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Letters Feb. 8: Private vs. public health care; the dangers of decriminalizing deadly drugs

Dr. Brian Day, right, and nursing staff perform knee surgery in Day's private Cambie Street Surgery Centre in Vancouver in 2005. A letter-writer suggests private clinics have no place in a single-payer public health system. MARK VAN MANEN, VANCOUVER SUN

Family doctors versus private surgery clinics

Primary care delivery in B.C. having been structured with overly burdened family doctors running small businesses on a shoestring is not an argument for outsourcing surgery to for-profit clinics for the benefit of faceless investors and spending half of their incomes on marketing and executive salaries.

Everyone is screaming overhead: waste, fraud and abuse. And yet precious health-care dollars being spent on glossy brochures touting the advantages of one for-profit surgery clinic over another is being sold as somehow ameliorating B.C.’s health-care crisis.

Surgery clinics marketed like day spas for the luxury demographic and paying lavish salaries to CEOs whose specialty is golf have no place in a single-payer health-care system.

Bill Appledorf


Physicians schedule their own hours

Re: “Island Health putting pressure on doctors,” letter, Feb. 6.

The physician schedule for emergency on-call coverage at the Port Hardy and Port McNeill hospitals is determined by the physicians working at the sites. Physicians self-schedule coverage and then share the emergency on-call schedules with Island Health.

Any opportunity to work with physicians on a different schedule that continues to support patient needs is welcomed by Island Health, so that physician and operational capacity can be matched.

At Island Health, our focus remains on stabilizing health-care services in the North Island through the commitments recently announced by the Ministry of Health, to build a foundation for the future.

We are committed to do this working collaboratively with all of our partners — including the local physician community.

This is what North Island patients and communities, and our care teams, need and deserve.

Dr. Ben Williams

VP and Chief Medical Officer for Island Health

Saanich, be consistent in enforcing bylaws

I certainly sympathize with people who feel uncomfortable with dogs in parks. I too have seen untrained dogs running uncontrolled in parks.

However this, in my experience, is exceptional rather than common and I have never had a negative encounter with a dog. Sadly, the same can not always be said about their owners and other park users.

As an avid walker, what is much more concerning to me is my walk to the park (or other destination). I regularly have to navigate overgrown sidewalks and boulevards obstructed by vehicles, fences, hedges and other landscaping.

While there are bylaws designed to control these obstructions, enforcement is arbitrary and in some cases violations are actually sanctioned by the municipality.

How many taxpayers in Saanich are aware that bylaw enforcement officers (with a base salary of about $80,000) are not actually required to enforce bylaws?

Enforcement is entirely at their discretion, while at the same time meant to be consistent and fair. Enforcement is complaint based, requiring neighbours to complain about neighbours. As a result, many people, fearing retaliation from their neighbours or even the bylaw department itself, choose not to complain.

Saanich does not need more bylaws. They already exist.

What Saanich needs is proper, consistent and effective bylaw enforcement supported by an amended enforcement policy that respects the rule of law and treats all residents with equality and respect.

David Kerr


Work together to enjoy the parks in Saanich

Re: “Saanich seeks more input on dogs in parks,” Jan. 28.

I’m an off-leash dog supporter and nature-lover. I believe that dogs and their owners need trails and space to get adequate exercise for both. Sadly, those areas are disappearing.

Saanich has more than 170 parks, most of which are small green spaces in neighbourhoods, sports fields or gardens. Definitely not ideal spaces for walking, running or hiking any distance.

More than 60 per cent of Saanich parks have at least some dog restrictions. That leaves P’kols (Mount Doug) the only area left of decent size for those people to enjoy off-leash of any distance.

I have been a dog owner and Saanich resident using P’kols to run, hike and walk for almost 30 years. I have rarely seen any major issues in this park between other dogs and people.

That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. As dog owners we also need to be respectful to others, to others with dogs on leash and to the parks themselves.

We need education before legislation. Let’s co-operate, communicate and come together for a solution that works for the majority, not the minority.

Trish Fougner


Decriminalization of drugs is dangerous

The decriminalization of the possession of 2.5 grams of illegal drugs is a prime example of the old adage: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The lethal dose of heroin is 0.03 g, so 2.5 g of heroin is enough to kill 80 people. The lethal dose of fentanyl is 0.003 g, so 2.5 g is enough to kill 800 people!

The police are not allowed to seize the drugs, if under 2.5 g. What happens if the police officer hands back the drugs? A person consumes those drugs and dies.

Who is responsible for the death, legally or morally? The prime minister and premier, or the police officer or perhaps we, the citizens, who have failed to protest this harmful law?

Kenneth Mintz



• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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