January 2011 edition

Re: Lost in Translation, December 2010

I was absolutely delighted to read Katherine Gordon’s article on indigenous languages. The passion and excitement of the Sencoten language apprentices for the recovery of their language is admirable. New technologies, like iPods, are now assisting in this process—that is just fantastic!

Janet Poth


Katherine Gordon’s story on recovery of First Nation’s languages was marvellous. The passion of the young men and women working at rebuilding their cultures is truly inspiring. The clarity of their purpose was captured so well in the words of the young man from Port Hardy, Mike Willie: “My achievments in life are totally attributable to knowing my language and my origins. Without that, I would be completely lost. Where do people go when they’re lost?”

It strikes me that many of us in the non-indigenous community may be struggling with that same sense of being adrift, of being lost. Although I was born here, my roots here are very shallow, only a couple of generations deep. I appear to be functional, but how tethered to reality can I really be whilst living in a culture that’s mainly based on unrestrained resource extraction, endless material consumption and exhaltation of foreign celebrity?

Gordon Prentice


Re: A Failure to Inform, December 2010

To add to David Broadland’s recent article, a senior member of City Council, when asked recently why the final replacement proposal for the Johnson Street Bridge did not include rail, answered that if it had been included the total cost would have exceeded that of the retrofit option—obviously counterproductive information, prior to the vote.

So now, with that hurdle successfully behind it, is it any surprise that Council is now investigating adding rail back in, at a cost of $12 million. Forget integrity. Let’s call it intentional deception.

Roger W. Smeeth


I have just finished the Dec 2010 issue and having read David Broadland’s “Failure to Inform” article and previous articles by various authors concerning the Johnson Street Bridge, I find myself in total agreement with what has been written to date.

This position also places me in complete disagreement with the City of Victoria council and a shockingly large number of apparently uninformed voters who have approved spending for the bridge. Anyone familiar with the Hoover dam will marvel at the new suspension bridge that has been erected to bypass the dam and re-route traffic over Black Canyon for a cost of (get ready not to gulp) $114M.

Do Victoria taxpayers not know the value of a dollar anymore? The replacement cost of the JSB is excessive for the length of its span.

Unfairly, taxpayers have been given the equivalent of a choice between paying to repair a rusty old automobile or purchasing a new vehicle for the same price. Of course we all know that the final cost of a new car purchase always has a few hidden surprises that the salesman didn’t mention and so it will be with the JSB and the shabby salesmen who pitched the replacement.

Congratulations on the excellent reporting to date. It is a pity that many more people did not read these articles as they clearly demonstrate the games that the City of Victoria has played.

Richard Atwell

Wikipedia defines “propaganda” as “a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.” Although the Times Colonist would no doubt argue it took an “objective” position on the bridge issue, and all along was simply reporting “news” as it occurred, their editorial endorsing replacement of the bridge was clearly written with the hope of “influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.”

That the paper’s propagandizing on the City’s behalf used inaccurate information is appalling but not surprising. Even more concerning, their reporting didn’t include much of what went on beyond open council meetings. Although it may be they cover these meetings as a public service, it’s just as likely they do it because it’s an extremely cost effective way to fill the paper’s needed quota of “local” coverage. So we get the posturing of the mayor and councillors and it’s left at that. The paper misses much of the story, the part that’s hard to get but is necessary to understand the issues involved.

Propaganda dressed up as journalism has serious consequences for the community. Just look at the bridge issue. Now Victorians will pay, according to Mr Broadland, about $70 million more for a new bridge than it would cost to permanently repair (without closures) the Johnson Street Bridge. That’s serious money. This is a serious problem.

Robert Simpson


Re: Better Care Homes, or Better Euthanasia?, December 2010

It seems to me that as big business takes over care homes we have more problems. Less staff and less pay in the name of profit does not make for quality care. This is a stressful job and should be paid accordingly.

The option of care in a person’s home would help reduce the profit factor and maintain a better quality of life.

I had experience with BC’s Patient Property Act and declaring people “incapable.” A family I am close to were in the process of moving into a larger home which would accommodate their mother in her own suite with their support. What could be better? Not so. I went with their mum to a lawyer for the “five -minute mental examination.” They asked her for her telephone number. She gave them that of her daughter, the only person she might have need to call. That qualified her as “incapable,” thus they put in their draconian measures to make it as difficult as possible for them to care for their own mother. 

That does not make good caring or economic sense to me.

Joanna Wilkinson


Re: Common sense abandoned, December 2010

Gene Miller writes, “Through our consumption patterns and industrial practices we are behaving with absolute disregard for the future and heaping the costs of that behaviour onto the backs of our kids and grandkids.”

Could we find a better example of that collective bad behaviour than the “Yes” vote to approve building an uneccessary, $100 million 200-foot new Johnson Street bridge?

Evelyn Ramsey