Letters Oct 17: Street art, VicPD funding, seniors' virus tests, Beacon Hill Park

A double standard on virus tests

Employees that are showing symptoms are sent home, or stay home, having to take the virus test before they can return to work. (They can return right away following a negative result.) This includes teachers, bankers and daycare supervisors, for example.

My mother is in a care home. We went away for a few days, and when she returned I had set up a doctor appointment to get a COVID test.

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That way, she would not have to self-isolate for 14 days, but now they are saying even if the test is negative she will still have to self-isolate for 14 days.

This is crazy for the elderly — they should all have the option of having the test and avoiding the self-isolation.

She already had to self-isolate for 14 days a couple of months ago when she got into the home.

Why would she still have to self-isolate if the test comes back negative? It’s a double standard, when everyone else who tests negative can go back to work right away.

Katherine J. Margetts
Sidney

Council thumbing noses at Beacon Hill

Why do Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and council members keep thumbing their noses at Beacon Hill Park?

Do any members of council live close enough to see the worsening damage or hear the shouting, crying and swearing that nearby residents are forced to endure daily? Are they simply oblivious to more than 25,000 signatures protesting the occupation of the park?

Is it because they sanctioned the breaking of virtually all park-related bylaws?

Is it because they are allowing three chop shops to operate despite bylaws prohibiting businesses operating in the park?

It is long past time for council to pull its collective head from the sand. Tenters should not have the right to decide where to set up, and chop shops have no right at all to be there. Whatever happened to focusing the tents in and around the park’s gravel area?

Please find workable solutions. Shifting from park to park is not a solution for anyone.

This tragic inaction has gone on for years. It is time to rethink and activate sound policies.

Roberta McCarthy
Victoria

Examine police’s budget request

Re: “Interim budget fails to meet police needs, chief says,” Oct. 15.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak should remember the adage “whoever pays the piper calls the tune.” Manak’s wish to have officers in schools and to create a crime-reduction unit targeting prolific offenders are no doubt driven by the best of intentions. Intentions, however, do not “pay the piper.” Taxpayers do.

The claim that the 2021 Victoria Police Department’s provisional budget does not meet the department’s needs to address the root causes of crime is worrying. It certainly appears that there is a lack of understanding that it is our broad social failures and economic shortcomings that lead to increasing criminality within our society.

Let’s have professional subject-matter experts address our local current social and economic issues. And, separately, ensure adequate funding of police for police issues.

Ron Johnson
Saanich

B.C. can’t afford to drop the PST

About 15 years ago, I went to a lecture given by a prominent American economist. His topic was the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. He used the analogy of a golf driver to illustrate the growing gap. “Imagine,” he said, “a giant golf driver with a laminated head. The median income of a person in America would lie about two layers from the base of the club — say 1.5 cm. If the richest person in America was at the top of the shaft of the club, how long would the shaft be? One metre, two metres, four metres? Close. It would be two storeys high — approximately 20 feet or seven metres.”

Today, the length of that shaft has doubled to 14 metres, while the median has moved millimetres. When governments give tax cuts, the vast majority of the money goes to the people on the shaft. The rest of us, in the first 1.5 cm of the club, are literally getting shafted.

While this is an American example, there is evidence to suggest that this gap is similar in Canada.

The economic theory behind tax cuts seems to be if you give away public money to the rich, they will somehow turn this into jobs for the rest of us. This was the basis for Reaganomics and Thatcherism in the 1980s, which also coincided with the widening of the chasm between the rich and the poor.

The rich did not give it back. They hoarded, invested it and became even richer. These people, in turn, use their money to influence governments to adopt policies that ensure that they will receive more public money to hoard, invest and ensure they maintain their wealth.

The B.C. Liberal election promise to remove the PST for one year would cut $6.9 billion from the provincial budget. The PST is the second-largest income source for the provincial government after personal income tax, so the loss of this revenue would be significant.

The Liberals are making all kinds of promises, while at the same time slashing government’s ability to pay. How do they plan to balance the budget?

Phil Foster
Saanich

Demand more from B.C. seniors’ advocate

The B.C. seniors’ advocate position is part of the Ministry of Health. The issues we mainly hear about from the seniors’ advocate are health-related, and more specifically, long-term care and residential care.

Despite the fact that just under seven per cent of the senior population (Statistics Canada 2016) ends up needing residential care in B.C., poverty among seniors has grown since 1996 from 2.2 per cent to 12 per cent in 2014 (B.C. Centre for Policy Alternatives 2017).

We do not hear about this appalling situation from the B.C. seniors’ advocate, nor do we hear about how it should be addressed, except to direct us to existing income support programs that clearly are not addressing the issue.

Seniors deserve an independent seniors’ advocate, similar to the child and youth representative position, who can delve into these issues and really advocate for seniors..

What we have now is a seniors’ health advocate position that regurgitates the same old surveys and reports on seniors in home and residential care, and ignores other seri ous issues such as poverty and the related consequences. I believe this is a great disservice to B.C. seniors, and we should demand more.

Lorna Hillman
Victoria

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