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In the past two years, Canadians have seen our military used numerous times to assist the country in internal affairs. These include staffing long-term care homes due to COVID-19 and, more recently, in British Columbia, helping with massive wildfires and floods. A former MP, John Cummins, recently opined that a military base should be returned to the Lower Continent, to help with likely future weather-related disasters. I couldn’t agree more, but, with a twist. The military has had a terrible record of integrating women into the forces. Sadly, the Department of National Defense has also been absent when it comes to acquiring expensive jet fighters, frigates, helicopters, and other expensive defense items.

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Perhaps it is time to move away from the traditional notion of the military as a force to wage international war, or to protect our country from a perceived external military threat. Perhaps it is time to turn the armed forces into a paramilitary force, with internal issues, such as disaster assistance, as its primary function. This force could provide more timely assistance to address current and future internal issues such as wildfires, floods, pandemics, etc. Perhaps it is time to re-imagine our army.

Bob Elliott, Port Coquitlam

Raise concerns about older people

The crux of the matter concerns drivers over the age of 80 who are still medically fit to have a driver’s license. This is a reasonable expectation. It has nothing to do with the opinions of ordinary people based on experiences between drivers and others.

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I have been driving between Richmond and Stanley Park almost daily for the past 15 years and have not yet been in danger from an apparent major other. But I have witnessed speeding and danger between vehicles entering and leaving traffic on many occasions.

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I bet my last penny that the culprits weren’t older people. So please stop the divisive blame game, as we could go on forever on that topic.

Driving in general is a global necessity, and circumstances vary depending on where and when one lives, works, plays, or wanders. Having driving privileges withdrawn is a profound restriction, in many cases causing great stress.

The physical and mental health limitations for driving are presumably legal / medical determinations. Cognitive and physical limitations must be carefully addressed and weighed against the overall ability to drive safely. As can any other condition that weakens the driver. Despite this, there are already laws that address and govern this field. Anyone with a driver’s license, regardless of age, who violates or is violating an applicable law, is subject to the corresponding judgment in court. Therefore, if one is unable to drive, as determined by a medical professional, the next step would be to publish the appropriate regulations governing reinstatement of a license when medically appropriate. There is some?

In the not-too-distant future, the autonomous vehicle will have a major impact on our driving habits and laws, and this may alleviate some of the debatable concerns past and present.

Bill Blair, Vancouver

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