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A moral failure
Re Compensation Blunder Lets Church Off Hook (April 18): It was with a heavy heart that I finished reading Gloria Galloway's article about the failure of the Catholic Church in Canada to meet its financial obligations in the residential schools matter.
It would take a book to illustrate how the Canadian Catholic Church is structured. Unlike other denominations that reached and paid their residential school settlements, the church has no central structure responsible for this or any other debt owed by the "Catholic Church."
Each diocese is its own jurisdiction, which in turn is corporately structured to render each parish responsible for such matters. With that, resources for the broader "Catholic Church" are slim to none and unavailable for any collection process. The "Catholic entities" in the settlement – which should be named – made choices, and meeting their residential schools obligations was simply not at the top of the list.
The parish I attend, like others, is responsible for its expenses and has a set amount of money it is obligated to pay to the local diocese within what is called the Bishop's Appeal. Canada's bishops and cardinals should make payment of the residential schools debt the first priority on their diocesan collection plates.
The unpaid obligation of the Canadian church is a failure of moral and Christian responsibility. It should be paid without hiding behind legal walls. Pope Francis's teachings go directly to such an approach. Alas, even the Pope cannot make the Canadian Church do the right thing.
Greg Schmidt, Calgary
Jobs for Nunavut
Re Why Arctic Cruises Are Bad For The Environment (April 18): A sinking cruise ship can pose an environmental danger. That said, most cruise ships don't sink and they can (when proper facilities are made available) provide jobs and a huge economic boost to a region sadly in need. The best social program is a job, and tourism can bring work to Nunavut.
James Morton, Iqaluit
Re Manitobans Seem Ready To Bid Farewell To NDP (April 18): We're told that Manitobans were "outraged" by the government's decision to increase the provincial sales tax in 2013. I think they were more disturbed by Premier Greg Selinger's decision not to hold a referendum, which many view as the heart of Prairie democracy, before any such tax increase.
His caucus was unanimous in its support on this matter, including the five cabinet ministers who subsequently rebelled against his leadership, which makes it difficult to ascribe their mutiny to any form of principled opposition.
Atul Sharma, Winnipeg
Tough on criminals
Re Supreme Court Rulings Signal End For Tories' Tough-On-Crime Sentences (April 18): Let's face it, Stephen Harper was not tough on crime. He was only tough on criminals. If he wanted to be tough on crime, he would have addressed mental health issues, prison rehabilitation programs, overcrowding and drug addiction treatment. He would have studied and instituted best practices for reducing root causes of crime.
But he preferred to keep it as a fear-and-anger political issue rather than seek solutions. The Supreme Court was right to correct his counterproductive crime legislation.
Sid Segalowitz, St. Catharines, Ont.
Not a 'gun problem'
Re Canada Has A Gun Problem – And Here's Why (April 16): As an Emergency physician, I see cases of depression daily. People are desperately seeking help, but unless they need to be admitted, referral to a psychiatrist takes weeks to take effect: The system is grossly overburdened.
This is not a "gun problem." More Canadians kill themselves by hanging. Firearms owners are already screened for mental illness, including depression, when they apply or renew their licence. When we encounter firearms owners with depression in the Emergency Department, which is rare, we can usually obtain a temporary relocation of the arms either with the police or with a friend of the person. We cannot confiscate rope.
A recent journal article in Epidemiology Reviews (February, 2016) titled, "What Do We Know About the Association Between Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Injuries?" found that after implementation of Canadian firearms laws, "suicides due to hanging increased and that the rate of overall suicides did not change over time, which is suggestive of individuals switching to substitution methods."
In other words, more (expensive) gun control won't solve this issue. Based on the evidence, spending more money and time on gun control rather than spending that money on mental health will mean fewer lives saved.
Caillin Langmann, assistant clinical professor, Emergency Medicine, McMaster University
Harmed by death
Re Till Death Do Us Part (editorial, April 16): According to the Library of Parliament website, the average age of the 337 members of the House of Commons is just shy of 51.
Perhaps this statistic explains Bill C-14's waffling on the issue of advance consent for assisted death. Our parliamentarians are too young to understand.
Sign me, "Three score and ten – and nervous."
Douglas Clarke, Toronto
Re The Quest For Fairness In Death (April 16): I take severe exception to any suggestion that my opposition to physician-assisted death might identify me as a member of the "religious right." I am a lifelong socialist and an atheist and I have dedicated my working life to reducing the suffering of people afflicted with disease. Here is my view: Killing people is wrong. Doctors should not kill people.
No religion, no politics: just a little Kant and Hippocrates.
Dick Wells, MD, Toronto
What's a million?
Re $1-Million Home Is Not The Luxury It Used To Be (April 18): Brad Henderson, the president of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, suggests that in Vancouver, $4-million might be a more appropriate benchmark for what constitutes "luxury" in a detach-ed house. "In both Toronto and Vancouver, $1-million is not what it used to be," he says.
The latter statement reminds me of the distinguished career of C.D. Howe, a powerful figure in Mackenzie King's cabinet during the Second World War as Minister of Munitions and Supply. The Conservatives accused Howe of having said during a debate in 1945 on his war-spending estimates: "What's a million?"
Howe denied it, but the line stuck. If he were alive today, I expect he would be having a fabulous career selling real estate in Vancouver.
Campbell W. Robinson, Vancouver