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Conservative deputy leader Leona Alleslev as Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer speaks with the media in the Foyer of the House of Commons in West Block, on Nov. 28, 2019 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Friendly Manitoba

Re The Sole Premier To Stand Up Against Bill 21 (Dec. 2): Manitobans enjoy a broad mixture of ethnicities, a factor that has led to, in my experience, a welcoming society.

Travelling there in the 1960s, I found in Manitoba’s rural regions a wonderful and warm populace ranging from Scottish to Ukrainian to Franco; Mennonite and Hutterite and, in Winnipeg, a vibrant Jewish population. Everyone got along, respectfully and with no regard to cultural beliefs.

Brian Pallister’s example and leadership on Quebec’s Bill 21 should be a beacon to Canada’s leaders.

Martin Pick Cavan, Ont.

It grows on trees?

Re Premiers Meet To Discuss Demands Ahead Of Sit-down With PM In Early 2020 (Dec. 2): Here is a brain puzzler. The premiers are all asking the federal government for more money in transfer payments. Many of them were elected upon promises of tax cuts. And, as they ask for more money, they heavily criticize Ottawa regarding its deficits.

So where is this magical money to come from?

Craig Cherrie Toronto

Yours to discover

Re Ford Government Must Be Kept At Arm’s Length From Judicial Appointment Reform (Nov. 30): It should be noted that the Ford government proposes to change Ontario’s judicial appointment system to match the federal system which, similar to those across the rest of Canada, is very politicized. These systems should all be changed to match Ontario’s, in order to remove the danger that the Ford government’s proposed changes represent.

Duff Conacher Co-founder, Democracy Watch; Ottawa

Armed and dangerous

Re Cracks In The Alliance (Dec. 2): Left unstated in Donald Trump’s recurring exhortations for NATO members to increase their military spending seems to be the underlying U.S. economic rational: The United States, by far the world’s largest exporter of armaments, stands to profit mightily if allies spend more on their military.

Security decisions driven by the interests of the military-industrial complex seem as wrong-headed today as when Eisenhower warned of this almost 60 years ago.

Eric LeGresley Ottawa

Private vs. Public, Part 2

Re Private vs. Public, Part 1 (Letters, Dec. 2): I believe Brian Day wants to expand private health care, not decrease wait times. He also seems to have a financial interest in the outcome of his B.C. court case.

The B.C. government audited Mr. Day’s business after dozens of former patients complained that they’d been illegally overbilled. Mr. Day mobilized a lawsuit with other private clinics in response to the investigation. He has yet to pay back the money he was found to owe former patients.

Beryl Pilkington Toronto

I believe that once a patient is admitted into Canada’s health-care system, they will receive excellent care. That is also the position argued by Brian Day. The argument he addresses in his court claim is that access to our system is denied, at least in a timely manner.

Several years ago, I suffered a meniscus tear and was advised that wait times in British Columbia would be six to eight months for an MRI, one year to see an orthopedic surgeon and 12 to 14 months on a wait list for surgery. Or, I could pay $800 for a private MRI to be done in one week and then pay $6,500 for the surgery at Dr. Day’s clinic in two weeks. I am far from affluent; I receive CPP and OAS and live off my savings. I chose option No. 2.

The care I received under Dr. Day was superb, and the followup from his clinic was far greater that I expected. I thank him every day.

Nothing prevents the government from pursuing more efficient ways of providing better care in the public system. But until they do so, I’ve found it is only the healthy who believe our current system is serving the needs of Canadians.

Bruce Thompson Nanaimo, B.C.

Brian Day’s years-long battle to change medical-billing laws is coming to an end. If he wins, doctors who are paid by the public system will also be able to charge whatever they want in private clinics. I can only imagine that this would encourage doctors to prioritize patients who can pay over those who cannot.

Our health-care system may not be perfect, but opening the door to a two-tier system, in which most doctors could cherry-pick their cases and leave complex cases to the public system, would be a disservice to patients and physicians.

Elaine Gort Toronto

Health Care

Re Health Care Needs A Course Correction That Only Ottawa Can Deliver (Nov. 29): While I support most of what contributor Kevin Smith advocates, I disagree with his premise that Canadians enjoy universal health care.

I feel confident that if I were diagnosed with cancer or suffered a heart attack, my costs would be covered by our health-care system. However, I, like many Canadians, suffer from a disease that is treated with a lifelong dependance on expensive biologic drugs. These drugs, which can range in cost from $15,000 to $40,000 a year, are not covered by most provincial plans. Some people have private plans, which cover some of the costs, but many patients are still left paying thousands of dollars annually on their own.

I believe that it is more accurate to claim that we have selective health care, not universal health care.

Anna Dolan Barry’s Bay, Ont.

Under the bridge

Re Artist Rodney Graham’s Spinning Chandelier Dazzles In Vancouver (Nov. 29): I do hope that the people spending the night homeless under the Granville Street Bridge enjoy artist Rodney Graham’s chandelier.

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” I for one have reflected and will make my Christmas donation to the Vancouver Union Gospel Mission rather than an art gallery.

Marsha Jerred Lone Butte, B.C.

A recipe for Conservatives

Re Andrew Scheer Is As Exciting As Boiled Celery (Nov. 30): Andrew Scheer may be as exciting as boiled celery. However, he won the Conservative leadership race by less than two percentage points over Maxime Bernier. Canada should thank Mr. Scheer for helping to keep our country untainted with the smell of an even less palatable dish.

Ila Bossons Toronto

I feel that I must speak out on behalf of celery-lovers everywhere. Boiled celery is not boring. Or it needn’t be.

If that under-appreciated celery were simply folded into a creamy, brown sugar and vinegar-infused bechamel sauce, it would – presto – turn into a delicious dish that any chef would be proud to present.

Conservatives should take note!

Nelson Smith Toronto

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