Letters to The Sun, March 13, 2021

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Re: Historic mug shots offer glimpse into Vancouver’s bad old day

John Mackie’s historical research and accounts of Vancouver give us invaluable insight into a very different city than the one we recognize today, and can be a great distraction from depressing current events. The 1912 mugshots and criminal descriptions are downright hilarious and so inappropriate by today’s standards. However, the account of a black man is shocking and reveals an extremely racist society which, albeit it to a lesser degree, unfortunately still exists. Also, crossdressing must have been a daunting endeavour in 1912 — Criminal occupation: Masquerading and vagrancy!

I recall when John was writing for other publications back in the late 1970s, early 1980s and keeping up with the budding and exciting Vancouver punk rock/new wave scene. With very little media coverage at the time, I always greatly anticipated his perceptive music articles and the reassuring feeling that the scene was being recognized outside of the local fringe community. John really did help publicize new and local music at a time when there was great mistrust of mainstream media by local punk rockers.


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Through John’s articles today, we can witness how our society has progressed over the years. He also enlightens us with current city events. I was unaware of the existence of the Vancouver Police Museum and look forward to checking it out (as long as I don’t see any photos of myself there).

Rick Gerbrandt, Vancouver

COVID booking issues

How can the province open up an online booking system for campsites while, at the same time, launching a 1960s-style telephone system to book a vaccine appointment? It’s bad enough that the federal government has fumbled the acquisition of vaccines. Now we have to deal with the province fumbling the vaccine rollout.

Rick Mahler, Vancouver

Vaccination phone line frustrations

As a dutiful 90 year old, I rose early on March 8 with great anticipation to phone the vaccination line of Vancouver Coastal Health. I began with all my info before me and my finger poised over the telephone right at 7 a.m. Well, first of all, a busy signal, then nothing at all, then a recorded message saying that all lines were busy and to call back (and, if this was an emergency, to call 911).

I have now been at this an hour, my finger is tired, my ear is sick of the various messages, and still no appointment. If this is the reception 90 years olds get (after all, how many of us are there?) I have great sympathy for the numerous Baby Boomers when they try to make their vaccination appointments.

Surely, there is a better way?

Hilary Clark, West Vancouver


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Reader happy with Recovery Benefit response

Re: Recovery Benefit Program needs an administration plan

Unlike your previous correspondents, I was extremely happy with the way my application to the Recovery Benefit Program was handled. I applied online at the end of December, received a letter dated Jan. 5 stating that my application had been approved, and $500 was deposited into my bank account on Jan. 11. If this is a “textbook government boondoggle,” I say keep it up.

P. Kinnaird, Coquitlam

Re: U.S. billionaire wins battle to keep anglers off his giant B.C. ranch

The final verdict in the Douglas Lake Ranch case is not surprising, considering the long-standing bias in the B.C. legislature in favour of wealthy landowners, developers, mining companies, and so on. But the ruling judge Peter Willcock’s decision to also have the Nicola Valley Club pay the defendant’s legal costs, on the basis they aren’t a “public interest litigant,” is egregious. The very fact B.C. law doesn’t explicitly protect right-of-way to access public lands, is to my mind exactly why this case is of utmost public interest.

Now we can only hope an appeal to a higher court will be given the go-ahead, as this goes to the heart of Canadians’ inherent right to enjoy their own publicly owned natural heritage.

Charles Leduc, Vancouver

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