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"Laura and I are prepared to do everything we can to make this vision a reality..."

Letter to the Editor,
I understand that a remark attributed to me in the Record’s May 3 issue is causing considerable misunderstanding within the community. After examining the article closely, I can see that several things need to be straightened out.
First of all, it was reported that I said, “Doctors are used to a higher standard of living.” I wish to make it clear I was misquoted and that the remark was taken out of context. The issue being discussed at the time was that the accommodation that is being offered in many other communities is of a higher standard than we presently have here. I was asked by a member of the public “why does Rainy River House have to be so good?” My answer was “because locums are used to better.” The point is that locum doctors do temporary work, by definition. That means they visit many communities, and that means they inevitably compare one experience with another. Rainy River has not been faring well in these comparisons. Our locum doctors are telling us that while they like working here, the housing is below the standard that other communities are providing.
I am greatly disturbed that these words have been put in my mouth, implying that I think of doctors as a higher order of being, with a greater need for luxury. Anyone who believes I would think that, never mind say it, can’t have seen the truck I drive.
It’s important to keep in mind that locum physicians can pick and choose where they wish to work. One northern, rural and remote community is much like any other as far as most locums are concerned. Naturally, they will tend to return to communities where the working and living conditions are most suitable. The hospital and clinic are both very pleasant places to work, with people on staff who are dedicated, professional and caring. It is this factor more than anything else that attracted me to keep returning to Rainy River as a locum and eventually to move here with my family ten years ago. The principal thing the physicians here have struggled with all this time is the supply of locum physicians to provide relief.
People need to realize that just because they haven’t felt the pinch of doctor shortages up till now doesn’t mean there is nothing to be concerned about. Other communities are pulling out all the stops to make themselves attractive for doctors. Rainy River can’t take what it has for granted. Our first–class facilities and access are worth a lot and are worth supporting.
Secondly, I wish to address the issue “price tag more than doubles.” The headline seems to me to be designed only to stir up controversy. The only thing I can say is that the writer was comparing apples to oranges. People who have not seen current numbers for new construction are bound to be surprised by rough estimates that are beginning to emerge, but it’s completely unreasonable for anyone to jump to conclusions and assume planners are being irresponsible. That is anything but the case.
Third, about our future plans, my wife has addressed in a previous letter to the editor about how I was also misquoted. I would only add that, although there is no plan at the moment, I do know that I don’t wish to return to the locum-scarce arrangement that existed prior to Dr. Taylor’s arrival, when I was ready to leave.
And fourth, as to the question “Why is the house so large?” The information in the article invites misunderstanding. The house is actually two houses, one approximately 1,300 square feet and the other approximately 1,600 square feet. The committee originally had smaller space in mind, but the designer did a professional needs assessment and recommended the current plan for several reasons:
We need now, and will almost certainly need in the future, locums who will stay for months.
We want to be able to attract families a) so that doctors will be more likely to agree to these longer periods and b) so that our recruitment capability is increased.
The garages are supplied for a) comfort, security and convenience in a cold climate and middle-of-the night use. Students almost always bring a personally owned car and locums are provided with one by the Ministry of Health, and b) there is no basement, so there needs to be adequate storage for summer furniture and for resale value.
Laura and I are prepared to do everything we can to make this vision a reality for the community we live in. Our experience to date has been that, if people understand the project properly and completely, they support it. There’s quite a lot to know to understand this issue thoroughly, and many questions can quite rightly be asked. But the hard work of a great many forward-thinking, responsible and dedicated people can be undermined by those who form opinions far too quickly and don’t take the time and the trouble to ask the questions that will provide a full picture. It’s even worse to spread inaccurate and incomplete information or ill-formed opinions. I would like to point out that everybody in the community stands to benefit from the efforts of these people.
Dr. David Singleton