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Letters April 20: Help for renters is too little, too late; where is program for dental work?

A letter-writer suggests the government’s stated plan to provide help for renters in the federal budget is little more than “trickle-down fairytales.” ADRIAN WYLD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

What’s the federal budget done for renters?

The new federal government budget promises to move Gen Z and millennial renters out of the rental market and into the homeownership market.

When the average home price in Canada is $730,000 and average rent now $2,181, it’s hard imagine how on an average annual salary of $59,300 (according to a 2022 Labour Force Survey), non-homeowners can secure affordable shelter in this country, no matter what age.

A modest-income 78-year-old pensioner, I have rented all my adult life. I’ve paid landlords across this country more than an estimated $600,000 during my lifetime. In spite of this contribution to the GDP, as well taxes I’ve paid over the past 58 years, it would still be insufficient to join the much-touted “homeownership” club.

As for a new “Renters Bill of Rights” to provide a paltry amount for legal aid, and a “Canada Rental Protection Fund” to protect renters by buying up some units to preserve rent prices — it’s far too little, too late.

Suggesting that government will now give credit for rental payments so tenants trying to make ends meet can now qualify for an extended 30-year mortgage is a bit rich coming from politicians approving a new multi-year, multibillion-dollar military budget and billions more in economic “aid” for Ukraine.

Citizens of Canada don’t need trickle-down fairy tales to address an acute cost-of-living crisis. They need a government that will ensure their basic needs are met, not sacrifice their interests to sustain those of property investors, coupon clippers and corporate profiteers.

Victoria Adams


Eligible for dental care, but nothing so far

The last time I went to a dentist was to get my teeth cleaned. I was shocked when I was charged $250.

Ten minutes were spent on my teeth, no X-rays or any extras. That’s right, I paid $25 a minute to have my teeth cleaned. Although I need to, I haven’t been to a dentist since because of a limited income. I cannot afford it.

Dentist Eha Onno wrote on April 16 that dentists are not getting into the new dental program because it is “administration heavy,” and he’s probably right.

Just like the ongoing medical-care fiasco, that is due to poor administration by governments. But his reference to the B.C. Dental Association Fee Guide based on “careful analysis” of the cost of procedures sounds disingenuous.

I believe that dentists today will get what they can. Flat rates of any kind at times seem unfair, it certainly was the case for my cleaning.

I qualified for the new dental program and crossed my fingers that maybe I can finally get some dental work done. So far nothing is happening and things do not look promising.

The ongoing dearth of co-operation between the private sector and governments has always been a problem. Without some major democratic reforms and better co-operation between all participants, it seems there is no end in sight for these matters.

Ivan Olynyk


Seals, resident orcas and the food chain

Could it be that Emerson, who is very intelligent, prefers local waters because resident orcas do not eat seals, whereas the transient orcas on the west coast of Vancouver Island prefer seals as their diet?

And could it be that the increase in the elephant seal population in local waters is a major contributor to the decreasing local salmon food source of the threatened resident orcas?

Norm Finlayson


What an elephant seal really wants

Re: “Looking for a Victoria punchline,” letter, April 18.

I wonder … when the cougar, wolf and elephant seal walked into the bar, did Emerson order a double moult?

Lia Fraser


At 87 years of age, a long wait for care

The April 16 Raeside cartoon was right on the mark, but not funny.

I am 87 years old and attend a very caring walk-in clinic, as my family doctor retired about six years ago. On the day the cartoon ran, I was told that, after suffering for the past entire year with serious back and groin pain, I will wait for 18 to 24 months to see a specialist.

Apart from taking over-the-counter pain killers, I’m on no other medications. I am still creatively active but all my physical movements are painful and very restrictive.

This affects my family as well as me.

In two years I’ll be 89 years old and the constant pain, which is getting worse, will have rendered me unfit for the back surgery that I’ve been told is needed to solve my back and groin problem.

I have longevity in my genes so my prospects are very worrying to me.

Obviously, I’m not the only one waiting to see a specialist and this situation in our health care has been festering for years without being addressed by governments.

At my age, I’m being thrown to the wolves and I resent it, as there is nothing I can do.

John McConnell

North Saanich

Where apps fail us, AI will save us

ArriveCan and Roll-Up-the-Rim are only two examples of tech apps that have been plagued with problems without human mischief. Not to worry, though, AI will probably fix them.

Geoffrey Archbold


Deal with root causes of dangerous situations

Re: “Family of woman killed by Victoria police hopes public hearing brings answers,” April 16.

The article tells of a guest in a supportive housing facility who was killed by Victoria police in circumstances where she apparently had barricaded herself in the room with a knife and set fire to the apartment. Two investigations have cleared the officer, and now a third investigation is commencing that is scheduled to continue for three weeks.

Nothing can take away the tragedy of a life lost, and the hurt of the person’s family is understandable. In times like this, though, I wonder how we manage to have anyone prepared to serve as a police officer.

We “call the cops” whenever we are too indifferent or scared to act ourselves, which is most of the time. We send the police into dangerous and highly volatile situations like this, and then demand they analyze each situation with the speed of a computer and the detachment of a machine.

We investigate their actions and if we don’t like the results we investigate them again, and then again as in this case. What other occupations are subjected to this where high risk at work is followed by the high risk of armchair criticism?

Yes, we should monitor police conduct, but do it with the understanding we are dealing with people, not machines, and that we sent those police officers into these high risk, dangerous situations where we would not go ourselves.

What we should be investigating in more depth are the reasons why these dangerous situations arise in the first place, and in particular the politicians who allowed the catch-and-release policies, and have not had the political courage to mandate involuntary treatment when needed.

Jason Austin


NDP wrong to tolerate drug use in hospitals

I witnessed someone being discharged who was obviously on a drug that incapacitated him to the point that he could not walk.

He was picked up by people laughing about his condition, dragging him to the crosswalk and as I looked into his haunted face, his vacant grizzled face, knowing that he was not capable of looking after himself and probably going to the streets to stay slumped over until he becomes conscious, I felt such sadness.

This is not dignity. This is not looking after our most vulnerable.

These people need a place to detox, not use whatever drugs they want, wherever they want, even in the hospitals.

I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for the man, for the hospital staff — nurses and doctors — who need to deal with addicted people who need medical help, but who can’t stay off their illegal drugs.

I know our medical professionals have compassion and help as best they can, but using those drugs in the hospital is definitely not the answer and should not be tolerated.

The NDP government should put the money into treatment detox beds, not free drugs to be used anywhere — help them get off the drugs, not permit them to use them anywhere and everywhere putting us all at risk.

Shari Winter


It’s too early to order electric transit buses

Re: “B.C. Transit sending back loaner electric bus as it seeks new supplier,” April 11.

Electric buses with their inherent lithium battery pack are not a viable option to replace existing diesel buses. The design and development of battery packs for electric vehicles is still in its infancy.

Other power sources such as hydrogen might be a contender.

It would be wise for transit authorities to learn from the costly mistake the City of Edmonton made in purchasing 60 electric buses from Proterra, the same company (now bankrupt) that provided the loaner bus to B.C. Transit.

Because of the severed contracts Edmonton had with Proterra, Edmonton is close to $80 million out of pocket.

Sadly, it is reported that at any one time, only five or six Proterra buses are operational. The rest are waiting for parts that will never arrive.

Warren Ngo



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