July 2010 edition

Re: Standing up for salmon, June 2010

I have just read your editorial on “Standing Up for Salmon” and must write to you before I turn another page of your interesting magazine. I too attended the Get Out Migration rally and was impressed and moved by the diversity of people there—from teenagers to seniors, First Nations representatives, people from every kind of background and from every part of the Island, Gulf Islands, Mainland and right up to Lillooet. There was such unity in that mass of people and I was appalled by the lacklustre media coverage of the event, and the parroting by many reporters of the fish farm industry’s viewpoint. Thank you for your positive report on the rally and your thoughtful editorial. I just wish Focus had BC-wide circulation.

Laura Farquharson


This is the article that needed to be written about the rally for saving wild salmon and the case for closed containment fish farms. In it, you successfully convey both the facts and the feeling that has grown out of many voices joining together, across cultures and generations, on behalf of our wild salmon that are struggling to continue their life cycles while running the gauntlet of open-pen fish farms.

Alexandra Morton is a fearless champion on behalf of our Pacific salmon. She poignantly reminds us of the salmon’s generosity, constantly returning to feed and sustain an ecosystem.

Thank you for your generosity, Leslie, capturing both the facts and the spirit of this issue that is so vital to the health of our province. We need more like you.

Val Murray


How important are wild salmon? Apparently, important enough to motivate thousands of folks to join Alexandra Morton’s Get Out Migration rally at the BC legislature on May 8.

But is a one-day rally of two, or three, or four thousand people going to have an impact on the plight of wild salmon? To be sure, the rally raised greater awareness in folks that attended…the already converted…but how about those who didn’t attend or those whose main concern is day-to-day survival, or our politicians who are far removed from the problems of basic survival and see marches like Morton’s as minor irritants?

Deep down Morton knows the answer. This was evident when she asked: “Do we live in a democracy or not?” If we lived in a democracy, where all of the facts were clearly laid out, we had an educated and informed public, and our representatives were truly representative…we wouldn’t be marching.

The truth is, we live in a corporatocracy where corporations control governments … federal and provincial—and the decisions that impact the survival of all things living, including salmon.

Morton was given a not-too-subtle reminder of this fact when she attended an annual general meeting of salmon farmers in Oslo, Norway. When Morton told shareholders, and industry leaders, that their farms need to leave BC because they were breaking the basic laws of the salmon, an industry spokesman responded by saying, “I’m going to have to disappoint you. We are not going to leave Canada.”

Are wild salmon important? No doubt; but in order to save salmon we have to do more than protest salmon farms, we have to FOCUS on making democracy a reality, not the hoax we presently endure. When it comes to getting our voices heard, the Bangkok Red Shirts and the Greeks have sent us a clear message. Are we listening?

Ken Dwernychuk

Re: Showdown at Lime Bay, June 2010

I just started reading the article about the Showdown at Lime Bay. Great article so far. I feel a connection to the editorial position and voice of your magazine. I often find myself off the “popular” grid with my opinions. It’s good to know that I am not alone with my ideas and opinions. Maybe it is the cultural creative in me thinking that I just might have found some tribe.

Thanks again for your fearless words that honour the truth.

Sue Gentry

Re: Reshaping Victoria’s Economy, June 2010

The panel discussion facilitated by Rob Wipond generated interesting ideas regarding transforming Victoria to a sustainable economy. But they either require regional co-operation or innovative municipal financing. Odds are neither one is likely.

Moving to a sustainable economy will not be a seamless shift. It will result in conflicts between economic, social and environmental interests, all tugging at the skirt of local government which has limited human and financial resources.

Thousands of Victoria residents are employed in the hundreds of small businesses that are located in the city. This is our competitive advantage and it is the heart of our economic sustainability. Increasingly, young talented people are making a lifestyle choice to either move here or stay in Victoria, even though they could do better financially elsewhere.

Rather than chasing after economic smokestacks, the City of Victoria should focus on what it can control in its own backyard. Develop downtown as the cultural cool place in the green capital city. Support the development of small business in neighbourhood commercial centres through imaginative neighbourhood plans and innovative zoning. Transform the myriad and often disconnected city procedures and bylaws to support the goal of becoming a truly sustainable city.

The Official Community Plan is just big ideas. The challenge is to develop a clear and measurable sustainability action plan that is championed by political and business leaders and implemented everyday through decisions made by everyone from the small business owner to the neighbourhood planner.

Dennis Carlsen