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Letters Nov. 29: A dislike for photo radar; able to donate blood; herring in Gorge Waters; where to build new ferries

Fishing for herring in the Gorge from the Craigflower Bridge in March 2016. BRUCE STOTESBURY, TIMES COLONIST

Photo radar system has many flaws

There are many good reasons why we should not have photo radar, that Orwellian tax grab, imposed on us again.

First, and most important, is that the driver is not the one that gets the fine. A ticket is mailed to the registered owner several days after the alleged offence.

The only way to beat it is to rat out whoever was driving, assuming you know who it was. This applies more to company vehicles than private.

Or maybe my granddaughter had my car and drove past a radar trap. I may have been out of town working, but will still get the ticket.

Then there is also the distinct possibility that some government worker making up fake tickets. Any decent computer and a computer-literate user can do this.

All that is required is a picture of your licence plate. The date and speed can be added in later.

Kim Morton

Qualicum Beach

Able to give blood again after lifting of ban

After living in the United Kingdom from 1976, and returning to Canada in 1999, I was dismayed and upset that after years of being a blood donor both here and in the U.K., I was forbidden from donating blood for fear of carrying “mad cow disease” which broke out in many parts of Europe in the 1980s and 1990s.

I have a fairly unusual blood type and have been a regular donor for most of my adult life, and I was deeply disappointed that I could not continue.

The lifting of this ban opens an opportunity for hundreds, if not thousands, to now be able to give this lifesaving gift, including me.

Carolyn M. Brady

Brentwood Bay

Herring solution starts in the north

At one time this was Lekwungen, the place to smoke herring. That’s because the Gorge Waters supported tens of thousands of tonnes of herring.

Rich eelgrass and strong tidal currents made a perfect spawning ground for herring and the rich Constance Bank fed them. Alas the herring are now gone. To everyone’s loss.

It’s not for want of clean eelgrass and water. Many volunteers have donated time and money, picking garbage, stopping pollution, repairing beaches, planting estuaries, fixing watersheds and now the Gorge Waters are clean and the eelgrass healthy.

“What do we have to do to get you herring to spawn in the Gorge?”

The only known way is to let the herring north of Nanaimo get very productive so they spread into the Lantzville spawning grounds, then Nanaimo, then Saanich Inlet and finally, the Gorge.

I was very happy to hear the Saanich Inlet Protection Society ask for a pause in the commercial herring fisheries until stocks recover south of Nanaimo.

Jim Shortreed


Those new ferries should be built in B.C.

I hope that B.C. Ferries gives a lot of thought into building its new ferries in B.C., or at least in Canada.

I don’t accept the excuse that we don’t have the people to build them, arrangements and time management can be worked out so that they can be built when work slows down here.

I don’t accept the excuse that the provincial government has no control over the procurement of new ferries. B.C. Ferries is no more a private company than any other government corporation.

Let’s look at the amount of tax dollars from local labour that will go into the local economy. Building the last few ships offshore cost the federal government millions of dollars in concessions on penalties for building offshore, besides what was lost by not busing local labour.

Also let us not forget the millions of dollars in subsidies B.C. Ferries received during COVID. So let us inform the NDP government or any other party that may form a government that this is not acceptable.

Ivan Crossett


Next, take aim at the real estate trusts

Re: “Landlords being victimized by the NDP government,” commentary, Nov. 25.

The viewpoint expressed is a legitimate way of looking at the housing shortage in Victoria and the perils of being a landlord when things do not go well with tenants.

However, the “victimization” tune being played by so many short-term rental owners and landlords is a little bit rich.

They consistently ascribe negative descriptions of the landlord/tenant relationships they encounter and fail to describe the positive values of renting out properties and holding them for future gain or even a nice income.

Very few can afford this luxury. I fail to see the victimhood of amassing wealth from a second, third or even more dwelling units. This is the “commoditization” of homes. It is wrong.

We must hear more from the countless landlords that play by the rules, treat tenants well and accept changes made to the rules to bring hope for an end to the scourge of homelessness in tough times.

The accumulation of so many units under the umbrella of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), where evictions and rent increases proliferate, is hopefully the next focus of the NDP government.

Max Miller


Exposed to illness in a restaurant

Last week my daughter and I went to our favourite sushi restaurant for lunch. We were seated and I noticed that the teen next to us was not in school, and was obviously ill.

His parent, who must have been asked to take him home, apparently did not ­consider that he exposed the entire ­clientele of the restaurant. He blew his nose and coughed constantly, and, sadly, my daughter, seated about two feet away, became sick just a couple of days later.

We are all preparing to go on Christmas vacation, and now all members of our family are home to prevent spreading the infection.

My mind cannot wrap itself around the idea that this boy was too ill for school, but his parent felt it was OK to expose the public in a small space.

What message is that to the child about consideration for others? From this point on I plan to speak up in public.

If they wanted sushi, she could have gotten takeout. Please, people don’t expose us all, even if it is only a terrible cold.

And restaurants, please don’t seat ­people who are visibly sick.

M.J. Rockwell

Oak Bay

B.C. should try using a ranked ballot

There is much talk of improving our democratic system by way of a preferential ballot, whereby parties based on their proportion of the vote negotiate, often for weeks, to form government.

The recent election in the Netherlands would be an example of that, as would previous elections in Israel and Italy.

It seems to me this system magnifies the influence of often fringe parties, as king-makers, often to the detriment of the general will of the people.

In Canada, our federal and provincial parties usually use a ranked ballot, where the lowest party candidate for leadership drops off the ballot and the second choices of their supporters are used to determine the next round of support — thereby giving such electors still a say in the electoral proceedings, unlike our present first-past-the-post system.

It seems to me parties would vie for second choice support in swaying the electorate which would improve the likelihood of stable governments. It would be useful to try out such a ranked ballot process in a municipal system or even provincially or federally in a riding or region.

In 2020, Alaska voters approved an overhaul of the state’s elections system, moving to a ranked-choice ballot. Initial results appear very promising.

B.C. or Canada should give it a try as well as the present system usually means a majority government with a plurality of support but not majority support.

The ranked ballot would tend to ameliorate that.

Peter Skipper

Gillies Bay

Government greed on top of inflation

Picked up a bag of dog food the other day. The cost was $104.99, pretty expensive, but good stuff.

The price has risen recently due to inflation, but there is another cost that is added on by our government that I believe is just too much, and is a definite drain on people’s money.

The people of our province are contributing a vast amount through PST and GST. This might not be noticed by some, particularly those with internet banking.

Before I left the store, I was handed a receipt that showed I had paid $117.59, with $12.60 going to the government, which did nothing to procure this product for sale. As an add-on, this tax for the dog food is income that I have earned through hard work, that has already been taxed.

It is no wonder there are homeless, robbers, people turning to drugs, or alcohol. The whole system is broke, what a pity.

Rob McKenzie



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