As the mother of a vibrant and healthy 11-month-old daughter, I was thoroughly angered reading the article Feeding Frenzy (Life – Aug. 20). I breastfed her exclusively for the first two weeks of her life, and it was utter hell.
My daughter didn’t gain any weight during this time, and cried constantly from hunger. I was told to keep trying by various health nurses, but eventually I allowed myself to listen to instinct, and began weaning her onto formula. Today, my daughter is thriving, and has only been sick once in her precious life from a mild case of the flu (which she caught from me). Formula isn’t wrong; shaming women who choose not to breastfeed is.
Lindsey Kent-Robinson, London, Ont.
The Globe asks whether the state has a place in the nation’s nurseries. Some better questions: What is the best way to support breastfeeding mothers and babies? Are we limiting women’s choices if they have to ask for artificial baby milk instead of automatically supplying it? What happens when we give out free formula samples and coupons?
In fact, we have the answer to that one – as reported in the article, Toronto Public Health found that mothers who receive free formula breastfeed a whole lot less. The formula companies spend millions on this kind of marketing because it works.
The real question isn’t whether the state has a place but why corporations have any place in the maternity wards of publicly funded hospitals in a country where health care is supposed to come before profit.
Joanna Zuk, Toronto
Evan Wood misconstrues the role of specialty medical services (Canada Should Train Doctors To Specialize In Addiction – Aug. 20).
No informed person advocates that the solution to heart disease is to train a vast army of cardiologists. Similarly, impacting the morbidity and prevalence of substance use disorders will not occur as a result of training a huge cadre of medical specialists, and the implication that there is a body of evidence supporting the creation of a new Royal College specialty in this area is dubious, despite what Dr. Wood saw on his tour.
More generally, the role of physicians in general, and specialists in particular, can be overemphasized. We will need to look to countries other than the United States for effective multidisciplinary service models, including in the area of substance-use disorders.
Michael Dyck, M.D., Morden, Man.
Best and brightest
Your editorial Doubling Down On Foreign Students (Aug. 20) supports raising the profiles of Canadian universities to attract more international students. But should we not also ask why Canadian students seek their postsecondary education in other places? I’m an Ontarian studying at Columbia University, and it looks like I’ll be staying in the U.S. after graduation. I left Canada because no schools here seemed as challenging or enriching an experience.
We can’t just seek to recruit more students. We should try to recruit (or retain, as the case may be) the best and the brightest. To do that, marketing our brand won’t be enough; we’ll need real reforms: significantly smaller classes, faculty committed to teaching and more pregraduation work opportunities through better relations with employers.
Bob Sun, Ottawa
Re United Church Approves Israeli Settlement Boycott (Aug. 18): I recognize and fully acknowledge the complexity and pain that is endemic to that part of the world, and the issues around the settlements themselves. But as a United Church of Canada member, I oppose this motion and will not participate in any boycott actions.
While mainly symbolic, symbols are very powerful. Stripped of its rhetoric, motions and amendments, the symbolism of this motion is that a Christian church has just invited the world to boycott products made by Jews. Given the history of the Jewish people in relation to the Christian church, this is simply wrong and will do great, if not irreparable harm.
Rev. Christopher White, Fairlawn Avenue United Church, Toronto
This decision saddens but doesn’t surprise me. In part, this is the result of two millennia of Christian anti-Judaism that’s not limited to the United Church. However, this generic anti-Judaism is worsened by the church’s systemic anti-Semitism, now made apparent by one fact: Along with the general council task group’s report, there were nine motions from five conferences (regions) of the church calling for sanctions against Israel, yet there were no reports or motions put forward on any other issue of global peace and justice. Only Israel was singled out.
Christine Mitchell, professor of Hebrew scriptures, St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon
Of course Palestinian suffering has roots in the rejection of the state of Israel, but also in the injustices meted out to the Palestinian people. When either or both of the opposing factions hold the telescope to their blind eye, the way ahead looks opaque.The church’s action has at least focused on the more neglected of the reasons why the two sides remain at loggerheads.
David Nicholson, Fonthill, Ont.
Do we understand this correctly? The church says it is only being equitable: Palestinian nationalism, and a Palestinian state, to which no Jews may apply – good. Jewish nationalism and an existing democratic state where people of every religion and nationality are citizens – bad.
Doesn’t sound equitable to us.
Marcia and Arthur Zalev, Toronto
It should have been a no-brainer: boycotting products made in settlements built illegally on occupied land in contravention with international law and in violation of countless UN Security Council resolutions.
Instead, it’s been framed as a controversial move by the “Israel no matter what” crowd, who will now discontinue interfaith collaboration with the United Church – their own boycott of sorts.
If only they had half the indignation over the building of the settlements in the first place.
Raja Khouri, Toronto
Shannon Kornelsen must recognize that animals, pigs in particular, are killed only because men have raised them (Animals Are Us – letters, Aug. 20).
Whether the joys of eating, drinking, making love, rolling in the mud or contemplating the stars is adequate compensation for a sometimes painful and always frightening death is a question to be pondered by both pig and man. Were pigs not to be eaten they would not be raised.
I envy not in any moods
The pig in nations vegetarian;
There, men who lead a life agrarian
Would raise some other kinds of foods
And such a pig, by fortune kis’t,
Would consequently not exist.J.M. O’Reilly, Toronto
The assertion that pigs are no less “sentient or wonderful” than dogs reminds me of Winston Churchill’s wonderful comment on the subject: “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
John Lazarus, Kingston