Readers’ letters, Victoria Times Colonist, May 27, 2023

Vic General still offers fast, effective care

Recently my son needed immediate medical attention for an infected leg. Since it had been days since the incident, his leg had swollen and he was in severe pain.

“Why haven’t you sought medical attention sooner?” was my inquiry. “Because I would never get into see anyone!” (Based on his last trip to see a doctor at another hospital.)

I took him to the Vic General hoping he would get the attention he needed. Within half an hour, he was placed in a treatment room and 20 minutes later was being seen by an emergency room physician.

Diagnosis and treatment was all done within minutes and my son’s injury was treated successfully.

My son and I cannot thank the VGH emergency department enough. Fast and effective care still exists in Victoria.

Ross Ferguson


Doctor’s limit on practice deserves our support

Re: “Esquimalt doctor limits her practice to those 50 and older,” May 24.

Dr. Sarah Truelson is an exceptional, conscientious doctor who took on a large panel of patients in an increasingly dysfunctional system. She has made the courageous decision to continue caring for those who need her most rather than closing the practice altogether in the face of a family crisis.

The fact that this makes news is a sign of how broken our system is. If we had effective and functional primary care, Truelson could have transferred some of her patients to another physician so they continued to receive care without her sacrificing her personal well-being or becoming headline news.

If this article frustrates you or makes you upset, please write your MLA about the importance of continued efforts to make primary care sustainable. If you are fortunate enough to know Truelson, send her a note of encouragement and support, because I know this decision was not arrived at lightly.

Dr. Jennifer Lush


Public, private health systems work in Europe

B.C. is unable to care for cancer invaded people who need prompt treatment. The government decision is to send (at government cost) thousands of our people to Washington state for treatment.

This is a sad story. We could have had a similar policy to much of Europe where the medical system is allowed to serve both private patients and public folks who cannot (or will not) pay.

Doctors are required to spend their time divided between both groups. Top leadership in Canada could bring this to Canada.

Clint Forster


Don’t trust health care to a medieval fantasy

Canada has a public health care system because private health care didn’t work for Canada or Canadians.

While clearly the system is ailing, surely the solution to our challenges does not include those prescriptions offered by those clinging to medieval fantasies who continue to suggest that bleeding the patient will lead to recovery.

John Luton


Planning, patience needed to fix health care

We need to remember that it will take a number of years, maybe five to 10 or more, likely longer, to re-adjust our health care system to the level needed.

Medical personnel cannot be instantly created. We all know this was not begun soon enough in the past, and what resulted was the severe shortage of physicians and paramedical professionals of all kinds.

We need to thank the B.C. government for sending some patients to Bellingham for radiation treatment, if any so far have been sent.

If you were a breast cancer or prostate cancer patient needing radiation now but were required to wait longer than is advisable, here, surely you would be glad of the option even if some unavoidable family situation prevented your travelling there. With others able to take up the opportunity, this would make your wait shorter here, as well.

There is a great deal of unrealistic impatience in the public arena on these topics, but we must remember that health services are now being focused on — and that it not an instant fix, unfortunately.

Housing costs are so high that citizen impatience perhaps should be focused on putting pressure on that issue as well — here’s a word for the creation of staff housing for medical services personnel — and much more thoughtful planning by various community and neighbourhood associations still resisting infill housing of various types.

Janet Doyle


Two major problems plague our health care

A May 25 letter suggested that “we simply, in a totally public system, cannot pay the finances required to obtain the specialists and modern equipment required.”

One must ask how adding the overhead of executive salaries, marketing, and redundant administrative costs of a privatized system onto the costs of specialists and modern equipment would make these specialists and that equipment more affordable.

Another letter the same day suggested a progressive payment scheme in which affluent people would pay “the full cost” of medical treatment and less affluent people’s treatment would be paid for with public money.

Since even affluent people would have difficulty paying “the full cost” of medical treatment, one assumes that enterprising insurance companies, as in the U.S., would fill the void with policies that would drain health-care dollars from the pockets of affluent people into those of insurance company executives, marketing departments, and redundant administrative organizations.

The suggestion of a progressive health-care funding plan, preferably where multi-billion dollar corporations pay the lion’s share, smaller companies pay progressively less, and individuals pay progressively even less into the public purse — as now — and every dollar paid in is spent on training, staffing, compensation, and medical infrastructure and equipment is an excellent idea.

Two problems plague our erstwhile envy-of-the-world health-care system.

First, in the name of “flexibility” — a weasel-word for dumping federal costs onto junior governments — the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Established Programs Financing Act of 1977 threw out the 50-50 cost sharing arrangement mandated by the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act of 1957 and Medical Care Act of 1966 and replaced it with a complicated scheme that boils down to inadequate funding.

The “flexibility” that resulted is a euphemism for medically ill-advised cuts based not on medical necessity but on too little money to continue delivering the truly remarkable health care Canadians and the medical professionals who delivered it previously enjoyed.

Second, one in five dollars spent in B.C. is spent on rent, and the operating profit margin of the real estate rental and leasing sector is more than 45 per cent, dwarfing all other sectors of B.C.’s economy. Canadian homeowner mortgages amount to more than Canada’s GDP.

This plunder of the productive economy of B.C. by rent-seekers, and the enormous share of B.C.’s GDP that ­homeowners are paying to service their mortgage debt, is justified by appeals to “Economics 101: Supply and Demand” while conveniently overlooking the destructive effects on society of ­economic rent extraction (profit in no way limited by costs), which the ­defunding of B.C.’s health-care system epitomizes.

Bill Appledorf


If city wants revenue, it’s best to allow parking

Eliminating parking anywhere around Wharf Street will just make it more awkward for customers of the local eateries to drive to a parking space farther away.

Green space doesn’t bring in revenue to the city, cars do.

For my dollar, keep the parking and let me enjoy the harbour view while I drive along Wharf Street.

Colin Cameron

James Bay

Adding perspective to China’s housing costs

According to a recent letter to the editor, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in China is $619. Let’s assume this figure is in Canadian dollars. The writer cites China’s “stupendous” economic system among the reasons for this seemingly modest level of rent.

The International Monetary Fund estimates China’s per capita average monthly income at $1,544 in 2023, measured in Canadian currency. Rent at $619 per month will eat up 40 per cent of this income.

The comparable numbers for average income and rent levels in Canada are $5,930 and $1,811, respectively. In this case, rent will consume about 31 per cent of income.

As with most things in life, perspective matters.

Judith Dwarkin

Cordova Bay

Stop the loss of old‑growth forests

I applaud the B.C. government’s support for trying to reverse the pending extinction of spotted owls through breeding programs and rewilding efforts.

However, it seems nonsensical for the same government to issue logging permits to cut down the very habitat on which these endangered birds depend for survival.

For too long, logging interests have driven land management decisions in B.C. With 1,900 species at risk due to habitat loss, the provincial government must do everything it can to stop the loss of old-growth forest habitat immediately, and permanently.

Since about 20 per cent of B.C. forests are managed through the province’s Crown corporation, B.C. Timber Sales, why not start with an immediate moratorium on those old-growth and older second-growth forests within BCTS control?

Why is it so easy to find billions in subsidies for LNG, pipeline and fracking projects which the premier has declared incompatible with climate stabilization, and so hard to find the courage and funds to halt deforestation and support afforestation which the IPCC has declared the second best way, after wind and solar energy projects, to bend the curve on GHGs?

Why not lead for a change, instead of being dragged kicking and screaming to implement the measures on which you have campaigned and the values you so often have claimed to cherish?

Who knows? You may even be able to win another election rather than be relegated to the dustbin of governments who “unduly” chose to let corporate greed overwhelm the environment, biodiversity, and the chance to pass a “Supernatural B.C.” to future generations.

Bill Johnston


Please, restore our access to Stadacona Park

As I cycled along Pandora Avenue, adjacent to Stadacona Park, I was surprised to see fencing, apparently installed to deter “campers” from interfering with the installation of a new (unbelievably expensive) play area.

Our family have lived in the neighbourhood for 45 years. Formerly, especially with our young children, we made enjoyable use of the park and appreciated the continuing maintenance by city workers.

The city-wide park maintenance continues and is much appreciated, but current parents of young children stay away from Stadacona due to an endemic of “campers” in the park.

Needles, human excrement and aggressive/erratic behaviour have cast a pall over Stadacona and other city parks, despite “rules” designed to contain said activity.

Personally, I make a point of transiting the park at every opportunity: “use it or lose it”, is my city park motto. But I am a type Alpha male.

A new footpath with lighting and recent new signage in Stadacona is much appreciated, but does nothing to address the current situation.

As a homeowning taxpayer (just got a bill for almost $5,000) I support the cost to properly, appropriately and inclusively, maintain the city parks, etc.

Paradoxically, in future, we will be able to enjoy Stadacona Park and the new (inordinately expensive) play area with our grandchildren and other grand/other kids, if only the “campers” were not there.

No amount of window dressing will resurrect a former community resource. Something needs to be done, to coin a phrase. The current arrangement does not work for those who pay the bills.

The federal, provincial and municipal (to a lesser extent), authorities have abdicated responsibility for all aspects of mental health, no matter the cause.

We would like to have our park back for the enjoyment of all community ­members: homeowners, renters, transients, maybe even with people experiencing bouts of mental health and the like.

Mark Bateman


Not a friendly city for business or tourists

It’s been a slow rumble but now it’s official. Victoria is not business friendly, not car friendly, not tourist friendly either. Allow me to explain.

Not business friendly:

How can you run a successful business when there’s tenting outside your business premises? Better yet, how do you handle deliveries if the only access to your business loading door has been cut off? You pay hefty business licence fees to operate only to find out that the city is making your business harder to operate.

Not car friendly:

Most urban planners look for efficient traffic flows and minimization of congestion. In Victoria, we look for how best to congest traffic in downtown. We add bike lanes to the busiest vehicle traffic corridors, because mixing cars and bikes is safe by design.

Never mind there are quiet corridors across Victoria where you could close the entire road to only bicycle traffic without impacting any arterial vehicle routes.

Not tourist friendly:

In Victoria, driving to patronize your favorite business is a punishable act. Victoria will ticket when you pay for parking and will look for any excuse to remind you vehicles are not to be brought to the city.

Don’t forget about the unnecessary expenditure of public funds without prior consultation, for example turning Clover Point from a place for all to use to a place where only an exclusive few can.

How do you explain removing access to one of the most scenic views in the city, which was already accessible by bike, bus, car, walk, horse and carriage, and turn it into a space that hardly gets 20 per cent use and call that a good use of tax dollars?

But in Victoria, who needs sound logic in municipal planning? The will of a few will do.

The next election can’t come soon enough. A mid-term election would be a welcome respite.

Tony Bull



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