Letters March 12: Royal family; Dallas Road changes are good; helping the homeless

Royal family not exclusively white

The news media is portraying the British royal family as exclusively white and traditionally racist. This is nonsense, and it is harmful.

Prior to her coronation, the Queen gave a speech to the Commonwealth of Nations in which she stated that she was of mixed race.

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She suggested that her heritage was advantageous, given the diverse nature of the Commonwealth’s members.

Her majesty is reputed to have a small number of Black ancestors. The best known may be Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), said to be a princess from the African branch of the Portuguese royal family. Queen Charlotte was an amateur botanist, a patron of the arts and a promoter of social welfare in Britain.

Why do humans need to vilify those we perceive as being different from us? Racism, sexism, ageism, religious fanaticism and all the other isms hold us back from being all we could be.

Cheera J. Crow
Brentwood Bay

Walk along Dallas is better than before

Re: “Narrower Dallas Road bad news when tourists return,” ­comment, March 10.

Wow ­— the bluster and blow of the ocean on the new and improved Dallas Road promenade is nothing compared to the bellowing of a disgruntled James Bay resident curiously given ranting space in the Times Colonist.

I have the great privilege and delight of living mere steps away from the improvements along Victoria’s most beautiful walkway, and I find it a wonderful transformation.

On the days when the wind is up and the waves are at their most robust, I actually enjoy having to step aside as nature decides to remind us all she exists. The kids especially love watching nature kick up a fuss and for goodness sakes, it’s water, not acid rain.

Joanne Thibault
Victoria

Hiding identity invites rampant abuse

Re: “Let’s all be kind to the health officials,” letters, March 9

This excellent letter raises an issue about which we should all be concerned. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of a democracy, but as many famous people have noted, with freedom comes responsibility.

Most media outlets accept at least some responsibility for their publications, with the notable exception of social media platforms. Where else can someone say what they think, without concern for the damage or pain their words may cause?

I’m sure that the harassment and threats to which Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have been subjected were all anonymous.

The ability to hide behind hashtags invites the abuse that is now rampant, on Twitter, in the comments below online news articles and almost everywhere else you look online.

The suggestion that anyone responsible for a published opinion should be identifiable has occasionally been raised, but the counterargument is that it won’t make a difference. I beg to differ — how often has a letter to the Times Colonist contained a death threat?

It would be impossible for ­Twitter, Facebook or any other platform to require the kind of visibility of authorship that is practised in the Times Colonist.

It would just move their contributors to a competing platform, of which there is no shortage.

It would require a strong government to pass legislation to require online writers to identify themselves and to shut down any platform that does not comply.

Unfortunately, I am of the opinion that this kind of change, which could vastly improve relationships at all levels of society, is unlikely to find a supporter in a position to make it happen.

The noise from the sad minority who want to abuse the system would be overwhelming.

Don Armstrong
North Saanich

Don’t rule out institutions

Re: “People are living in squalor in Victoria; we need to do these things to help them,” comment, March 9

It is with thanks and relief that I read Joni Hockert’s opinion piece.

Finally, someone with real-life experience dealing with the homeless, mentally ill and addicted has expressed many of my thoughts on this social tragedy and has taken the time to provide suggestions on how we should be addressing it, including: “that may mean providing care to those who claim not to want it.”

De-institutionalization has failed us. My grandmother spent the last 26 years of her life in Essondale and then Riverview Hospital because of her severe bipolar disorder.

As a child, I spent hours playing on the lawns of the facility while my parents visited her. It was not a happy family situation, but I am now comforted knowing she was housed, fed and treated for her illness.

She did not have “the freedom” to be on the streets, being chased by her demons and criminal predators. It was a more compassionate approach than what we have now.

I urge our governments to get over their aversion to providing sick, homeless people with institutions that will care for them. It is part of what a compassionate society must do.

Lynn Hunter
Victoria

A vile comparison about homelessness

A letter writer compared the Pandora Avenue homeless situation to a concentration camp.

This is a vile insult and a perfect example of “Godwin’s Law.”

Concentration camp victims did not have free full-course meals supplied by nearby charities. They did not have access to drugs and alcohol, public transportation and health care. They were targeted for extermination. They were worked to death.

Beacon Hill was not recommended as an option by the provincial Health Ministry.

The homeless on Pandora were moved to Topaz Park, where the project was abandoned after a few months due to crime in the area, drug overdoses and assaults.

After that, the city council opened up Beacon Hill to camping, closing down one camping place, Centennial Square, next to City Hall due to crime concerns.

The comparison in the letter, and the allusions to opinion columnist Stephen Hammond as a Nazi because he “would support” keeping street people camped on Pandora, are despicable.

Kim Harrison
Victoria

More discriminatory inaccessible bus stops

Six months ago, at a three-week human rights public hearing, the City of Victoria was found to have ­discriminated against blind ­pedestrians when they installed hardscape bike lanes with inaccessible bus stops on Pandora and Wharf streets.

A “cease and desist order” was issued, meaning no more of these types of inaccessible bus stops can be built.

Incredibly, after members of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, who filed the case, had contact with Nanaimo, including Mayor Leonard Krog, Nanaimo announced that they were copying the Victoria model of inaccessible bus stops.

This is a form of tyranny directed towards a vulnerable, powerless group of Canadians who chose the correct process for redress but found themselves beaten into submission by bullying, sighted, powerful, deceitful individuals.

Preaching safety as the reason cycle lanes are needed is an obvious self-serving process, as the safety of disabled pedestrians has been conveniently removed from the thought process.

The seven principles of “Universal Design” have been available for decades, which would have prevented even the idea of inaccessible stops.

However, because each municipality lacks any moral ethics to make their infrastructure inclusive, Nanaimo Coun. Don Bonner wishes to have improved safety for him and other cyclists, but does not seem to care about blind pedestrians in his city.

Blind Canadians must either keep fighting for justice or once again suffer the tyranny of the powerful and more influential majority.

Canada is fast becoming a society of bullies bent on crushing and ignoring those who dare interrupt this new green agenda.

Blind Canadians are not opposed in any way to better safety for all cyclists, but not at the expense of blind pedestrians.

Public transportation is vital for a blind person. Compromise must be part of the picture and therefore allowing buses to pull into the curb needs to remain to ensure optimum access for all transit users.

Graeme McCreath
Victoria

Public to blame for vaccine appointment problems

With respect to the age-old principle of the captain of the ship being responsible for everything that happens on the ship, the government bears some responsibility for the March 8 failure of the vaccine booking-program.

The contractor also shares some blame for apparently not being fully staffed for this event, as well as for possible technical problems.

I do not, however, think either party can be held responsible for the majority of the blame. That has to rest with ourselves, the public, for generating at least 20 times the call volume in one day than was needed to book the entire eligible population.

No one should be expected to order or build a system that is that much larger than needed. In the weeks leading up to the opening, there were repeated requests from the government that people who were not eligible yet not to call in, but wait for their scheduled turn to apply.

In this case, the public needs to look no further than itself for someone to blame.

Earl Storey
Ladysmith

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