Letters Nov. 22: Say no to no-fault car insurance; trees blocking the view

Don’t adopt no-fault insurance

Re: “No-fault is unpopular but could ease ICBC troubles,” editorial, Nov. 16.

I write (in my personal capacity only) to respond to your weekend editorial regarding “no-fault” vehicle insurance.

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This editorial contains several misleading statements, and advocates, dangerously, to replace our vehicle insurance system with a WorkSafe-type scheme.

The editorial states that lawsuits are “generally not required” under no-fault. This is misleading. The central purpose of no-fault is to take away the public’s right to go to court.

When insurance adjusters decide what treatment they will pay for, or set the compensation for a victim’s lost wages, the adjuster’s opinion is the last word, no matter how unfair. An insurance adjuster gets to play both judge and jury.

Contrary to what the editorial suggests, ICBC does not pay for “both sides” of a lawsuit. When an injured person hires a lawyer, that person has to pay for the legal fees, whether out of pocket or, more commonly, as a percentage of the compensation they will receive for their injuries.

The editorial speculates, without evidence, that a great many injuries must be “exaggerated or outright bogus.” In fact, the Transport Canada numbers tend to under-report injuries, especially where the injury — such as a concussion or psychological injury — takes time to become apparent after a collision.

No-fault vehicle insurance is WorkSafe for car crashes. WorkSafe is known for lengthy delays, government bureaucracy and failing to pay for the treatment and compensation that injured people need. It is not something that we should want to replicate.

Patrick Dudding, lawyer

No-fault doesn’t work for the injured

Attorney General David Eby deserves congratulations over his proposal to make legislation so that it is harder for the provincial government to steal money from ICBC (denuding ICBC’s “excess optional capital”), as the B.C. Liberals did from 2010 to 2016 to the tune of $1.2 billion.

Had that money stayed in ICBC, as it should have, there likely would be no panic over its present-day finances. There would be no need to consider changes to a perfectly fair system of compensation for injured vehicle victims.

I was amused by your recent editorial stating that ICBC paid $700 million to lawyers. The source of that figure is a mystery, as there is no line item in the ICBC annual report containing such an amount.

As to the attorney general’s statements that the B.C. government is considering a no-fault regime (and your paper’s editorial endorsement of such a proposal), that system has many drawbacks.

In 2009, I was the victim of Ontario’s barbaric no-fault scheme. I was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended in Ottawa.

It took three months and about 24 hours of work time over that period for me to be treated back to health. Unlike workers with allocated sick time, those 24 hours plus the pain and limitation I went through were my problem.

Sure I got treatment — something I would not have required had the at-fault driver driven properly. I did not get a dime for my lost personal and professional time, or the suffering I went through.

F. Kenneth Walton, Q.C.

Why was ICBC pillaging condoned?

Re: “Eby wants to ban government from taking ICBC profits,” Nov. 19.

Rob Shaw reports that “David Eby said he hopes to pass a law in the spring legislative session making it harder for the government to raid ICBC’s ‘excess optional capital.’ ”

How could such pillaging have been condoned by a responsible government in the first place? It goes without saying that any surplus accruing to ICBC should be returned to ICBC for the purpose of reducing the burden on the citizens insured by ICBC.

Not only that, the auditor general should ensure that funds siphoned off in the past should be reimbursed to ICBC, and those responsible for this fiasco should be sacked.

Louis Barbeau

Declaration Act a long overdue reset

Re: “Indigenous Peoples bill has good goals but overpromises,” editorial, Nov. 3.

I confess I was gobsmacked — and not in a good way — to read the unsigned editorial in the Times Colonist claiming that “the unifying authority of government has been fragmented by the province’s new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.”

What piffle!

I support the Declaration Act, and the recognition of Indigenous rights. Indigenous nations hold title to most of the so-called Crown land in this province. And Indigenous people have basic rights to life, liberty, equality and self-determination, recognized all over the world.

The status quo is how we got into the mess we’re in now. B.C.’s Declaration Act is a long-overdue reset in the relationship between B.C. and the nations that were here before the province was founded.

If we’re going to solve the problems created by an extractive, colonial mindset, we need strong Indigenous leadership. Two of the biggest challenges we face today in this province — housing and climate — are symptoms of an economic system totally divorced from the needs of local people.

Indigenous nations have already begun to put forward bold solutions to these problems. The Squamish Nation’s project in Kitsilano would add 6,000 rental homes to a city that desperately needs more affordable, low-carbon housing.

The Tsilhqot’in Nation last month opened B.C.’s largest solar farm near Williams Lake. All over the province, Indigenous communities are ready to build an economy that is more just, sustainable, and resilient — that will work better for all British Columbians.

Greater self-determination for Indigenous nations will benefit all of B.C. We need to work together, not fall into the trap of us versus them.

Katherine Maas

Ocean view would be blocked by trees

Re: “Dallas lights will destroy sky viewing,” letter, Nov. 16.

One of your readers wrote about the installation of a street light in a previously dark part of Dallas Road, west of Cook Street. I, too, regret the disappearance of a unique part of Dallas Road, where lovers and submarine spotters would park at night.

However, what is worse is that there is now a threat to the very thing that attracts Victorians and tourist alike to Dallas Road — the wonderful views of the ocean and the Olympic Mountains.

Someone has decided that the new bikeway will be improved by the planting of a line of trees that will eventually grow to obscure the wonderful views we all cherish, whether by bike or by car or by tourist bus.

So, future Victorians will not only lose the darkened night sky, they will also lose the view. I can’t figure out our city council, cutting down trees where they are wanted and planting trees where they are not wanted. Bizarre is the word!

Jim Masterton

Labour disputes about ‘we,’ not ‘I’

Re: “My support for union is waning as Saanich schools strike drags on,” opinion, Nov. 14.

As a trade unionist (retired) who has endured the slings and arrows of critics of whatever fight was undertaken, I feel it is appropriate to enlighten youthful commentators as to the difference between “I” and “we.”

I have been involved in several strikes and “disputes.” We always felt our cause was worth it. We stuck together to assert our workplace rights. We endured loss of pay, brutal weather conditions and anti-union vitriol.

We picketed to assert the only pressure we could on employers to bring about a fair settlement. We did not “inconvenience” other members of society to punish anyone. We frequently made gains others would benefit from. That is still the case today.

The student used the word “I” 12 times in the commentary addressing the Saanich support workers’ dispute. That misses the point. We, as a society, must feel the wrath of labour disputes to understand the wishes of working people, union or not.

That is still the case today.

Max Miller

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