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Letters Sept. 11: Canada's military; facial expressions; a reason to howl

The important work of Canada’s military Re: “Reassess military budgets amid deficit fight,” letter, Sept. 5.
HMCS Victoria in Esquimalt Harbour. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

The important work of Canada’s military

Re: “Reassess military budgets amid deficit fight,” letter, Sept. 5.

In commenting on federal government spending options, the letter-writer says: “‘Canada’s autonomous military establishment has had its own way for a very long time now. It is difficult to blame its members. Most of us would have difficulty exercising restraint if we were offered everything we asked for.”

I served in the Canadian Air Force for 35.5 years flying the Sea King helicopter which was in service from 1963 to 2018 and was well overdue for retirement by that time.

Our current fighter, the CF18, has been in service since 1982.

On May 17, Capt. Jenn Casey was forced to eject — fatally as it turned out — from a Snowbirds CT114 Tutor that suffered a bird strike after takeoff and at low altitude from Kamloops airport. That aircraft began service in the early 1960s and the ejection seat that she had no choice but to trust was far from the performance and safety offered by modern ejection seats.

Our Buffalo search and rescue aircraft began service in 1965 and arguably should have been replaced long ago. Our subs are mothballed hand me downs from the British navy.

The people that I worked with in the CAF would like nothing more than a “world beyond war,” but they are smart enough to acknowledge that, unfortunately, humanity isn’t wired that way. So whether it’s combat, peacekeeping, humanitarian/disaster relief, search and rescue or whatever is asked of them (recent duty in COVID-wracked seniors residences comes to mind), they step up to the plate and they serve.

Phil Redgrave
Cordova Bay

Deciphering the meaning of words

Re: “ ‘Justice mural’ with anti-police slogan,” Sept. 6.

Regarding the acronym ACAB – “All Cops Are Bastards/Bad” – I want to emphasize that words do matter, for better or worse.

One Victoria city councillor said, “the acronym does not mean every officer is bad, but that police are complicit in an unjust system.”

That reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland, where Humpty Dumpty said: “When I use a word, it means just what I use it to mean – neither more nor less.”

H. Albert Hestler

We need to see facial expressions

Whether in the classroom, the workplace, or just generally out in society, encouraging a “culture of mask-wearing” faces one very large challenge which seems as of yet to be little-discussed: covering a large and expressive portion of one’s face severely hampers the ability to communicate with others, both verbally and through all the other cues we as social animals take from people’s facial expressions.

For the record, I am completely in support of wearing masks as a protective measure. However, I find being out in a world in which I can’t express myself fully nor read the expressions of others to be unpleasant, unfriendly, and dehumanized.

There has been some coverage of how difficult masks make it for those who are hearing-impaired and rely on lip-reading for communication, but the effects of ubiquitous and prolonged mask-wearing on others (such as children, who are in need of “reading” faces to learn social cues) seem to be largely ignored.

In these challenging times, we all need to be able to communicate and connect as best we can despite protective health measures for our safety. There are patterns easily available online for sewing masks with clear panels, and it’s also possible to order them online. The more people wear these sorts of masks and retain their ability to express and communicate, the easier it will be to weather COVID together in the long haul. The more people can see your facial expressions, the easier it will be to stay connected and kind.

Kiiri Michelsen

There’s good reason to howl

Re: “Search for meaning behind those doggone howls,” Jack Knox column, Sept. 6.

Search no longer, Jack Knox, for the messages of strange dogs who howl through the night can be found in our folklore i.e. Hark Hark the dogs do bark the beggars have come to town.

Some in rags and some in tags and one in a golden crown.

You don’t need the Second Sight to know your doggy neighbour Radar has done some COVID calculations and figured the “big one” is on it’s way. That is the COVID Quake that shatters our economy.

Our golden crowned minders all safely entrenched behind their guaranteed benefits will soon have nothing to spare us less gilded.

Any second rate oracle can tell you we will all soon be beggared if our consumer driven, debt riven world fails to get moving ASAP. Any delay just guarantees the tax tab will be staggering.

I suggest we all join Radar in howling day and night at those who seem unable to sense the dangers ahead of us .

Russell Thompson

Schools survey was not clear

Your presentation of the results of the Greater Victoria School District survey does not necessarily present an accurate reflection of what families “want” when returning to class. We found that the intention of survey was unclear, especially around the possibility of selecting the hybrid option.

The documentation accompanying the request to fill in the survey (stated that the survey was to “communicate your child’s intended learning option” (p. 3) but also that “In order to explore this [hybrid learning] option, the District is assessing the level of interest.” The hybrid option was given as “(*under consideration)”.

It was not clear to us in completing the survey whether we were committing to the selection we chose or whether we were indicating our interest in a fifth (possible) option. In addition, it was not clear what the specifics of the program were.

For example, the pdf “Elementary Educational Options” states that “Classes will be organized in single grade or multi-grade configurations.” This “or” leaves much to be decided. Furthermore, there was no place in the survey to indicate interest in the hybrid option (as opposed to stating the intended learning option).

Selecting both resulted in a phone call requesting clarification about which option we were committing to. Given the late request for this information, lack of clarity about the intention of the survey and the status of possible options, we wonder whether the 14% of respondents reported as “wanting” a hybrid option is perhaps not as straightforward as presented. Had this option been clear and available earlier, we would have wanted it.

M.G. Caldecott
and K.A. Smith and families

Hoping for something better at Roundhouse

Re: “Plan for Roundhouse site lacks vision,” letter, Sept. 9.

The letter-writer is quite correct. The original plan conceived by Hotson Bakker Architects, who designed Granville Island, has taken a seriously benign departure in the hands of the firm who replaced them. As a resident of Songhees, I was so looking forward to residing close to an exciting revitalized and reimagined historic site. Unfortunately the new proposal is totally lacking in any of the original delightful concepts and charm that could have enhanced our neighbourhood.

James Dykes

The trump(it) will sound

When we were reading the paper this morning, my husband Jim said “There’s no news about Trump today.” I said “Well, that’s a welcome change.” He replied, “You know Handel wrote about him in his oratorio Messiah – “The trump(it) shall sound!”

Jean McClennan

Police-bashing must be stopped

Re: “Artists defend anti-police ­slogan in mural,” Aug. 28.

It is disgusting that the City of Victoria funded a mural that denigrates our police force. The mural incorporates the letters ACAB, which signifies “All cops are bastards.” The so-called artists are the very first that would call 911 and ask for help from the police whenever something happens to them.

Our police force is doing a magnificent job to serve and protect us. This police-bashing for no reason must be stopped, and certainly must not be subsidized by the city.

Roger Cyr



• Email:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2

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