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Today’s topics: Tragedy in Elliot Lake, Charlie Wilson, nursing turf battles, Patrick Brazeau … and more (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
Today’s topics: Tragedy in Elliot Lake, Charlie Wilson, nursing turf battles, Patrick Brazeau … and more (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

What readers think

June 28: A Canadian disaster, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

A Canadian disaster

How very Canadian of us to pull the “wait and see” card in our response to the disaster in Elliot Lake (Premier Faces Questions Over Stop-Start Rescue – June 27). It seems we have to form a committee every time a decision needs to be made, even when human lives are at stake.

Lori Kofman, Toronto


There’s something profoundly child-like in the expectation that our governments should somehow be prepared for every conceivable disaster, to solve every problem, to provide all of our services, and do it all without increasing taxes (Disaster In The Making – June 27). I wish people in this country would grow up.

John Scott MacMurchy, Toronto


Been there, done that

Supporters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have waded into U.S. politics, reportedly lobbying Congress for weapons in their fight against the brutal Assad regime and establishing an outreach office in Washington (Anti-Assad Group Increases Lobbying Effort To Access Arms From Washington – June 27). The group cites the late Charlie Wilson’s efforts to support the Afghan mujahedeen during the 1980s.

The FSA must be hoping members of Congress skipped a few history lessons. At Mr. Wilson’s urging, the U.S. did indeed arm the mujahedeen, who in turn ousted the Soviets. This “victory” spawned the Taliban, who are still enjoying the fruits of Mr. Wilson’s labours. If this was the best spin the FSA’s lobbyists could come up with, they ought to demand a refund. Memories may be short, but Kalashnikovs are forever.

Samantha Nutt, author, Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid


No turf battles

André Picard has hit the proverbial nail on the head (Nurse-Practitioners Don’t Need Turf Battle – June 25).

The direction of Canadian health care needs to take an important shift, placing greater emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention and chronic disease management. This and much more could be done to a great extent by primary care nurses.

In Ontario alone, we have 4,285 primary care nurses – registered nurses and registered practical nurses – who could be doing more if allowed to work to their full scope of practice. We also think their scope could be expanded. Our organization is about to release a report with 20 specific recommendations, that if enacted, will give patients better access to the system and at lower cost.

Isn’t it time for action?

Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario


It’s true that transformation of health care means organizing it around patients’ needs. It’s time to explore and establish new models of care delivery, such as Alberta’s family care clinics, which allow individuals and families to see the most appropriate health-care provider directly, without going through a physician first to ensure funding of the services.

Nurse-practitioners and registered nurses are both underutilized in our current system and can provide support for not only acute health issues but chronic illnesses. Navigating the system is challenging and demands ongoing follow-up and co-ordination from the entire team. This support will prevent emergency visits and reduce costs and improve access.

We need to get beyond turf protection and focus our energy and resources on the population we serve.

Dianne Dyer, president and Provincial Council chairman, College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta


A bridge too necessary

Two recent letter-writers expressed opposition to the proposed new Detroit River crossing (A Bridge Too Many – June 26). Having grown up in Sarnia, studied engineering at Windsor and spent 27 years as a logistics professional (primarily in the rail and trucking industries), I disagree with them.

What Hugh Whitely lists as the existing border crossings at Detroit – three bridges, a road tunnel and two rail tunnels – are, in fact, the total crossings at two locations (Sarnia-Port Huron and Windsor-Detroit) more than 100 kilometres apart. Natalie Litwin suggests that the Ambassador Bridge crossing be upgraded with rail-friendly infrastructure, a nice sentiment that ignores both engineering and logistical realities.

The largest economic sector dependent on the Detroit River crossing is manufacturing, primarily centred within a 750-kilometre radius (around the generally acknowledged economic breakeven point between truck and rail modes) of the Windsor-Detroit gateway and heavily reliant on just-in-time inventory management systems, to which trucking is crucial. The proposed new bridge is the only logical solution to an economic bottleneck for both countries.

John Yorke, New Glasgow, N.S.


All the implications

The Globe’s editorial is right – it’s only a “tiny share” of refugees and immigrants requiring removal from Canada for criminal convictions (Kenney Is Right To Speed Up Deportations – June 25).

The life-threatening and inhumane changes of Bill C-31 have nothing to do with ensuring the removal of a few convicted newcomers. Canada has that authority now, without C-31. One wonders if your editors have considered all the bill’s health ramifications for the majority who arrive in Canada to start a new life and support our future – something Canada is still built on. We invite immigration because we can’t fund our future without it.

What does banning treatment for serious medical problems arising in immigrants and refugees have to do with a few criminals?

Paul Caulford, medical director, Volunteer Clinic for Medically Uninsured Immigrants and Refugees, Toronto


Debt-free to whom?

Toronto Councillor Karen Stintz justifies her new $30-billion TTC expansion plan with the claim that “it’s dedicated, it’s dependable, and it’s debt-free” (Property Tax Hike Proposed For $30-Billion Blockbuster Transit Fix – June 27).

She later goes on to explain that the plan calls for two-thirds of the funding to come from the Ontario and federal governments – both of which are operating with large deficits.

How is it we can think of something as being “debt-free” if someone else has to borrow to pay for it?

Jamie Fisher, Calgary


Brazeau’s duties

If Senator Patrick Brazeau has “personal matters” that preclude his performance of the duties to which he was appointed, I am sure all Canadians feel compassion for him (Brazeau Issues Apology Following Twitter Fight – June 27). But if he cannot perform his duties, it is surely his moral obligation to resign.

Brian Gilbertson, Plympton, N.S.


I observe that the Harper government is methodically working its way alphabetically through the insults we all learned in grade school. We’ve had “A” (Jason Kenney) and now “B.” Which Tory will step forward and claim “C”?

John Roy, Toronto

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