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Letters Nov. 17: Climate conference could have been held remotely; controlling health-care costs

Climate activists march along Government Street from Centennial Square to the B.C. legislature this month as part of a global day of action coinciding with the COP26 UN world climate summit in Glasgow. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Next time, use Zoom for climate conference

While world leaders including our prime minister again spoke words that sounded good, the sad reality is that the outcome of the COP26 talks leaves the world unable to see a path to keeping global warming to 1.5 C.

Canada pledged to stop giving our hard-earned tax dollars to fossil-fuel projects overseas, while continuing to pump billions into the oil and gas industry here in Canada.

If the fossil-fuel industry were a country, they would have had the largest delegation of any country at the talks. Why would anyone believe that their goal was anything other than to water down any agreements that would negatively affect their bottom line?

Meanwhile, COP26 gave B.C. an award for “most creative climate solution” while the province continues to subsidize the fossil-fuel industry, grant logging rights to vast tracts of disappearing forest and pour billions upon billions into a boondoggle dam that floods a fertile valley and displaces people who produce food.

While COP26 did produce progress in some areas, it is nowhere near what is needed to maintain a habitable planet. They might just as well have saved the jet-fuel vapours that got pumped into the atmosphere flying all those folks to Glasgow and just held some Zoom meetings.

Their solution to the lack of progress? Hold another meeting.

In the meantime, the subject of climate change disappears from the news cycle.

S.A. McBride

Bring in deductibles to control health costs

Re: “Health-care system faces challenges in wake of pandemic,” editorial, Nov. 12.

Here is a suggestion for injecting more money into the health-care system.

We could regard health insurance the same way we regard auto insurance; everyone has a deductible. Let’s imagine every adult has a $100 personal health care deductible, renewed each year on their birthday.

When they see a physician, or get other health services at a clinic or ER, they pay for that service themselves until their deductible is spent. After that, the public system kicks in.

This approach would inject millions into the health-care system. It would also help eliminate the myth that healthcare is “free,” and could reduce the abuses of it.

People might think twice about going to see a doctor for every ache and sniffle. Also, people with high-risk habits, such as smokers, could be assessed a much higher deductible. That has been standard procedure in life insurance for many years.

Deductibles could also be scaled by income, where lower-income people have a reduced amount or none at all.

Such an approach would work, but would require good planning, concerted effort and the fortitude to see it through.

It would put the initial costs on the actual users of the system, not the public purse. Other options, like higher taxes, seem less appropriate than having the users support the system directly.

Brian Wilkes

Qualified professionals and a $20,000 bonus

The $20,000 signing bonus is a fantastic idea from Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, who has been probably the most respected police chief this city has ever had.

To have to offer this incentive for qualified officers is just a indication of the struggles the department is facing.

Conversely, there are young lads and ladies spending more than $50,000 to acquire the qualifications to hopefully become a firefighter.

Our police forces need more qualified professionals than ever.

Rich Allen
Cordova Bay

Should we accept worsening health care?

About 700,000 B.C. residents have no family physician. Accounts of people dying while waiting for treatment are more numerous by the day. Recently, Jordan Millar died of colon cancer after delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Health Minister Adrian Dix leveraged her sad passing with self-serving assertions: “We’re making plans and we are going to follow through.”

If one were to examine the 2021 budget, one would find glowing reports of hiring more health-care workers, addressing racism in the health-care system, increased spending for mental-health, capital projects, opioid treatment etc.

But there is not one word about specifically training more physicians or nurses, our urgently needed front-line workers.

There is no plan to supply administrative staff for GP offices, or to increase salaries for GPs to encourage new medical school graduates to choose family practice. And no plan to reduce the overwhelming paper tsunami experienced by every doctor’s office.

If the private sector produced such inadequate results, there would be consequences such as massive firings with goal-focused replacements. In a democratic system, the only option for voters is to throw out this flawed administration — soon.

People are dying as the result of politicians wringing their hands, making empty promises and feeding us platitudes. Are health-care politicians complicit in the deaths of innocents? Or is this worsening crisis something we should accept as the status quo?

John Billett

Let’s make this year the most successful ever

Back in the day before the Daily Colonist Christmas Fund existed, people shared what they had with needy neighbours.

On Salt Spring Island, Mouat’s store was a beacon of hope to those in need. When Mouat’s delivery truck, driven by Bob Woods, arrived just before Christmas, there were extra treats included with each order.

Farmers shared their produce, hunters provided venison, and fisherman shared their catch with those in need. Not so easy to do nowadays “even in these prosperous times.”

Fortunately, the Times Colonist Christmas Fund provides an easy way for us to donate to a variety of organizations which exist to help those in need.

Let’s all get behind the fund to make sure it raises enough money to make this its most most successful year ever. Merry Christmas to all.

Dorothy Mullen

Museum of Anthropology has an Indigenous view

Readers of the Times Colonist in the past couple of weeks could hardly miss the growing controversy over the Royal B.C. Museum’s decision to close the third-floor exhibits at the museum.

Letters on both sides of the issue have found a prominent place in the paper’s comment pages.

Although it’s not hard to agree with those writers who support a more complete reflection of First Nations’ history, art and culture in the museum’s exhibits, at the same time it’s not accurate to suggest that British Columbia does not already have a public institution dedicated to First Nations achievements and art.

For those who’ve missed it, or don’t know about it, please take the time to look at this material:

And, next time you’re in Vancouver, take some time and visit the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.

James King

Shut museum’s doors, hope for a new plurality

Despite settler objections, the province is embarking on decolonizing the Royal B.C. Museum in the provincial capital. So be it.

And perhaps the better course is to just shutter our museums since the very concept of the museum is at the dark heart of colonialism. In some ways our museums are more like mausoleums.

Museums as we know them arose in the 19th century as Europeans began to engage in showcasing non-European objects past and present; of people and objects they found mainly at odds with their Christian, Deistic and Eurocentric views.

Such objects and ideas also became worthy of conservation because imperialism and colonialism were, they thought, making them articles of the past.

It was an outlook that unconsciously incorporated a shocking arrogant certainty that Western Eurocentric civilization was superior to the point it could hold memory because it was eternal and divinely appointed.

It’s time to incorporate cultural realities that museums were part of suppressing into a new plurality. The better way to remember marginalized cultures is to bring them — as much as possible — into the hallowed realms of inclusivity.

If we are going to have something like a museum for the sake of memory, conservation and education, maybe it has to emerge out of such a new plurality. Until then, just shut the doors.

Paul Walton

Pushing too high in downtown Victoria

I am saddened that another tall tower has been approved for downtown and at a much higher height than the other buildings around it.

Twenty storeys on the corner of Fort and Blanshard streets is too high unless they are lining up to redevelop more “so it will fit in.”

Our city is and should always remain a small, quieter version of Vancouver.

I do not want to see anything built over 17 storeys that so many of the new construction are at.

I know a proposal for redevelopment of London Drugs/the Market is in the works, and I would be horrified if they were allowed the 30 storeys they want.

Enough is enough.

Cathy Bhandar


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