Re PM Opposes Palestinian Statehood Bid – Sept. 21: What on earth does Prime Minister Stephen Harper think his position might achieve? Greater justice for the Palestinians? Peace for Israel? Greater respect for Canada in the world forum? Forget it. The result – as he must know – will be the opposite.
Nobody who has followed the course of negotiations between the two parties over the past 30 years can seriously suggest that this is now the way to go. And it is perfectly obvious that Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates would use a period of further “negotiations” mainly to promote more Israeli settlements and tighter control in the West Bank. No serious concessions of any kind would be made.
Canada’s position on this matter is a disgrace. We can only hope that Canadians will express their discontent in the largest numbers
Andrew M. Watson, Toronto
Our cerebral Prime Minister has urged the Palestinian Authority “to negotiate peace with Israel.” Brilliant! Why has no one else thought of this before?
Ed Bodi, Oakville, Ont.
Count arthritis in
Re Chronic Disease Set To Choke The Economy – Sept. 20: As a person living with rheumatoid arthritis, I was shocked to read that arthritis was not included in the costing of chronic disease. According to the latest publication of Life with Arthritis in Canada; published in partnership with The Public Health Agency of Canada and The Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, the annual cost of arthritis in this country is almost $6.5-billion. I would think that should be enough for policy makers to sit up and take notice, perhaps adding a sixth condition to the top five.
Linda Wilhelm, Midland, Kings County, N.B.
Re Managing Head Injuries – Sept. 21: Formal neuropsychological testing requiring about six hours of examination is a proven adjunct to the management of patients with repeated concussions, and I use this very frequently. Computerized 20 minute testing is not of scientifically proven value for the management of acute concussion, especially in children and youths. The real issues are the prevention of concussions, and their management by health-care practitioners. That is where we should be focusing our efforts.
Charles Tator, professor of neurosurgery, University of Toronto, and Toronto Western Hospital
Back door approach?
While it has never been a secret that Conservatives dislike sex education in schools, by using federal legislation to make providing “sexually explicit information … to a child” a criminal act (Tories Unveil Tough-On-Crime Legislation – Sept. 21), have the Tories finally achieved success in their fight against it through the back door?
Geoff Williams, Stratford, Ont.
Hard for Mulcair
The structure of the vote for NDP leader appears to be against Thomas Mulcair, which must be frustrating to him as he can claim much of the credit for the NDP’s Quebec success in the election (Mulcair Concedes That He Faces An Uphill Battle In NDP Leadership Race – Sept. 20).
If he is not successful in the race, my prediction is that there will be considerable disgruntlement in Quebec, the grievances will pile up, and in a year or two Mr. Mulcair will lead an NDP equivalent of the Bloc Québécois, fragmenting national politics, again.
Ian Guthrie, Ottawa
In the will
Re Baa Baa Black Sheep, Are You In The Will? – Sept. 20: In our law practice, which is primarily restricted to estate litigation, my partners and I see firsthand the excruciating pain caused to a person who has been disinherited for marrying someone of whom the parents disapprove, or choosing not to join the family business, or otherwise not meeting parental standards. This is especially devastating to a black-sheep child who had maintained a reasonably good relationship with the parents up to their deaths and had fully expected to receive an equal share of their estates.
The parents’ hard-earned assets are then often dissipated by bitter litigation fuelled by a need to prove that mom and dad loved the disinherited child just as much as the more favoured sibling.
While the creative use of trusts as described in the article can help avoid such litigation, it is also crucial to ensure that the black-sheep child is not left in the dark as to the rationale. If a parent chooses to treat children unequally, the reasons for doing so should be made completely clear either in the will or in an accompanying letter in the parent’s own handwriting, or preferably, by the parent personally.
Sandra Schnurr, Toronto
On gays and blood
Wait ... I’m confused. In Britain, gay men can donate blood so long as they have not had sex with other gay men in the past 12 months (Blood Donation Ban For Gay Men Merits Re-Evaluation – Sept. 19). What about actually closeted gay men living heterosexual lives, married with children, burdened with mortgages, car payments, vet and orthodontist bills? Are they excluded from the current policy of exclusion?
If the Canadian Blood Service has confidence in its screening procedures, it can safely guarantee the reliability of its product. This is a morality-based system of discrimination, plain and simple.
John W. McFetrick, Edinburgh
Stats as facts
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson tells us that his government won’t let facts – statistics – derail its ideological decision to spend our money to make us feel safer on our streets whether we think it’s best for us or not (Weighty Tory Crime Bill Targets Drugs, Sex Offenders, ‘Out-Of-Control’ Youth – Sept. 20). He then cites statistics – the election outcome – as justification for the same decision. This doesn’t make me feel safer, just confused and worried about what these guys will do next and on what pretext.
Jim Lang, department of theory and policy studies, OISE/University of Toronto
Although we may not agree with many of the provisions of the government’s “tough on crime” legislation and regret that important bills are introduced in an omnibus fashion, we respect that governments can introduce legislation they feel is needed.
Nevertheless, we urge parliamentarians to carefully review this legislation to ensure that it is in the best interest of all Canadians and does not fracture our criminal justice system.
Most importantly, we urge the implementation of an exception to mandatory minimums in all cases where mental health can be seen as a contributor or cause of the conduct. It does not breach a tough on crime agenda to allow judicial discretion to ensure that those genuinely in need find themselves in hospitals and not jails.
William M. Trudell, chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, Toronto
$90,000 a day
Re Tories Hire $90,000-A-Day Consultant To Help Cut Spending – Sept. 20: The Canadian government, led by Stephen Harper, is paying about $90,000 a day to a private consulting firm to find areas where program spending cuts can be made. I guarantee not one of their suggestions will be to stop hiring private firms to do the job for which the government was elected.
Mandie Aaron, Côte Saint-Luc, Que.