Letters to the editor: ‘Provincial health ministers must be worried for their jobs. It is the only reason I can think of for not coming to an agreement on federal health transfers.’ The health care crisis, plus other letters to the editor for Nov. 12

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube, third right, stands with his provincial counterparts during a news conference after the second of two days of meetings, in Vancouver, on Nov. 8.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

One for all

Re On Health Care, We Need Action, Not Petulance, From The Premiers (Nov. 10): I heartily agree that there should be a national strategy for licensing health care professionals: doctors, nurses and allied health staff. There should also be a national fee schedule to prevent one province providing heftier salaries compared with another, which can lead to poaching between jurisdictions (B.C. To Family Doctors: Follow The Money – Nov. 4).

There are too many provincial cooks and a distinct lack of co-ordination on regulatory requirements. Every Canadian should be privy to health care of equal standard no matter where they live.

The federal government should step up and assume more responsibility; it seems to me that devolving responsibilities to the provinces has not worked. We are witnessing a shambolic national health care system.

Provincial health ministers must be worried for their jobs. It is the only reason I can think of for not coming to an agreement on federal health transfers.

This prolongs the agony for Canadians, and we should be angry.

Joanne Wiggins Victoria

Britain, with more than 67 million people, has one national health care system. We have 13.

We should have only one system comprised of bureaucrats from the current 13, plus a federal representative. This would eliminate billions of dollars in administrative overhead, which could be redirected to doctors and nurses.

Tom Simmons Whitby, Ont.

Closer look

Re Prison Service To Hire Executive To Address Soaring Rates Of Indigenous Imprisonment (Nov. 5): Finally, after 18 years of protests by prisoners’ rights advocates. It is our collective shame that Indigenous prisoners are 20 per cent of inmates in federal facilities and for women it is nearly 50 per cent, whereas Indigenous persons represent 4 per cent of the general population.

My hope is that one of the recommendations will be to have more healing lodges and to better utilize existing ones (How Canada Let Its Healing Lodges Wither – Oct. 22). Indigenous prisoners who are residents of healing lodges are less likely to reoffend, and the per diem cost per inmate is less than for traditional prisons.

Kaz Shikaze Mississauga

While Correctional Service Canada hires an executive to consider incarceration rates among First Nations, a split Supreme Court rules that First Nations do not have constitutional rights to special treatment in the criminal justice system (Top Court Upholds Limits On Conditional Sentences – Nov. 5). Apparently one branch of government says there is a problem, while another says the status quo is correct.

Penitentiaries do not choose who makes up the inmate population. But if both branches of government are correct, are we stuck with this system? I hope not.

In figuring out why a particular group is overrepresented in the criminal justice system, I believe there is not much value in closely considering the last step. It begins on the streets, so let’s start there.

We should better understand whom we are locking up, and what colonization has done to harm them. Then we can possibly move closer to achieving equity for First Nations in the criminal justice system.

Brenda Taylor Surrey, B.C.

Peace on Earth?

Re We Have To Believe In A World Without War – And Science Should Lead The Way (Opinion, Nov. 5): I am grateful to distinguished scientist and Nobel laureate John Polanyi for his eloquent expression of what should be a broad-based yearning.

An editorial cartoon years ago featured two planets. One in the guise of a doctor holds a stethoscope to the surface of Earth. The caption reads: “I have bad news. You’ve got humans.”

History’s evidence of deadly quarrels, sadly too oft-repeated, predisposes governments wishing for peace to prepare for war. Sound as this seems, the record has not improved. Despite, or just as likely because of, the umbrella of nuclear deterrence, armed conflict persists.

Perhaps, as U.S. philanthropist Andrew Carnegie maintained, “There is a safer way … it requires only the consent and the goodwill of the governments … if you want peace, agree to keep the peace.”

Or are humans a fatal disease?

Frederic Carpenter Ottawa

“Our profession of science depends crucially on the defence of truth.” Yet the history of science tells us that formal peer review processes often fail at it.

Ideas that marginally improve our knowledge are generally easy to understand, and hence to communicate. On the other hand, ideas later seen to be “groundbreaking” are from the outset often difficult to understand, even by their originator. Hence, they are usually even more difficult to communicate, even to those deemed to be peers of the originator.

The classical example was Gregor Mendel’s discovery of what we now refer to as genes. His work was ignored for 35 years and required a long battle among peers, led by geneticist William Bateson, to gain general appreciation.

Donald Forsdyke Emeritus professor, department of biomedical and molecular sciences, Queen’s University Kingston

Down under

Re Green Lessons For Canada From Australia (Editorial, Nov. 5): As a dual Canadian and Australian citizen, I’d normally be the first person to extol Australia’s authority and leadership in tackling the climate crisis.

Anthony Albanese was, at the last Australian federal election, given a clear mandate to tackle climate change. There is an exodus of coal plants, hopefully closing ahead of schedule.

However, far from turning primarily to renewables, the Albanese government has 29 applications for new coal mines to consider. It has looked favorably upon new natural gas developments such as the Beetaloo Basin project in the fragile Northern Territory, where natural gas is fracked from shale.

If we want to avoid climate disaster, we should keep carbon in the ground everywhere. Australia is not a model for that yet.

Katrina Ince Lum Toronto

Across the pond

Re The Poverty Of Political Coverage On Canadian TV (Arts & Books, Nov. 5): In 2006, I happened to land in Britain during local elections. The next morning I saw Tony Blair being interviewed on television.

This struck me, first because prime ministers in Canada aren’t involved in local politics. But more importantly, he was interviewed – even on a fluffy breakfast program – with a depth and forcefulness that I’ve never seen applied to a Canadian politician.

It seems taken for granted that a BBC journalist can ask the questions that opponents would want asked, demand answers and follow through the contradictions they’re given. It doesn’t sound hard, but what we have feels to me like marketing by comparison.

David Arthur Cambridge, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: [email protected]


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