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Letters Jan. 26: Better health is as vital as better health care; the real story on dazzling headlights

A critical-care nurse in the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. A letter-writer suggests that people too often expect health care to correct an unhealthy lifestyle. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

We all have a role in our own health care

We have been pointing fingers at ­governments, COVID, any and everyone but ourselves.

Yet I have been asking myself if we, the beneficiaries of our collapsed health-care system, are not a large part of the problem.

We have expectations of services and care when, in fact, we have not done our share in the smooth running of our own health and care.

It is not that we do not know better. Bad eating habits and self indulgence, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol consumption, we are all guilty to some degree of one or many of these assaults on our body and mind.

We know that one eventually leads to the next. Excess weight and lack of exercise will, in time, probably lead to Type 2 diabetes, to high blood pressure to potential stroke or heart attack.

But we bank on doctors to heal with pills, to control the sugar, to control the blood pressure, even “take two Aspirins if you experience these symptoms” of stroke.

Could we not do our share in getting the health-care system back on its feet by looking, as best as we can, after our own physical and mental health, thus cutting down on time and dependence on doctors, nurses and all other providers of care?

Betty Lunam, RN (ret’d)


Blame bad aim for blinding headlights

Re: “The fight to ban dazzle headlights,” column, Jan. 13.

John Ducker claims LED headlights cause blinding glare for drivers of other vehicles and blames U.S. regulators and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the nonprofit scientific and educational organization that I lead, for looking the other way.

Ducker relies on incorrect information about the nature of LEDs, which disperse light the same way as other light sources. The real cause of glare problems is poorly aimed headlights, and no group has done more to fix that issue than IIHS.

Headlights are critical safety features. About half of fatal crashes occur at night or at dawn or dusk, even though most driving is done during daylight.

The tests we have conducted since 2016 provide consumers with realistic information about visibility and glare. Our ratings have motivated automakers to improve both aspects of headlight performance.

IIHS technicians evaluate vehicle headlights outside at night on a closed track, taking measurements while the vehicle travels straight and on curves.

While there are many factors that influence headlight performance, proper aim is essential for both maximizing visibility and minimizing glare. Our ratings have prompted manufacturers to pay attention to headlight aim before vehicles leave the factory.

More automakers are striking the right balance, and it’s making a difference. Vehicles with good ratings in IIHS headlight evaluations have night-time crash rates 19 per cent lower than those that rate poorly.

At the same time, we’ve seen the average glare produced by headlights significantly drop year after year.

That is progress that will help all of us see better at night.

David Harkey, president

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Pushing alcohol on ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries has finally won the right to sell two glasses of alcohol to people who will probably getting behind the wheel of a car within the hour. This alone boggles my mind.

However, the piece de resistance was last week on our way back to Vancouver Island on the Queen of Coquitlam at 10:40 a.m. Halfway there, an announcement was made urging passengers to buy their second drink, or their first, if they had not already done so, before the bar closed.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Luckily, it seems that the majority of passengers were of the opinion that this was not a good idea.

It appears that the government thinks that second-hand smoke is a far greater threat to society than drunk driving. I am not sure if they will come to their senses and reverse this policy, but I am not holding my breath.

Annette D’Souza


Which alcohol study should we believe?

We are told by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse that the upper limit of our alcohol intake should be two drinks per week. Up to just the week before, it was two per day.

One is reluctant to leap to rash conclusions here, but isn’t at least one of these studies a tad flawed? So whom to believe, if indeed either?

G.A. Parr


All along, she lied for personal gain

Re: “Give Turpel-Lafond credit for what she has accomplished,” commentary, Jan. 23.

You give credit where credit is due and that is not the case with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. She lied for personal gain.

She lied about her Indigenous heritage, she lied on her CV, she took honorary degrees that she shouldn’t have, she applied for and accepted jobs that an Indigenous scholar could have been awarded, based on her claims of her Indigenous heritage.

To say that she didn’t know she was of European heritage is just ridiculous. She is a researcher. Therefore, you would think that she would have, at the very least, researched her “Indigenous ancestry” before making such claims.

I am surprised there is not more uproar from all Canadian scholars at all the universities. She duped and fooled a lot of people with her lies. Let’s not lose sight of that fact.

The truth always comes out.

Pam Bevan


Best and brightest become targets

I was saddened that the “investigation” of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond occurred. Why did it happen? To take down an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent woman?

Turpel-Lafond was an outstanding advocate for B.C.’s children and youth, the best we ever had. It seems the ­brightest and most compassionate in our society are so often destroyed for ­spurious and vindictive reasons.

The resignation of the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern comes to mind.

Annie Weeks


Kindness won’t work with all those geese

Re: “Let’s try kindness before we start culling,” letter, Jan. 24.

We tried kindness with the wild rabbits which didn’t go well, have tried kindness with the urban deer plague, which hasn’t worked for two decades, and now this contributor suggests we try it with the feathered-locust plague.

Perhaps, round them up and ship them off to a goose spa in Texas. Ridiculous!

Unless more direct action is taken, we will continue to see our Capital Regional District farmers struggling to get local produce on our tables (at a reasonable price) and we, the public, will continue to slip and slide on goose droppings at our parks and other recreation sites; not to mention the consequential health-related concerns.

These “kindness” advocates sit ­comfortably at home, removed from the reality of the hard work farming entails, and then have the gall to complain when food is in short supply or too costly. The need to “get a mitt, and get in the local game” is well overdue with these folks.

John Stevenson


Be kind to geese, encourage more to come

Re: “Let’s try kindness before we start culling,” letter, Jan. 24.

It’s wonderful to know that kindness is still present in our society. I would particularly like it to be extended to the farmers who have difficult enough lives with climate change, rising costs, etc.

I propose that in a spirit of kindness we should all pay an extra geese tax that will compensate the farmers for the damage caused by geese.

Let us pay more tax and import all our food, letting farmers focus on protecting their fields with fences to keep out uglier wildlife, and provide geese sanctuaries.

Let us pay extra tax so that farmers can take a trip somewhere during what used to be the harvest season.

Let us bring more geese into the ­cities and parks and keep the beaches clear so geese can enjoy the freedom to roam away from pesky people.

Let us pay even more extra tax to increase geese poop removal services, restore geese-polluted land and provide geese control staff to protect invasive people from geese natural aggression.

I am sure geese would appreciate such accommodations. Perhaps they would even invite their friends to visit.

Barbara Spence


No, rich people do not create wealth

Re: “We must tax the rich, for the benefit of all,” commentary, Jan. 22.

Tax the rich in order to counter inequity. What’s not to like? Unfortunately, moving “wealth” from the rich to the poor won’t tackle the major, unsettling global challenges threatening our future.

In fact, dumping $1.7 trillion a year on the world’s poorest, hoping you’ll end hunger, provide health care and fund humanitarian ventures avoids the fact it will actually accelerate resource depletion and biosphere degradation.

Despite the self-aggrandizing blather of rich folks, they do not create “wealth.” In order to accumulate “wealth” the rich must take it from other sectors of humanity, the environment, or steal it from future generations.

Yes, we can make life better for the poor and demonstrate we have a social conscience by taking from the richest one per cent and giving to the poor, but any way you look at it, it’s stolen money.

Ken Dwernychuk



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• 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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