July/August 2012 edition

May Day, M’aidez

Thank you very much for publishing this article by Dr Briony Penn in your June edition. All she writes is so true and terrifying. I am circulating the article to everyone I know.

Dr Pamela Stanton


Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence in both the content of Focus and the calibre of your columnists and journalists.

Briony’s article “May Day, m’aidez” on Bill C38 exposes the frightening agenda of our Federal government. It’s a sad commentary on the priorities of the Harper government when our school children are flown across the country in order to study and glorify war, while huge cuts are made to Parks Canada and environmental protection agencies are gutted.

Gail Pritchard


Thank you for the articles by Briony Penn (“May Day, m’aidez”) and Aaren Madden (“Degrees of Consequence”) published in the June issue of your very good magazine. At times I admit to feeling overwhelmed by the utter contempt our governments (both provincial and federal) have for the process of democracy and the people of this country. Our governments, in collusion with Big Oil, are intent on despoiling our land, air and water—the very things they are mandated to protect—in the name of profits for a few. This is insane.

The tar sands project in Alberta and the practice of “fracking” for natural gas in BC are, in my opinion, condoned and ongoing acts of eco-terrorism. As citizens we are obliged to act. Let us stand up, make our MPs and MLAs work for us, and join with others to create new and integrated systems of living based on respect for each other and this beautiful planet we call home.

M.L. Leidl


Truth and reconciliation a long road

I read with interest Craig Spence’s article in Focus’ May edition about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I was particularly impressed with Craig’s willingness to acknowledge the truth of the harm and cultural destruction done to Aboriginal Canadians at the hands of non-Aboriginals, and in particular his offer of a personal apology. 

Unfortunately, in providing a measure of justice to Aboriginal Canadians, through his use of language, he enacts an injustice on another marginalized and disadvantaged group of Canadians. In his description of Ron Martin, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, he describes him as being “confined to a wheelchair.” As a disabled person I find this description offensive, discriminatory and inaccurate. It is not wheelchairs that confine (and oppress) disabled people, by and large, but attitudinal, structural, economic and other societal barriers. Language is powerful. Mr Spence could do much to reverse the disabling effects of language by writing that Mr Martin “uses a wheelchair” or “is a wheelchair user.”

Sally A. Kimpson


To sell or not to sell?

There are a few things that make Victoria unique with the Harbour being the most important. While residential development can go almost anywhere, there are a number of essential industrial uses that can only be done on the waterfront…Everyone recognizes the need for a strong residential component to add vibrancy to a city core, but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution that works on every site. It is important that residential locations are chosen to leverage the engines that drive our economy and not kill them. Mixed-use only works when the site is the best location for all of the uses instead of a compromise for each of them.

The City should sell the Point Hope lands only for industrial uses and use the money for other priorities. They have the power of zoning to protect its use in future generations and should count themselves as lucky to have someone who wants to buy it that understands how this generation can get the most benefit from it.

John Hopper


An element of desperation

Mr Nattrass effectively portrayed homelessness and unaffordable rent in Focus’ June edition. These dual problems pose a quiet tyranny for thousands of Victorians.

Say that I’m a Victoria absentee landlord. We are in business to maximize profit—not to provide affordable housing. We absentee landlords won’t budge until we get legislated into civil behaviour. Our renters need loophole-free provincial laws that roll back rents and control them at the cost of living. Rent must not exceed 25 percent of income. 

Until that happens, I would happily pay Councillor Ben Isitt’s advocated housing levy, $15-25/year/property owner. It will fund housing co-ops, assisted living for people with special needs and addictions, and rent assistance.

After WW II, mass unionization waves brought incomes that matched housing costs until the 1970s. Dave Barrett, BC premier from 1972-75, was the last one committed to affordable housing and built thousands of units. Nothing will substantially start to change municipally until mayor and council pass the levy, and advocate provincially and federally for greater affordable housing funding.

Larry Wartel


Focus worth paying for

We are octogenarians who are sick of the rotten journalism produced by our newspapers. Gone are the days we can remember of truth and ethics that we would trust when reading a daily paper. So we turn to you, the great writers in Focus and hope for more of what we have come to expect in your pages.

Ann Belither


It has to be something special for me to support a publication that I could pickup for free! Good job, here’s my subscription.

Bill Foulkes


The more I realize the value of living and encouraging change locally as well as globally, the more I appreciate Focus. Your investigative journalism and emphasis on local economy and local issues is filling a deep need in the Victoria area. I am very happy to send in my subscription and encourage others to do the same.

Chris Bullock



The Coastlines review of Madeline Sonik’s new book in Focus’ June edition gives the mistaken impression that Sonik is living with cancer. While doctors believed that was her condition, subsequent biopsies have not shown any malignancy. We regret the error.