Letters June 22: Is vaccination discrimination fair?; a different message for Indigenous people

Discrimination over vaccinations

Re: “Cancelling Canada Day sends wrong message,” editorial, June 18.

The editorial was a masterpiece on how to think Canadian.

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It inspires this comment on a related issue regarding deeply personal health decisions and vaccination discrimination. It is really happening.

I know of two friends (in B.C. and Ontario) who have opted out of being vaccinated so far. They have different types of reasons ranging from possible complications and exceptional personal health risks (blood clots) to siding with their husbands’ choices and simple gut instincts on what is right for them.

One of them has been golfing outdoors with safe distancing this spring and did not disclose her lack of vaccination to her buddies. Suddenly aware of her unvaccinated status, her golf group will no longer let her play with them, even as they are all vaccinated.

Referring back to the editorial inspiration for tolerance and respect in personal and cultural differences, this news of exclusion seems inappropriate.

Unvaccinated, it is the excluded golfer who is really the one at risk. Haven’t we all assumed that any of us can be carriers, vaccinated or not?

Are decisions regarding personal health to be socially judged by friends? By airlines? By international borders? What if a person has no safe choice? Whose business is this?

A thorough discussion of vaccination discrimination is warranted.

Sandra Hartley

Different message for Indigenous people

Re: “Cancelling Canada Day sends wrong message,” editorial, June 18.

It boggles my mind that an editor for the TC can be so insensitive as to the power of words used, and actions called for.

A recent editorial said Canadians need to “rededicate ourselves to the founding principles that bind our communities together.” I would guess that those principles are radically different for the people of James Bay, my community, and our Indigenous neighbours.

Another example of divisive words was when the hue and cry went up about how misguided the decision was to remove the John A. Macdonald statue from in front of City Hall.

Right or wrong, second-guessing that decision sends a horrible message to those aggrieved by the first PM. To an Indigenous person, that second-guessing of the removal so vociferously by so many across the country must have seemed a horrible message but, I would guess, not an unexpected one.

The same issue exists here. Right or wrong, the elected council of Victoria cancelled the Canada Day celebration. The editorial whining about this sends one message to all of its readers, but does it send a different message to the Indigenous population?

The editorial called for unification “around a set of ideals we all aspire to.” Second-guessing the actions of elected officials sends a message loud and clear, but I wonder whether the editorial was meant to mollify readers rather than support reconciliation?

Words matter, and the words used in this editorial send different messages to different communities.

Why does the TC get to decide which messages are right or wrong?

Mark R. Fetterly

Plenty to celebrate in our imperfect country

Re: “Cancelling Canada Day sends wrong message,” editorial, June 18.

Did they erase July 1 from the calendar?

I’ve never counted on the government to make or break any of my holidays or celebrations. July 1 is still on the calendar last I checked.

I will celebrate Canada with all her beauty, open arms and opportunity as I do every day, with gratitude for a country that is not perfect but is as good as or better than I’ve seen in my 70 years.

James Marshall

Canada was created by taking their land

Re: “Cancelling Canada Day sends wrong message,” editorial, June 18.

I was surprised at the editorial response to Victoria city council’s decision.

Everything written seems to indicate the only issue at the moment is the discovery at the Kamloops residential school and our response to it.

Stated was: “We did not spare ourselves the full measure of shock and remorse.” However, I believe it’s true that many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people were not shocked at all.

And just because “numerous formal occasions were organized to reach out to the Indigenous community and to offer support” and “we owe it to Indigenous Canadians to take the severest possible view of these dreadful events” does not mean we can move on and the work is over.

In fact, this may be just the catalyst for bringing to light the horrors that continue today for many Indigenous people. And a good time to check progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

I recall feeling very uncomfortable “celebrating” Canada’s 150th birthday and ignoring the many generations of Indigenous people who lived productive lives here before European settlers took away their livelihood and their land, to create the Canada we have today.

It may be a good time to listen to Chief Dan George’s Lament for Confederation given in 1967 and Linda Rogers’ follow-up to it on those Canada Day celebrations.

This July 1 is very timely for “thoughtful reflection” on what it means to be Canadian, and I thank the councillors for their decision.

Lorna Rennie

March forward on Canada Day

Re: “Cancelling Canada Day sends wrong message,” editorial, June 18.

Often in highly charged emotional events, such as the recent discovery of unmarked child graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, it is difficult to find the right path forward.

The reasoned and heartfelt editorial shines a light on the path to Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation, but will we march forward or will we let our differences divide and conquer, leaving us in a quagmire of the past?

David Mansell

In balance, proud to be Canadian

Some, including the City of Victoria, question how we should recognize Canada Day.

I suggest looking to the past as a people and as a country, recognizing both the good and the bad with much in between. In balance, I am a proud and thankful Canadian.

We can and should learn from where we have been and commit to a future Canada that our children will rightfully celebrate.

I have no question about how to celebrate Canada Day. Raise our flag and cheer for Canada, the best country in the world!

Happy Canada Day to all.

Bruce McKeown

What Macdonald did, both good and bad

I would gladly give up Canada Day celebrations and change it to National Indigenous Day, but in trade I would insist on maintaining monuments and statues of John A. Macdonald with new plaques that read something like this:

“Although the first Prime Minister of Canada misguidedly authorized the inception of residential schools 154 years ago, he did unite Canada from coast to coast to coast, saving it from being annexed by the United States of America. The residential schools ended up creating immeasurable damage with a hurtful legacy borne by all Canadians. Nonetheless, John A. Macdonald was responsible for keeping the true north strong and out of the hands of the U.S.”

Seems like a fair deal to me.

Ron Wurtz
Shawnigan Lake

Leave Ocean Boulevard as it is, thanks

Re: “Decision on whether to close Ocean Boulevard comes as plans unveiled for major redesign,” June 20.

Here we go again. Let’s ruin another beloved natural place to enjoy the ocean and nature.

Ocean Boulevard, Esquimalt Lagoon. The go-to place to walk to, or drive to and sit and enjoy the wonders of it all.

We don’t need food trucks, we have been picking up a coffee or bringing a lunch and having a picnic for years.

What is going to happen to the needless platform when the wind and storms drive the waves over the road?

The paragraph that says “the Esquimalt Lagoon is a popular and easily accessible beach throughout the year” tells it all.

Please leave some of theses beauty spots natural. We love them the way they are.

Valerie Holden

A tall tower planned for edge of the urban zone

Re: “Elk Lake condo tower clears public hearing despite locals’ concerns,” June 19.

What’s done is done. A condo tower, far taller than anything in the region, will be built at the very top of a hill in Saanich as far as possible (regionally) from amenities like shopping or bus exchange.

Doral Forest Park on Elk Lake Drive will sit on the edge of the Saanich rural/urban divide, exactly the opposite to claimed vision that would keep residential development compact (tallest buildings in village centres, with lesser density approaching rural Saanich).

Will the new condo residents walk greater distance to shopping, lugging their purchase back up the long hill? Or walk to the Royal Oak bus exchange? Or drive?

Lost vision will especially sting if ­Saanich mayor and council again exhort citizens to drive less, live in “complete communities” and become resilient toward climate change. That would be nuts.

Just look at Doral Forest Park. No “climate emergency” here!

Greg Holloway

RCMP tactics going from bad to worse

I am very concerned about the RCMP special force that has been sent to extract forest defenders from the woods in the Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan areas.

Things are going from bad to worse. Why are the RCMP doubling down on abusive, unsafe tactics?

These are peaceful, unarmed civilians. The protesters are being treated like vermin to be exterminated. Officers are teaming up with heavy equipment operators from industry to terrorize and unsafely extract the people who offer their limp bodies as speedbumps.

The people occupying the blockades include women, children and old people. They pose no threat. Indigenous youth seem to be especially targeted for harsh treatment. The situation is dangerous.

From my viewing of video clips and reading the accounts of participants, I see that people’s rights and freedoms are being disregarded. I think this special force of RCMP is out of control and willing to take huge risks with public safety.

Is there no limit to the money that RCMP will spend on this campaign? I don’t think there is a limit to the number of people who will join the blockaders. I’d like to see the RCMP take a tactical break while they think about the cost vs. benefit.

Bev Bacon

Maybe it’s time to use that fish tank

Re: “Dogs used in arrests of men with knives after Victoria incidents,” June 17.

I thought I knew everything. Then, after reading this report, I realized I didn’t.

You see, I thought “catch and release” was limited to the sole domain of anglers, who’d catch their prized invertebrates, and release them to do what fish do — swim, spawn, etc.

However, it seems our very own police have now become full and equal partners with the angler community in the use and application of catch and release: As the report mentions, police, and their K-9 companions, caught two obviously “fishy” (and armed) ne’er-do-wells, and before you could say “pescatarian,” they were released, to do what these n’er-do-wells do — threaten citizens, and damage property.

It’s unfortunate indeed that the aforementioned “fishy ne’r-do-wells” weren’t required to spend time in the proverbial “fish tank” before being so quickly released to wreak even more havoc in the community.

Gordon Zawaski

Langford decisions affect the entire area

Re: “Bear Mountain sees surge in interest as more people discover it during pandemic,” June 15, and “We are rushing toward a crowded future,” June 16.

Two articles in two days perfectly express the double standard contorting the course of growth in our region.

One day, a veritable Bear Mountain infomercial, gushing about the continued buildout — only one-third completed — and the “surge” of people moving there.

Another 10,000 within the next 10 years — living the dream — in a resort!

The next day, Edward Relph issues dire warnings about regional growth that’s much faster than planned; it must not ruin the “place” quality of Victoria!

These seem to be opposing views about population growth — but they aren’t. That’s because neither:

• considers the strain on the environment and quality of life in Langford, which now has a population of 45,000 and is the fastest-growing municipality in B.C.

• looks at the situation from a regional perspective.

Our municipalities are on an island, but not islands themselves. They can raise their drawbridges, and push newcomers and financial laggards beyond their boundaries.

They can snicker that Langford — increasingly desertified, palm treed, Astroturfed, big boxed and sprawled — is “Vegas North.”

But the traffic, rising prices, denatured crowded subdivisions, the suburbanization and squeezing of young families, is a regional devastation that will be felt increasingly.

And Langford’s horrendous deforestation is a global climate crime. What happens in Langford does not stay in Langford.

Kara Middleton


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