Monday letters, Feb. 11

‘Duffy Defence’ is the next stage

Re: “Speaker’s report raises questions,” letter, Jan. 23.

I can see the “Duffy Defence” being written up already by the lawyers.

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1. I didn’t do it.

2. If I did, I had permission.

3. No one told me I couldn’t do it.

4. Everyone does it.

5. I am going to sue you for my lost job, my lost income and defamation of character.

Jim Dobell

Central Saanich

Ironic placement of two stories

Re: “Camp Shawnigan to get new life with bold new vision for charities,” column; “Officers’ pay hikes spark questions,” Feb. 1.

It’s hard to not notice the ironic juxtaposition of two articles on the front page of Friday’s Times Colonist — one about two legislature officers’ salaries (topping out at $565,000 before expenses); the other about challenges to keep an Easter Seals camp open. Enough said.

Sharon White

View Royal

Nanaimo houses standing empty

The B.C. Liberals are making much of the speculation tax. I think it’s about time we did something to discourage owners from buying houses and leaving them vacant.

I live north of Dover Road in Nanaimo, and we have seen several houses in the neighbourhood standing empty for years. Why did the owner buy them? Why is no one living in them?

If you can buy a house in the $800,000 price range and leave it empty, you can well afford to pay a tax for the privilege. The vacancy rate in Nanaimo has been very low and shelter has been at a premium.

The purpose of the tax is to discourage property owners from buying houses and condos and leaving them empty. It could easily be that these properties have been purchased with money that has questionable sources.

We’re hearing that billions of dollars have been laundered through the casinos and invested in real estate, luxury cars and other such items. The money laundering happened on the Liberals’ watch. I think the Liberals would be wise to tone down their objections to the speculation tax.

Arlene Feke

Nanaimo

New bus is not well laid-out

B.C. Transit has put a new double-decker bus into operation in Victoria.

There is only one spot for a wheelchair, scooter or stroller (and, if the latter, no fold-up seat for the adult to sit in). On the other side of the bus, there are only three fixed seats for people, and only the person in the right-most seat has a “stop request” button. The person in the middle must reach across their neighbor, and the left-most passenger has no button within reach. (And no, there are no pull cords.)

Finally, the second language on the signs is Spanish.

What was B.C. Transit thinking when it purchased this bus? It should be given back to whomever B.C. Transit bought it from, and the money paid refunded.

Rainer Heilke

Esquimalt

Pay hikes are stomach-churning

Re: “Officers’ pay hikes spark questions,” Feb. 1.

When legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas announced that the people would want to “throw up” when they saw the results of his investigation into the spending of the clerk and the sergeant-at-arms, I thought: How histrionic?

Now, especially after reading that clerk Craig James’s salary has ballooned from $145,863 in 2012 to $347,090 in 2018 — $104,000 more than the clerk of our federal Parliament in Ottawa — I am having to keep my mouth shut.

Steve C. Faraher-Amidon

Comox

Will homeowners answer honestly?

So, now we are all guilty of being speculators, until we prove ourselves innocent.

How do you prove that the empty house owners will be honest? They could simply fill out the form saying that the house is occupied by them or that they have it rented out six months a year. How do you prove that every person is answering honestly?

Is the government planning on sending out people to confirm each answer? The amount of estimated tax that the government thinks it will collect must be offset by the hours spent by employees sifting through the papers. If the house is jointly owned by spouses, then each one will have to fill out the form. Very confusing for elderly owners, and this will happen every year.

The answer to the empty-house problem is simple: Ask the neighbours to phone in reporting an empty house on their street, check the hydro or the water bills. Easy.

This is typical NDP — spend, spend, spend with no rationale behind it.

Anne Bell

Victoria

City council demonstrates its hubris

Re: “In a nation short on hugs, Victoria isn’t helping,” column, Jan. 31.

The only thing I would add to Jack Knox’s excellent column is that the hubris of some members of Victoria city council reminds me of the Pharisees, the New Testament religious sect whose the holier-than-thou attitude Jesus vociferously condemned.

Jim Hill

Victoria

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