Letters from our readers. Today’s topics: the housing crisis, the family doctor shortage and those Dallas Road dog park changes
When all else fails, let’s try talking
I’m irritated about everything. The recent news seems to be concentrated on our medical workers, our bicycle lanes and lack of student and affordable housing.
1. What about letting more foreign qualified medical workers come to assist those who need help here? As another letter said, what is so special about our Canadian bodies that someone qualified in another country would be unable to treat?
2. What if bicycle owners are asked to pay for a licence? They would then be contributing to the roads and their bicycle lanes, like car drivers do already.
3. What if the university spent more on housing their students by building on their own land and building above their parking lots? Or, maybe don’t enrol people until you know they have somewhere to live.
I am just another annoying person who lived in rented rooms and apartments for years until I could pay my mortgage by doing three jobs.
Of course I was basically uneducated so I was not afraid to do some pretty humble jobs, jobs where I met some amazing people who taught me so much about how to live in Canada.
As I said, I am irritated about everything at the moment, but know that there is usually a solution to every problem: It just takes people talking humbly and respectfully with each other.
BCGEU wants what pensioners have
The Raeside cartoon comparing what the BCGEU workers are bargaining for and the suggested plight of Old Age Pensioners is ironic because what the members of BCGEU are striking over is what pensioners have been receiving since 1972. Having the cost of living allowances protected has been one of their top priorities for this round of bargaining.
The irony is that as a pensioner myself, my Old Age Security has been fully indexed to the cost of living since 1972 and my CPP since 1974. In fact, based on the Consumer Price Index, I have received 1.9%, 1.0% and 2.7% over the past three years.
In addition to this, my Old Age Security increased by 2.8% for this July to September quarter. My husband, who is over 75, received an additional 10% increase.
All of this just arrived in our bank accounts without us even asking for it. No bargaining or striking required.
So, the old person in the cartoon is actually much better off because she has received automatically, since 1972, what the members of the BCGEU are asking for now.
These are the workers who keep our economy going. They are the ones who continue to pay into our pension plans and they need to be treated fairly with wages that keep up with inflation and the cost of living, just as those of us who are on “fixed” incomes do.
The fact that these workers have to strike to make their positions clear is the fault of the government, not the workers. Our workers need to make enough money to lead healthy lives, so that we can too.
Students need housing, offices need tenants
The letter suggesting housing students in vacant office space was brilliant.
As the writer said: electricity, Wi-Fi, shared washrooms, office furniture. Just add a microwave and a used bar fridge and they’re good to go. Public transit, fast food, downtown amenities are all close by.
Definitely worth checking out.
With health care, money cannot buy more time
Re: “$118 million in temporary funding to offset family doctors’ costs,” Aug. 25.
Is this the solution? It is welcome news to help family doctors with temporary funding to offset operational costs. However, is this the root cause of the shortage of family physicians?
First of all, every physician, whether a specialist or family practitioner, is not an expert in administration and paperwork. Their job is to provide a patient medical diagnosis and treatments, and they should be left to do that solely.
What the government needs to do is to create a public service agency to run family practice clinics for doctors (like a public-private partnership) and let the physicians provide expertise in the medical profession, which they excel at, and the government agency to provide clinical operation and administration.
Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement of $118 million may not go far in setting up new family-practice physicians, but these funds can help in hiring a lot of trained office staff and administrators to run the clinics on behalf of the physicians.
Therefore, the money provided to physicians for operational costs should be used to run the operations on their behalf. It is easy to train clinical administrators and office staff in a short period of time and set them up to help doctors than to train new physicians.
This will relieve pressure on doctors to process paperwork, hiring and training staff, and leave them to practise patient medicine only. The good old basic economics of division of labour is needed. It will save time and money.
No matter which payment model is adopted, there will only be 24 hours in a day and money cannot buy more time. It is time to think “outside the box” for both government and Doctors of B.C. and attract more family practitioner physicians with better work/life balance and less burnout.
About those Dallas Road dog park downgrades
Recently signage was posted at the Dallas Road dog park informing people of dogs being banned from the current pedestrian path and a fence installation.
It is apparent the city did not survey or consult users of the park beforehand or they would have found this to be overwhelmingly unwanted.
Still, one must ask: What might the justification be?
If the issue is pedestrian convenience, well, the city just completed a pedestrian shared path along all of Dallas Road.
If the issue is the environment, well, a fence is a permanent structure that will interfere with wildlife. It will also drive people onto the grassy areas that will exacerbate the already bad erosion.
If the issue is esthetic, well, two fences stand on the perimeter. A third through the middle, you can imagine, will be an eyesore destroying the landscape for photos and tourism.
If the issue is public safety, well, I haven’t heard of any attacks.
On the point of safety, however, what about dog safety?
Being forced away from tree coverage, dogs will lose shade to play and rest in during hot days. Furthermore, the city has done nothing to control the known issue of speargrass in the park.
The biggest issue, however, is compliance. Since it can’t be enforced reliably, people are not going to adhere to this separation. Therefore, we will end up with a useless fence that only separates people from the joy of interacting with man’s best friend and each other.
An enemy we know behind these crises
It’s a fundamental human trait to blame our political leaders with everything that’s wrong with the world. But when all is said and done, we all share part of the responsibility for the current state of affairs we find ourselves in. The wealth and strength of the nation depends on our vices, not on our virtues.
If everyone suddenly became honest, criminal lawyers and judges would be out of a job. The police force would be reduced and prisons would be a thing of the past.
If we obeyed the rules of the road and drove defensively like we are supposed to do, ICBC claims would be reduced by a sizable amount.
If men and women stopped drinking alcohol, ate better and then only as much as they require, the health-care system would have a surplus of doctors. We live on a quarter of what we eat, doctors make their living on the rest.
Economics is a tricky thing. It’s extremely complicated. If consumers stopped buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have, it would curb inflation and reduce human-caused climate change.
Businesses would go bankrupt and workers would be thrown out of work. We would have an economic crisis. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
As Walt Kelly’s old Pogo quip goes: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Consider what it was like for a boy in Tokyo
A letter-writer’s heartfelt story of the fear he experienced as a Grade 6 student at Cedar Hill Elementary school during the Second World War, having to learn how to extinguish incendiary bombs, offered a compelling lesson about the horrors of war.
I wonder if that writer has given a thought to his counterpart in an elementary school in Tokyo.
On the night of March 9-10, 1945, that 12-year-old stood guard to try to put out the fires caused by more than 300 U.S. Air Force bombers dropping 1,665 tons of bombs. Most of them were incendiary explosives spewing flaming napalm. The resulting firestorm consumed 10,000 acres of the city centre.
Unlike our Victoria lad, his Japanese twin did not survive to record his experience. He was incinerated, along with 100,000 other Tokyo residents, in the single most destructive bombing assault in human history.
Night after night through the first half of 1945, the U.S. Air Force poured hell onto Japan, killing more than one million people inhabiting what American strategists already in 1936 had identified as Japan’s highly vulnerable “wood and paper” cities.
Before the atomic bombs were used in August 1945, America’s comprehensive interception and decoding of Japanese telecommunications confirmed that even the most militarist Japanese zealot was ready to surrender.
The subjective experience of survivors has formed a common theme in several submissions on this subject. One would hope that along with the good fortune to live decades might come the wisdom to recognize the gruesome ordeal of the millions whose lives were callously cut short.
Buying prestige at taxpayers’ expense
Several universities across the country receive donations in various forms from the fossil fuel industry. These range from research grants and scholarships to funding a chair, all named after the corporation and endowing them with a credibility that is ill-deserved.
This types of donations allow these companies to greenwash their images and wrap themselves in prestige while they continue to spend billions in new fossil fuel projects despite the scientific evidence of their massive impact on climate change. It must stop.
Cambridge University has decided to no longer accept donations of any kind from the fossil fuel industry. Many institutions across the globe and in our own country have divested from the fossil fuel industry in their pension plans. However, much more needs to be done.
It it well known that our institutions of higher learning are pressed for money. Without these donations some worthwhile research projects would not get done or deserving scholars would not receive funding support. What to do?
The irony of the recognition that the fossil fuel industry receives from donations to institutes of higher learning is that at the same time, they receive billions in various subsidies from the federal and provincial governments, compliments of taxpayers.
A 2021 Canadian report estimated these subsidies and other forms of financial support together amounted to nearly $18 billion in 2020.
Would our governments not do better just to stop the subsidies and corporate handouts and direct more money to our colleges and universities?
Shirley A. McBride
Find another spot for homeless camps
Why do we allow the homeless to squat anywhere they please on very expensive retail business storefronts?
Homelessness is a problem, but it shouldn’t affect the taxpaying businesses in the area. Why are we creating a downtown slum? We have one problem (homelessness) and create another by destroying retail establishments and negatively affecting tourism.
Sure, the homeless need somewhere to live, just not in the most expensive location in the entire city.
Let’s move these unfortunates to the cheapest location in the area. Are we creating a slum? Yes, at least it is not affecting the retail/ tourist industry. Let’s deal with one problem, not two.
There are plenty of organizations that will travel to this location and provide food, clothing, etc. Allowing these people to destroy the downtown is insanity.
Douglas A. Smith
I live for today — so am I a bad human?
This letter is bound to get some negative reactions, but I can no longer keep my secret regarding the environment and its pseudo-stewards trying to profit from interfering in everybody’s affairs.
I don’t care about future generations and I highly doubt the generations that came before me had any regard for mine.
How could they? We didn’t exist and they were busy with their own daily struggles, trying to get by and live a decent life. That’s what is preoccupying me and I’m sure many others.
Life. This life. Not the future lives of people — they can deal with that. I’ll be dead and so will anyone reading this.
Now that I got that off my chest and sound like a terrible and selfish human, I’ll describe the positive things I do.
I always remove plastic from the beach and ocean. I recycle when it makes sense. I don’t kill anything I’m not going to eat.
I have a reusable water bottle and never buy water in a plastic bottle. I try not to waste food. I support investment in renewable energy, but realize we aren’t getting off fossil fuels in my lifetime.
I keep water out for the birds during dry times and food out for them in winter. I detest any form of racism. I hold doors open for people and try to always be polite in conversation.
I try to be a helpful and generous person to those I share the planet with at this point — but I won’t pretend to care about the future any more than I would about the past. Now is all we have.
C. Scott Stofer
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