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Letters Nov. 12: Why I stepped down from Canada Day planning; museum changes deserve a vote

The Living Flag on the legislature lawn has been a popular part of the traditional Canada Day festivities. TIMES COLONIST

Why I stepped away from Canada Day

The recent article on why I stepped away from Canada Day planning said I made the decision “after councillors opted to pursue an event without fireworks and that is oriented around Indigenous culture and performances.”

There were many aspects that brought me concern, but whether we had fireworks was a small piece of this. As the councillor who brought forward the city’s firework bylaw, I am aware of the concerns that fireworks bring.

Through the years we have reduced the firework display, looked into noiseless fireworks and considered some sort of laser/light show that would substitute for fireworks that served as the finale of the day’s events.

Regarding Indigenous culture and performances, I support this, voted in favour of this and felt we should continue to pursue this. There is more valuable work that needs to be done and I agree with this direction.

A majority of my concerns were based on discussions regarding providing necessary policing, the duration of the event, what it should and shouldn’t include and other issues that in my opinion reflected that many members neither understood the event, were unaware of what the event offered, what work was being done and some of the challenges of putting on this family-friendly free event.

It was those comments that indicated to me that it was time to step away.

I thank all those who have sent notes letting me know what they loved about the event. It warmed my heart!

Charlayne Thornton-Joe, councillor

Put the museum issue to a vote

News regarding the dismantling of the colonial history at the B.C. museum has resonated down to Tennessee.

In the South, some museums now include comprehensive exhibits of the wrongs done to African Americans. At the same time, the overall history including significant figures of the Antebellum period are preserved for future generations.

Instead of boxing up the colonial past, add to it. The museum could add a comprehensive exhibit that chronicles the wrongs done to the Indigenous peoples of B.C. up to the Kamloops tragedy.

If the B.C. museum really thinks that their new agenda reflects the view of the province, try testing it with a vote.

I lived in Victoria for 20 years and never knew anyone who was offended by the third floor.

Hamish deWilde
Loudon, Tennessee

A dedicated museum might be the way to go

Let’s keep this simple. Leave the Royal B.C. Museum as is and build a new Indigenous heritage museum in our community to reflect all their customs and accomplishments.

Karen Gauthier

Include a bit of fun in the rebuilt museum

It is with a great deal of sadness that we, longtime members of the museum, have learned of the proposed closing of the Old Town exhibit.

We spent many happy hours there with our daughter and now our grandchildren. The best aspect of this area of the museum is the hands-on, immersive feeling that we got while being there.

We enjoy the parts displaying Indigenous culture and history, but have often wished we could climb down into that pit house or sit in a cedar canoe.

I hope a new plan for the museum includes the fun aspect for potential visitors. I get the impression from what little information is being released that a replacement for Old Town could be a lengthy process with consultations and design.

In a perfect world, the current display would remain until a new plan has been agreed upon and designed, but I am not optimistic.

Steve Fox
Oak Bay

Before Europeans came, there were achievements

A recent letter said that heating systems, electrical systems, concrete, rebar and glass can be credited to colonization.

Actually, only one of those products, glass, came with the colonial settlers. The rest, as we know them today, were developed later.

I would like to recommend 1491 by Charles Mann for those who want to learn about the technical achievements of the peoples of the Americas prior to European contact.

Ken Hiebert

Turning against reconciliation

Far from advancing the cause of reconciliation, the decision to close the Royal B.C. Museum’s Old Town and Discovery will cause it permanent harm.

I cannot think of any decision by a government-sponsored local body that could incur more hurt and anger towards the movement behind it.

Removing a beloved piece of generational heritage without consultation, and such a disdainful response to the reaction, is guaranteed to provoke animosity from a vast population.

That will so inevitably turn against reconciliation that you have to wonder whether that was somehow a covert aim.

Peter Scott

Pet adoption is a long-term commitment

I am a certified animal communicator. I also advocate for the well-being of animals.

During the COVID pandemic there was an upsurge of pet adoptions. People were isolated and lonely. Pets provided love and companionship.

Now many of these adopted pets are being returned to the Humane Society. Some will be euthanized.

These cute, furry creatures form relationships. They love, fear and hurt like us.

They also experience the pain of separation or loss of a loved one.

They need to be taken care of for many years, and sometimes their needs take priority. There is a financial cost too.

The rewards are immense. Any pet parent will testify to that.

I am asking that the public please seriously consider if they are in a position and willing to commit to that long-term responsibility before adopting a pet.

Maria Passarelli

Throwing away dogs like they are garbage

I am appalled at the intransigence of those people who adopted dogs during the pandemic lockdown, and now that we are returning to normal, are either just dumping them, or turning them in to shelters.

These animals are sentient beings, who need love and attention, not something you just throw away, like a candy wrapper.

Are these people incapable of thinking ahead, or taking responsibility for their actions?

David Johnston

Not as many people to look at medical claims

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board is the final gatekeeper for medical claims by Canadian Forces servicemen and women and RCMP members.

When I was appointed to the board in late 2012, the enabling legislation authorized 30 permanent members. In 2015, after a Parliamentary committee review, that number was reduced to 25.

The chair at the time, John Larlee, agreed to this reduction provided that the new reduced cap was strictly maintained and that greater use would be made of temporary members, as they could be appointed much more rapidly by the federal cabinet.

The number of members plummeted. In the spring of 2017 there were eight members on the board.

The steady-state target for this government appears to be 20 permanent members, although the legislation still authorizes 25.

Richard A. Rennie

Corporations benefit, but not communities

The comments by the Canadian Council of Forest Industries about 20 sawmills and two pulp mills possibly being shuttered seems to be them trying to get their own way again.

Stop log exports now, and there are the cubic metres to keep mills going. Problem solved.

Perhaps if the logging had been really sustainable for the past few decades, this “problem” may not have reared its head.

Heads of most of the corporations have kept an eye on their job, meaning the more short-term profits, the better the pay and bonuses, never mind that this caused arguments now.

All that mattered was the present time, year after year, for decades. Now we may be at an impasse.

The working loggers are concerned about their jobs and livelihoods, and blame the “tree huggers.” Blame our major political parties.

All of the top people in corporations are laughing all the way to the bank. They have their bonuses, a bunch of them have retirement benefits keeping them doing well.

The ones that have it tough are, as usual, the working men. Oh, lip service may be paid, but not much will change untill the sociopathic attitude changes.

Until someone actually thinks of the long term instead of “what is good for me, now.”

If the tree farm licences had been kept for the benefit of communities instead of given to corporate interests, maybe things might have been different.

Ken Sharp

Let’s do a count of the old-growth trees

During the two-year deferral of cutting old-growth trees, we should take the time to do a detailed analysis of B.C. forests. Every tree over a certain diameter should be registered into a database.

I suspect there are technological invocations that would allow us to do this easily. It’s time we know how much old growth is still standing.

Gilbert Zaversenuke


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