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Letters Oct. 20: A long wait for a waste of time; is it time to move to Alberta?

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A letter-writer describes his frustration with the experience of trying to book his flu and COVID vaccine shots through the province's online system. KRISTOPHER RADDER VIA AP

After a long wait, invitation is of no use

On Oct. 13 I received an invitation to register for my vaccine and flu shots.

I have been waiting a while, being 90 years old. The invitation states that my optimum dates are Oct. 1 or 2. Yes, that is correct, 13 days ago.

I accessed the registration site, which highlighted two dates, Oct. 13 and 14. What a waste of time. No spots available.

In short, the site would not let me register for November or December.

Why am I paying B.C. taxes to fund completely inept civil servants?

Eric Westlake
Sidney

So you’re thinking of moving to Alberta?

I was born and raised here in Victoria, and in my early 20s was lucky to move to Calgary for the start of a career in marketing.

I lived there from 1978 to 1984, travelled extensively around the province, and have returned for visits several times. It’s always been the same — warmly welcoming, even at 30 below.

And as I’ve told my daughter and friends, if I had to live anywhere else than Victoria, I’d move back there.

At 68 years of age and having witnessed almost 40 years of deteriorating B.C. government services, the list of which is truly sad, a disgusting lack of GPs and the inability to renew prescriptions because of that problem, and skyrocketing rents here in Greater Victoria, Alberta is looking much, much more attractive.

I’m sure some readers will suggest I should have stayed there. But they’d be the ostriches with their heads in the sand while they fall into poverty.

T.L. Pedneault-Peasland
Saanich

It was the store that had it all

My favourite memory of Capital Iron is from about 60 years ago when my dad had just opened a new Marshall Wells hardware store in the Esquimalt Shopping Centre.

Whenever we didn’t have a particular electrical, plumbing or unusual item in stock, our “go to” response was “Have you tried Capital Iron?”

Tony Johnston
Sidney

Increase taxes, improve health care

It is fascinating to see how much agreement there is about the solutions for the health-care problems, while there is so little action to implement the solutions.

The main components of the solution are:

• Increase the number of spaces in our medical schools at all levels.

• Increase the number of residency spaces needed to fully qualify doctors.

• Increase the attractiveness of family practice by paying more and reducing the administrative workload.

All components of the solution cost a lot more money. That money must come from us directly via increased personal taxes or indirectly via increased taxes paid by the corporations that produce goods and services for us.

However, no level of government wants to be blamed for raising taxes. Provincial and territorial leaders want the federal government to contribute more money. The federal government thinks that provinces and territories are free to increase their taxes if they want more money. These two levels of government seem to be playing a childish game of chicken in which the losing government has to raise taxes. In fact, we citizens are the losers.

Meanwhile, many Canadians are willingly paying extra money for quick access to health care. Some people go to the United States. Some pay private clinics here in Canada. Others are demanding the freedom to pay extra to avoid long waits.

It is time for both levels of government to increase taxes so we can all obtain full coverage with health care that is accessible and timely.

David Stocks
Saanichton

All that money spent, and nobody seems to care

I took my dog to Dallas Road and experienced the canine prison zone designed to protect weak humans from vicious attacks. My knees did not enjoy the spongy chip trail and my dog did not enjoy the splintery aspects of the same trail so he stuck to the dust bowl on either side that used to have grass.

Needless to say he came home filthy and hadn’t even played with others. Luckily he can’t read the expensive new colour graphic signs so we were able to do some pavement walking without reprimand.

Nobody seemed to care where anyone walked, dog or human. Were all the changes money well spent?

C. Scott Stofer
Victoria

Origins of homelessness should be counted

People who interact with unhoused people sheltering in parks know that nearly all of these people came here, already unhoused, from other parts of Canada.

Yet many advocates for the unhoused maintain that this is a local issue and most unhoused have their origins here. Why these conflicting views?

The problem is the Capital Regional District’s Point in Time surveys, which attempt to count the number of unhoused people on a given day every two years. These surveys drastically underestimate the numbers of people from outside B.C. because:

1. Anyone who came to Victoria more than a year ago is counted as being from “here.”

2. Unhoused people who enter B.C. and stay in Vancouver or Kelowna before coming to Victoria are counted as “from B.C.”

3. Survey participants and advocates conducting the surveys may perceive it is in participants’ interest to indicate B.C. residency and no verification checks are performed.

Why is it important to understand the actual origins of people sheltering in our city?

We will never be able to put an end to homelessness here as long as there is a continual stream of people with addiction problems and mental-health issues arriving in Victoria. Importantly, these people arrive here and have no network of friends and family to help them emerge from their difficulties.

We urgently need our various levels of government to work together to provide standard levels of care, support and legal regulation across the country so that people in crisis don’t have to migrate thousands of kilometres to find what they’re looking for.

Jack Sutcliffe
Victoria

Homeless people need help, not a petition drive

Re: “Residents deliver petition to end camping in Stadacona Park,” Oct. 8.

I wonder if any of the members of the Friends of Stadacona Park who circulated that petition ever bothered to speak with any of the individuals living in tents in the park.

Yes, it’s disturbing to see recreation and leisure areas being used by people to live, but what are they to do? What are their options? I did go to speak with the folks living there, to see for myself.

Who did I meet? A veteran who is dying from cancer, a pregnant young woman with no family, an elderly woman who could no longer afford her rent, and an elderly disabled man also not able to afford his rent.

These people are poor and need our help.

The violence I heard about were the endless attacks these folks are subjected to by young hooligans who think it’s fun to prey on weak and vulnerable human beings, and then the added trauma of being ignored by the police, who offer no protection.

If the Friends of Stadacona Park really cared about the homeless situation, that petition should be addressing the appalling lack of affordable and safe housing in this province and be sent to the minister responsible for housing to start acting like it’s the crisis that it is.

Nobody chooses to live like this if they have other options available to them. You don’t see homeless people camping in the streets and parks in the cities of Europe. We are a rich country and province; this should not be happening.

Lorna Hillman
Victoria

Enforce the traffic laws or get rid of them

Municipal legislators need a lesson in basic human behaviour. Apparently Victoria council believes that passing a bylaw and posting 30 km/h signs on some residential streets will improve road safety.

In Victoria, nearly all drivers ignore traffic laws as they desire because — quite simply — they can. The absence of traffic enforcement in Victoria isn’t just conspicuous, it’s dependable.

Beyond just minor infractions like lazily coasting through a four-way stop on a sleepy side road, too many drivers proceed with a recklessness they otherwise wouldn’t dream of if they had fear of being caught. Experience taught them that traffic laws don’t matter.

Ask any school crossing guard for their view of people’s general respect for school zone speed limits. I doubt “disheartening” adequately describes their frustration.

If drivers won’t obey the law and briefly slow down to protect children near schools, then only the wilfully ignorant could believe that legislating similar speed limits elsewhere will change driver behaviour.

We get it. Drivers speed too often. But while imposing additional unenforcable speed limits might waste money and diminish public confidence in our legislative institutions, most certainly it will not change driver behaviour.

Please, either hire enough police such that disobeying traffic law dependably leads to apprehension and penalty; or, stop reducing speed limits below a road’s safe design speed (the one that comes from an engineer’s calculator, not a politician’s tickle trunk).

Either way, Victoria is tired of these redundant, unenforcable “we know better than you” bylaws. Back them up with effective enforcement, or attend to more pressing matters.

Doug Stacey
Esquimalt

Housing issue extends beyond this little hamlet

It is fascinating that the size of the province eludes so many.

Housing is not an issue unique to Victoria; this is a large province and the provincial government weighing in on the issue is larger than the hamlet of Victoria.

Judy Estrin
View Royal

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