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Off the record
Re Pupils, Parents Get An Early Glimpse Of The Hectic School Year Ahead (Sept. 14): How disturbing that “Alberta would not reveal how many students were ordered to isolate.” This sounds like how our neighbours to the south have handled the pandemic. What are they afraid of?
Judy Kent Calgary
Public vs. private
Re Decision Reminds Us That Courts Cannot Improve Medicare Or Fix Waiting Times (Sept. 11): In the United States, my costs for the past three years of leading-edge cancer treatment at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre and Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital would have financially destroyed my family. Even if we sold our mortgage-free home, I likely would have to stop treatments and prepare for an early death, as happens all too frequently in the U.S.
May Brian Day and his fellow advocates of private-sector medicine pursue their American dream south of the border.
Bob Publicover Waterloo, Ont.
The B.C. ruling is but a reminder that Canada’s sick health care system will not be cured by its legal system. As more and more Canadians suffer in silence, when will governments be held accountable so that taxpayers and patients can access life-saving medical services when needed, rather than risk dying as they “just have to wait?”
While the focus ought to be on fixing the problems, it should also be noted that Brian Day is not reminiscent of “pesky gadflies,” as columnist André Picard writes. He is an outstanding physician and leader who has devoted his career to improving health care. Dr. Day could easily take his talents to the United States or elsewhere, but he stays in Canada to serve and fight for patients.
Whether people agree with his views or not, I would say that Dr. Day did not lose – he stood up for what he believed.
Caroline Wang MD, MPA; Vancouver
Re The Landmark Court Case Over Private Health Care Wasn’t What You Thought It Was (Opinion, Sept. 12): I agree with columnist Andrew Coyne that overlapping public and private health care is problematic. But two separate systems could actually avoid these problems.
What makes such a model politically unpalatable is the loss of universal access. The wealthy would use their wealth to receive services ahead of others. But is this necessarily bad? The wealthy use their wealth for similar benefit in other areas of society.
The answer, I believe, is to let the wealthy pay – but really pay. Services in the private system should attract a health care tax, a “healthy” one to be used solely as extra funding for the public system. The wealthy get served promptly, and others also obtain fast service from a better-funded and less-burdened public system. Everyone wins.
Mark Roberts Gananoque, Ont.
I believe it is a myth to say that we can’t have private health care in Canada – we already do: physiotherapists, chiropractors, chiropodists, naturopaths, osteopaths, acupuncturists, practical nurses and occupational therapists, along with many others.
In some cases, these services are covered by private insurance. Otherwise, they are paid for by individuals. It would be a mistake to think that medical services are provided only by medical doctors.
William Christian Guelph, Ont.
Re Right Diagnosis (Letters, Sept. 14): I appreciate the humanity of a letter writer who is a medical student. But sadly, in Canada, social capital – who one knows and how one speaks – is often the currency for access to top-tier health care.
Caring societies can provide financial subsidies so that rich and poor have similar access to health services. No one has shown how to subsidize social capital.
David Zitner MD, Halifax
Make it count
Re Canada Needs To Get Its Stalled Immigration System Back On Track (Sept. 8): Everyone talks about international students. But what about recent international graduates?
They are in the country already, but Canadian work experience received while studying does not count toward immigration requirements under current rules. And to qualify, they usually must find permanent full-time jobs – imagine doing that in this economy as fresh graduates.
What about temporarily relaxing admission rules for this population, such as counting student work experience or extending permits?
Inga Gusarova Calgary
Re Donald Trump’s Critics Continue To Miss The Plot (Opinion, Sept. 12): Columnist Konrad Yakabuski asserts that “few countries come close to [the United States] in providing equality of opportunity to its citizens.” That seems overly easy to refute.
Look, for example, at the latest report of the Social Progress Index. The U.S. has the best universities in the world, but ranks 91st in access to basic education. It has the most advanced doctors and hospitals, but ranks 97th in access to quality health care. All of Western Europe does enormously better on these measures of equality of opportunity; in Canada, which ranks seventh overall, the comparable rankings are 21st for education and 24th for health care.
Among the nearly 200 countries in the world, the U.S. may appear equitable; among its peers in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it does not.
Douglas Tindal Toronto
Re Reporter’s Book Lays Bare The Hot Mess Of Hypocrisy At The Heart Of Fox News (Sept. 10): Columnist John Doyle’s impassioned endorsement of reporter Brian Stelter’s condemnation of Fox News is certainly shared by the majority of U.S. media. But despite all the angry indignation, Fox’s second-quarter viewership numbers are setting all-time records – on-air personalities such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are dwarfing the attention being paid to Mr. Stelter, his book and other Fox critics.
Liberal media are certainly speaking loudly, but there is a worrying question: Is anybody listening?
Herb Schultz Edmonton
Re American Expats: Can The U.S. Count On Your Vote? (Opinion, Sept. 12): Regrettably, I don’t think the United States can count on us. We are not organized and most of us know only a few others. (All five U.S. expats I know are registered and will vote.)
Oh, how I wish it were different – the stakes are so high this time.
David Lee Deep River, Ont.
Brought to you by the letters …
Re Can We Transform A ‘K-shaped’ Recovery? (Report on Business, Sept. 14): Fishing around in their alphabet soup to best illustrate our future, economists are now looking at the letter ‘K,’ a “complicated letter” for a “complicated situation." Let’s hope they never consider the lowercase ‘g,’ with that round bit up top, that vertical line and that worrisome little fish-hook shape at the bottom.
Yikes. My pension could disappear without a clue.
Farley Helfant Toronto
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