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Letters May 24: Health care going to the dogs; the rail versus trail debate

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A vet checks in with her canine patient. In B.C., it is easier to get primary health care for your pet than it is to get it yourself, a letter-writer says. WILFREDO LEE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

You can get good health care, but there’s a catch

My little one has recently had a great experience with a primary care practitioner. I booked an appointment for him with no difficulty. He had a full physical exam, excellent health promotion advice and had his vaccine history reviewed and updated in writing. I was very pleased with this degree of excellent primary care. He is in good hands and has longitudinal primary care.

He is a dog.

I am a human and cannot get anywhere near the primary care, even inadequate primary care, that my canine companion has. I tried for two weeks every morning, with the few walk-in clinics still remaining on southern Vancouver Island, to get a walk-in appointment.

Each day, one minute after opening — one minute — they were at capacity for that day. Once I finally was successful in getting a walk-in appointment, it was virtual, which is fine. The doctor was very nice, but he clearly had no access to my medical records even though he was at the same clinic where my records are.

The primary care crisis in B.C. is completely unacceptable in a rich country like Canada and must be taken seriously by the B.C. government. Their “solutions” are making the situation worse.

Shall we all go to veterinarians to get good primary care?

Susan McDaniel
Research Affiliate, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria
Sidney

Lack of primary care causes hundreds of deaths

The May 20 report on the B.C. Health Care Matters rally failed to mention the startling description of the proven increased death rate attributable to not having a primary care physician given by one of the speakers.

He summarized peer-reviewed research both from Canada and United States. Extrapolating the published numbers to our B.C. population reveals an expected 1,500 to 1,800 deaths each year attributable to the absence of a family doctor.

Here on the Island, this translates into about five deaths per week. These deaths are entirely attributable to government policies or lack thereof and are therefore preventable.

That no useful remedial action has been proposed by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan represents a travesty and a shameful betrayal of their oaths of office.

Every B.C. citizen should protest in any and all ways this government’s culpability in this loss of life.

Anne Percival
Victoria

Continuous trail, not a rail service

The Island Corridor Foundation’s recent Vancouver Island Rail Business Case simply does not make the case for rail service.

It uses parts and pieces from the options and costs established in the province’s 2020 Island Corridor Condition Assessment but, as before, says it can do things much more cheaply.

When these high costs were first published in 2020, a CBC multi-party political panel described them the following day as the last nail in the coffin for rail service on the Island Corridor.

It relies on inaccurate generalities about the environmental benefits of rail with no sources. Studies by Pollution Probe show that intercity bus is by far the most environmentally friendly means of public transportation in Canada.

It conjures up passenger numbers based on unsupported claims of mode share capture.

It also implies that rail service would pay for itself using these passenger estimates based on no evidence and ignores costs of borrowing $431 million (their reduced capital costs) that would come from taxes.

In 2009 a provincial study estimated costs of borrowing about half this amount as a subsidy of $36 per passenger trip.

It also states that rail service aligns with provincial government policy. The South Island Transportation Strategy published in 2020 has transportation priorities favouring public transportation (electric buses) and active (non-motorized) transportation. It does not even mention inter-regional rail service.

Most agree that the Island corridor should be preserved. A continuous trail would accomplish this and meet the province’s active transportation goals.

Alastair Craighead
Chair, Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island
Victoria

Next, let’s bring in the aircraft carrier

A 19-storey tower beside Royal Oak’s Med Grill? A consultant proffers that it would fit into the neighbourhood.

Sure it would, just like an aircraft carrier would nicely nestle into Brentwood Bay Marina.

One big thumbs down from this lifelong Royal Oak-area resident.

Jamie Masters
Saanich

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