Health care’s ills
Jeffrey Simpson again paints the Romanow report as being all about spending more on health care in the hope that doing so would magically change it (Time To Bury Health Care’s ‘Transformative Change’ – Sept. 20).
The failure to achieve as much change as needed within the health-care system stems from the health accords’ lack of accountability, not the diagnosis of the Romanow commission.
The unwillingness of the federal government and the provinces to commit to demonstrating that the money was buying change is why the system simply absorbed the spending by doing more of the same. That failure cannot be laid at Roy Romanow’s feet.
The priorities of the Romanow report (and the Kirby report and the Mazankowski report and the Fyke report and the Clair report) remain the touchstones for much of the current thinking about where the system needs to go.
They weren’t perfect. Some of their analysis needs updating a decade later. But as a general rule, the diagnosis wasn’t the issue, the application of the treatment was.
Tom McIntosh, associate director, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, University of Regina
Train means stop
Re Dangerous Crossings: Collision Puts Spotlight On Deadly Problem (Sept. 20): At many railway crossings in Russia, in addition to the same drop-arm barriers that we have, they also have hinged steel plates on the road, which are raised when a train passes.
It appears to be a very effective way to stop traffic.
David Enns, Cornwall, Ont.
Re Two-Tier Math (editorial, Sept. 20): Mathphobia is an infectious childhood disease; many elementary school children catch it from their teachers.
While supervising student teachers a few years ago, I found myself one snowy December day in a small Ottawa Valley school. In the Grade 5 classroom where I sat, the teacher wrote the fraction 2/1 on the board and asked, “What is this equal to?” “Two,” the children chorused. “No, it’s one half,” the teacher said.
She wrote another fraction, 3/1. “What is this?” “Three,” the pupils said. “No, it’s one third – I think,” the teacher said. At that point, I took over the class and taught the rest of the lesson. Afterward, I asked the teacher about her background in math. “My last math was in Grade 12,” she said, “and I scored 51 per cent.”
I realized that our faculty admission requirements bore some responsibility. Accordingly, we introduced a policy that applicants must have at least one university math course. We didn’t expect that this would produce mathematicians, but it did serve to scare away the mathphobes, who no doubt went elsewhere for their teacher education.
David Pratt, Kingston
In the Pope’s footsteps
Re Focus On Mercy, Not Rules, Pope Says (Sept. 20): As a teenager growing up in a non-religious environment, I have been taught to be an accepting person. I believe that all people are, until taught otherwise.
By telling the press that the Christian faith should not focus on its bitterness toward topics such as abortion and homosexuality, the Pope is creating a better tomorrow. He is doing this by encouraging all people to be more tolerant of each other.
This tolerance is increasingly important and influential as society becomes more connected than ever through technology and social media.
Everyone has the right to be who they want, and to be treated equally. The Pope is taking a step in the right direction.
Alexandra Philp Reeves, Grade 9, Toronto
Ontario’s values …
Re Ontario Legislature Condemns Quebec Ban (Sept. 20): What a pathetic act of hubris it is for Ontario legislators to portray their province as some sort of cultural utopia. If multiculturalism is such a social unifier, why are there so many shootings in Toronto?
Simone Ubertino, Quebec City
Quebec’s values …
As a Muslim, head-covering, self-proclaimed feminist, I have a hard time grasping why women believe it is their feminist duty to take away the hijab from other women (The Core Of Quebec’s Charter? Republicanism And Feminism – Sept. 16).
At its core, feminism is about giving women the ability to choose and to live their lives as they see fit. Many Muslim women feel empowered by the veil. They see it as a means of being a valuable member of society and the work force without being judged by their beauty and bodies.
If the hijab is taken from them, they may feel uncomfortable even stepping outside their door.
Women ordering other women to take off a garment important to them and consequently confining them to their homes isn’t feminism. So how can feminism be at the core of Quebec’s charter.
Mishall Rehman, Trenton, Ont.
I applaud the PQ’s efforts. A huge proportion of all wars, persecutions, genocide, torture and injustices are due to religion. So I welcome any move to eliminate all religious trappings that not only identify a particular belief set, but also serve to remind me of the atrocities that have been perpetrated in that group’s name.
Iain Barr, Victoria
How teachers dress
I was surprised that Debating the Great School Cover-Up (Life & Arts, Sept. 20) didn’t address the issue of the dress choices of the female school staff.
As a teacher, I had an up-close view of fashion in a school setting. Daily, I’d see some staff wear short, tight skirts, stiletto heels, artfully displayed bra straps, form-hugging stretch pants or generous cleavage. I’m only aware of one time that a staff member was spoken to by administration about dress. Attire is a touchy subject when you consider a woman’s perceived right to wear what she will.
If schools want an environment reflecting modest business attire, the adults in the building must be the trendsetters. If not, then the result will be an “anything goes” catwalk.
Don Cooper, Toronto
It makes sense how?
Re Ultimate Dieting: When Winning Starts with Losing – A Lot (Sept 20): Silly me. All this time, I assumed that boxers, wrestlers and mixed martial arts fighters who suffered brain damage had sustained that injury in the ring while fighting. Wrong.
Any fighter who voluntarily undertakes a prefight extreme weight loss program whereby every last drop of moisture gets squeezed out of the body, along with key electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, and who doesn’t eat or drink for 19 hours is clearly cognitively impaired before entering the ring!
Paula McPherson, St. Catharines, Ont.