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Letters to the editor, October 22, 2014

These are the letters and comments from the print edition


Consider the fish

In Nova Scotia, we know fish. We understand that overfishing depletes our fish stocks and that both fishers and marine ecosystems suffer as a result. We remember the tragedy of the cod. And we know how to speak up: We have kept fracking out of our province and we have rallied in support of our film jobs. We care about our environment and our economy. So, fellow Maritimers, now is the time—let us raise our voices for our fish and for our fishers.

If we carry on overfishing our oceans as we do today, our grandchildren may never taste fish. This is not news to Canadian policy makers, who have responded to the crisis by imposing quotas on fishers. Quotas can be effective tools in fish stock conservation; unfortunately, we are not using these quotas as well as we could. Various environmental credit systems exist today, and they can be adapted to fishing. In fact, Scotland is already using a credit system to encourage more sustainable fishing practices and dissuade fishers from environmental damage.

In Scotland, a fisher who adopts environmentally-friendly gear or behaviour is rewarded with a larger fishing quota; some quota is retracted from noncompliant fishers, creating an economic incentive for environmentally sustainable fishing practices.

Scotland's credit system may not be an exact fit for Canada, but it is evident to all of us that we cannot carry on like this. Please, for the sake of all of us and our ecosystems, join me in speaking out against the injustice of overfishing and environmental damage. Write to all those Liberal MPs Atlantic Canada just elected. Use the excitement of new ideas and a freshly-minted government to light a fire under their toes. Tell them that we care. That we will not be silent. Let us use our power as the people and help save our fisheries. — Caela Bialek, Halifax

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I took the time to translate the binary code on the cover of your October 1 "Startup City" issue. It was apropos, albeit anti-climatic.— G. Boyce, Dartmouth

All-access? Pass

I moved to Halifax from British Columbia one year ago, and I have found living my everyday life has become one struggle after another. I use a wheelchair and I am absolutely disgusted by the lack of wheelchair access to buildings in Halifax. I understand that this an old city, and in some cases, making a building accessible simply cannot be done. If a business is up a flight of stairs, there is no way to change that, aside from major renovations. There are numerous buildings in this city that can be improved upon with the addition of a small ramp, but no one wants to make that happen.

I have never been one to make waves. Admittedly, I don't stick up for myself enough. But recently, I finally had enough and I emailed mayor Mike Savage and downtown councillor Waye Mason on the matter. Mr. Savage ignored my email outright, and Waye Mason responded only after I called him out publicly through social media. What I understood from his email was that this is a poor province, and while these things are being worked on, don't hold your breath.

I'm tired of this matter not being a priority. The city has no problem spending money on painting Argyle Street green and blue while I am stripped of my human rights. Their priorities are backwards.

If the powers that be expect me to stay in my apartment and only go out to go to work and get groceries, maybe that's what I'll do. There have been instances where random people in this city have offered to help me into a building that doesn't have an accessible entrance and for that I am thankful; people in the Maritimes are some of the friendliest people in the country. Every day I watch people walk up steps and into buildings to get where they need to go, and while I appreciate the offers of assistance, it shouldn't have to be that way. 

I'd be interested to know how other people with mobility issues feel in this city. I can't be the only one fed up with this. And to those of you across the country with similar issues who are thinking of moving to the Maritimes, I urge you to think twice. You'd be better off in a place that sees people with disabilities as human beings. —Brian George, Halifax


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