Letters – Feb. 23, 2011

No quick route around traffic

I live in the community of Thetis Vale just off of Trans-Canada Highway exit 11 when heading southbound.

Every morning I can see the traffic slowly making its way into Victoria on Highway 1. Between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. the traffic can sometimes be at a standstill. I understand it’s frustrating. We all know this is a problem and hope it can be corrected someday.

What bothers me about this traffic is the people who are constantly trying to “avoid” the traffic by coming down the exit 11 and turning right onto Six Mile Road to head to Island Highway and then get back onto the Trans-Canada Highway.

Can they understand that they actually in fact add more time onto their commute? They back up the whole exit 11 and Six Mile Road. It’s stupidity at it’s best.

Our neighbourhood which is approximately 150 houses at the moment (and growing) gets blocked in when trying to enter Six Mile Road to start our commute.

You are a nuisance if you are one of these people doing this. What should be a two minute drive to the gas station can turn into a 25 minute ordeal.

Use your common sense when commuting. Would you appreciate the lack of consideration in your neighbourhood. These roads are not intended to handle large amounts of traffic but the highway is.

Andrea Macey

View Royal

Keeping insurance protects car owner

Re: Stolen truck becomes bureaucratic disaster, Letters, Feb 16, 2011.

We were sorry to hear about Sheila Smith’s stolen vehicle as we know how stressful and upsetting that can be.

However, contrary to her letter, ICBC’s insurance policy does not state that you are liable for a stolen vehicle for 31 days after the date of loss.

When a customer’s vehicle is stolen and the theft is reported to police, we recommend our customers maintain their insurance policies until the claim is settled. By leaving the insurance coverage in place, customers are automatically protected with the same coverage should they wish to rent a temporary replacement car.

In addition, if your stolen vehicle is involved in a crash and someone is injured, you could end up being sued because you were the registered owner of the vehicle at the time. While that is unlikely, keeping insurance coverage in force helps protect you. If you are sued, ICBC would act on your behalf and defend you.

We’re committed to our customers. If the stolen vehicle is not recovered and you have theft coverage with us, we will pay out the theft claim. We’ll also backdate the insurance cancellation refund to the date of theft or the date the rental vehicle was returned. If customers are charged any fees for replacement documents or licence plates, these fees would be reimbursed when the vehicle theft claim is settled.

Kellee Irwin

VP, Personal Insurance

ICBC

Contradictions in animal treatment

Justice weak for abused animals, Letters, Feb. 9, 2011.

Don Wikes states animals, like children, are vulnerable. This seems to imply that without good reason, one ought not to take advantage of either.

However, vulnerability also implies that we take into account the direct interests of both. Why else would society have a valid interest in preventing unnecessary cruelty?

Like children, animals feel pain, and one can not trivialize the suffering animals endure no more than that of a child. Both have interests, whether it be something as simple as enjoying the social company of others, or the avoidance of pain.

Sure, animals and children also differ in significant ways, but the similarities between the two are just as important. Just because they differ in species or in other capacities doesn’t mean we should outright dismiss important values both humans and animals share.

Yet if one agrees with this, what can be said about the treatment of animals in general? In order to produce cheap meat, billions of animals are often subjected to cruel and grimacing factory farm conditions. It would seem the taste of a burger, eggs or bacon at a low price is easy enough justification for these practices.

Yet I wonder how people would respond if they actually observed how meat is produced? Further, I wonder what makes a pit bull puppy so different from a chicken, cow or pig that their interests are all too easily forgotten?

This letter isn’t intended to argue for a particular lifestyle, nor is it a condemnation of all meat producers. I think the facts will speak for themselves and to those responsible. If animal welfare does strike a deep chord with you, I suggest reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer. It’s a fun read and informative introduction to the issue.

Colin Stewart

Colwood

Corruption plagues modern politics

Re: Politicians, pay attention now, Eye on the City, Feb. 11, 2011.

Don Denton’s column speaks for many people.

His core point — that democratic leadership depends upon the active consent of the governed — is unarguable. He calls for servant leadership expressed in practise through the lives of a Tommy Douglas and currently by Denise Savoie.

The struggle for democracy has been a long and costly one. In ancient Athens about 20 per cent of inhabitants were citizens — women, children, slaves and foreigners were excluded. Active citizenship was seen as both a right and a responsibility. Those who did not carry out their citizen duties were termed idiots.

Aristotle, no fan of democracy, warned it would devolve into plutocracy or rule by the rich. And sadly, he was prophetic.

Here Elections B.C. reports that almost 80 per cent of Liberal party funds come from corporations while the NDP gathers about 80 per cent of its donations from individuals. There is no level playing field in such an unfair situation.

Today, as Don Denton rightly argues, cronyism, personal and corporate self-interest too often dominate. Massive tax breaks for large corporations from banks to oil companies prevail while our middle class dwindles and the numbers of working poor increase. The Senate is stuffed with party hacks and hangers-on who block progressive legislation from the elected House of Commons. Necessary improvements to the Canada Pension Plan are thwarted by parties tied to the interests of banks and insurance companies.

Denton calls for fair taxation that will support at-risk programs ranging from medical care, pensions and education. Thirty years ago we had no food banks — now they are commonplace. B.C. has had the highest rate of child poverty in the nation for seven years.

We have the highest cost of living in Canada and have the lowest minimum wage. Too many post-secondary students accumulate huge tuition debts. StatsCan revealed only Atlantic Canada has higher unemployment than B.C., yet we are the only major province with no anti-poverty strategy.

Fair taxation is the membership dues of a just society. Continual corporate tax cuts by federal and provincial governments on the one hand and massive tax shifts from corporations onto individuals such as the HST and the Medical Service Plan bear witness to growing unfairness.

Those who worship at the altar of free market ideology have, since the global financial crisis, been proven to worship a god that failed. Rather, active citizenship and the demand for leadership that serves humanity and the environment are the way forward.

Ron Faris

Saanich

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