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Letters Dec. 6: Health workers must feel valued; dealing with Sidney Island's deer; building B.C.'s ferries

A health-care worker dons a gown in the intensive care unit at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Plenty of health action, just the wrong kind

How much of our health crisis is an actual shortage of skilled workers?

And how much is a shortage of people willing to work in a system that systematically disrespects, devalues, threatens, and traumatizes them while providing decreasing satisfaction and benefits?

Highly skilled workers have choices. They have other options. They are under no pressure or obligation to take the roles where we most need them, like family medicine.

So they’re not.

They’re leaving. Doing less. Taking alternative roles that use their talents without the abuse.

Whose responsibility is this? Those individual workers?

Or the people we elect who build and maintain the system that abuses them?

And divert our money from our needs to a growing bureaucracy that worsens the problem and serves only them?

We made it this far on the backs of health professionals willing to go the extra mile, even at their own expense. Because they felt valued.

They don’t anymore. We see the results every day.

And it’s going to get worse.

How much of the $26 billion we spend on health per year, including the $3.3 billion politicians choose to spend on “corporate” expenses (up 20% in one year), makes the health system more attractive to essential workers?

And how much serves to repel them?

The government will repeatedly say it’s “taking action.” I agree. But too many wrong actions.

Choices matter. It didn’t need to be this way. It still doesn’t.

Mark Roseman


Consider benefits, then build ferries in B.C.

Re: “Paying a premium to build ships in B.C.,” letter, Dec 2.

The letter states “It is clear we pay an economic premium to have ships built here” but no evidence is offered.

About 15 years ago the federal ­government eliminated a 25-per-cent duty on foreign built ships largely at the request of B.C. Ferries which wanted to purchase ships offshore and not pay the duty.

To further ensure that B.C. companies could not provide a successful bid on the Coastal Class vessels, B.C. Ferries refused to prequalify any B.C. company. I remember participating in demonstrations calling on B.C. Ferries to allow B.C. companies to bid.

Previously, all of the 40-plus vessel fleet had been built in B.C. For decades B.C. Ferries neglected to renew their fleet causing B.C. shipyards to shutter and lose capacity.

The federal National Shipbuilding Strategy to build the next generation of Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships has made it possible for Seaspan to make investments which may provide an opportunity to once again build ferries in B.C.

The letter ended with “We may well be willing to pay some premium to build ships in B.C., but to what level?”

B. C. Ferries receives considerable funding from the government and is more a Crown Corporation than a private ­company. I suggest that it is imprudent to not consider the economic benefits of wages, taxes, and monies spent in B.C. when decisions are made to build ferries.

Wayne Cox


Hire some cowboys to fix the deer

I have a solution for the Sidney Island deer that is effective, less expensive and humane. It is this: Hire some cowboys from the prairies to rope the bucks and castrate them. It’s a quick, relatively harmless procedure and very effective in controlling the number of offspring.

Granted, it will take a few years to realize the benefits, but this is an issue that has gone on for many years. Perhaps, they might let one or two lucky bucks go “unclipped” to ensure survival of the herd.

What’s wrong with this solution?

Gerald Gabel


Many questions remain about the deer cull

If you paired Monty Python and George Orwell, you couldn’t do any better than the Parks Canada mass-slaughter of deer taking place right now on Sidney Island.

The B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a “partner” in this $6-million ammo-fest. Helicopters and sharpshooters from New Zealand have been contracted for the job.

New Zealand!

It’s almost as though Parks Canada started at Neptune and worked its way through the solar system, past Saturn, Jupiter, the asteroids, Mars, and finally Earth — to arrive at New Zealand as a source of trigger-happy males.

Dr. David M. Bird, emeritus professor of wildlife biology at McGill University, and a resident of North Saanich, asks some serious questions in his Dec. 1 commentary in the Times Colonist, such as: What exactly is the B.C. SPCA’s involvement in this? Why is the SPCA breaking every single one of their stated animal-protection “principles” to cheer on this violent mass-kill?

Will the relationship be made public between the Parks Canada dreamer-uppers of this bloodbath — and the helicopter companies, security agents and marine outfitters? Where does New Zealand fit into this, other than also being an island?

Why did Parks Canada rely solely on a deer population count from two guys who are not biologists? Why are they not divulging the number of deer they intend to kill?

Was local novelist George Mercer, a retired Parks Canada warden, asked for his input? His book Fat Cats has a Parks Canada staff member secretly transporting cougars to an unnamed Gulf Island in order to feast on an overpopulation of deer.

Anne Hansen


Sidney Island deer cull has public support

The writer asks how the deer cull can proceed when 20,942 people signed a petition opposing it. My math is pretty good and I calculated that 379,058 people out of our roughly 400,000 regional population did not sign it.

So only one person in 20 signed it. Pretty skinny support opposing the cull.

Chris Foord

Amid too many deer

Oak Bay


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