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Letters June 15: Charge protesters who block highways; what happens to patient records when a doctor retires

Victoria police arrest Save Old Growth protesters at the corner of Douglas Street and Burnside Roads, where they blocked all southbound traffic on Jan. 10. A letter-writer says there is no legal reason why protesters should not be charged for obstructing a public highway. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

When the highway is blocked, press charges

Why are protesters who block highways not being charged?

Section 423 (1) (g) of the Criminal Code of Canada is unequivocal. Blocking or obstructing a highway (defined as “a road to which the public has the right of access, and includes bridges over which or tunnels through which a road passes”) for the purpose of compelling another person to abstain from doing anything he has a lawful right to do, is an offence.

There may be political reasons for not charging protesters, but there is no legal reason for giving them a pass.

Robert Reimer, lawyer

Patient records in private hands

A million British Columbia residents have lost their family doctor. Most of them are still without a replacement and most will never have one again.

My focus here is on the patient records that were kept by their doctors. These were entered and stored in an electronic, searchable, database format as prescribed by the Health Ministry.

After a doctor left a practice, these records were made available to former patients through non-medical, private contractors. Mine ended up with a company in Ontario. (These are private, patient, medical records, it should be emphasized here.)

To get a copy, I had to agree to have the company violate my patient confidentiality rights by viewing them and pay a (small) ransom as well. I am assuming that most of British Columbia’s medical orphans had to do the same. I believe this situation seriously violated our patient-privacy rights.

A more important set of questions arises at this point: Where are the original, electronic records? Do the doctors still have them? Does the ministry have them stored? Have they been destroyed? Do the private companies have them?

The PDF copies provided to the patients-without-doctors are in an ugly, screen-shot format that is useless to the medical system in British Columbia. No medical provider will agree to use them.

Not only have patients like me lost the continuity of having a family doctor, but the continuity of our records (mine covered 30-plus years) is gone as well. I think we are owed an explanation.

Barry Carlson

We’re leaving the dying to the Ukrainians

Rather than boasting about weapons that will be delivered some day, Canada and other NATO allies should focus their efforts on getting the equipment needed to the front line without delay and should guarantee regular supplies of ammunition.

It is important to remember that attacking forces take three times as many casualties as defending forces, and allowing Russia to continue taking Ukrainian territory will mean continued heavy loss of life in the Ukraine armed forces if they are to win back occupied land.

With Russia and China signing an unlimited support agreement in the same month the war started, there is no doubt that the risk to Canada, NATO and the world comes from both Russia and China.

Russia must be prevented from benefiting from this brazen imperialism, or the invasion of Ukraine will serve as a model for future global attacks by Russia and China.

We must recognize that, despite comments to the contrary, Canadians are not standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians — we are leaving the dying to them.

Since we are paying only with money, and denying Russia a victory is essential to our own safety, we should provide them with a commitment to supply weapons and ammunition at a rate that will meet their future needs and encourage NATO to do the same.

Just-in-time delivery is even a worse idea in a war than in a pandemic.

Aidan Byrne

After leaving Victoria, problems in Sidney

We moved to Sidney from downtown Victoria eight months ago.

We had spent 30-plus years living there and saw a very pleasant, peaceful area slowly turned into a dangerous slum by the unchecked proliferation of the homeless.

True, there are some homeless that are there by no fault of their own, but we have found that the vast majority are addicts or just plain bums. Wherever they congregate, crime and destruction follows. We have seen and experienced it first-hand. It is real.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve noticed an increase in the obviously strung-out street bums on Beacon Avenue in Sidney. We’ve also noticed an increase in tagging (not to be confused with semi-respectable graffiti).

If this is left unchecked, the problem is sure to grow. Hopefully we have not spent a large amount of time and money moving to Sidney only to have the problem follow us.

Denis and Yolanda Corbett

Crisis in health care means long hospital waits

As a cancer patient, undergoing weekly chemotherapy, I require weekly blood tests. The blood work must be done at a hospital to get timely results to my oncologist.

Appointments are unavailable. I was advised to go to Royal Jubilee Hospital at 7 a.m. and I would be “fitted in.” I was fitted in, as an urgent cancer patient, after a 3.5-hour wait!

I get up at 5:30 a.m. every Tuesday, drink a glass of juice and drive to RJH. By 6:15 I am in line with many other people hoping to get blood work done. A text line opens at 6:30 a.m. to assign numbers to waiting patients.

I recently felt quite sick (due to chemo) as I stood in the lobby for 45 minutes until the lab opened at 7. Within a few minutes of opening, patients were being told the wait would be three or four hours.

This system is broken. Technicians who draw blood do the clerical work to register patients. This is a task more appropriately done by clerical staff. Doing so would free the technicians to focus on drawing blood.

Sick people are waiting hours to have essential blood work done. The staff are overworked and stressed. I witnessed a little old lady bent over her walker being told to come back in four hours. She simply said “Thank you” and left.

What kind of health-care system is that?

Patricia Haakonson

Interchange needed at Island View Road

Re: “Keating flyover cost estimated at $76.8M, up 73% since 2019,” June 4.

The Keating flyover project needs to go back to the drawing board. It does not address the need for traffic to travel to and from Sidney/North Saanich.

$76.8 million will be spent and commercial trucks will still be passing directly in front of an elementary school and down the dangerously narrow Saanich Crossing Road. Why would we spend nearly $100 million to build a flyover that only addresses half of the problem?

In 10 years we are going to be building another interchange at Island View Road to address this. Let’s just do it properly the first time.

Michael Greig
Central Saanich

Plenty of housing in Saanich suites

There is no accommodation shortage in Saanich. A stroke of a pen that could open up hundreds upon hundreds of suites.

Housing in Broadmead includes 1,200 single family homes; most have suites that were purpose-built, fully compliant. Saanich issued building permits for occupancy of those secondary accommodations.

But here’s the insane part. There are no legal rentals allowed. It’s a condition on an antiquated building scheme from the 1970s. If one was to presume that say 80 per cent of those 1,200 single family homes have secondary accommodation and 80 per cent of those suites are vacant, that’s potentially 750-plus empty suites.

Those 750 suites could be opened up to young families and local workers, which then would open up accommodation downtown for others in a domino effect.

Where is the morality in those antiquated restrictions, the compassion and empathy? It’s shameful and ignorant.

Doug Coulson

Another vote against social media

Re: “Social media? Not for me, thanks,” letter, June 11.

He could not have said it any better. With only the exception of his long experience at sea, that letter could have been written by myself.

G.R. Saunders


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