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Joy MacPhail in Victoria, Jan 23, 1996.

Debra Brash/ The Canadian Press/Debra Brash/ The Canadian Press


15 YEARS AGO… (Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 1996)

Alternative health providers tagged for exceeding budget caps

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Optometrists, massage therapists and physiotherapists working in the public health system will have their fees reduced next year due to a complicated funding formula that penalizes them for exceeding budget limits imposed by the provincial government.

Massage therapists billed the province $1.23-million more than their $12-million cap, resulting in a 20-per-cent drop in compensation from the province.

Per patient remuneration will drop by about 11 per cent for physiotherapists, who overshot their $29.6-million budget by $1.35-million, while optometrists face a similar reduction after exceeding their $28.5-million allocation by about $1-million.

"When you don't live within your budget, you're going to have to adjust your rates," Health Minister Joy MacPhail said.

The province provided $122-million last year for supplemental health-care practitioners, a category that also includes osteopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors and dental surgeons – all groups that did not overspend.

Massage Therapy Association of B.C. executive director Don Larson predicted the cuts will force more alternative health-care providers out of the public system and into private practice.

Flash forward: In 2001, the Liberal government eliminated supplemental health-care funding for all British Columbians who make more than $20,000 a year.

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25 YEARS AGO… (Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 1986)

Kwakiutl protesters demand halt to Deer Island logging

More than 40 members of the Kwakiutl First Nation converged on Deer Island near Port Hardy in an effort to halt a logging operation on the band's ancestral burial grounds.

Sechelt-based logger Archie Haleta, who purchased the 64-hectare island from MacMillan-Bloedel for $250,000 last December, dispatched a crew of more than a dozen men to begin timber harvesting last week.

However, the Kwakiutl people are claiming ownership of Deer Island based on an 1851 treaty signed by James Douglas, former governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island.

As Mr. Haleta pursued a court injunction that would require the first nation to abandon its protest, RCMP officials met with band members in hopes of avoiding a repeat of last fall's logging blockade at Lyell Island in the Queen Charlotte Islands, which led to the arrest of 72 people.

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Kwakiutl spokeswoman Christine Hunt-Peeler said if the court grants an injunction, "police will have no choice but to start arresting us."

Mr. Haleta said his crew has cut down about 500 trees so far.

Flash forward: Three weeks later, on Dec. 23, the courts granted a temporary injunction in favour of the Kwakiutl, forcing Mr. Haleta to shut down his logging operation.

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