Letters to the Editor

Letter – An Abuse of Charity (Piggies Parade)

Of medical obligation, I am a regular visitor to the excellent, and much appreciated “James Bay Community Project” here in Victoria. As I have seen, there is a regular donation of food items from at least one local supplier. Then comes a saddening observation: several “regulars” lining-up at presentation time, one had both hands filled and searching for more. One, with a capacious bag, one with a wheeled-trolley.

I am told it was originally planned that limit gratuity should be practised, in order the maximum number would benefit. Unfortunately some disagree. Apparently, some (morning) “shoppers” return for a second (afternoon) bonanza. Can it be their need is so desperate; or is greed and selfishness more likely?

Stephen Lamb


Letter - Electoral Reform not a Clear Choice

I just received the Voter’s Guide to the Referendum Question on Electoral Reform. I was hoping for a clear choice between our current system and a clearly articulated alternative proportional system. Instead the Guide describes three complicated alternative systems, two of which are not used anywhere else in the world, and none of which provide the clarity I was seeking.

Instead, I am being asked to rank order the three alternative systems without knowing the boundaries of my electoral district; the number of MLAs to be elected; whether both the first and second candidate in my district will be elected, or who will actually represent me; someone I voted for or someone chosen by a political party who may not even live in my district. These questions will only be answered after the referendum, and will be determined by committees, commissions and politicians.

None of this is surprising. The YES side knows that the clarity of the referendum question dictates the outcome. Research has shown that when citizens are provided with a clear informed referendum question, proportional representation has almost always failed. That is why the government has made the current question so confusing and ambiguous. Their message is that “voters can’t be trusted to make the right choice if they are fully informed, so let’s keep them in the dark”. This is both undemocratic and anything but “Reform”.

I will vote in favour of keeping our current First Past the Post system which is easily understood: One Person; One Vote. The person who gets the most votes earns the right to represent me. This simple voting system has served our democracy well by providing stable, predictable and good governance for over a hundred years. And I will do so with a clear understanding about what I am voting for!

John Amon


Letter - Is the STV just a pig in a poke?

Historically, referendums that ask citizens to choose between first-past-the-post and proportional representation have failed when voters have been provided with a clear comparison between the two. For example, the first referendum on proportional representation in BC won 57% support. But only 39% voted in favour in the second referendum when the public received details about how our voting system would actually change.

With the Single Transferrable Voting System (STV) the only proportional representation choice on the two previous ballots, existing electoral ridings would have become much larger with each one having multiple candidates elected. Local representation would have been lost, and far from being more democratic, some members could have been elected with as few as 12.5% of the vote, depending upon the size of the riding. No one could easily explain how ballots were counted. Once voters understood the details, they overwhelming rejected proportional representation in favour of our current system, which has given us stable reliable and good governance for over a hundred years.

So to ensure that proportional representation is successful this time around, the 2018 referendum question has, in my opinion, been rigged by the parties that would most benefit from change.

Rather than offering clarity, three alternative proportional representation (PR) options are being proposed for the 2018 referendum, one of which has never been tried before anywhere in the world. Only generic esoteric information is being provided. No mention is made of electoral boundaries or other details that might influence an informed decision. In short, the NDP government, the Green Party and Vote PR BC are asking us to buy a Pig in a Poke, which is like buying a used car without checking the engine, or a house without a building inspection. Don’t do it!

John Amon


Letter - Dear Ms. Waclawik,

I am wishing you a Happy Birthday as a means of expressing my appreciation of your 2018 calendar as printed in the James Bay Beacon.

My sister, Janet, and I travel each Christmas from Washington State to spend Christmas in Victoria. This year we were lucky enough to find your 2018 calendar in the December issue. I have the calendar on my fridge and have enjoyed all the cartoons and drawings. I feel especially smug knowing when all the full moons and many lunar and solar eclipses of 2018 will occury.

Thank you for gifting your humour and artistic talents to the community, including to grateful tourists.

The simple joy of humorous moments is a great gift and I look forward to a 2019 calendar.

Leona Thomas


Correction

We apologize that the photo we included with James Fife’s letter regarding Redfern Green in last month’s Beacon was not of that park.

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