Letters June 30: We're far from perfect, but we're trying; a fallen tree in Fairfield

A celebration with hope and gratitude

It is sad that many people choose not to celebrate Canada Day for a variety of reasons. Over the years, I have travelled to many countries that rule by repression and espouse draconian human rights policies, such as Iran, Syria, Russia and China.

While I was travelling in Iran, Revolutionary Guards pointed rifles in my face while searching our vehicle for alcohol. This happened every few kilometres.

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At the Russian border, I had to pay a bribe to government officials to get into the country. I was sexually assaulted by a police officer in Jordan. Nothing like that ever happened to me or anyone I know here in Canada.

Many people in the world would love to have what we have. Canada is not perfect, we know, but no country is. It is the responsibility of every one of us to do what we can to make this a place we are proud to call home.

I have decorated the small tree outside my house with 18 Canadian flags and will be celebrating Canada Day with hope and gratitude.

Cheera J. Crow
Brentwood Bay

On Canada Day, celebrate as always

I don’t care what anyone says, I am going to celebrate Canada Day in my own way, which is always low-key, and look back on the terrific things this country’s citizens have accomplished.

I will celebrate the vastness and the beauty I see every day, and the remote areas I see once in a lifetime.

I do celebrate the diversity and inclusion that is systemic in our institutions, again, regardless of what some people say. I still firmly believe that this is the best place on earth to live; a place that is not perfect, but as close to Eden as one is likely to get in this life.

It is worthy of an annual celebration.

M.D. (David) Hansen
Victoria

How you can spend your Canada Day

I can celebrate and reflect at the same time. I’m sure most Canadians can do so also — if they reflect on it.

Peter Malcolm
Victoria

Let’s be ashamed for what has been done

Cancel Canada Day? May as well cancel all our Canadian passports while you’re at it.

That will ensure that everyone — and I mean everyone — who travels internationally can be shamed for their boosterism.

The stupid people who want to cancel our national holiday have no idea how many Canadian flag pins I’ve distributed in Japan in my six trips to that country. They number in the thousands. Just ask my MP, who provided them.

What a disgrace, eh? Promoting Canada? The genocidal capital of the world?

T.L. Pedneault-Peasland
Saanich

Canada not alone in genocidal ways

To condemn Canada in isolation for the genocide of Turtle Island’s First Peoples is as narrow-minded as those who came from Europe and Great Britain to spread their hateful position.

We have only to look to Australia, Africa and the United States to see this audacious way of thinking that “the white way is the right way” spread virulently around the “New World,” and Canada unfortunately was not immune to the disease.

Lynn Martin
Victoria

That was an Atlas cedar, not a blue spruce

A correction: The tree felled on Fairfield Road is not a “blue spruce”; it is a (true) Atlas cedar from North Africa.

Spruce needles do not “cluster” as shown by the photo, they are in singular array along twigs. Also, their cones remain intact, whereas “true cedar” cones dislodge the cone scales when the seeds reach ripeness.

Another and common cedar species in the Victoria are is Deodar cedar, native to the Himalayas. Its leaves are longer, softer and a light green in colour. Branches are more flexible, blowing gracefully in winds.

I feel the loss of this tree for its contributions of beauty and interesting features, as well as for any homes it provided for local flora and/or fauna, but also for the many known beneficial influences it provided to calm nerves and boost humans’ sense of well-being.

These, and several other, tree and other species were introduced here in the 1800s by avid gardeners of the kind responsible for Butchart Gardens.

Mike Meagher, registered professional forester (ret.)
Saanich

Irish Canadians deserve an apology

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized to Italian Canadians for their treatment during the Second World War.

Without taking sides on the issue, given that Italy was an enemy at the time, I feel that Trudeau should look further for people deserving of a federal apology. These people are the Irish.

My father’s ancestors left Donegal, Ireland, for Canada in 1851 to escape the deadly potato famine. They borrowed money from relatives to purchase potatoes for the voyage as the coffin ships provided passage, and nothing else.

They came as legitimate immigrants, not border jumpers, or refugees, and wanted nothing more than to work hard and build a better life for their families.

Their arrival in Canada was anything but warm. Stereotypes of “ignorant micks,” “paddys” and “bog Irish” were still very much in vogue, and discrimination in employment was very evident.

Signs of “no Irish need apply” were common, and the result was that the Irish were usually limited to hard pick-and-shovel labour.

Despite the prejudices and discrimination, my ancestors rose above these problems, worked hard, obeyed the law, served in the armed forces and, in short, became good Canadian citizens.

It is through their hard work and perseverance that their descendants, including myself, are able to enjoy a comfortable standard of living. An apology is definitely owed Irish Canadians.

So Mr. Prime Minister, “Faugh-a-Ballagh” (clear the way) as the sons and daughters of Erin are massing to receive your apology, and the accompanying financial largesse. The line forms on the right.

Robert J. Russell
Victoria

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