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Letters Sept. 21: Too much money for health bureaucracy; point goes to the PM; we have too many dogs; dogs can't fly

The emergency room at Victoria General Hospital. A letter-writer says too much money is being spent on health administration, not enough on doctors and nurses. TIMES COLONIST

Immediate action needed to fix our health care

If we spend a dollar on health care, do we get a dollar of being healthy? Two letters on Tuesday focused on taxes and health care. Both got it wrong.

The first suggested we must raise taxes to get adequate care. No.

The second alleged B.C. diverted federal health dollars to general revenues. Closer, but no.

Lots of money is going into health. But not enough to care.

Where’s the money going? Let’s look at the B.C. government’s most recent financial statements. Specifically, annual spending on Ministry of Health “executive and support services” and health authority “corporate” (i.e., head office bureaucracy).

It’s up more than 20 per cent in one year, more than $600 million. Now at $3.3 billion annually. That’s $600 for every person in B.C.

On health bureaucracy. And that doesn’t even count excess administration in program spending. Just head office.

That’s more than doubled since Adrian Dix took over as minister. We’re now spending $1.8 billion more. Every single year.

That could pay for 4,000 doctors. Many more nurses.

The NDP blinked at a one-time $800 million for a museum due to public outrage. Excess health bureaucracy costs us far more than double that each year. For what?

To destroy our public health system? Because that’s the only result we see.

We can’t wait any longer to “take action.” An urgent, independent, and ­public accounting and massive reform.

Before we give anyone another four years to do even more damage.

Mark Roseman


Prime minister 1, Opposition leader 0

“To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

This ancient truism by the Scottish bard was never more relevant than the scene in the House of Commons on ­Monday.

Just picture it, the Mouse, also known as the leader of the Opposition, had planned and schemed to use his somewhat shaky lead in the opinion polls to skewer the prime minister once more, as he had all summer.

He knew he would be surrounded by his howling deputies and could stand and gloat, arrayed in his newly acquired duds and pancake makeup.

Such a moment of triumph for the little fellow, the cumulation of his many years as a right-wing attack dog, ready to use this planned destruction as another step on his way to seizing electoral glory.

Poor little fellow, outdone by a march of events beyond him. The story of the day was not his planned destroying of the prime minister but the revelation of a possible Indian government involvement in the slaying of a Sikh activist in June.

By the time the prime minister rose to discuss the matter, all the schemes prepared by the leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition were about as interesting and relevant as last week’s cricket scores.

The skewer had become the skewee.

The topping on the apple pie was when the prime minister ate crow, acknowledged that he should have worked on the housing crisis much earlier and then offered possible solutions, some stolen in the time-honoured Liberal manner right out of the Conservative playbook.

The results at the end of the first day of the session were PM 1, Too Smart Tory leader 0.

If this continues, an inevitable slide in the polls for the arrogant Conservative/Reform Party might have begun.

Lorne Finlayson


The real problem: We have too many dogs

One certainty underlies all the dog-policy commotion: there are, by any reasonable measure, far too many dogs in Greater Victoria.

Back in the day, the family pooch hung out in a fenced backyard and didn’t much bother the neighbours. Now, with condos, townhouses and otherwise more densely peopled urban areas, and with everyone seeming to own a dog or two, conflict has inevitably arisen.

People are now competing with dogs for access to limited open spaces.

As with so many human endeavours, we don’t know enough to hit the brake pedal. Yet the urban dog population could easily be curtailed by using a lottery ­system to grant a limited number of licences, supported by tough bylaw enforcement.

And requiring high-density housing developments such as apartments and condos to provide fenced dog runs could complement these measures. Otherwise, the externality means the rest of us are subsidizing dog ownership.

The freedom to own a dog in the city does not trump everyone else’s freedom to enjoy a walk in the park, along city streets or the beach or through a school playground without being accosted by off-leash dogs (or dogs on long leashes) or sidestepping dog doo left behind by all those dog owners.

No leash bylaw on its own, even with improved enforcement, can be expected to properly manage the problems caused by dog overpopulation. Tougher measures are needed.

Brian Mason


Essential to report why pet bylaws matter

Re: “Owner fined $500 after off-leash dog chases heron at Cadboro Bay,” Sept. 16.

Thank you for printing an informative article, clarifying why it’s so important to keep dogs leashed in all of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

It’s only through frequent stories like this that the public will realize there are bylaws and laws regarding pet ownership, and why they are in place.

N.E. Sundstrom

Lifelong pet owner


Let’s not worry, because dogs cannot fly

Re: “Owner fined $500 after off-leash dog chases heron at Cadboro Bay,” Sept. 16.

So a dog chased a bird. Well whoopedy doo.

In all my 60 years I have never seen a flying dog.

Carpe Diem!

Martin Hill


Friendly, professional treatment at the hospital

I had a hip replacement at the Royal Jubilee hospital two weeks ago and I totally share the experience of others, and commend the friendly and professional world-class services available to us here in Victoria.

James Dykes


Crosswalk solutions for the University of Victoria

The crosswalk conundrum at UVic is indeed laughable but unfortunately not funny. Ridiculous would be more appropriate.

It is unfathomable that mature, educated professional individuals would spend so much money, time and energy on a bit of paint on the blacktop (oops, bad word) when funding is sadly lacking for more pressing issues.

Their motivation is of course honourable in that they want to make the students feel safe. But if that were indeed an effective means of dispelling their anxieties, real or imagined, they would only feel safe in the crosswalk and not elsewhere on the campus.

Thus, as Mister Jacobowski said in Me and the Colonel, there are always two possibilities.

In this case that would be to either paint the entire campus in rainbow colours or to paint a zebra crosswalk to the legal specifications of the Ministry of Transportation, which would at least provide some protection against the real hazard of vehicular traffic.

Forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.

Hans Rysdyk

Qualicum Beach


• Email:

• 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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