To the editor,
Re: Other countries are doing better on social issues, Letters, March 22.
In a recent issue of the News Bulletin there were several articles on shootings and violence associated with homelessness, and also letters to the editor that compared to how they are doing in Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve been to those countries and you simply cannot compare. Neither of them are living right next to a monster violent economy, such as we have here, with our American neighbours just to the south.
Unfortunately neither the letters nor the articles suggested any alternatives, other than veiled suggestions to ‘lock ’em up.’ That’s been tried and it hasn’t worked either.
The United Arab Emirates has recently appointed a minister of happiness. Japan has created a minister for loneliness, following a rash of suicides from isolation due to the COVID epidemic. Bhutan has an index of gross national happiness, and a commission on happiness.
New Zealand and Australia have better social safety networks. New Zealand provides free camping in many towns, and they have warmer weather. There are clear things that can be done at the local level. A Nanaimo department of happiness maybe? Let’s do it.
Jonathon van der Goes, Nanaimo
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