Just put them on the list


In search of orderly thinking a casual read of our local press presents me with a series of unassailable facts:

As a caring society we are falling behind in our care for mentally troubled young people who, without adequate care, can grow up to be mentally troubled middle aged people who will move on to become mentally troubled elderly people.

Vancouver psychiatrist Dr. Steve Mathias who deals with adolescents with mental health problems is quoted as saying it isn’t that the system now in place has gaps in it: “You could argue it’s not actually a gap. It’s an absence of service.” He’s not alone in lamenting our failure to help stem the tide of mental illness when diagnosed early.

Estimated cost to direct attention to the most vulnerable 12 to 15 year age group – $100 million. If that sounds a lot it’s a mere half of one per cent of our total health care budget.

Put it on the priority list of things to do ASAP.

As a caring society we are urged to consider providing free ferry fares for the families of children needing cancer treatment in Vancouver. A letter writer makes the case that the cost to BC Ferries would be negligible, the benefit to families desirous of visiting their children enormous.

Put it on the priority list of things to do ASAP.

As a caring society we want our transportation systems, road, rail and air to be among the best and safest in the world. We want an end to the Colwood crawl with a light rapid transit systems to the West Shore; a second north-south highway as an alternate to the Malahat – in addition to the millions now being spent on that modest mountain road to protect us from suicidal automobile drivers to whom a speed restriction sign is a challenge to their democratic freedom to endanger the lives of others.

Put a new north-south Island Highway on the priority list of things to do ASAP.

Arts and culture – native and modern – are important to our mental well being and societal maturity. Along with amateur sport, they are grossly underfunded.

Put increased funding on the priority list of things to do ASAP.

If you’ve read this far make a few notes on what you think should be on the high priority list and send them to me via e-mail: jhume@shaw.ca. Add a line on which existing programs should be eliminated to provide funding for new essentials.

Remember we know where the money for all government programs comes from – so be careful with your choices. Remember, too, that an estimated sum in excess of a billion dollars needs to be earmarked for the ambitious but unnecessarily expensive wastewater sewage disposal system. Quite a few of those millions have already been spent in the production of nothing of benefit – and millions more will follow unless the CRD, pushed by its creator the Provincial Government, takes a serious look at more efficient and less costly systems.

If the urban powers (Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay), who control CRD voting, can be persuaded to remove their blinkers and seriously and more efficiently look at less costly alternatives, we might even have enough cash left in our taxpayers’ account for a few other pressing needs.

But don’t hold your breath.  The mills of God may grind slow as the old proverb says. But the CRD grinds slower and, of late, in far greater confusion.




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