Saturday Letters: cycle paths are reserved for the privileged

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I have to say that I am deeply disappointed and frustrated with our city council. Prioritizing bike lanes for the very few privileged people who use them is ludicrous when we have huge problems with affordable housing, addictions and unsafe public transit. Yes, it’s true, most people don’t have the freedom to use a bike to get around and even fewer can afford the ones you see on bike paths.

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Recently, I pulled into the downtown library parking lot to find several homeless people sheltering in the stairwells and smoking crack cocaine. Pointing the finger only at the province to do something about these issues is not acceptable; how about additional funding for the Edmonton Police HELP unit and other social service agencies rather than more bike lanes in residential areas where the roads aren’t even busy to begin with?

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I live right next to the bike paths and again today I saw someone riding on the sidewalk instead of the bike path and he had winter bike tires on. It seems our city council is more interested in their pet projects and “performative activism” than truly addressing the serious issues facing this city in a sensible way.

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SM MacLeod, Edmonton

Restore primary care to necessary levels

We understand that the continued shortage of family physicians is causing patients to consider alternate providers to meet their primary care needs. We are working with the government, as part of our agreement under 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 to understand the needs of patients across the lifespan.

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

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We will work with the government to that end. Pharma clinics that pop up are disconnected from other patient touchpoints in the system. We already have insufficient information sharing and overburden the patient to track 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 between providers to ensure information sharing and effective working relationships.

The best possible approach is an integrated team to address all of a patient’s lifelong medical concerns in a medical home where allied health professionals work with the doctor. Our efforts should be aligned with MAPS and other collaborative efforts. We need to support our family physicians and Alberta patients. It’s not just an Alberta problem. We call on the federal government to work with the Canadian Medical Association to support the provinces and restore primary care to the levels Canadians need.

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Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, President, Alberta Medical Association

Celebrating Ovechkin’s milestone inappropriately

Just two days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington DC, the same city celebrates a Russian hockey player scoring an NHL goal. As the bodies of Ukrainian children are recovered from the bombed-out rubble in their home country, the Russian family of the NHL hockey ‘hero’ are housed in a luxury box at the arena and proudly hold their children as Pictures.

KR Duncan, Edmonton

Thank you to those who protect others

The weather has been a challenge across Canada this holiday week. Thank you to the emergency services, police, healthcare workers, road maintenance, utility personnel, airport and travel workers and many others who work tirelessly to ensure our security. It is difficult to prepare for such extreme weather disasters. Sending thanks and appreciation to those who have sacrificed their vacations to improve ours.

Maxine Newbold, Edmonton

Letters welcome

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