Letters Oct. 6: Pot smoke; blaming Trump; mental health

Breathing a problem because of pot smoke

I am surrounded by drug users who smoke dope 24/7 and grow marijuana plants.

I asked that they move the plants farther away from my house, and to smoke their drugs within their house, so that the smoke/odours drifting up and into my house are reduced.

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The reply was that what they were doing is legal and they can smoke/grow anywhere on their property.

Second-hand marijuana smoke, and growing marijuana plants, emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The effect of long term exposure to low levels of VOCs can be headaches, fatigue, nose, throat and lung irritation.

The effects are worse if you suffer from asthma.

Advice from provincial and federal health agencies is that to lower VOCs in your home, you should open a window for fresh air.

But what do you do when the fresh air is the problem?

I have contacted the police, the municipality, the Capital Regional District and the province.

All say they are not responsible to enforce my constitutional rights of clean air and quiet enjoyment of property.

Their advice is that this should be solved through civil litigation.

Until then I can’t breathe!

Dave Hill

Greens have only themselves to blame

Green leader Sonia Furstenau continues to rage against John Horgan for calling this election and catching the Green party unprepared.

The Greens had three years to get organized. Adam Olsen was the interim leader of the Greens for nine months.

Clearly he did not do nearly enough work to create a solid province-wide Green organization. It is the Green party that is at fault for their lack of preparedness, not the NDP.

If the Greens are unable to manage their own affairs with any competency why do they think we’ll trust them to run the province?

Bert Slater
North Saanich

Trump gambled, Trump lost

Re: “Trump, COVID-19 and losing my moral compass,” Jack Knox, Oct. 3.

Mom warns Johnny not to play with fire. He disobeys and gets burned.

A fierce storm is expected, but a couple, denying danger, take a boat out, jeopardizing themselves and any would be rescuers.

A not so handy householder goes to fix a small electrical problem in the house. But, disregarding flipping off the switch, he gets a jolt.

Anyone can imagine dozens of scenarios along that line. Bad judgment usually results in bad consequences.

I commend Jack for taking the high road in not wishing COVID on anyone and I think a majority of people would heartily agree with him. But that isn’t the only angle on the backstory. Risk taking is a choice a person makes willingly.

Denial, disregard, disbelief, downplaying potential danger and deliberate flaunting of safety warnings are not “wished” on anyone. But nasty consequences of gambling with danger should not come as a surprise.

G.M. Jackson

Would we wish Mussolini well?

Re: “Trump, COVID-19 and losing my moral compass,” Jack Knox, Oct. 3.

I can’t agree that the kind, civilized thing to do now is hold our noses and wish Donald Trump well.

The president’s combination of incompetence and wilful ignorance has cost many people their lives. Indeed, he is a threat to democracy itself, and not someone for whom we should set aside differences and pray for recovery. He isn’t Hitler, but there is more than a passing resemblance to Mussolini.

So no, Jack, I’ll not be saying “Il Duce is unwell. True, we’ve had our differences over Ethiopia and anti-Semitism, and the Black Shirt antics are regrettable, but let’s set those differences aside now and pray he gets better soon.”

In the wake of COVID-19’s extraordinary example of poetic justice, a little schadenfreude may be forgiven. In his heart, and in his mind, I bet Jack Knox agrees.

Jerry Ezekiel
View Royal

Trump’s diagnosis shows there is justice

Re: “Trump, COVID-19 and ­losing my moral compass,” Jack Knox, Oct. 3.

I agree with Jack Knox that schadenfreude is generally distasteful and that no one with an ounce of empathy would wish COVID-19 on another. However, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection might be seen as evidence that there is some justice in the universe.

His actions, including spreading misinformation, lying to the American public, and hobbling the public health experts who are attempting to control virus transmission, have exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Trump bears personal responsibility for some measure of the excess suffering and death in the United States from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Is it not fitting that he experience at least a tiny portion of the terrible consequences of his own actions?

Bradley A. Woodruff

Hey, politicians, try keeping your word

Re: “Trump, COVID-19 and losing my moral compass,” Jack Knox, Oct. 3.

Jack Knox’s column was an excellent reminder asking us to be kind, be calm and be safe especially to those in the political arena. In B.C., the politicians are making all sorts of election promises, dangling carrots as it were, hoping to obtain our votes. Many of those campaign promises never see the light of day once the candidates are elected.

May I suggest three words for politicians: Truth, Honesty and Integrity. If they will keep those three words, I will keep mine.

Lia Fraser

Family involvement a part of recovery

Re: “Time for a new approach to mental health issues,” commentary, Oct. 3.

Readers whose family members have lived experience with mental illness (about a quarter of Victoria’s population), will applaud Bruce Williams, the CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, on his commentary — particularly in his statement that mental health is at the front of the issues that we see on our streets.

However, a question is also raised here: If all levels of society are coming to agreement on the nature of its basic problem, why is it that progress towards a solution is so slow in coming?

Possibly it is that the chain of circumstances that connect the parties involved has a weak link.

Possibly a clue to this might be found further along in Williams’ commentary, where he states that “People asking for urgent help for mental health challenges must have access to treatment immediately.”

Although this is true, unfortunately, when the brain is not working well, an ill person can see those who provide treatment, and police, and their family as the enemy. Knowing this, the worst part of society offers friendship and but instead preys on them.

Families are often the only ones that provide a permanent presence through a changing world of social services. We often are the ones who call the rest of the chain in, until that wonderful day of recovery, and guides the formerly ill person through life’s complexities.

Families agree that in serious cases a need exists for confinement to which Williams refers in his article, but until the role of family involvement is better seen as a strong link in the recovery chain, it seems premature to make it the final point of a discussion.

D. Murray Galbraith
Past President, Schizophrenia ­Society of Canada
Member, Vancouver Island Mental Health Recovery Partners

Invest in the future, not in the past

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently laid out his priorities in his Speech from the Throne, promising to “Build Back Better” from COVID‑19. Now, as members of Parliament return to their seats in the House of Commons, it’s clear that billions in stimulus and recovery efforts will continue to flow in response to this moment.

This spending is necessary and entirely justified. Everyday Canadians are struggling to make ends meet and our government must support them.

But, with billions flowing in all different directions, it’s up to us to make clear where we expect that money to go.

We can choose to pour this money into the declining oil and gas industry or we can decide to build a more resilient economy by investing in healthcare and education, public transit, and green technology.

The choice seems clear but it demands action. Investing in the future demands that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government divest from the past.

We must defund the Trans ­Mountain pipeline and finally invest in solutions that fit the scale of the crises we face.

Janet Hacker


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