Letters June 22: Coal, conservation, construction, pipeline and pharmacare

Did protesters forget about coal?

Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank is the largest port in North America to ship both U.S. and Canadian coal overseas.

Every year, 10.5 million tons are shipped to Vancouver from coal mines in Wyoming and Montana. This U.S. coal represents about 30 per cent of the 37 million tons a year shipped overseas from Roberts Bank.

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The coal is moved through Canada because the states of Washington, Oregon and California refuse to ship it because of, among other things, environmental impact concerns.

I find it disturbing, with all the political and environmental hype in B.C. from the Green Party, the provincial and federal NDP and citizens over the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, that there is not a word about this far more dirty pollutant.

Could it be that B.C. produces more than 50 per cent of all coal in Canada, which provides increased revenues for the provincial government? The word hypocrisy comes to mind.

U.S. coal shipped through Westshore is not subject to tariffs, carbon tax or other levies as it is considered to be a product “in transit,” passing through, so to speak.

Canada is committed to phasing out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, yet quietly assists the U.S. coal industry ramp up exports to be shipped from B.C. ports for use overseas.

Think about this when you ponder carrying an anti-Trans Mountain pipeline expansion sign.

Court Stevens

North Saanich

Marine conservation important goal

Re: “Trans Mountain CEO says shovels could be in ground on pipeline by September,” June 19.

As a Gulf Island resident and business owner, I can’t ignore the fact that I’m surrounded by water. The Salish Sea surrounds me and connects me with oceans, and lands, everywhere.

All of this is negatively impacted by environmental degradation.

Enough with status quo hypocrisy, like the federal government declaring a climate emergency and the next day approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This can’t go on.

We’re working with Georgia Strait Alliance to promote marine conservation. We all need to do something.

Daniel Terry

Denman Island

Pipeline questions for government

Re: “Pipeline expansion OK’d again,” June 19.

Who owns the oil that the pipeline will carry? I have heard that it is mostly owned by foreign investors, such as China. What percentage of the profits will remain in Canada?

Which, if any, potential buyers of the oil have made commitments to purchase the oil once it reaches the West Coast?

Besides the worker salaries and government taxes, what monies will Canadians get?

Why have the federal and provincial governments of Canada not made information like this available to Canadians?

Robert Radford


Candy cannabis going too far

Re: “Cannabis edibles on sale by year end,” June 15.

Seriously, making cannabis to look like gummies and brownies? What are you thinking? Do you really want our younger generation to be tempted to try this very appealing-looking treat?

I totally understand those who benefit from medical cannabis and want to find an easier access other than grinding the flower and smoking it.

I support medical cannabis and have dear friends who benefit from it — but can it not be put into a pill, drops, or other form that does not look like a sweet treat to our younger generation?

The temptation in this form is too great for any generation.

Barb Kayes


Pharmacare will be election issue

I have rheumatoid arthritis and need expensive drugs, as do members of my family. Their quality of life and mine would be much worse without these medications.

I pay thousands per year for private health insurance premiums, but still spend additional thousands on my health care.

Millions of Canadians cannot afford insurance and pay entirely out of pocket or are forced to go without life-saving drugs.

The federal Liberals have announced a vague plan for universal pharmacare and want us to trust them to do so, but wait until 2027.

I fear another broken Liberal promise. Conservatives say it’s too expensive, offering no help for millions on low income.

The Green Party has long had universal pharmacare as a key element of their policies.

So, who should I vote for this fall?


Diane Guthrie


Look overseas for solutions

Re: “Affordable proposal doesn’t fly,” letter, June 19.

Of course it doesn’t fly. Why are we relying on the charity of others to do what should be done by our multiple layers of government, all of which we pay for?

The United Kingdom still has what are called council houses, a form of public housing, though many during the Margaret Thatcher era were regrettably sold.

These were well-built houses, erected to provide secure tenancies in healthy homes for working families, on land owned by the local governments, near schools and jobs. They came after many unsuccessful attempts by private companies failed.

Why should for-profit companies in Canada have to take a hit? They are, in many ways, very generous.

This is a rich country.

Why do we insist on making those who through accident, birth or bad luck have to go through the indignity of having to accept being considered a “charity case?”

Could we at least consider something similiar to the council homes?

After all, a stable home prevents a large number of social issues later in life that, in turn, save costs for our health and supports systems.

Wendy Wardle


Montreal experience offered confidence

Last summer, I spent three months in Montreal looking after my grandson.

I got around almost exclusively by bike, although I sometimes used public transit. I was amazed that, in a city the size of Montreal, there were so many bike lanes, some separated from traffic and some with just painted lines.

Many bike routes on roads in Montreal have traffic blockers to discourage cars from using the streets as thoroughfares.

Montreal has made biking a priority, but it didn’t happen overnight.

Drivers had to adjust to the lights for bikes and also to increased bike traffic, but I found drivers to be respectful and I felt safe when I was on a bike.

In Victoria, I often shop downtown, and before we had separated bike lanes, I always drove my car.

Since my experience in Montreal, I use my bike a lot more, because it feels safe to do so.

I totally support Vancouver Street being a dedicated bike route, including having ways that discourage drivers to use it as a thoroughfare.

I encounter more and more bikes on Cook Street, and it is not safe for cars or for bikes.

It will take time for Victoria to adjust to bike lanes, but I’m delighted that we are moving forward to provide safe alternatives to driving cars.


Sally Murphy


No work stoppage, not even for tourists

As the owner of one of the largest outdoor restaurant patios in Victoria in the 1980s and 1990s, we worked closely with the City of Victoria which was encouraging more outdoor seating.

Fortunately for us, although Victoria’s climate makes it possible for construction year round, the policy of the day was to complete or pause all construction in the downtown area by the Victoria Day weekend. That way, it would not interfere with the start of the tourist season.

Unfortunately, the disruptive construction at the intersection of Douglas and Humboldt is just one example of how city planning and priorities have changed to the detriment of the downtown businesses and our image as a city that shows itself off for tourists.

There is irony in the image of beautiful hanging baskets enhancing construction zones.

Christopher Causton


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