the Scotch broom always comes up.

And now we have this poor lizard that’s taking the heat.

But what about the most invasive species of all, that Eurosapien?

They are not native to this island, or country, yet they had no trouble moving into this area and displacing the native species.

I wonder if the Indigenous people of the time ever talked about trapping these invaders and bashing their heads with a brick.

Lyall Eriksen


There are benefits to downtown high-rises

People object to the visual appearance, but clusters of high-rise buildings have advantages both for the people living in them and for the surrounding districts.

For the residents, good design gets away from the dim, echoing corridors of old by providing meeting areas with windows, and if there are sufficient inhabitants, it is possible to incorporate meeting rooms, exercise facilities and have coffee shops or bakeries. Now you can know your neighbours.

The burden of car ownership can be alleviated by car-share arrangements, those who want to bike can and the delights of walking return.

Our downtown west of Douglas is designated low-rise so our wonderful Chinatown and Fan Tan Alley may be explored on foot and you can walk to get a hamburger or go to the opera.

Externally, Victoria gains because the more people walk downtown the safer it becomes. Merchants with eccentric ideas — from fashion to fountain pens — can thrive.

For the non-high-rise vision, just go along Metchosin Road to the edge of what used to be a gravel pit. You see row on row of tightly spaced single-family houses, each with at least one vehicle, some with the small car, SUV and truck combination.

There is no quick and convenient bus service, unlike downtown.

That is Colwood, the amateur in housing compared with big brother Langford, where single-family houses are now spreading over the hills north of the Trans-Canada Highway like a fungal infection.

But wait, Sooke is preparing to join the party, land is cheaper and the highway is being widened and straightened to allow more and faster access to Victoria. What could be wrong about that?

Now that is scary, very scary.

Joe Harvey


Vaccine doubters, think of that sinking

Someone who is hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, for various reasons, to me is like someone questioning whether the life raft is seaworthy when disembarking from the Titanic.

“I’ll only get in if you offer me a free beer.”

Evan Begbie

Cowichan Bay


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