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April 4: A report card on Bombardier. Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Dignity is respect

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Re Quebec Pushes The Boundaries On Assisted Dying Again (April 3): During my six-year court battle in Quebec for the right to full citizenship, with the right to marry my long-time same-sex partner, I learned that dignity is more than a physical state like clean pyjamas.

Dignity is respect for a person's choices in this world.

At 75, with declining cognitive powers, I would dearly love to sign, in advance, a request for medical assistance in dying should I develop dementia. Having dealt with end-of-life dementia in family and friends, I know that I do not wish to share that experience at the end of my life.

If I choose to request aid in dying should I develop Alzheimer's, I believe our Charter of Rights and Freedoms should guarantee that my decision will be respected. If other citizens make different choices, those choices must be respected too. That is what living and dying with dignity is, nothing more.

Loss of dignity comes when paternalistic busybodies or well-intentioned charities and institutions dictate to us how we must live – and how we choose to die.

Michael Hendricks, Montreal

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I recently attended a presentation on medical assistance in dying given by a well-known ethicist at a major regional hospital where I volunteer. I had expected a morally neutral clarification of what current legislation does and does not allow in terms of MAID. Instead, what we got was a full-blown, partisan advocacy of the expansion of MAID, including not only advanced consent to the procedure on the part of still mentally competent patients, but the abolition of age restrictions (with capacity to judge becoming the sole criterion), and an increase in institutions equipped and authorized to provide MAID (supposedly to relieve the burden on MAID candidates of having to travel long distances).

Given a political atmosphere in which individuals (whether physicians, ethicists or journalists) and governments continue to push the envelope in a direction which many of us do not fully understand or may not agree with, Konrad Yakabuski's article is a much-needed warning.

Nicholas Lomonossoff, Nepean, Ont.

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Report card: Fail

Re Bombardier's Pay Hikes Are Justified (Report on Business, April 3): Bombardier's Report Card:

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- Good Citizenship: Fail;

- Ethics: Fail;

- Business acumen: Fail;

- Justin Trudeau's initial defence of Bombardier executives' pay hikes: Fail.

Bombardier should pay back the billion-plus dollars it got from Canadian governments (a.k.a. the bodies which represent the citizens) before considering pay hikes, and pay hikes should start from the bottom, not the already wealthy top.

A.L. Hargreaves, Calgary

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If these are the best results that Bombardier's "world-class leadership team" can achieve – hands in our pockets as taxpayers, while fattening their pockets with 50-per-cent pay hikes as they lay off our neighbours – I think they should try out the lower-priced help.

Maybe they could start with a new compensation committee chair.

Sandra Wilson, Calgary

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'A recalibration'

Re A Liberal Fixing Of The Rules (editorial, April 1): Our government promised to bring real change to Parliament. We have taken steps to ensure more free votes, provide parliamentary oversight of national security, ensure parliamentary hearings on Supreme Court appointments, introduce more civility to political debate, and foster greater independence of House of Commons committees and increase their budgets.

Recently, I released a discussion paper containing ideas on how to modernize the House of Commons – to make it more accountable, effective, and transparent. I must emphasize these are just ideas. We welcome suggestions from all parties and MPs.

Among the ideas is a Prime Minister's Question Period, in addition to the current practice of appearing in Question Period on other days of the week.

Other ideas include: increasing the number of private members bills that get debated; ending the abuse of omnibus bills; requiring a government to justify prorogation; considering electronic voting for MPs in the Commons.

Our intent is to have a genuine discussion so that MPs from all parties can better represent their communities.

Bardish Chagger, Government House Leader

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The Prime Minister says Parliament needs "a recalibration of the rules." This brings to mind the previous prime minister's proroguing of Parliament, ostensibly to "recalibrate" his legislative agenda. (The view that this had something to do with the prospect of losing a vote of confidence would have been called "fake news" had the term existed then.)

Apparently Justin Trudeau, like Stephen Harper, finds Parliament a nuisance where people who simply don't understand what's good for them slow down the march to a brighter future.

As you point out in your editorial, this is all very disappointing. But I guess we were simply being naive in our hope that Mr. Trudeau would lead a return to a more democratic Parliament and not simply be the autocrat Mr. Harper in disguise.

Marc Grushcow, Toronto

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Run, Terry, run

Re It's Time For Canada To Create A National Portrait Gallery (Arts, April 1): A number of years ago, while working as a video journalist, I was flying in a coastguard helicopter over the winter ice pack in the Cabot Strait between Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

A few kilometres ahead of us, an icebreaker was hammering its way through the heavy ice to the assistance of a number of ships stuck there. As we flew over the icebreaker, I was struck with a surge of pride as the Coast Guard Ship Terry Fox swept beneath us – pride in a great Canadian whose determination and purposefulness remains an inspiration to us all, and pride in a country that so aptly recognized and remembers his name as exemplified by the hard-working vessel beneath us.

If Canada ever does create a national portrait gallery, a portrait of Terry Fox should be among the first to hang there.

Frank King, Sydney River, N.S.

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Cleaning up …

Re OPG Head Tops Ontario's 'Sunshine List' (April 1): The CEO of Ontario Power Generation probably should top the list of those public-sector workers earning $100,000 or more – and may even be underpaid.

The Premier's salary is in dire need of improvement at only $209,000.

One hopes that the 59 people earning more than half a million truly deserved it.

But $105,562 for a janitor?

That number includes "benefits," and I'm not in a position to say how hard the person worked, but my advice is: "Don't quit that job!"

Andrew Thomas, Kingston

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