Letters Sept. 11: alcohol on ferries, compensation for teachers

Don’t add alcohol to B.C. Ferries buffet

Re: “Beer and wine will be on B.C. Ferries Pacific Buffet menu as of October,” Sept 10.

It is with sadness and regret that I learned of our ferry corporation’s decision to move ahead with offering alcohol in the Pacific Buffet.

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I am at a loss to understand the rationale that justifies the decision based on some users expressing the desire to purchase and consume alcohol on board. I asked myself: what am I missing?

Will this service attract new passengers? Will the ferry corporation experience a decline in passenger volume if such a service is not offered?

Will it result in an increase of drivers on the road who have been drinking? Will it potentially change the atmosphere in the Pacific Buffet? Will it contribute to “game playing” with the per person drink limit?

Is it the right thing to do?

The silence of our MLAs and the police is deafening.

Tony Southwell

Teachers’ compensation, B.C. versus Alberta

Re: “School resumes without B.C. teachers’ contract,” Sept. 3.

During the current negotiations with B.C. teachers and the government negotiators, the teachers’ side frequently points to them being among the lowest paid in their profession in the country. Specifically, they compare their salaries to those in Alberta.

It is reasonable to assume that the requirements of the position would be very similar in both provinces, thus compensation should also be fairly equal. However, it might not be comparing apples to apples. Teachers, like other public workers, receive their salary with a benefits package.

What is important is the average cost of a teacher to a school board; thus, comparison should be about the total cost of compensation, not just salaries.

The number of hours worked should also be considered. Alberta requires a greater number of instructional hours and operational days. Would teachers in B.C. be willing to see equalization in that area, too?

If B.C. teachers would like to align with those in Alberta it should be pointed out that in the early 1990s, teachers and other public service workers received a five per cent salary reduction. And for several years teachers had significant deductions from their paycheques to cover the unfunded liability in their pension plan. There are no guarantees that such measures will not be undertaken by the Alberta government again.

Janice Davis
Oak Bay

Thank you, Bianca and Jeanne

Last Saturday was a defining moment for Canadians. We had a 19-year-old tennis player, Bianca Andreescu, take on the world’s best tennis players and win the U.S. Open.

Just as amazing, we had a local 77-year-old sailor, Jeanne Socrates, become the oldest person to circle the globe in her sailboat without power or assistance.

These two feats, and they are gigantic feats, show that age isn’t important. What is important is that both of these women have character. I’m not sure if sporting events create character but they sure separate those that have it from those that don’t.

Truly inspirational moments.

I suspect I am not alone with these thoughts as the local gym I go to was packed today with guests — way more people than the January resolution folk. Now inspired, I hope we all find the passion to continue our dreams.

John Townson

Keeping watch 24/7 at sea

While I’m happy Jeanne Socrates made it safely home, I find it disturbing that this voyage is being celebrated in the press. Solo overnight sailing makes it impossible to keep watch 24/7. Sailing while sleeping is the worst case of distracted driving imaginable.

Would the press lionize someone who set a record driving coast to coast while texting? Of course not. We would be appalled. Sailing without a lookout should be similarly condemned. It’s sad when people put their own ambitions ahead of their safety and the safety of others.

S.I. Petersen

A scruffy spot in Beacon Hill Park

As a relative newcomer to Victoria, I am wondering what the purpose is of the gravel field in Beacon Hill Park at the corner of the park bounded by Dallas Road and Douglas Street.

During my time here, I never noticed this corner of the park being used for any activities other than a few individuals doing exercise.

I am wondering why it is not returned to a more natural state or re-sodded with grass and possibly made into a picnic area. Another possible use for this corner of the park might be as a site for the Crystal Pool replacement.

I know this neglected portion of Beacon Hill Park, Victoria’s prime park and visitor attraction, could be put to greater use.

Richard Nicoud

No hair-on-fire trouble found in inspection

Re: “A bustling, joyful Inner Harbour experience,” comment, Sept. 8.

A friend and I finally decided to “inspect” the cause of all the hair-on-fire comments about the new intersection and the wildly maligned ping pong table. 

We were sorely disappointed. Expecting chaos, we found none. Expecting a monumental miscalculation in design — equally absent. Sad.

We found what Jim Mayer described: “a bustling, joyful Inner Harbour experience.”

Helen Walker

We need to address climate change

Re: “Party platforms sound nice, but they mask problems,” column, Sept. 8.

Lawrie McFarlane ignores at least two facts which immediately pop into my mind. He doesn’t mention the biggest issue facing electors this round: climate change. It is a new ball game — if we don’t address it, nothing else matters, even massive debt.

The second fact ignored is the declining percentage of taxes paid by businesses over the years versus the increased load the wage earner pays.

Reality dictates that governments will spend more than earned. Intelligence says spend it addressing our changing climate.

Merv Schmit

Canadian climate action isn’t enough

Re: “We need more climate champions,” Sept. 8.

I won’t underestimate the influence that setting a good example should have on the world, but is there anyone paying attention? Every Canadian could become a “climate champion,” shut the country down, and who would notice our missing two per cent of greenhouse gas emissions?

No amount of the political posturing we’ve seen in the last four years is going to save the world from the major polluters, so action is needed. We could make Elizabeth May our next ambassador to China. She might sell them on the merits of oil- or gas-fired power plants over dirty coal. But then we would need her Green friends to allow our oil to market. With Jagmeet Singh losing political support here, perhaps he could preach the Green gospel in India on our behalf.

No one will convince D. Trump that it’s not all “fake news,” but perhaps the impact of hurricane Dorian will register, if he ever figures out which direction it’s headed in.

Jim Corder

For more goodies, hold more elections

Pre-election goodies (bribes) emanate daily from the federal government. Might we fix long-standing problems by holding elections once a month instead of years apart? Parties in power waste years in office breaking promises and announcing rosy plans for the distant future. Let’s skip those wasted years and proceed directly into a new election period one month after the previous election’s results are announced.

Government largesse will then continue uninterrupted. First Nations will get safe drinking water, affordable housing will be built, investments in clean energy and public transportation will be made. This will be costly, so governments might need to cut subsidies to already-profitable oil companies, and might even tax the wealthy who can afford to pay taxes without ever missing one single meal.

Martin Hykin

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