Today’s mailbox: Healthcare, COVID-19 and taxes

Letters to the editor published May 22

Seniors group reacts to report

Seniors Action Yukon has spoken out many times over the past two years about the comprehensive review of health and social services. We had well-founded concerns that the review would focus on cutting costs and increasing fees, instead of evidence-based ways to improve the system.

This has happily not turned out to be the case.

The Putting People First report released last week is bold and visionary. We are very pleased to see it takes a client-centred, needs-based approach to health, including an emphasis on prevention and wellness with a focus on community as well as individuals.

The expert panel demonstrated sensitivity and cultural humility in its consideration of reconciliation. It reflected the reality of racism in our health care system. Panel members also appeared to listen well to rural residents and the specific challenges facing them.

We are interested in finding out which of the report’s recommendations have already been incorporated into the Yukon government’s 2020-21 budget, and why. Because of COVID-19, there was no opportunity to hear debate in the legislature about this… yet.

SAY is very pleased to see so many issues raised over the past two years by our members addressed in the report, such as co-ordination of care, helping people with dementia and their caregivers, medical travel improvements, and more.

We respect that the expert panel chose not to deal specifically with aging in place, given the government work underway on an action plan. We do hope to hear from the government shortly on this soon — we are not getting any younger, so speed is needed!

SAY appreciates the work that the Yukon government has already done to improve home care, seniors housing and services for older adults. We share the expert panel’s praise for compassionate care providers, dedicated NGOs, and the ability of the current system to take care of sick people quite well.

We note that there are several areas where the expert panel’s vision for the health and social system get a bit blurry, and thus of concern to SAY.

For example, the Wellness Yukon super-agency is an intriguing approach to breaking up existing silos in the system, but it’s likely new ones will form in future, with questionable accountability to the legislature.

We are also deeply concerned about contracting out the administration of pharmaceutical benefits to the insurance industry.

Seniors Action Yukon is looking forward to hearing from the Yukon government on what it plans to implement from the report and how. Reports are only as good as the will, energy and focus given to their implementation.

We hope the government will adhere to the approach and principles in the report. We also hope the government will move forward quickly, with the strong engagement of Yukoners.

Nancy Campbell

Seniors Action Yukon

Former MLA disappointed in territorial government

As a former MLA and Minister, followed by 10 years’ experience working as a writer and researcher in the office of the legislature’s opposition, I have been disturbed to see that our premier refuses to meet with the opposition parties to explore others’ valid insights into the COVID-19 crisis in the Yukon. With shock, I listened on the CBC while he listed off the many Yukon organizations that he is gathering information from. The legislature’s opposition was glaringly absent. He offers the weak and pointless perusal of the budget, which has already been passed.

Apart from the implications that the premier’s decision has for our fragile democracy, perhaps he doesn’t recall his lone voice in the legislature when in August of 2012 he found he was the lone Liberal in the house, called the Third Party, by far the smallest part of the opposition. I remember thinking then that if he stayed in politics after that, at least he would know how it feels to be ignored and have your ideas overlooked. I had faith that he would be a more generous — and democratic — politician in the future.

Pity!

Eleanor Millard

Carcross

COVID-19 and property taxes

This is an open letter to the City of Whitehorse

As we live in weird times these days and we are being advised by our medical advisor Dr. Hanley for the Yukon and the national medical adviser for the Government of Canada to protect others and possibly oneself from being contaminated though spit-table particles due to speech etc. I wonder were the City of Whitehorse stands in this matter?

Here I am this morning, having made an appointment with the City, (COVID-19 security measures) to pay my taxes in order to get an immediate receipt in person for over $2,310.27. in taxes owed.

I am being received at the front door by a person who does not wear a mask, like I did, and then proceeded to guide me to a counter were there was no barrier of any kind to protect three front line workers or myself from contamination during this interchange of business.

Every store or place I have gone to in the past several weeks in Whitehorse is compliant with health recommendations WHY ARE YOU NOT?

A Plexiglas barrier would accommodate the good, the bad and the ugly; think about it, thank you.

Johan Groenewegen

Whitehorse

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