Re A Papacy Stained By The Spectre Of Abuse (Feb. 12): Dennis Doyle, a U.S. Catholic scholar, tries to excuse Pope Benedict’s pitifully inadequate response to the scandal of priestly abuse of children by saying that the Catholic Church is “a vast, unwieldy institution beyond the reins of anyone’s control.” What Benedict needed was the sign that sat on Harry Truman’s desk in the Oval Office: The Buck Stops Here.
David Brewer, Puslinch, Ont.
Re Five Challenges The New Pope Will Inherit (Feb. 12): I suggest that, for Lent (which starts on Wednesday), the Catholic Church should give up focusing its energy on what people do in the bedroom. As a Catholic, I pray that the church and the new pontiff will put these “issues” aside and work on Christ’s essential teachings: the pursuit of social justice, the elimination of poverty and a sustained effort to love one another without judgment.
Mary B. Valencia, Toronto
Mental health crisis
I want to thank Margaret Wente for talking the real talk (Mentally Ill Have A Right To Be Well – Feb. 12). As she says, it’s heartbreaking and devastating for a family who has someone who can’t recognize their illness.
The life of my brother, in his 40s, began unravelling into a paranoid and distorted world. He lost his business, his home and every single person whom he formerly loved and who loved him. There’s no way to help him. Sickening. Frightening. Dangerous.
While the Bell ads are a step in the right direction, it feels like a romantic version of mental illness. Thank you, Ms. Wente, for your eloquence.
Susan Linds, Toronto
Kudos to Margaret Wente for highlighting the lack of resources available to people who suffer from mental illness and their right to be treated. But the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized a competing right: that of a capable person to consent to or refuse treatment.
In Ontario, these rights are balanced by examining not what’s in a person’s best interests but whether the person’s capable of making such decisions. If a person is capable of doing so, he or she can choose whether or not to receive treatment; otherwise, a doctor will seek consent from a substitute decision-maker.
The province’s Consent and Capacity Board reviews doctors’ assessments of patients’ capacity every day, giving effect to the right of incapable individuals to be treated and the right of capable ones to make their own decisions respecting treatment.
Lonny J. Rosen, specialist in health law, Toronto
Your editorial The Vince Li Problem (Feb. 12) did little to dispel the misinformation about those found “not criminally responsible,” review boards and the process to ensure public safety. It’s important to understand that people with mental illness constitute a very small minority of those who commit crimes.
In Ontario, only 0.001 per cent of individuals charged with Criminal Code violations are found “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.” The recidivism rates for individuals found NCR ranges from 2.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent – far lower than that for federal offenders in the regular system, of whom 41 per cent to 44 per cent reoffend.
While the system for managing people found NCR is very effective, improved public safety and increased sensitivity toward victims and their families, the stated intent of the reform, are laudable goals. But we must remain vigilant to ensure a balance between community safety, victim needs and the recovery of those with mental illness involved with the law so they may productively re-enter the community.
Suzane Renaud, president, Canadian Psychiatric Association
Cheaper gas? Not
Ryerson University’s Phil Walsh implies that Eastern Canadians will have cheaper gasoline if a West-East oil pipeline is built (Pipelines: Let’s Get That Oil Flowing East – online, Feb. 12). But he fails to mention that oil trades in a global market. Every drop of Alberta crude going through such a pipeline would sell at the global price. Yes, there will be economic benefits of a West-East pipeline. Cheap gas won’t be one of them. But Alberta oil patch revenues will be.
David Thompson, CEO, PolicyLink Research, Edmonton
Re Time To Change Senate’s Club Culture (Feb. 11): Never mind the voices expounding the many-splendoured virtues of “reforming” Canada’s final resting place for politically deserving friends of the government.
On “sober second thought,” let’s leave well enough alone. Ater all, where would we be without being able to bestow consolation prizes on one’s failed election candidates by appointing them to Canada’s graveyard of government patronage.
Pity the U.S. Senate, where you actually have to win an election to get in. In Canada, all you have to do is lose one!
E.W. Bopp, Tsawwassen, B.C.
Eric Mendelsohn’s suggestion that the Queen should follow the Pope’s example and abdicate comes too early (Pope: I Quit – letter, Feb. 12). If the Queen lives as long as her mother, Charles could be 80 before he becomes king. So he should follow the Pope’s example. That way, they’ll get William for king and won’t have to face Queen Camilla.
Nigel Brachi, Edmonton
Don’t worry, Franco Cignelli (A Disgruntled Wedding Guest – Facts & Arguments, Feb. 12)! Since you no longer have any friends, you won’t have to attend any more weddings. And for your own wedding (lucky girl!), good luck finding those 10 close friends you plan to invite.
Paula McPherson, St. Catharines
Off with the head
We can always rely on The Globe for interesting sidelights on history. In For Those Who Adore Le Chocolat (Life & Arts, Feb. 12), you report that the chocolatier Debauve & Gallais was founded in 1800 when Sulpice Debauve created chocolate discs for Marie Antoinette to mask the taste of her medicine. She would’ve needed more than discs to aid her health, since she lost her head seven years earlier.
Peter Weinrich, Victoria
Lawyers’ last laugh
Re Tired Of Rolling With Punchlines, Lawyers Plan Image Overhaul (Feb. 7): Lawyers may be difficult to live with, but it’s impossible to die without them.
David McCray, lawyer, Walkerton, Ont.