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All for one?
Re Universal Health Care On Trial: What You Need To Know About A Historic Charter Challenge In B.C. (Nov. 13): In 2007, a group of British doctors wrote an open letter to Brian Day, who had been elected president of the Canadian Medical Association. They warned against the hybrid public-private system long advocated by Dr. Day, a system in which they had vast experience. This week, 12 years after that letter, it has been reported that waiting times in Britain’s National Health Service are the worst ever recorded.
Can we improve the delivery of health care? Many often cite France as an example of a country with the best system. If so, Canadians should be asking their government to take even greater control and allow less health-care privatization.
I believe Dr. Day has earned the sobriquet “Dr. Profit.” His crusade to advance the parallel system seems ever rooted in a desire to maximize profit, not in providing better health care.
Agostino Di Millo Toronto
Re One For All? (Letters, Nov. 15): The main issue with our universal health care seems to be that not everyone gets timely service, depending on the location of the patient and the service required. This is true whether needing a family doctor or a specialist. A letter writer expresses the frustration felt by many. However, there are some good-news stories.
I personally was seen by a family doctor and diagnosed in early July, seen by the specialist in August and had my surgery the first week of September. Can’t do much better than that. In a perfect world, that would always be the case.
Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.
In the nick of time
Re B.C. Unveils Tough Regulations In Bid To Curb Youth Vaping (Nov. 15): Young people across Canada have heard of the dangers of smoking throughout their lives. Most understand the gravity of consequences through education, sales restrictions and smoking bylaws. But vaping has emerged as a dramatic threat to young people’s health, as evidenced by recent stories of ICU stays and even a lung transplant.
British Columbia’s proposed vaping restrictions are similar to the evidence-based practices for smoking prevention and have been crafted in a commendably timely manner. Other provinces would serve their constituents well by also introducing timely, comprehensive vaping regulations. The health of young Canadians may depend on it.
Kelly Anne Cox Pediatric resident physician, University of British Columbia; Vancouver
Re NDP’s Singh Says Liberals Must Demonstrate Willingness To Work Together In Throne Speech (Nov. 15): Jagmeet Singh’s tone after meeting with the Prime Minister both surprised and disappointed me.
I expected a conciliatory tone from Mr. Singh, not the same vitriol I’ve seen displayed by Andrew Scheer, Jason Kenny and Scott Moe. Achieving goals such as a national pharmacare program should begin with shaking hands and working together, not threats of withdrawing support.
If all this grandstanding is just theatre, how can the audience send a message? One that says: Enough.
Colleen Maloney Coquitlam, B.C.
Re How Many Pipelines Do We Really Need? (Nov. 15): Columnist Gary Mason writes that there is “likely an economic case to be made for the Trans Mountain expansion.” This is based on the premise the Asian market will give oil producers a better price than what the United States can offer. But some experts seem to suggest otherwise.
Simon Fraser University professor emeritus David Huntley’s detailed report of oil tanker traffic at Westridge Marine Terminal, the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline, found that virtually all outgoing tankers since 2014 headed to California, not Asia. And David Hughes, who spent 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada, found there to be no appreciable difference in the price of oil in North America versus Asia.
Before Ottawa commits to spending the estimated $10-billion to construct TMX, the rationale for it ought to be revisited.
Bill Pearce Victoria
In my home, there is always music playing. Over 50 years or so, I have gone from records to CDs to downloading music, and now I subscribe to a streaming service. As a country, we seem to spend a lot of time and money trying to be a more successful record company, and not enough time trying to figure out what the energy equivalent of a streaming service will be.
Catherine Montgomery Toronto
Re How Will Trudeau’s Minority Parliament Work? A Continuing Guide To The New Balance Of Power (Online): There has been a great deal of attention given to the problem that Alberta and Saskatchewan will not be represented in the federal cabinet. What about Interior British Columbia? The region is home to more than one million people, roughly the same or larger in population than whole provinces. It would be inconceivable for Saskatchewan to be left out of cabinet had they elected any Liberal MPs.
The Liberals will likely appoint three B.C. cabinet ministers from Greater Vancouver, as they always do. Will all Ontario ministers be from the Greater Toronto Area? Probably not. But if they were, the protest from the rest of Ontario would be loud. Will all Quebec ministers be from Greater Montreal? No – the rest of Quebec would not stand for it. But here in Interior B.C., the million or so of us quietly accept being shafted time after time.
Will any federal infrastructure spending come to Interior B.C.? I don’t think so, for Ottawa seems to feel that if they give B.C.’s share to Vancouver, then all of B.C. shall have received its share.
Alan Whitman Penticton, B.C.
This minority government presents a wonderful opportunity to reverse the centralization of power in Ottawa.
Since Pierre Trudeau came to office in 1968, power has been increasingly centred in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council. Under this system, MPs of the governing party have experienced an erosion of their influence, especially at the committee level where members serve at the pleasure of the party whip. Look, for example, at the justice committee in the SNC-Lavalin affair, where party lines were toed and further inquiries were quickly shut down.
Opposition parties in the upcoming government could force reform. It should become the rule that any MP is appointed to a committee for the life of the Parliament, unless that MP wishes to resign. Such a reform would put some individual power back in their hands, where it should belong.
Peter Ward Ottawa
24 Sussex 2.0
Re PM’s Official Residence Is A Symbol Of Canada’s Neglected Infrastructure (Nov. 15): With the urgency of climate action upon us, this would be an excellent opportunity to rebuild 24 Sussex Drive as a modern net-zero structure using the best of Canadian knowledge and technology. We can demonstrate to Canadians and the world that we are serious about climate change.