Health-care campaigns and the single-payer idea

Re: “Hospitals Foundation sets $11M goal for medical imaging machines,” Oct. 5.

Congratulations to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for all that they, their board members, employees and donors will do in support of this campaign.

The medical director of Island Health is quoted as saying that “upgrading three MRI machines is the most cost-effective way to improve what the health-care system can offer.”

If this is so, why is the essential investment not funded within our much-defended single-payer system?

Without the tireless work of the hospital foundation, B.C. Cancer Foundation and hundreds of other health-related charities, supported by generous donors, and federal transfers through CRA tax receipts, our health-care system would collapse, almost overnight.

Let me add my voice to those calling for a fundamental rethink of our single-payer system, which isn’t.

John Treleaven


Doctors are determined to provide the best care

Re: “Don’t doubt the value of nurse practitioners,” letter, Oct. 5.

I “humbly” agree (implicitly) with the main point of this opinion piece.

Unfortunately the last paragraph, about doctors wanting to cement their authority and privilege, has little, if any, reality in today’s world.

There is no position or privilege for any active, practising physician in today’s bloated medical “hierarchy.” Nor is meaningful input readily available.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that many doctors are cemented in their concern to provide high quality care to their patients.

Ron Irish

Retired physician

North Saanich

Fining B.C. Ferries? It’s an April Fools’ joke

The news that the B.C. government will start fining B.C. Ferries for missed sailings sounded like a serious, if counterproductive, plan till they revealed the implementation date.

This ludicrous scheme is to start on April Fools’ Day 2024.

That puts the whole scheme into prospective — it’s a joke.

S.I. Petersen


Consider these changes for B.C. Ferries

Another hysterical day in B.C. By hysterical I mean just that, not funny.

Fine B.C. Ferries for cancelling ferries due to staff shortages, weather, mechanical issues, whatever is harebrained and ridiculous. Who pays?

The taxpayers, who also fund the ferries and the cost overruns and the infusion of emergency funds. Folks, there is no magical money tree!

Some ideas:

1. Cancel free ferries for seniors. Yes, I know lots of outrage but truly what is the true cost of this perk? At the very least charge half. Let’s see some numbers.

2. Charge full fare for vacation property owners on all small island ferries. If you don’t live on the island why should you pay only half the fare by using the B.C. Experience Card?

Surely this perk was meant for those who actually live full-time on a small island, including renters. If vacation property owners and tourists can get half fare why can’t I get half fare to and from Vancouver Island since I’m a permanent and long-lived resident?

3. Priority and free travel for those needing ferry transport for medical reasons!

Ann Wilmut

A senior and a Vancouver Island resident for 52 years


Let’s provide freedom for the next generation

Growing up in the city, dealing with the odd shady person or drug addict, has to be an expectation and should be accepted as part of normal life in Victoria, but there should be a limit to these expectations.

When I was a kid it was commonplace for parents to tell their children, “Watch out for needles!” before letting them run around in community parks.

Knowing nothing else, I always accepted this as a normal part of being out in public. As I got older my perspective on the issue changed and I realized how problematic that actually is for my generation.

Children in Victoria are growing up and learning that parks are no longer a place where they want to hang out. The youth of Victoria require a safe outdoor environment if they are ever reasonably expected to go outside and be active.

My parents tell stories of their youth as a time when children explored their community freely and without fear.

I’d like to see the next generation once again be able to experience that same freedom that I missed out on, but it doesn’t seem to be trending in that direction.

Victoria has the responsibility to take care of all its citizens, even the ones who can’t express their views.

Maxwell Mingo


Performing arts centre? It’s not a new idea

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The two recent letters regarding development (or the lack of) at Ogden Point brought back memories.

On the Comment page on Sept. 3, 2004, my appeared with the headline: “A whale of an idea for Inner Harbour.”

My letter suggested that instead of a parking lot, a performing arts centre in the shape of an Orca Whale should be built.

Isn’t it remarkable that more than 19 years later, two more letters on the same subject were printed.

One has to smile ruefully.

Margaret Spark

James Bay

In praise of ideas and ‘all my relations’

The letters on Tuesday, Oct. 3 were a particularly rich offering.

Architect Terence Williams proposed the Oslo Opera House as an inspirational model of what we might achieve as a performing arts centre at Ship Point.

Retired transportation planner Chris Foord recommended solving numerous major problems by moving the Trans-Canada Highway that traverses Goldstream Provincial Park “farther uphill into the Goldstream watershed and continue the alignment west of Shawnigan Lake and into the Cowichan Valley north of Duncan.”

Rennie Warburton advocated adding a statement of commitment to the customary acknowledgement at public gatherings of the Indigenous lands upon which these events occur.

Finally, in contrast to the others, the author of “The goal is nirvana, but the result is slavery” compares columnist Trevor Hancock to Lenin and Stalin for championing “a great turnaround in societal values.”

Given the worsening climate crisis and other challenges arising from our behaviour, I’d like to marry the worthy goals of Hancock and Warburton.

“All my relations” is a statement of belief used by many, if not all, First Nations across British Columbia, Canada and beyond. It’s a statement that blankets individuals, families and communities, ancestors and descendants, all the creatures with whom we share the planet, as well as the entire natural world and the spirit world beyond.

Those three words sit out beyond economic systems and, in a gorgeous phrase, capture a philosophy and perspective very different to the prevailing one that is increasingly threatening to choke life from our civilization.

Patrick Wolfe


Recreation facilities have space for housing

The politicians that believe golf courses should be closed down and the land used for housing should also look at other sources of land.

How about closing the arenas, fitness centres, rec centres, parks, walking trails etc. and using that land for housing.

Seems fair to me.

I’m sure that would go over real well.

Mike Briggs


Those without homes have nowhere to go

I regularly see rants on social media pertaining to homeless people sleeping in businesses’ doorways, from owners wondering what the solution is.

Well, it definitely isn’t displacing people to nowhere.

If the latest motions pass, there will be only three parks left in Victoria where the unhoused can camp: Pemberton Park, Gonzales Park and Oaklands Park.

You may be forgiven not to even know where these are located. At the current trend, there will soon be none left. Not that it would make a difference, since these parks are so remote as to be inaccessible to those with limited mobility or reliant on community centres and harm reduction resources.

With one hand, city council bars sheltering at virtually every park in town, while with the other hand it denies the unhoused the shelter space they desperately need.

The city “failed” to open emergency weather response shelters last winter, and set itself to fail again this winter by procrastinating until there isn’t enough time left to meet the Nov. 1 deadline.

The motion to open seasonal shelters this winter, already introduced late, and there is no way the city can conduct negotiations with B.C. Housing and the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region, assign spaces, and hire staff in just four weeks.

This is premeditated failure, meant to circumvent court rulings affirming the right to shelter under Article 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by constructively encroaching upon the homeless’ vital space until there is none left. This is why they sleep in your doorways.

Martin Girard



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