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Letters April 15: Dental plan is kick in the teeth; where carbon tax money should go

A dentist works on a patient’s teeth. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Canada’s new dental plan is a kick in the teeth

Apparently 1.7 million uninsured seniors have registered for Canada’s new multi-billion dollar dental benefit plan billed as “free.”

Designed to cover oral health care for those with an annual household income of under $70,000, it’s set to begin in early May for those aged 70 plus.

The reality is that it’s like pulling teeth to get any details about what’s covered in this plan from either the government or any of the 30,500 dental care professionals in this country.

A modest-income pensioner, I’ve paid visits to two dentists in the first four months of this year, (one a general practice dentist and the other a periodontist). Neither intend to sign up for the new program. The result — I’m still expected to pay a thousand dollars or more annually in out-of-pocket expenses for dental care.

It seems 61 per cent of dentists surveyed last month by their provincial associations indicated that they will not sign contractual agreements with the government’s new dental insurance plan.

Apparently the new program covers only some types of dental work and reimburses dental health care providers at a lower rate than fees recommended by the various dental associations. To top it all off, the 2024 Canadian Dental Care Plan guide still hasn’t been published.

I can only conclude that the Liberal government and their NDP allies have bitten off more than they can chew. Clearly, their dental plan is an ill-conceived plan without any teeth. May the Force of the Fangs be with you evermore.

Victoria Adams


Follow the U.S. lead with council pay raises

Victoria councillors have voted to ask the province to relieve councillors of the burden of deciding their rate of pay. This will surely require more surveys and studies and consultations.

There is a quicker and simpler way to end the hand-wringing that usually accompanies this exercise. It is the most recent amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1992, concerning the payment of senators and members of the House of Representatives.

This is the full text of the 27th amendment: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

It doesn’t get simpler than that. I don’t think we should follow the American example in many ways, but this one is a beacon of clarity and fairness.

It doesn’t matter whether the pay is set by elected officials, a special commission, a court of law, or throwing a dart at a list of numbers; the new rate of pay comes into effect after the next election.

There’s one part of this we should not emulate. The U.S. Congress took more than 202 years to ratify this amendment. That is a record for amendments, ahead of the runner-up (behind, actually) by more than 199 years.

I hope the city and province can do better than that.

George Jamieson


More thoughts to ponder about Victoria

I wonder why city planners are laying down high concrete curbs for bicyclists along perfectly good roadways, so traffic would be totally snarled for emergency vehicles to proceed if an earthquake or disaster did hit.

And why we don’t use reflective paint on the roads to make lanes visible during a rainstorm at night?

Why are cute little concrete medians are installed between lanes, when a wider lane here and there would be safer?

Why do bicycle lanes just suddenly end, or just suddenly begin on a whim on some roads? Why are new curbs along bicycle lanes not all rolled?

Why are there so many potholes? Why does a parked vehicle get ticketed because the bumper is one foot over a red or yellow painted curb?

Why can a neighbour build a sixplex beside houses that have been in a single-family residential area for 60 years and there is already not enough parking.

So many things to wonder about.

Shirley McGowan


Just put the carbon tax revenue into general accounts

Whomever designed the carbon tax made one error or two.

First, the carbon tax should be one way, with no returns to the taxpayers. The tax money should go into the government banks to pay down the debt which is huge.

Just administrating the return cheques is a huge cost to us taxpayers, yes we pay for that, maybe $10-15 per cheque or more. Why was the tax designed with a small return cheque?

This makes the person receiving the cheque “feel” that we are getting something for nothing from the government, so now we should vote for that party, to keep getting more money from the government.

The return money was a selling point for the government to ease us into accepting the tax and still vote for them.

I believe many Canadians would accept the tax if it only went to pay down the debt and not employ hundreds to administrate the sending of cheques to make us feel good.

We are not that stupid, are we?

J.I. Hansen

North Saanich

Beware those unintended consequences

The NDP government’s legislation to “allow arrest for school disruptions” may have unintended consequences adversely impacting their union supporters.

How will the legislation be applied if teachers and/or support unions impede public access to schools or create other disruptions, in connection with a legal strike or illegal wildcat walkout?

Don Graham


Thanks for the flowers, Saanich parks employees

Many thanks to Saanich parks workers’ thoughtfulness. The other day when I was at the Cedar Hill rec centre I discovered that outside the front door there was a very large bucket of water, chockablock full of daffodils for the taking, cut during the course of their gardening workday.

I came home with my bicycle laden and had hardly made a dent in the big yellow ball of sunshine.

So I thank you for making this old duck very happy!

Anne (Hertzberg) Christensen


Let school buses block more lanes of the road

Is it not possible for bus drivers to stop and position the school bus diagonally on two-lane roads to block both sides while students disembark safely off the bus?

I believe it can be done easily enough to allow the driver to carry on to the next stop without too much traffic disruption.

Whether or not they could get an exemption from regulations that restrict the legality of it, I think it seems like a simple solution to keep the children safe.

Norm Kemp


Retired doctor praises Royal Jubilee Hospital

I am a retired family doctor. I was recently admitted by ambulance to the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

From the emergency responders to the hospital staff (nurses, doctors, porter, aides) my care was far above my expectations. The health-care system at the Jubilee is alive and well.

Staff are compassionate and friendly. The treatment was thoughtful and prompt.

Thanks to all the health-care workers at the Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.

Suzanne Longpre


B.C.’s medical system needs to be fixed

On March 7, I suffered intense pain and difficulty breathing. I called 911 and I was taken by ambulance to the Royal Jubilee Hospital where I was admitted.

Comprehensive diagnostics were carried out, and it was decided there would be surgery. I was informed that the procedure would take place on March 19, or possibly March 20, 21, 22 or 23, or finally March 24.

On March 24, while waiting for surgery, I was informed that it would not take place that day. I was rebooked for March 27. At the scheduled time, I was told that it was delayed; again it was eventually cancelled. Finally, it was slated for March 29.

The surgery occurred on March 29 and I was discharged on April 1. I was at the hospital for 24 days for a procedure that typically requires a short time in the hospital.

I understand the problem was the access to the operating rooms and availability of personnel, that there are simply not enough operating rooms or staff to satisfy the surgical requirements.

I am thankful to the hospital staff who do a superb job under very difficult conditions. I am grateful to the exceptional doctors, nurses and assistants who go above and beyond to ensure the well-being of patients and make do with the available resources.

However, there must be better ways to administer our precious and limited medical system. There must be sufficient and necessary funding provided so that our medical system will be available to all in their critical medical needs in a timely manner.

Roger Cyr



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