Today’s letters: Lessen the physician shortage by bringing in doctors from abroad

Saturday, Oct. 8: On the doctor crisis; the municipal election; Panda Game mayhem and the roots of Confederation. You can write to us too, at [email protected]

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Import qualified family doctors, now

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Re: Ottawa family at wit’s end in familiar hunt for family, Oct. 5. 

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If Canada’s construction industry came to a standstill because there weren’t enough carpenters, we’d bring them in from other countries.

Ottawa’s three-month-old Leah Raby not having a family doctor to monitor the hydronephrosis that causes swelling of one or both of her kidneys is something you’d hear happening in a developing country. Yet, Canada is not a poor country and Leah Raby’s parents are at their wits’ end as to how to find a family doctor to watch over Leah.

There must be qualified doctors, just as there are carpenters, who want to leave their country and move to Canada. Find them and fly them over — yesterday.

Shame on Canada’s leaders, both past and present, for Canada’s health-care system being what it is today, which is shameful.

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Jill Young, Ottawa

Other cities have doctor-recruitment plans

The City of Ottawa can do something other cities have done to address the doctor shortage. In fact the Ottawa Citizen covered Kingston’s success in recruiting nine new family doctors to that city.

One candidate for city council has made this a key part of her platform: Stéphanie Plante in Rideau-Vanier. As she notes: “The City of Ottawa needs to have a family doctor recruitment and retention plan. Many municipalities across the province have gone ahead often with unanimous support from their councils, and there are templates and toolkits already in place as to how these committees can be set up.”

I would hope no matter who gets elected mayor or to council, that is one initiative that all candidates can get behind.

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Nick Heisler, Ottawa

Canada could have had Venezuelan doctors

Some of my wife’s family members had to leave their homes in Venezuela due to the deteriorating situation and violence under President Nicolas Maduro. They and other Venezuelan friends told us in 2018-2019 that more than 13,000 doctors and many more nurses were leaving too.

I wrote and phoned the federal parties many times about this opportunity for Canada to attract these fully trained, highly competent people and help decrease Canada’s shortage of doctors and nurses.

The parties did zilch. Now, a growing number of Canadians have not had access for years to family doctors. How many have suffered and even died because of government inaction?

I have been waiting a year for access to an orthopedist; I don’t even have an appointment yet.

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Michel Laflamme, Ottawa

Support candidates who protect R1 zoning

Re: Should Ottawa stick with single-family residential zoning? Sept. 16.

In the summer of 2021, a sign went up on the corner of Maple Grove and McCurdy, on a large lot containing a small 1960s bungalow. The sign featured artists’ renderings of two apartment buildings and the invitation “Tell us what you think!” along with two email addresses. I never heard a word back.

Our councillor held a Zoom “consultation” with the neighbours that summer. More than 100 people attended and no one was in favour of this development. Many of us indicated that we would have been fine with a few doubles or some rowhouses but that in our single-family home neighbourhood, these six-unit buildings (12 units total) were inappropriate. The meeting was to show us this done deal; consultation had nothing to do with it.

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Those buildings are now nearing completion; they are not unattractive, just completely out of place. Long story short: “What we think” is irrelevant and the builders, with  city council’s support, will do whatever they like.

I will back Mark Sutcliffe and any candidate for council who supports maintaining R1 zoning.

Sharon Moren, Kanata

What’s your plan for the next ‘convoy,’ candidates?

I’ve seen zero reporting on what people in the race for city hall will do if faced with another “Freedom Convoy,” or what they would have done differently when it was in town. We know more are coming. And they’re not coming on bicycles.

I don’t want another appeasement mayor or council, and this is the number one question right now among friends.

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L.J. Ridgeway, Ottawa

Everyone has the right to participate

All citizens have a right to participate in democracy.  Financial limits are prescribed by law. So long as they are adhered to, who contributes to whom should neither be questioned nor frowned upon.

Should teachers be restricted from supporting trustee candidates? Are municipal employees restricted from supporting municipal candidates? Demonizing members of the development and construction industry is to deny them the same participation in democracy that is everyone’s right.

All individuals have an equal right to support the candidate of their choice.

Bernie Myers, Ottawa

Will we be heating empty offices this winter?

Since federal public servants are still working from home, with no final decisions seemingly being made concerning future work locations, can I ask if our tax dollars will be spent heating (and cleaning) these empty buildings all winter?

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Susan Dennett, Kemptville

Why let all those buses idle?

As an annual fall visitor to Ottawa, I was shocked the other day to see 11 “out-of-service”  OC Transpo buses at Tunney’s Pasture transit station, all idling for eight to 10 minutes, as I waited for my bus #75 to Barrhaven.

I have been told that Ottawa council declared a climate emergency resolution in 2019,  committing to climate action in this community. How can our capital city allow this egregious disregard of attempts to stop climate change?

We all have to do our part for our future generations — not just state that this offence is nothing compared to the coal burning factories, that occur in other countries, as one employee told me, when I asked why the buses were left idling.

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Why is the City of Ottawa allowing OC Transpo buses to idle when not in service?

Lawrence Hignell, Airdrie, Alta.

Legalizing prostitution is the right action

Re: Canada must change the law and respect sex workers’ rights, Oct. 4.

Isn’t it about time that we, politically and societally, recognized that prostitution has been around since the beginning of time and will be here long into the future?  Let’s just legalize it, recognize that it is a profession, and legislate licensing, taxing, health and safety requirements, and the same protections afforded any other member of our society.

This approach would see many positives: safety for both sex workers and their clients; lessening of potential health issues, much less need for police resources; income derived from taxes and licensing; and would cut out the illegal activities performed by pimps, gangs and organized crime.

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Looks like a win-win with no negatives; let’s do it.

Pat Tierney, Cardinal

Violence undermines the great Panda tradition

Re: Letters: Time to end the annual Panda Game? Oct. 6.

I was at the first Panda game held. The event was organized by Daryl Sharpe at Carleton University as an inter-university social/sports event. I was part of the group that “stole” Pedro the Panda.

Good fun. Good feelings between the two Ottawa universities. That was in the late 1950s when violent events between universities were never carried out.

It seems that some young people now believe that they can’t have fun without violence. Part of the culture, I guess. So, like so many of their friends and associates, they will destroy an event that was built on fun and camaraderie. I do not wish them ill.  But I wish them little luck and satisfaction in life.

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Bernard Shinder, Ottawa

Charge university students for the damage

Cancelling the Panda Game at Lansdowne will not mean that the game won’t be played elsewhere. The game, with its close to 25,000 attendance, is the premier intercollegiate regular season football contest in Canada. It features superb young athletes engaging in an event with a national tradition going back years.

The misbehaviour rightfully complained of takes place long after the game, clearly involving university students and others, many exhibiting disrespectful behaviour towards residents and their property.

The respective university communities from which the participants in these post-game activities generally derive, have a responsibility to step up. Students who are identified as engaging in bad behaviour should be severely punished by their respective universities, in addition to any criminal charges laid.

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Police and university security forces should be beefed up, positioned strategically, and instructed to firmly arrest as required. The costs of this additional policing should be assigned to both universities. The universities might consider surcharging undergraduates to recover these costs.

Should the problem continue, play the game elsewhere — perhaps at Carleton Place or Smiths Falls, or at McGill or Queen’s on a day when those teams are away. Deny any spectators at the event.

Last, impose a modest surcharge on all undergraduates to pay into a trust to compensate affected property owners for damage caused.

George D. Hunter, Ottawa

Confederation not based on the U.S. threat

Re: Sorry, King Charles, we just don’t need you anymore, Sept. 28.

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Since abolishing the monarchy is difficult, I like the idea of removing Charles from the coinage and elsewhere, making him pay for visits, and perhaps making the disavowal of the Doctrine of Discovery a condition of any future visit. If he stumbles, as expected, he may make it easier for us to eliminate his role in future.

However, having written a history of federalism (Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces) I cannot agree that any American “threat” was ever a significant factor in Confederation. Politicians certainly talked about it; some Americans made statements that suggested a threat; the Fenians did some damage; and the threat was used to help tip the crucial New Brunswick election. In Nova Scotia, the threat cut no ice whatsoever, and ditto for the Canadas.

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There, the Assembly made almost no effort to increase the size of the militia and, instead, spent huge amounts on the magnificent Parliament Buildings, which are still amongst the finest buildings in the country. Britain had made its peace with the U.S. in the Treaty of Oregon; it would not be a threat to the U.S. and vice versa from then on. In effect, the U.S. could do anything it liked in the Americas south of Canada and Britain could do what it liked everywhere else — an unwritten treaty that has been enormously successful ever since.

Before the Civil War, Britain had decided to withdraw all its troops from British North America and Confederation was necessary for that. In a war, the U.S. could easily have conquered Ontario, unlike in 1812, but the British navy had the capacity to devastate American shipping and ports. Who in Boston wanted a war with Britain? Britain forced N.S. to join when it was overwhelmingly opposed, and was complicit in the false promises that led British Columbia to join.

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The American Civil War cost 700,000 troops and the U.S. was still facing decades of serious warfare with Indigenous people; the budget for that was bigger than the Dominion’s.  President Ulysses S. Grant made it clear there was no threat to Canada.

I’m not sure why this myth has survived so long except that it’s so nice to think that we escaped being part of the Republic, even if history gets in the way.

Ed Whitcomb, Ottawa

Dog walkers: use the leash, and clean up the poop

An appeal to dog walkers who use the Sawmill Creak storm water treatment recreation path. When you take your dog off leash, it is a bylaw infraction, and when you do not clean up after your dog you are in violation of another city bylaw.

You are not a responsible dog owner. It is very upsetting as a disabled, wheelchair user when I run onto your neglect and you are not around to help clean up.

Wil Barber, Ottawa

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