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George, 95, and Shirley Brickenden, 94, who were together for 72 years, elected to die together by assisted death.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail


Death‘s boundaries

We had a somewhat similar experience with our aunt Ruth recently. She had a rare form of cancer which she fought for many years, but which ultimately left her with a poor and rapidly degrading quality of life.

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She made a decision, with the help of a counsellor and a doctor, and with the support of her immediate family, to end her life on her own terms. She did it with courage and dignity, as she did everything.

My wife and I visited Ruth the day before she passed, and had a warm and dignified conversation about her life, and what was to follow for her, and for the members of her family, who would miss her dearly. Being able to say goodbye in that way was difficult and heart-rending for us, but in retrospect was such a positive outcome for all involved, as compared with what would have been a steadily degrading life, with more and more discomfort and pain, shared by all.

As the article suggests, there will be areas of grey with assisted dying, but undertaken properly, there is little question that for those whose religious beliefs allow it, it can be a very positive experience for all involved.

Michael Diamond, Toronto


What was this? An invitation to older couples to go off into the sunset still smiling?

Is this what we’ve come to in the effort to hurry along a demographic correction?

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Please, let us older folks enjoy our paper. This item did not deserve to be on the front page, never mind how touching the writer found it to be.

Clare Ford, Larry Pass, Port Perry, Ont.


What a beautiful way for George and Shirley Brickenden to end their adventure together in this world.

While there will be many detractors who would have preferred them to die “naturally” – hooked up to machines and feed tubes after a long hospital stay? – I applaud the couple for bravely facing the inevitable fact that we are all going to die one day.

To be able to die on their on terms with such dignity and love and laughter is truly inspiring.

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The conversation about assisted death needs to be continued without fear and misguided sentiment. It is a choice that should never be forced upon any human being who does not wish to end their life in this manner.

As for me, should I have the opportunity to leave this life on my own terms, in my own home and surrounded by people who love me, it will be a good death indeed.

Andrea Mann, Winnipeg


Was this event, attended by lobster, champagne, Bach – and an Anglican dean, no less – something other than suicide sponsored by the state?

Did this couple’s desire for publicity know no bounds? I can’t remember a more offensive article in The Globe and Mail.

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L. Frederick Valentine, Calgary

Speech, silenced

Re The Campus That Cried Crisis (March 31): Doug Saunders declares that our universities have become more tolerant of unpopular ideas than ever before.

What Mr. Saunders calls “colourful anecdotes” – students demanding “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” and shutting down visiting lectures; curriculum that insists that everything is a social construct and accuses bystanders of “white privilege”; universities that punish professors for using the wrong pronouns – are everyday, alarming, near-unbelievable facts.

Mr. Saunders himself says, “It is easy to get the sense, from these anecdotes, that kids are being indoctrinated.” You’re telling me!

As reports from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms regularly reveal, suppression of free speech on Canadian campuses is often in-your-face and frequently unchecked.

Mr. Saunders should give his head a shake. The anti-free-speechers have become fascistic, frightful, and dominant.

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Wayne Eyre, Saskatoon

A hero’s story

Re Ghosts Of War: My Journalist Father’s Vietnam Odyssey, Revisited (Folio, March 31): I am in awe of Robert Reguly and his son Eric – Robert for his bravery in covering the Vietnam War, out in the field with the troops; Eric, for his tenacity in following his father’s footsteps and recognizing just how very difficult, and dangerous, the life of a journalist was under incredibly difficult circumstances.

This article should be mandatory reading for all who espouse war.

Ann Neilson, London, Ont.


Eric Reguly’s account of his father’s reporting of the Vietnam War is a marvelous story and adventure.

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And, yes, his father was a hero.

Bernie McCormack, Coquitlam, BC.

No taxation without

Re Why Expatriates Should Be Able To Vote (April 2): Canadian expatriates who reside abroad in various countries can face paying 25 per cent tax on all income derived in Canada.

For me, that’s a higher rate than if I still resided in Canada. I receive no services from Canada or its government. I was thinking of coining a phrase and sending it to the Prime Minister: “No taxation without representation.”

Do you think that would work?

Rodney Symington, Pattaya, Thailand

Tissue issues

Re: TP Free (First Person, April 2): Give up toilet paper? How about simply saying yes to less TP?

I’ll take no trips, carry my reusable shopping bags, and go car-free before giving up toilet paper.

The greatest advances in health and longevity have been related to sanitation. I’d like to think toilet paper might play a role/roll …

Lee Scott, Toronto


Let me congratulate the essayist on his regularity: Nice for him that this daily requirement always takes place beside a bath or shower stall (once in a blue moon, a public toilet). I wish him well with his tissue issues.

I’m all for saving our planet and am careful about waste. Keep those cardboard paper towel and toilet tissue rolls for children. They can make wonderful castles, houses, tunnels and even instruments with them. Kids can paint and/or colour them, and have some pretty fine art work.

Mary E. Smith, Guelph, Ont.


When I was young, my grandmother (the original conserver) used to tear the daily paper into squares, which were hung in the outside privy to be used as toilet paper.

Perhaps another argument against digitized news? (At least all those articles about Donald Trump would serve a useful purpose.)

Avril Taylor, Dundas, Ont.

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