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Letters Nov. 25: It wasn't a display of force; RRIF rules should be changed; Susan Kim's apology not enough

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Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST. May 31, 2023

‘Display of force’ was for training purposes

Re: “Policing priorities on display in ­Victoria,” letter, Nov. 24.

I recognize that recent activities near our headquarters may have concerned residents, and has resulted in inaccurate information and assumptions being relayed in the letter to the editor.

The described activities at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre last week were part of the creation of training materials to support the Rescue Task Force (RTF) initiative.

The RTF is a collaborative team effort with police officers and other first responders, such as firefighters and paramedics, to remove critically wounded civilians from situations such as active or recent shooting areas and get them lifesaving care as soon as possible.

The video created on those days was part of a significant effort by our staff that will be used to help train officers and other first responders to effectively and collaboratively respond to an active deadly threat where there are mass casualties, which is often perpetrated against the most vulnerable people in our society.

The armoured rescued vehicle (referred to as a Terradyne), in this case, would be used as a ballistic barrier to protect or exfiltrate wounded officers or civilians.

The “display of force” the writer witnessed was in fact a focus on mass casualty rescue training, and the creation of a tool that will help ensure the safety and care of citizens should we encounter another incident like the BMO shooting last year.

I recognize that it would have been helpful to inform residents of our planned activities, and we will plan to do so in the future. However, any citizen asking a simple question to any one of the members present would have been provided a full answer about the type and ­importance of the work happening that day.

Finally, while I won’t speak to the insensitive language used in the letter, I’d also like to remind the writer that drug use, or addiction, is not a crime in B.C., and that there is certainly no crime in being present outside of a store in Victoria.

Complaints about loitering, however, can be directed to City of Victoria Bylaw Services.

Del Manak

Chief Constable

Victoria Police Department

It’s our money, so why limit what we can do?

Thanks to the two responders to my letter on RRIF mandatory withdrawals correcting annual percentage amounts.

Regardless of the percentage withdrawal amount, any mandatory amount is still a disincentive to GPs staying in the workforce.

Why is there any regulation on withdrawal of our own money?

Peter Daniel

President, Woodburn Management (2010) Ltd.

Victoria

Despite the apology, Kim should be removed

A Nov. 23 story quoted at length the Independent Jewish Voices, and readers of the Times Colonist could easily gain the impression that the group is representative of Jews in Victoria.

The opposite is true. It is a fringe, extremist organization; its website states clearly that it has always been a supporter of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, which would lead to the elimination of the State of Israel.

In her latest “apology,” Victoria Coun. Susan Kim claims that she has always been a supporter of survivors of sexual violence.

However, in the massacre of Oct. 7 by Hamas, there were few survivors of the gang rapes, no possibility of using rape kits to gain evidence because of the mutilation and burning of the victims.

Identification of the remains is difficult.

Many media have used the term “alleged rapes,” which is disgraceful, even though the media has access to videos from the body cams worn by the Hamas terrorists, which clearly show their actions.

The open letter that Kim signed also refers to “so-called Canada.” In other words, Kim does not support the existence of Canada, either.

Unfortunately, we do not have a mechanism for removal of elected municipal officials as we do for MLAs.

Kenneth Mintz

Victoria

Direct apologies are still needed

I am glad to see that Victoria Coun. Susan Kim has finally submitted an apology for the letter she signed regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

However, the people affected are not only the “community members” she represents, but a much broader community of Jewish people, because Kim’s letter has had global coverage, and her name, along with the City Of Victoria, has been included in coverage in major news media in the U.K., Israel, and beyond.

It is quite possible that Israeli family members of victims of horrific sexualized violence have read her letter. She should be apologizing to them.

It is my view that her signing this letter indicates a stunning naivete and lack of judgment, and that she should immediately resign her councillor position.

Paul Haynes

Victoria

Capture the cougar, send it to Sidney Island

Sorry to see that authorities chose lethal action against a cougar who happened to wander into Victoria.

Likely the reclusive big cat was tracking deer, which are the same critters that draw plenty of complaints from urbanites.

If only conservation officers had been available to tranquillize and relocate the cougar to Sidney Island. With a deer predator onsite, Parks Canada could cancel the “mass kill with semi-automatic weapons and helicopters” plan.

Heather Siddon

Saanichton

Where are the protests over the deer cull?

When feral rabbits invaded local hospital grounds and UVic, there were organized public protests by animal rights groups over attempts to shoot them. People even donated money to have them removed to be neutered, vetted, fed, to live out their lives on private lands.

So where are the animal rights groups and protesters when Parks Canada is spending nearly $6 million of taxpayers’ money to blast fallow deer from helicopters, then round them up with gunmen and dogs? (These people are not “hunters,” no ethical hunter would stoop to such inhumane tactics.)

Beyond the travesty of treating any animal like this, it is a waste of money. The deer population has already been drastically reduced by controlled hunting at zero cost to taxpayers and the overgrazed island is already recovering.

This ill-conceived venture is only proceeding because it is not seen by the public.

Professional biologists with “boots on the ground” tell us that all that needs to be done is to continue what is already working. The island is easily able to sustain a limited population of deer.

I guess that feral rabbits rate more humane treatment than deer. Shame on the citizens of Victoria to allow this inhumane travesty without even a peep.

Peter M. Clarke

Victoria

Sidney Island deer cull is the best decision

We have been residents of Sidney Island for 24 years. Over that time we have seen the damage caused to the Island’s ecology by invasive European fallow deer.

We’ve also seen the population, seemingly brought under control, rebound time after time. Hunting alone has not been sufficient in reducing the deer population, therefore culling by hiring sharpshooter contractors has been needed to assist in population control.

But the real story is about restoration.

It is important for the public to know four things:

First, visually one might see some evergreens growing back. However, the Garry Oak/Arbutus ecosystem, which is Canada’s most biodiverse, most endangered and most beautiful, is not. As well, critical to restoration of the ecosystem, the understory, is also not recovering.

Second, it is noteworthy that eradication of non-Indigenous, invasive animals is not new. In fact it has been conducted humanely, safely and successfully for decades in many different countries. Yes, with helicopters.

Third, the BC SPCA has been involved in the program since its inception, and would object to the project if it did not meet ethical standards for the humane treatment of animals.

Fourth, Parks Canada has worked tirelessly for years with key stakeholders, including local First Nations, the Islands Trust Conservancy, the province, and our strata council to create a comprehensive restoration plan.

Their plan is well researched and supported by each of the stakeholders.

Hard decisions are not always popular but the right one is clear.

Dianne and Bruce Ledingham

Sidney Island

Shooting all the deer? The world is going crazy

Can you imagine what $5.5 million — the amount Parks Canada is shortly to spend to eradicate the deer on Sidney Island — would do to help our health system, or feed the homeless in many cities.

We are all aware of many of our acquaintances waiting in pain for joint replacement or cancer treatment and weigh these against the expenditure of money for helicopter sharpshooters terrifying and murdering a deer herd.

Parks Canada budget, as Canadians, is our budget and we have the right to question its expenditure.

Surely this is another example of the world going crazy.

Nancy Turkington

Sidney

Low-cost house stock is up to the government

Re: “Empty homes to be taxed in five more Island communities,” Nov. 23.

The extension of the speculation tax to 15 more communities in B.C. is nothing more than a money grab and a thinly veiled attempt by the provincial government to appear to be doing something about the lack of low-cost housing.

Low cost or “social housing” in the amount we currently need can only be provided by and controlled by the government. It is as unrealistic to expect private individuals or companies to provide ­housing at below-market rates as it is ridiculous to build it in areas where the cost of land is at a premium, such as Uplands or Shaughnessy.

It must be planned in tandem with an effective public transport system.

Unfortunately, our short cycle election system means governments are more focused on window dressing to get re-elected than in having the courage to make the long-term planning and investments that would truly address this problem.

Cathy Stephenson

Victoria

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