Letters – February 10

Re: “Time for YIMBY,” Feb. 3-9

Dignity and respect

Re: “Time for YIMBY,” Feb. 3-9

I look forward to the week’s events and learning more about the people in my community. I fully believe harm reduction is key to building a foundation of hope for those feeling trapped in the confines of addiction.

It is important to acknowledge that there are issues around stigma and treatment of our marginalized population. It’s not fair to say that “stigma” and NIMBYism was the reason the Cormorant Street site was closed. It was underfunded and there were many problems in the area with disorder, drug use and dealing. These things themselves are not so much the problem as the crime and dangerous behaviour that comes along with it.

Our impoverished and addicted neighbours must be treated with dignity and respect. We can do that by not relegating all marginalized citizens to one part of town and providing comprehensive services in different, yet accessible areas of the city.

Janine Theobald, Victoria

Recall campaign success

Re: “Last Word: Confessions of a Door-to-Door Campaigner” Feb. 3 – 9

What universe are you from, dear writer? You cannot possibly be from the same recall campaign where I was involved. I was only in the trenches for two hours one day and I saw overwhelming local support for the recall effort. As I stood in front of Pharmasave in Oak Bay Village, angry people came up to me in scores, expressing their rage towards Ida Chong and the Liberals. Not one person said that Ida was a “good” MLA, but they did say that Chong “has not done anything for the people of Oak Bay” and Chong “should be recalled for her stand on the HST.”

Quite frankly, I was stunned at the level of anger in the people who voiced — and sometimes yelled — their outrage that day. “Recall the whole bunch of Liberal bastards!” one furious elderly man screamed as he walked by me.

 Getting almost 9,000 signatures in a right-wing riding is hardly a failure. This campaign to bring democracy back into BC politics was a smashing success.

Doreen  Marion  Gee, Victoria

The recall failure pales in comparison to the failure of the Liberal government to take care of its citizens. Our all-time record of child poverty rates in British Columbia, and no hope for a living wage, or even a less pathetic minimum wage; the Liberals will remain in power; proving that British Columbians’ really don’t care about our poor, disabled, or disadvantaged.

Bruce Dean, Victoria

One hand clapping

Re: “Choosing my Religion” Jan. 27 – Feb. 2

Perhaps before pontificating on religion in print in the future, McKenzie might follow his own advice and actually read the founding documents of the major monotheistic religions. To state “all religions at their core tout men and women as equals” is such a staggeringly ignorant and fundamentally wrong statement that it borders on the absurd. Even the Ten Commandments, the “moral backbone” of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, implicitly regard women as property. To suggest that the core of all religion is peace is similarly ridiculous. The Old Testament, core text of all three aforementioned monotheisms, is above all a collection of stories about divinely-mandated murder, genocide and female subjugation.  

To suggest that Muhammad was a man of peace is to be ignorant of both history and of the texts he authored. Jesus fares slightly better, but still possesses great moral blindness (in no testament does Jesus ever proclaim the equality of men and women or the wrongness of slavery, two of the most fundamental and obvious moral truths).

The next time McKenzie has a free weekend, I encourage him to spend it with the Socratic Dialogues or Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. An afternoon reading these texts is more morally and spiritually-enlightening than a lifetime studying religious scripture.

Matthew Dolmage, Victoria

Hand up and a little respect

Re: “Frustration of Welfare” Jan. 27 – Feb. 2

I want to congratulate Danielle Pope for bringing attention to an issue that is becoming increasingly unjust and quite severe for Victoria residents who might dare be in need. Your article draws much needed attention to the extremely low and unmanageable rates for individuals living on income assistance and the need for a living wage.

I am writing to attest that as an advocate for people accessing Income Assistance and Persons with Disability Assistance, I have witnessed the impact of providing people in need with funds that are barely livable.

With $610 per month, people who are required to look for work do not have enough money to afford a phone, food or transportation. When someone is forced to access emergency assistance, they will likely stay within the cycle of poverty because despite any efforts, what employer will hire you if they are unable to even contact you by phone or if you have to walk in the rain for an hour to get to your interview?

Single parents with dependent children are issued slightly more, however funds are not provided for transportation, which means that often low-income families are left walking their children to school. Daycare subsidy covers roughly 80 per cent of daycare costs, leaving parents with $200 at minimum to draw from their pockets if they hope to have childcare while they look for employment. When a single mother with one child is afforded less than $900 per month to pay for shelter, food, and other basic necessities, we can see how families are often forced to stay within a cycle of poverty.

And don’t get me started on if someone wants to upgrade their education to have a better chance at employment.

People in urgent need are told that if they are in a state of hardship they will be assessed within a few business days. However, as your article points out, they will likely be waiting at least a few weeks. Again, this often brings people from simply being out of work and needing short-term assistance, to suddenly having no funds for rent and being homeless. Sadly, this happens all too often in Victoria and is a closer threat than most realize. People in need of assistance don’t want a hand-out; they simply want a hand up and a little respect.

Candace Witkowskyj, Together Against Poverty Society

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