How life ends
Although it is a good start, Quebec’s right-to-die bill does not go far enough. My brother and I watched our beloved, brilliant father slide into the depths of Alzheimer’s and, although we desperately wanted to honour the direction in his power of attorney asking us to allow him to die if he was no longer capable of a rational existence, we could not offer him the solution he wanted.
Why should the wish to die, clearly stated in a POA by someone who is “mentally competent” at the time he states that wish, be any less compelling than a request for death from someone who is currently “mentally competent”?
Kerrie Hale, Calgary
As a physician, I believe strongly in helping and healing. However, I also believe in quality of life. People should not only be able to live with dignity, they should also be able to die with dignity.
My diaper-wearing days are over and if I ever develop something like Alzheimer’s or ALS, I know what I’ll be doing while I still have enough insight to do it. All Canadians should have the right to die when their quality of life deems it. What “deems it” is all that’s left to decide.
Scott Wilson, MD, Salmon Arm, B.C.
How important it is to distinguish between assisted suicide and allowing natural death with all possible comfort measures!
Perhaps we should use a bit of the time and energy spent on thinking about assisted suicide – which will be an issue for a very small number of us indeed – to consider how we want to deploy our society’s health-care resources in the last weeks and months of all our lives, and most particularly, to what end.
Allyn Walsh, MD, Hamilton
Re Giving Non-citizens A Vote Is Simply Wrong-headed (June 13): With Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s record backlog of 350,000 citizenship applications, it is not just a matter of immigrants deciding to “join the club” in order to vote. Unlike the U.K., U.S., New Zealand and Australia, where processing occurs within six months, CIC takes 25 months for routine applications, 35 months or longer for non-routine. The 22 per cent of applicants deemed non-routine are required to complete the dreaded residence questionnaire. This requests complete banking, credit card, tax, rent and health records. It requires accurate reporting of every absence from Canada, including day trips, since one’s first day here.
Municipal voting rights are a stop-gap measure until the day when qualified long-time residents truly have a fair and timely path to citizenship. Until that day, I applaud Toronto City Council for saying that our voices matter.
Eileen Finn, Association of Future Canadians, Montreal
I felt gut-punched Thursday morning reading that Toronto councillors have passed a resolution asking the province to give voting rights to non-citizens. Non-citizens have excluded themselves by not stepping up to exercise a franchise freely given by citizenship.
I ran to the cemeteries to calm the spinning of my ancestors in their graves. And to be perfectly clear, I am not some foaming, capital-C conservative or right-winger, but a proud fifth-generation Canadian citizen of the centrist persuasion who is disgusted by this ploy.
Brian Dedora, Toronto
Conflict? Why not?
As a taxpayer, I find it insulting that senators such as Pamela Wallin also sit on corporate boards (As Auditors Ready Expenses Probe, Wallin Quits Second Directorship – June 13). Isn’t their government salary sufficient? Why doesn’t this constitute a conflict of interest?
We supposedly have separation of state and church (although that line is blurred with respect to this federal government), so shouldn’t we have separation of state and corporation, too?
James Chauvin, Gatineau, Que.
Re Turkish President Shares A Sunnier Outlook On Handling Of Protests (June 13): On Tuesday, in an interview with The Globe’s Patrick Martin, the “good cop” Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that in Turkey, even the most extreme opinions can be freely pronounced and expressed, as long as there is no resort to violence. Mr. Gul said this in a country that Reporters Without Borders has described as “the world’s biggest prison for journalists.”
The next day, two CBC reporters were arrested when reporting on the protesters in Gezi Park. A “good cop” can’t be trusted when what he says deviates so totally from the truth.
Mordechai Wasserman, Toronto
I found it instructive to see that Timothy Garton Ash did not mention protests in the traditional Western world, such as those in Toronto in 2010 at the G20 summit, which were put down in a heavy-handed manner, and for which there was no real accountability for political leaders (Erdogan Proposes A Referendum On Controversial Development – June 13).
The real hubris is in believing that values of freedom and challenging misuse of power are Western or European values.
Masud Sheikh, Oakville, Ont.
On the pitch
Re A Strange View Of Secularism (June 11): Irrespective of whether the Quebec Soccer Federation is racist, xenophobic or just myopic (and it quite likely is all three), the wearing of a turban is just one of the tenets of the Sikh faith. It would be interesting to hear the arguments for and against the wearing of a kirpan on the pitch.
Ralph Boardman, Gatineau, Que.
I applaud 77-year-old Roy Haley for stepping up and saving about 60 jobs in the Annapolis Valley with his purchase of the bankrupt J.W. Mason & Sons Ltd., one of the largest independent apple producers in Nova Scotia (In The Annapolis Valley, A Picker Rises To Rule The Orchard – June 12 ). As a Nova Scotian who has lived away from my beloved home province for many years, a trip to the Valley and a crunchy Honeycrisp apple from J.W. Mason is always a great treat.
Mr. Haley possesses what most Maritimers have always exhibited in abundance: selflessness, strong character, admirable work ethic and a passionate love for his community.
Larry MacInnis, Markham, Ont.
Humour under glass
The origin of the 2011 video of Stephen Harper laughing and impersonating his Conservative/Reform predecessors is still unknown at this time (Harper Gives Different Impression In Leaked Video – June 13).
I can just imagine editorial cartoonists across Canada creating in their minds an image of PMO staffers gathered around a glass-enclosed case containing the video, one of them with an axe, and a sign above the case that reads: “In case of polling/credibility emergency, break glass.”
Michael Farrell, Oakville, Ont.