Saturday's letters: Bike lanes are for the privileged

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Check your BMI

I have to say I am deeply disappointed and frustrated with our city council. Prioritizing bike lanes for the very few privileged people who use them is ridiculous when we have huge issues with affordable housing, substance use, and unsafe public transit. Yes, that’s right, most people don’t have the liberty to use a bike for commuting let alone can afford the ones you do see in the bike lanes.

Recently, I accessed the downtown library parkade to find several unhoused people sheltering in the stairwells and smoking crack. Pointing the finger solely at the province to do something about these issues is not OK; how about further funding for the Edmonton Police HELP unit and other social services agencies rather than more bike lanes in residential areas where the roads aren’t even busy to begin with?

S.M. MacLeod, Edmonton

Restore primary care to necessary levels

We understand that the ongoing shortage of family physicians causes patients to consider other providers to assist with their primary care needs. We are working with government, under our agreement in the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative, to seek short- and long-term solutions to support patients. Nothing can replace the comprehensive, high-value care provided by family medicine specialists who have years of training in understanding the needs of patients through life.

Family medicine is “a precise discipline, integrating a unique blend of biomedical, behavioural and social sciences, while employing a diverse range of cognitive and procedural skills.” Access to pharmacy clinics as a stop-gap during a shortage of family physicians does not change the fact that every Albertan should have a family physician to call their own.

We will work with government toward that end. Pharmacist clinics popping up are disconnected from the patient’s other touch points in the system. We already have insufficient information-sharing and burden the patient too much to keep track of decisions, diagnoses and data. Let’s not make this worse. Primary care in separate streams that never intersect is not good patient care. We need continuity for patients and across providers to ensure information-sharing and effective working relationships.

The best possible approach is an integrated team to address all a patient’s medical concerns throughout their lives in a medical home in which allied health professions work with the physician. Our efforts must be aligned with MAPS and other collaborative efforts. We must support our family physicians and the patients of Alberta. This is not only an Alberta issue. We call on the federal government to work with the Canadian Medical Association to support the provinces and restore primary care to levels that Canadians require.

Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, president, Alberta Medical Association

Celebrating Ovechkin milestone unseemly

Only two days after the visit by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington D.C., the same city celebrates a Russian hockey player scoring an NHL milestone goal. While the bodies of Ukrainian children are recovered from bombed rubble in their home country, the Russian family of the NHL hockey “hero” are accommodated in a luxury box at the arena and proudly hold up their children for photos.

K.R. Duncan, Edmonton

Thanks to those keeping others safe

The weather has been a challenge all over Canada this holiday week. Thank you to emergency services, police, health-care workers, road maintenance, utility personnel, airport and travel employees and many others who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. It is difficult to prepare for such extreme weather catastrophes. Sending thanks and appreciation to those who sacrificed their holiday to make ours a hint better.

Maxine Newbold, Edmonton

Source: EdmontonJournal