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Letters May 25: Earth's one biological race; praise for Royal Jubilee Hospital; sending patients to Washington state

Planet Earth, in an image taken on Dec. 7, 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17. NASA

Planet Earth has just one biological race

Re: “Those with good intentions can unintentionally tokenize,” column, May 21.

The suggestion that discrimination, in the workplace and elsewhere, is based on race isn’t helpful.

In fact, connecting discrimination to race promotes a very harmful and destructive mythology, one that is not supported by today’s science.

Without exception, all of the discrimination we are seeing, that is causing so much pain for so many people, is the result of differences in thinking and behaviour that are learned, not inherited.

Unfortunately, racial classifications were used, historically, to create a hierarchy of humans that justified race-based discrimination. As a result, racist thinking has become institutionalized and systemic.

Sadly, our political, legal and social institutions are racist and, like racists everywhere, have great difficulty accepting 21st century science that has made it clear there is only one biological race on this planet.

Ken Dwernychuk


Thanks to everyone at Royal Jubilee

I was recently released from the Royal Jubilee Hospital following major surgery.

To the volunteer who met me at the main entrance to escort me to the appropriate department, the admitting staff, the surgeon and his operating room staff, the anesthesiologist, and the nurses and health care assistants of the Patient Care Centre, South Wing, Seventh Floor, I have nothing but the highest praise for the care that I received.

I could not have had better treatment if I had had to pay for it under a two-tier system. Thank you one and all.

I consider myself fortunate to live in Canada, and B.C. with its health care system.

Patrick McCarthy


More praise for Royal Jubilee care

Starting May 12, various ailments led to a week-long stay at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Doctors, nurses, and housekeeping staff were superb. I could not have asked for better. Thank you so much.

Graeme Mount


Privatize medicine to get the best results

The funding models for both health care and post-secondary education are broken and are in desperate need of a fundamental rethink. This will require significant political fortitude — challenging in our system of short electoral cycles where the goal of re-election encourages short term-ism and an inability to make bold decisions.

Post-secondary education has been massively defunded over the past three decades which bodes ill for the future of our country.

Students are graduating with huge debt and there is an over-reliance on inflated tuition fees from foreign students. This makes our universities vulnerable to changing political climates and reduces places available for our own young people who in turn are forced to study abroad at huge personal expense — money which follows the student out of the country.

Tuition for core arts and science subjects should be paid for by the state as should applied courses in technical colleges — private industry also being required to make a significant contribution.

Health care will only become more expensive as our population ages; medicine becomes more complex and our increasing army of health-care workers rightly demand adequate remuneration.

A possible answer? Privatize medicine across the board. Everyone over a certain salary or wealth level would pay 100 per cent of the full costs of their healthcare. People below that wealth threshold would continue to be covered by the state under a type of medicare/medicaid program.

How to pay for all this? Private health insurers and a new tax-credit-based “healthcare investment plan” whereby everyone would contribute a percentage of their paycheques into this account.

Contributions would be tax deductible for the year the investments were made. Germany has a system with some parallels where 86 per cent of people are enrolled in statutory health insurance and the government has no role in the direct delivery of health care.

C. Justin Stephenson

Oak Bay

Hand major health concerns to Washington state

Health Minister Adrian Dix was recently happily patting himself on the back as the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Dr. Brian Day in challenging the B.C. health-care system over access to private care when the public system does not provide access to health care in a timely basis. Dix loudly proclaimed that there would be no American style private health care in BC.

Paradoxically, this is precisely what is occurring in sending thousands of B.C. cancer patients to Bellingham, Washington, for state-of-the-art radiation therapy. Is our health minister cheering now?

Those who still believe we have the finest health-care system in the world must be wondering how a city like Bellingham, with some 90,000 residents, can successfully operate three world-class cancer clinics employing both first-class and well-compensated physicians, and superb medical equipment? The answer should be glacially clear.

We are spending more than 42 per cent of our provincial budget on health care and yet our health-care system is, in many areas, an unmitigated disaster. How much of an increase will be required?

Without profound changes there will be few significant changes to our health-care system for very many years.

We simply, in a totally public system, cannot pay the finances required to obtain the specialists and modern equipment required.

Until, and unless, we see these changes we should be contracting with Washington state cancer and other specialist clinics, such as those in Seattle and Bellingham, to treat all B.C. patients with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, for timely access to life saving medical treatments.

H.J. Rice


Treatment in Bellingham is a great idea

Excellent decision to send patients needing radiation treatment across the border. Until the province can offer quick treatment to all residents needing it, this option is a smart move.

This type of temporary action should be expanded for all medical procedures (including urgent scans) we cannot handle within the province.

While we would all prefer to be closer to home following a medical treatment, wouldn’t we want our loved ones to get treated more quickly?

The only questions in this process would be the costs required if the patient needed an accompanying person to help them during this short time away from home.

I think this should be included in the equation.

Barry Hersh


Does Washington have a lower rate of cancer?

How is it that Washington state has this treatment so readily available when B.C. cannot accommodate patients in a timely manner? Does Washington have a lower rate of cancer, or is it just that B.C. health care has a lower rate of competence?

Barbara Montgomery


Allow private health care to reduce wait times

Our government is paying for B.C. residents to get treatment in Washington state, but prohibits any form of private health care in the province.

Hypocritical? Absolutely. How about letting all those who do not have a family doctor register with a practice in the U.S. too?

There are many in B.C. who will pay for private care, thereby reducing wait times in the public hospitals.

Malcolm Berry


Help our health system, not the American one

Isn’t it a glorious idea? I wonder whose brainchild this is.

Paying an exorbitant amount of money into American health care instead of putting it into ours and finally getting things done.

I am shocked about the stress level our sick patients would have to endure. Alone, the trip is too much.

Obviously many would need support to get there. I really hope this idea will go the way of the Dodo. It’s outrageous.

Karin Herte


To get health care, you will need a passport

We’ll need to add lineups at the passport office for patient or transport/caregiver friends to prepare for cross-border cancer treatments.

Harold McCarthy



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