Letters Oct. 14: B.C.'s passive pandemic plan; vaccine mandates unfair to faithful staff

Province’s passive pandemic response

The antidote to passivity is not just action, but intentional action.

Action without intention will take us somewhere, but not necessarily where we want to go.

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It is regrettable that Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix embraced multiple media victory laps as they touted the success of the province, highlighting how far they were ahead of others.

Sadly today, the reality is indeed sobering, and highlights that the delay in taking action, which includes following up on vaccination enforcement, continues to undermine the intent.

We all know that actions have consequences — but being passive has consequences also.

William Perry
Victoria

Vaccine mandates deny fundamental rights

As a local government employer, I am appalled at the utter disregard for the impact that the mandates are having on individual public service employees.

By now most adults are vaccinated, and those few who are not hold strong and well-thought-out reasons for not receiving it at this time.

So, what are we telling them?

“Remember how you worked faithfully through the last year when no one was vaccinated, how you went the extra mile to serve our public, took no sick days and performed far above what was required? Well, none of that matters. We care so little about your mental health or that you may lose your home, your pension and your ability to provide for your family that we will not bother to even make simple adjustments to keep everyone safely working.”

What kind of employer does that?

Has anyone thought o f the kind of employee you will get after forcing a medication on them that they genuinely fear will exacerbate underlying health issues?

Has anyone thought of what kind of citizen you create when you callously deny their fundamental rights? Employers need a loyal workforce, but to achieve it loyalty must go both ways.

John Ranns
Metchosin

Jail terms, fines to fight boat abandonment

Re: “Canadian Coast Guard urges patience as it deals with up to 1,600 derelict boats,” Oct. 10.

It’s sure heartening to hear our underfunded Coast Guard is at least removing some derelict vessels, while seeking their owners under our long-awaited Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.

However, once a boat sinks it’s a dangerous navigational hazard, and it’s too late to remove any toxins from it.

There is no such thing as a cleanup, aside from surface pollutants. Such persistent poisons must be pumped out proactively to prevent such eco-calamities.

Sadly, red tape is preventing fast action concerning some 1,600 derelict vessels on B.C.’s threatened coastline alone.

If one ditches a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway, it is usually towed immediately by the RCMP, and its owners are sought for costs and charges.

The same should happen regarding abandoned vessels of various kinds left by uncaring owners — if they can be found — leaving taxpayers to shoulder legal, removal, salvage and potential pollution bills.

Jail terms and extreme fines imposed by our courts could help dissuade such criminals from simply parking their vessels at our expense.

Peter W. Rusland
Duncan

Plenty of birds to be seen on Willows Beach

Since January, I have been walking every Monday morning on Willows Beach between 8:30 and 9:30.

On May 31 I counted 23 dogs along the beach and zero birds. The following week I saw no dogs and a great blue heron standing regally awaiting breakfast to swim along.

Every Monday morning until the end of September, there have at least one and up to six great blue herons along the beach. There have also been many Canada geese as well as glaucus winged gulls.

At Cattle Point there have also been harlequin ducks and oystercatchers. Sadly, it is rare to see them after Sept 30.

T.S. Harrison
View Royal

Let’s create new jobs tied to technology

Re: “Tourists don’t come to see skyscrapers,” letter, Oct. 12.

First, as a former Chicago resident, let me assure you that Victoria’s so-called “skyscrapers” don’t even reach “two bit” status compared to that city’s.

Yes, we must seriously rethink our tourism/“hospitality” industry (which hiring signs suggest that employees are leaving in pandemic-inspired droves). It does not create the high-paying, high value-added jobs that the capital region needs if we are to prosper in the 21st century.

I have said before that, if we wish to have a vibrant community with a good demographic spread, we need to look to the future global economy’s needs — technology in its various forms, not tourism or “hospitality.”

Let’s turn UVic, Camosun and Royal Roads into STEM universities allied with the second largest employer here — the technology sector — to create a patent- and product-generating, forward-looking, viable, cutting-edge economy and maintain our standard of living, not fall beside the wayside as others pass us by.

Roger Love
Sidney

Special, special thanks for help in hospital

I want to share the extremely positive experience I had recently with the medical system.

I was recently admitted, via ER to Royal Jubilee Hospital (non-COVID related).

After a two-night stay I was transferred to a program called “Hospital at Home.”

The patience, empathy and respect shown me from start to finish, top to bottom, was outstanding.

No request or question too small. Time taken to tend to my needs, and answering my questions was always met with calmness.

My analogy is: like a duck in a pond, serenity on top of the water but under the water the webbed feet are kicking.

I am sure I will forget a name or get a name wrong, however these are some of the medical staff I wanted to acknowledge (in no particular order):

• ER Triage

• ER Ambulatory

• 4th Floor staff

• Healthcare aides

• Nurses (those I can recall): Rachel, Leah, Emily, Tzu, Tracey, Heather

• Doctors: Neilsen, de Pauw, van Rooyen, Hammett, Bosenberg

All these people are is a very demanding environment, presently stretched beyond capacity. Both physical and mentally, they keep plowing on.

All medical employees deserve our appreciation.

Thank you does not seem enough.

Nelly van Schagen
Victoria

Endangered lichen a reason to stop logging

It’s just not fair. The recent discovery of the rare specklebelly, an endangered lichen, by artist Natasha Lavdovsky at Fairy Creek is another powerful rationale to save not only the Fairy Creek watershed, but a whole ecosystem, namely the old-growth forests of British Columbia.

It puts to shame the unkept promises made by Premier John Horgan and the NDP government, during a federal election when the future direction of Canada is at stake.

Horgan has made no attempt to act upon his own government’s plans for sustainable logging, an endangered species act, or seriously addressing climate change. The science is clear, that we now have less than a 10-year window of opportunity to stop our destructive ways.

Neither plant nor animal, the specklebelly lichen contains a lesson we all need to learn, that its success is due to a consortium of fungi, algae and bacteria working co-operatively, to sequester carbon and nitrogen, produce oxygen, and ameliorate climate extremes.

It may be small, but it’s mighty. In its tiny structures, it contains a lesson for all of humanity: that by treating nature with impunity, we threaten our own survival. That’s the moral imperative.

When, and if, we come out the COVID pandemic intact, the business-as-usual model must change. The world is watching as the Fairy Creek fiasco has resulted in more than 800 arrests, including young, Indigenous and elders. Strong but wise leadership is essential.

Is British Columbia up to this nature-based “mandate”?

Thor Henrich
Victoria

COVID deaths vs. smoking deaths

In over a year and a half of COVID in Canada, we have had 28,226 deaths.

In the average year in Canada 39,000 die as a cause of smoking. That works out to 58,500 deaths over the same time frame as the COVID number.

In other words, there are more than twice as many deaths caused by smoking than from COVID. Many of those deaths are caused by second-hand smoke. Other people smoking can affect my health.

If we can see people losing jobs and freedom to force them to get two shots of vaccine, why are cigarettes still available for sale, with the government taking in tax dollars on their sale?

Also, we can ask the question of how many COVID deaths are of people who already had health issues as a result of smoking.

Greg Robinson
North Saanich

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