Letter to the Editor

Cartoonist missed the mark Wyatt Tremblay, get your facts straight. Old Towners’ love children and, in fact, anybody can open up a day care…

Cartoonist

missed the mark

Wyatt Tremblay, get your facts straight.

Old Towners’ love children and, in fact, anybody can open up a day care in residentially zoned Old Town.

Further, I would like to add that the recently passed high density development of a four-plex on 6th Avenue and Wheeler Street clearly demonstrates that we are not against compatible development in Old Town.

However, we do reserve the right to oppose commercial developments of any kind that don’t comply with our residential zoning and have the potential to create lots of traffic in our quiet neigbourhood.

Especially, when right next to Old Town, east of 6th Avenue, downtown lots are zoned multiuse/commercial, specifically to accommodate commercial developments.

In all fairness, I’m convinced the residents of Old Town don’t ask for more than you would consider appropriate right next to your own residence in your residential neighbourhood.

Think about it!

Astrid Vogt

Whitehorse

Physician, heal thyself

The Brian Day Show rolled into town last week.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association was here for the annual general meeting of the Yukon Medical Association.

Day’s presentation was open to the public.

He delivered his ‘picture show’ (which he distinguished from his more serious ‘paper talk’) — a slick, rehearsed presentation that interchanges naughty politically incorrect humour with biased ‘facts’ about the state of Medicare in Canada today.

It’s a great show to schedule at 3 p.m. in a long weekend of meetings and workshops. It has music, video clips, philosophical digressions and, of course, Day’s wicked humour with either ugly women or politicians serving as punchlines.

His message is that the government has done a bad job with the public health care system and that physicians need to take a more prominent role in leading that system to a higher ranking in the world.

He himself is leading by example with his private surgery clinics, which he willingly promotes.

Now who am I, as a concerned citizen,’ to call Day’s information biased?

Let me start with one groan-and-gasp-inducing statistic he produced: health care spending as a percentage of the GDP is going up one per cent a year … and will soon be unaffordable, jurisdiction after jurisdiction, according to the good doctor.

What he failed to mention was that this statistic covers the time immediately after huge federal health care cuts. So catch-up funding was essential.

The same statistic would be much more informative if it included an acknowledgement of the impact of pharmaceutical drug costs, which Day ignored.

Thanks to Brian Mulroney’s decision to extend patent protection to the drug giants (who threw a thank-you banquet for him last week in Montreal), we aren’t using affordable generic drugs, we’re using more and more of the pricey stuff.

Lacing a picture show with overly simplistic stats is not information, and it is not discussion. It is propaganda.

If Day wanted to contribute positively to the health-care debate, why didn’t he acknowledge — as the Romanow report and many other serious studies do — that the social determinants of health, such as poverty, substandard housing, poor nutrition and lack of clean drinking water, have a greater impact on health outcomes than the method of health care service delivery.

It is not accurate to say that waitlists are the biggest health concern for Canadians.

Access to the knee replacements Day performs so expertly and profitably, are hardly the ‘whole picture’ of health care.

Instead of hijacking the health-care debate by focusing on waitlists, Canada’s top doc has an obligation to talk about social determinants, about the environment, about health promotion, about how massive cutbacks in the 1990s created a severe shortage of trained professionals right across the country.

He has an obligation to talk about the larger team of health-care providers, of which doctors are but one part.

It is not the mandate of the CMA to fundamentally change social policy in Canada, but that’s exactly where it could be heading under Day’s stewardship.

By advocating the removal of barriers to insurance companies, and by practising and promoting health-for-hire, Day is opening health delivery in Canada to NAFTA challenges by international providers such as US-style HMOs.

That is not public choice. That is health policy by trade agreement.

Tory Russell

Whitehorse

Picturing a great friend

I met Rod and Enid Tait during the summer of 2001 while visiting the Yukon with some friends.

I had come in contact with Enid after seeing a segment on CBC television a few years before my trip. The segment was called something like The Galloping Grannies, and it was my love for horses that got me to watch it.

It featured Enid Tait and some of her friends raising horses and horseback riding with friends in the Kluane region.

I immediately fell in love with the scenery and with a lady I didn’t know at the time.

A couple years went by, but the Yukon stayed there in back of my mind and so did that wonderful lady, Enid.

I decided I would try to contact her in some way as I was planning on doing a trip to the Yukon.

Once we made contact by mail, that was it, I knew I had to meet her and her husband so, when planning my trip, I was definitely going to Haines Junction.

We finally met on a beautiful summer day in July 2001.

We were greeted at her house with open arms, got into her car and went to meet Rod who had been working on his tractor on their farmland.

Enid and I had a great horseback ride I’ll never forget while my friend Austin gave a hand to Rod at fixing his old tractor.

Austin’s wife Huguette stayed on the farm-land to practice her painting skills looking at all the beautiful scenery surrounding her.

We all went back to the Tait’s house for lunch … if you can call a roast pork, rice and vegetables and all the servings, lunch.

We talked for hours, all of us, as if we had known each other for years.

Rod told us that his grandfather was born in the Eastern Townships close to Québec.

We talked about potatoes on their farm, growing their own hay, talked about horses, of the couple travelling everywhere you can imagine, their children, grandchildren and we were lucky enough to meet Russell as he was coming over to see what needed to be done to help his father.

We were strangers from Québec, but they made us feel like family members during the time we were with them.

Rod was truly a great family man just by the way he talked about his children and grandchildren, all the pictures they showed us of their family, and was surely a most loving husband to Enid.

He will be deeply missed by his family but also by the whole community. I know, from reading articles, that both Enid and Rod have always been very involved in the Haines Junction community.

It is now up to Russell and the rest of this wonderful family to continue the Tait legacy.

I must tell you that I heard about the passing of Rod Tait through another good friend of mine living in Whitehorse and she was kind enough to send me the newspaper clipping of Wednesday, October 31, in which you did a wonderful tribute to a great family man.

But what caught my heart was the picture in the article of Rod alongside his tractor.

It’s a picture I took while I was there and just the fact of the family using a picture I once took really shows a certain connection we had and that is simply wonderful.

Thank you for your time in reading this, I just wanted to express myself in some kind of way to your article.

Best regards to all,

Maureen Bédard

Valcartier, Québec)

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