Letters June 27: Legion, Edelweiss Club, protest march, affordable housing and GE crops

Legion plays valuable role

Re: “Councillors want city to help after legion’s tax bill soars to $104,231,” June 25.

I applaud Victoria councillors Marianne Alto and Charlayne Thornton-Joe for recognizing the importance of the Trafalgar Legion.

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As they identified, the Legion gifted over $153,000 in 2019 to multiple community agencies. Many groups would be left in dire straits without this financial gift.

Legions are mandated to use their monies from hosting events such as bingo and meat draws to assist various community agencies, both civilian and military. Eliminating the Trafalgar Legion’s property taxes altogether would thereby increase additional funding to more community groups.

Butch Boucher


Edelweiss Club faces big bill

Re: “Councillors want city to help after legion’s tax bill soars to $104,231,” June 25.

It’s wonderful to see Victoria council interested in helping the Royal Canadian Legion and other community associations.

However, it seems to have missed the biggest increase in taxes for a non-profit group.

The Victoria Edelweiss Club had its assessed value increase nearly 400 per cent this year and the club is scrambling to get loans to pay a massive jump in property taxes of 370 per cent. This could bankrupt the club, which would be a sad loss to the community.

The Edelweiss Club had to cancel several wedding bookings and other events last year when the sewage pipe pull went along Niagara Street over several months.

During that time, the club hosted free community information sessions about the pipe pull and made parking available to several people in the neighbourhood who had nowhere else to park.

The club has served the community for 50 years. I hope the city can find a way to keep it from closing due to this insane property tax increase.

John de Pfyffer


Future effect may be big time

Re: “Protest march cost others time,” letter, June 26.

The writer complains about an increase in their commute time due to protesters on the Patricia Bay Highway. As long as greed drives the exportation of oil from Canada, our contribution to global warming will continue.

Effects of global warming are becoming more serious daily, and the writer may soon find their job become redundant due to environmental conditions beyond their control.

They might then spend many hours, not just a few minutes, trying to find employment and clean drinking water and food to eat.

The climate is on a knife edge and the protesters were demonstrating on behalf of all of us and our short-sighted attempts to enrich our bank accounts.

Mike Wilkinson


Climate protesters deserve applause

Re: “A protest gone bad,” editorial, June 25.

It’s unfortunate the editorial board of the Times Colonist is chastising climate protesters, rather than applauding them. This is not how we will solve the climate crisis, which the editorial readily admits is upon us.

Humanity has never faced a crisis as severe as climate change. This crisis threatens to wipe out millions of animal species, lead to hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing uninhabitable land, and result in countless human deaths.

Just this week, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, warned of threats to our access to water and food. He said actions taken to date are “entirely disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat.”

The world’s scientists made clear in last November’s UN report that fossil fuels must stay in the ground if we are to have a chance of averting the most severe impacts of the crisis. We should be doing everything in our power to make that happen.

We applaud any and all non-violent protesters who take on the fossil-fuel industry to try to save our planet to ensure our children have a healthy and sustainable future.

The decision makers have failed us. As Greta Thunberg, an inspiration to millions of young people around the world, has said: “We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

This crisis demands disruption. There is no other way to save our world.

Tara Ehrcke


Protest tinged with tomfoolery

Re: “A protest gone bad,” editorial, June 25.

Thank you for an excellent editorial regarding the ridiculous protest last weekend. While we all share concerns over the Trans Mountain pipeline, childish antics like blocking a highway simply make for an image of tomfoolery over a complex issue.

Tourists and local clients who were affected by the inefficient delays caused by the protests should not have been held hostage by this idiocy.

We can have our differences of opinion. However, if you wish serious dialogue and engagement, this nonsense is the wrong vehicle to express your point of view.

Keith Fraser


Affordable housing idea applauded

Re: “Victoria looks to have 20 per cent of condo blocks affordable,” June 15.

I applaud Victoria council’s efforts to create more affordable units within private condo developments.

Although council knows that affordable rental units is our main concern, it is time private developers understood their part in creating affordable housing for both buyers and renters.

Whether the decision is 10 per cent of units or as high as 30 per cent, a good precedent is being set with this policy.

Judy Lightwater


Disputing use of GE crops

Re: “GE crops key to feeding a growing world,” comment, June 23.

The writer claims genetically engineered (GE) crops are safe for consumption and the environment and needed to feed a growing population. None of these claims holds up to scrutiny.

First, as to safety, peer-reviewed studies have shown GE food grown in glyphosate (Roundup Ready) resistant plants fed to rats increased tumour occurrence and growth.

Glyphosate, the widely used herbicide, has been designated a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

Recently in the United States, Bayer, the current owner of Monsanto, maker of glyphosate, has been hit with multi million-dollar lawsuit losses over glyphosate causing blood cancers.

The Royal Society of Canada was asked to evaluate the safety of GE foods and concluded that because of the use of “substantial equivalence” to non-GE foods as a basis for deciding GE foods safety, their safety was not established.

There is, however, enormous corporate pressure to continue the use of GE seeds that are engineered to be glyphosate resistant, allowing the free use of this herbicide.

This promotes industrial-scale farming in which monocrops are cultivated with the use of fertilizer and fossil-fuel-driven machinery on a large scale.

In contrast, smaller-scale organic farming is more productive and environmentally friendly. It produces more nutritious food. That it is smaller scale does not mean that it cannot feed the world.

That more growers will be required is a benefit and profits will go to people who do the work, not corporations.

Edwin E. Daniel


Turn off the ignition

Re: “RCMP vehicle stolen during traffic stop crashes through parkade gate,” June 23.

When vehicles are stolen, they are often driven dangerously and put the public at risk. The larger the vehicle, the larger the damage it can do.

When anyone leaves a vehicle running, the potential for it being stolen exists.

The police should be ticketing and towing any vehicle left running. It’s bad for public safety, and bad for the environment.

Emergency vehicles also have backup batteries and low-draw LED lights. They do not have to be left running as much as some officers, firefighters and paramedics often do.

Leaving a vehicle running in an enclosed space (parkade) is always foolish. The officer in this story needs a lesson on carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ken Mawdsley


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