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Letters May 30: A liveable city vs. a driveable city; health-care barriers; GDP as a measurement of success

A view of downtown Victoria from the Songhees Park plaza near the Johnson Street Bridge. TIMES COLONIST

Voters want a liveable city, so stop complaining

There is a theme in recent letters that just won’t quit. The constant beating of the drum complaining about parking, bike lanes, traffic calming, Clover Point, Beacon Hill Park, and more.

The writers are saying how we have to elect no-nonsense people to council.

In case they missed it: We just had an election and it seems we elected, quite handily, people wanting a liveable city more than a driveable city.

Are they planning to complain for the next three and a half years?

Paul Best

James Bay

Victoria has changed, and not for the better

Both of us have spent our lives in Victoria. Growing up and going downtown until about 10 years ago was a fun experience.

A quiet town with lots of shopping, and places to visit like Clover Point and Beacon Hill Park. And there was never a parking issue when going downtown.

We are now seniors. The bike lanes on Fort Street caused the start of parking issues, and sadly the closure of many stores that we frequented. And if we needed to go elsewhere in the city for an appointment or to shop, we had a long walk from where we could park.

If downtown is striving for a town with little or no vehicles, and the fact that this city has no rapid transit, other than taxis and buses, how are seniors living there expected to buy groceries and goods they cannot carry?

Why does the public have to pay more for parking when the city has spent money on frivolous items, picnic tables at Clover Point being just one example?

Now we all must pay to help clean up the city when that should have been taken care of long ago.

Anthony and Vicki Berry


Enormous barriers to providing care

Re: “Esquimalt doctor limits her practice to those 50 and older,” May 24.

I am sympathetic to the families who have lost access to Dr. Sarah Truelson, another family doctor who is limiting her practice to manage the firehose of demand that faces every single health care practitioner in this city and region, whether they be family doctor or specialist.

There is a person-power crisis occurring regionally and nationally in pediatric specialist care that was predicted more than 15 years ago, there is lack of access to other generalist specialities such as internists and psychiatrists, and a maternity care crisis locally, already documented in this newspaper.

Oversimplifying the problem to “There is a shortage of GPs because GPs can’t get locums because specialists make more money” is unhelpful, not always accurate, and misses completely some of the shared complete system failures that require attention for sustainable, ­meaningful solutions to our current ­medical practitioner human resource crisis.

Physician extenders, system support for office staffing and practice management, specific targeted attention to better processes of triaging and intake work, support strategies for followup, expert improvement in virtual health options and streamlined processes for tracking lab and radiology results, innovations in coordinating care in the face of high medical and social complexity are all desperately required.

Doctors, in whatever field they practice, are spending excess time filling out requisitions, triaging demand, trying to ascertain who is the sickest, trying to patch holes in systems of care, and generally practising with a sense of hypervigilance and impending doom daily.

Pitting specialists against family doctors, and oversimplication of the problems down to simple dollars being in the wrong pockets, is an unhelpful narrative, misses the enormous barriers to practice and providing care, and avoids real solution-finding and system re-construction.

Dr. Jennifer Balfour, MD



Take to the water to solve our space crunch

With the high cost of acquiring land for social issues, medical facilities and housing, could facilities be incorporated into floating houses or a ship moored close to the city centre?

Therefore alleviating the cost of purchasing land.

Chris Millington


GDP is not the only measure of our society

Re: “Maybe we should try real capitalism for a change,” May 28.

It was enlightening to read Trevor Hancock’s column regarding a more comprehensive view of capital rather than the one-dimensional view that currently plagues society, depleting nature’s capital and human capital along the way.

Shorly before his assasination, Robert Kennedy made an eloquent speech in which he decried the way in which GDP had somehow come to represent the measurement of how a nation was performing, while failing to measure the things that really matter.

More than 50 years later, nations still have not learned that there is much more of value to society than that which our politicians and media cite in GDP figures.

Is it not time for governments and society to recognize that our preoccupation with measuring progress in solely fiscal terms distorts policy-making, undervalues people, and views the natural world as existing solely for exploitation in the interests of adding to GDP?

Kudos to Dr. Hancock for pointing out the absudity of the current measurement system.

S.A. McBride

Cordova Bay

We’ve seen this grand experiment before

Re: “Maybe we should try real capitalism for a change,” May 28.

Trevor Hancock suggests that society needs to consider factors other than economic activity with regard to “capitalism” and cites the example of worker exploitation by means of low wages and by part-time work.

Many of us older folk probably recall that great experiment of social engineering, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, of whom its workers said “Comrade, if you pretend to pay me, I will pretend to work!”

David Morrow


Resource availability is a major concern

Re: “Maybe we should try real capitalism for a change,” May 28.

The concept of different forms of capital is a valid holistic approach to understanding our future potential but the column fails to follow through on the implications of our current state.

We are facing a decline in global population after about 2050. It is already occurring, or will soon start in countries such as China, Germany and Japan, and others are in hot pursuit.

This inevitably means lower consumption as the global population ages, although developing countries may somewhat offset that for a while.

However, the main cause for concern is the availability of resources to support the green agenda without severe curtailment of our living standards.

We are increasingly being warned that the minerals required to go green must be mined (usually an ecological nightmare) and refined (similarly disruptive) in quantities significantly exceeding present efforts and, in cases, their availability.

So, is it inconvenient for politicians to fully discuss and explain in public how our future is likely to develop, or will they level with us for once?

Roger Love


Killing those cougars not the only solution

Re: “Sheep kills mounting for Metchosin farmers,” May 28.

I grew up in the Thetis Lake area and remember being aware and seeing cougars 50 years ago. We all knew they were there and were allowed to wander freely as children with our off-leash dogs and many cats within the neighbourhood, because the cougars were well fed on deer.

Their natural prey is disappearing with the trees and land available for their habitat.

I understand the frustration for the established family sheep business that has coexisted for 50-plus years, however I do not understand why six cougars, some very young, had to die because of the recent prey that they have instinctively killed for food.

The sheep are plentiful and well-fed and then are bred to give birth to lambs that do not often see their first year of life because they will be fed to humans that like to eat them.

These wild creatures that are trying to coexist with people end up dead for instinctly teaching their young to find food. Yes it is sad for a person to find fur in their backyard belonging to their pet and knowing that it was a cougar predation. It is dangerous for these beautiful creatures to become habituated to domestic prey.

What I do not understand is if conservation officers can find and kill the creatures, why can they not simply dart them and locate them to where the deer are plentiful and humans are not.

A few dozen lambs that were destined for the dinner plate and the few pet cats that should be better monitored do not justify this cull.

Laura Mahoney


A different concept of keeping teens safe

Re: “Drug paraphernalia could be a life saving tool for teens,” May 28.

Following this logic, why don’t schools hand out clean needles? That could save lives and stop disease, just like the safe snorting kits that were handed out by a “third party” at an Island high school.

And why not supply teens with cigarette rolling papers? Restrictions on tobacco smoking are greater than restrictions on taking crystal meth in the park! We need to guide them towards safe smoking and injecting practices!

As Charla Huber says, “the folks who come into schools … and leave them with some materials … might be the people who can guide them into making better choices.”

Armed with snorting kits, hash pipes, new needles, perhaps some tinfoil, a lighter, and cigarette rolling papers, I’m sure our teens will make much better choices!

I will end with what’s become the oxymoron of the times “Let’s all be safe!”

David Harrison


Improve transit service on the Peninsula

I live on the Number 75 bus route, which is the route to Butchart Gardens.

Residents along the route routinely get left behind, especially when trying to get into town, or are crammed onto buses bursting at the seams.

Taxpayers on the Saanich Peninsula deserve better transit service on this route. It would make sense to have an express bus going out to Butchart during the summer months.

Having a seasonal secondary bus route that goes from the Saanichton Exchange to Royal Oak would also help matters.

This way all can enjoy what public transit is supposed to offer.

Rick Saucier

Central Saanich

Military document offers a mythical bond

Re: “Sensitivity training needed with letters,” letter, May 23.

The Highland Scots have always had their hereditary chiefs. Each large family group within a clan had its chieftain, le chef de famille, who with the council of senior family members made decisions for his people.

Large clans like the Mackenzies would have several recognized family groups within it who in turn would recognize the senior branch chief and provide him or her with their advice. At the top of the clan system was the Ard Ri, the Chief of Chiefs, or King.

In my father’s box of wartime documents is his commission from the King to serve as an “Officer in Our Active Militia of our Dominion Canada from the Eleventh day of May 1939 … By Command of His Excellency The Governor General.”

My father entered the Navy List, RCNVR, on Oct. 7, 1939 and was put on the Retired List on Oct. 19, 1945.The document, the wonderful calligraphy, on thick rag paper, embossed with the Canadian Coat of Arms, is a pro forma induction into military service.

But it is more. When I was a child, the inherent grandeur of the document lead me to believe that it came from King George VI himself. And that was the document’s intent.

The document is more than a military induction, it establishes a mystical bond between “Our Trusty and well-beloved” and his King — and more than King, his Ceann-Cath, his war leader. The old Clan system still had its echoes.

Note: The noun ‘King’ is derived from the Germanic König meaning Chief.

Richard Mackenzie


Photo radar would help ensure safe school zones

A simple way to ensure safe school zones would be to allow photo radar for speeders around any elementary schools. Proceeds from fines could be shared by the school and municipality.

I dare anyone to argue that drivers should have more rights than child safety.

Linda Carter


Great treatment at Saanich Peninsula

With all the negative news regarding health care, I want to give a shoutout to the emergency staff at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

I took my loved one in crisis to the emergency department and we were treated with courtesy and respect in a very timely manner.

Thank you so much to all the hardworking dedicated staff in our health-care system.

Ursula Muirhead



• 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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