Letters Oct. 12: We don’t need cruise ships; COVID vaccine boosters for everyone over 65

Refreshing absence of Las Vegas on water

Re: “Our new reality — fewer cruise ship visits,” commentary, Oct. 9.

A sombre and yet refreshing column regarding the possibility of a changing cruise ship industry.

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The “sombre” aspect would be the demise of the benefits the cruise ship industry provides. The bus riding, flower-viewing, T-shirt buying economy surely will take a hit. Who will watch the whales? Ogden Point and the Causeway will crumble into the sea!

A conversation with a downtown merchant during the early plague revealed that cruise ship passengers didn’t buy his clothing. I would guess that cruisers aren’t eating in our fancy restaurants, buying art or taking home antiques either.

Does the economy of Victoria take a hit? I would guess so, for a while. The weather, the beauty and being Canadian, those would seem to me to be the real, long-term money makers in this burg.

The “refreshing” aspect of fewer cruise ships is the literal absence of fumes, noise and traffic in my James Bay neighbourhood.

Saying goodbye to an industry that celebrates excess consumption is refreshing, not to mention a chord struck for the climate.

A two-time cruiser myself, I liken a cruise ship to Las Vegas on water, except they bring their garbage and their pollution with them, to every port-of-call.

See you later, cruise ships.

Mark R. Fetterly

Tourists don’t come to see skyscrapers

Re: “Our new reality — fewer cruise ship visits,” commentary, Oct. 9.

Paul Servos lays the facts of Victoria’s cruise-ship dependency on the line.

Servos doesn’t say whether or not he thinks the ships ever contributed much — if anything — to Victoria’s economy.

The cruise ship industry has claimed that they produce tremendous benefits, but their boosters and Victoria’s shakers and movers never bothered to question them. The industry definitely benefited the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority mini-empire, which went about spending like a drunken sailor the fees it earned from each cruise-ship visit.

Now it’s time to face the fact we do depend on tourism and it’s time to do something about it. Tourists come here to savour Victoria’s harbour and heritage buildings, not to gape at ugly skyscrapers.

We’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg. We’re demolishing our history with high-rise development schemes to convert Victoria into a two-bit copy of Chicago.

Tim Davis

Tourist industry should change its focus

Re: “Our new reality — fewer cruise ship visits,” commentary, Oct. 9.

At last, a cogent, well-presented analysis of the cruise business here in Victoria.

I couldn’t care less if those ostentatious, polluting, floating hotels disappear for good. Victoria has more going for it.

It’s time the tourism people in this city started to focus on deserving the business from visitors and not depending on outdated U.S. legislation.

Like the author says, it’s a small group of worriers with little voice when it comes to what really matters. Sort of like logging protesters, anti-vaxers and fossil fuel haters.

Let’s get rid of one of those headaches, then we can address the others (but that would require B.C. politicians with balls).

T.L. Pedneault-Peasland

Understand implications of your decisions

We really enjoyed stopping at Rolley’s restaurant in Hope when transiting from the coast to the Interior and back. Our trips were usually planned around getting to Rolley’s for lunch.

Life is a series of choices and decisions. Rolley’s made a decision to disobey the B.C. health order on checking vaccination completion with the QR card.

Now I have to wonder what else they may not be in compliance with. That was a stupid decision to put staff jobs and local security at risk because of ignorance. Yes, ignorance, that means simple lack of knowledge. Northeast B.C. has the same problem with vaccination non-compliance.

Open your eyes, people, and get facts, hopefully not from social media, make a decision and understand the implications of that decision.

Everyone has the right to make a decision, that is not the point. Sometimes we just make bad decisions.

Robert Tritschler

Think of vaccinations as your lifeboat

Six months ago I took a small but real risk getting the COVID vaccine. Taking that small risk made me and the people around me safer. It also makes it safer for those who refuse to be vaccinated, even while their refusal makes me less safe.

We are in a lifeboat in a storm, rowing against the tide trying to make it to shore. The non-vaxers are able-bodied people unwilling to help row the boat.

They have their excuses: “I might overexert myself and have a heart attack.” “I might strain a muscle,” “I might break a finger nail.”

At some point we need to seriously consider tossing the freeloaders overboard.

Malcolm Dew-Jones

Elderly in care homes have great protection

I greatly respect Dr. Bonnie Henry but on the question of booster shots, I think she’s wrong. We’re not in the same situation now as at the beginning of the pandemic.

The elderly in care homes are now protected by a triple wall of medical security; they are fully immunized, so are their caregivers and so are any visitors.

In contrast, seniors out in the community face risk every time they step out of doors. Who knows what they encounter in the checkout lines, on the bus or even on a crowded street.

Remember that one in eight of the public they meet is still not vaccinated. The probability that a community-based senior will acquire the virus is many times higher than the probability that the virus will succeed in breaching the triple medical walls around a care home.

Henry should not wait for months whilst the death statistics confirm this situation. Just for once, Alberta has got it right. We have ample supply of vaccine and the immunization system is up and running.

Time to give booster shots to everyone over 65.

Dr. Alec Mitchell

COVID-19 will have a lasting impact

Various effects of the virus and other delayed medical care requirements will be with us for a long, long time.

Our medical staff will continue to be working flat out for a long time, both to catch up with the backlog of deferred medical procedures, and deal with the virus, variant monitoring, vaccine boosters and testing.

It is clear that our existing medical staff members are increasingly tired and in some cases just plain worn out. Some staff are dropping out of service due to fatigue and stress.

We need to adapt the medical system to the new normal of work volume. In short, we need more doctors, nurses, and support staff. We need to increase the training facilities and subsidise the cost of that training.

We also need to increase the pay of the existing medical staff. Going forward we need to have larger ICU facilities and staff them, without shrinking other departments.

The need for action in this area is obvious. It is also obvious that the long-term work required to make the changes has not yet been actioned. Expecting the existing medical staff to continue to over-work themselves forever is unrealistic and unethical.

Training is a slow process. We should have started this process months ago.

The provincial and federal governments need to step up and support the medical system with increasing funding and staffing, and adapt it to the new real requirements of Canadians. This is not going to just “go away” some time soon. It is real and long term.

The medical staff has and continues to do its part. Now it is time for the governments to step up!

Larry Michaels

Stop selling cigarettes in B.C. pharmacies

B.C.’s COVID death toll has exceeded 2,000. As horrifying as that sounds, something is killing far more people each year. Killing more people than all drugs, motor vehicle collisions, murders, suicides and HIV/AIDS combined.

It’s smoking. Tobacco use causes up to 6,000 deaths in B.C. each year!

Health Minister Adrian Dix is the only health minister in Canada who still allows pharmacies to sell cigarettes. Furthermore, he also thinks it’s OK for pharmacies to hypocritically receive taxpayer money to help people quit for free.

With the exception of Manitoba, which stopped allowing them to be sold in 2013, most of the provinces and territories removed cigarettes from their drugstores at least 10 years ago!!

That means that since Colin Hansen was health minister in 2011, all of the following ministers have failed or avoided bringing in legislation to do the same: Mike deJong, Margaret MacDiarmid, and Terry Lake.

As the health critic in 2007, Dix said “One of the next steps that’s required to protect people from the impact of cigarette smoke is to make pharmacies, which are a place of health, come forward into the 21st Century, and not allow the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies.”

Perhaps it’s time Dix did away with the hypocrisy, and brought the Health Minister portfolio “forward into the 21st Century”.

Leo Levasseur

Losing Richardson means more safety

I live in North Gonzales, near the Oak Bay border. I love my neighborhood.

I used to drive downtown via Richardson Street. It was my go-to route.

Since the Richardson bike route construction started, I’ve had to switch to taking Pandora and sometimes Yates. This is inconvenient for me.

But it makes for a safer bike route for kids, families, seniors.

So I’m OK with it. Safety for the vulnerable is more important than a minor inconvenience.

Cities change. They always have. It’s still a beautiful, friendly, wonderful place to live.

David Thompson

We’ve lost respect for our way of life

What has happened to society? What has happened to law and order?

With this “new world order” it seems that we have lost law and order and any respect for our way of life — the protesters, criminals, homeless have decided they can do whatever they want to whoever they want and the justice system is helpless to do anything about it!

In a lot of cases the “justice system” seems to go along with it! Just look around at the assaults on police, the blatant criminal activity at any time of the day, the buying up of hotels seemingly so the criminals have bases to work out of, and it seems that it’s against “the rules” to say anything about it.

It’s all unbelievable and so sad. If this is the “new world order” I’m glad I’m in my late 70s and have had a good life until now.

Donna Mason

Get tough with old‑growth protesters

Maybe people should wake up and realize these protesters are criminals. As an equipment operator, if someone climbed on my machine, it wouldn’t end well. We have signs on our equipment saying, stay three metres away.

This is very dangerous and life- threatening.

Indigenous bands rely on this timber as they run numerous sawmills. Most of the Indigenous leaders want protesters out.

Thank goodness the new ruling will stop this madness. After the decision to remove the injuction, anarchy was about to happen. Time to get tough and remove these protesters.

These protesters are breaking the law. They are criminals.

Ken Alan
Port Renfrew

Take medical guidelines with a grain of salt

A reader said to Dr. Roach, “I am a 70 year old man experiencing an increase in breast size over the past year. Recent mammogram and ultrasound were negative. What could be the cause of this condition?”

Roach answered, “The most likely cause of gynecomastia (the development of breast tissue in the man) is the normal lowering of testosterone levels in older men.

This can be tested, and the test should be repeated if low. A trial of replacement testosterone is appropriate only if the blood level is low.”

I asked a medical librarian to find randomized controlled trials analyzing the effect of exogenous testosterone for older men with gynecomastia and low testosterone.

She checked the literature (including ClinicalTrials.gov and Medline/PulMed) and was unable to find a randomized controlled trial for exogenous testosterone and gynecomastia in older men.

Guidelines must be taken with a grain of salt, because they are often written by people with ties to industry.

Testosterone is metabolized by peripheral aromatase into estradiol, a strong estrogen. Estrogen causes breast growth. Estrogen replacement therapy in women was heavily marketed for decades, until it was realized that estrogen replacement increases the risk of blood clots.

Can Roach provide randomized controlled trials confirming that “replacement testosterone” is safe and effective in older men with gynecomastia?

Robert Shepherd M.D.


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