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Support for pharmacare is tepid, according to a poll by Nanos Research.

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:


Pharmacare diagnosis

Re The Hard Sell On Pharmacare (Dec. 4): Pharmacare is a win-win – it would cost less, and it would provide better coverage, especially to the working poor.

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The best indicator of how the government would do if given the responsibility for this task comes from looking at the coverage for seniors and those on social assistance. As a prescriber, I am aware of the limitations of the government’s coverage for these patients, but I am rarely outraged at the lack of options. It is a sound and reasonable drug plan, and I’m glad I don’t have to scramble to try to figure out how to get a person well when they can’t afford a much-needed medicine.

Christie Diekmeyer, MD, Ottawa


André Picard’s column highlights the reality that national pharmacare is not a simple black-and-white choice.

In its Drug Spending at a Glance report, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) estimated Canada’s spending on drugs in 2017 at $40-billion, either through public plans, employer-sponsored plans, or people paying out-of-pocket.

While our prescription drug system is a patchwork, for the most part it works. One reason Canadians aren’t convinced Ottawa should deliver a program to cover prescription drugs is that nearly 90 per cent already have prescription drug coverage.

We should focus on fixing pharmacare for the reported 10 to 12 per cent who lack coverage, and consider a co-ordinated national plan to fund high-cost drugs for rare diseases. That is where Canada needs to focus its pharmaceutical-policy framework. Let’s tackle the challenge in a manageable and sustainable way, while ensuring coverage for those who lack access, rather than a costly and complicated rip-and-replace. Leave what works and fix what doesn’t.

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Helen Stevenson, CEO, Reformulary Group, former executive officer, Ontario Public Drug Programs

Sit – and protest

Elizabeth Renzetti’s argument for civil disobedience to prompt climate action prompted letters disagreeing with her (Sit Down And Be Counted: Civil Disobedience Could Save The Planet – Opinion, Dec. 1; Elites, Sophisticates – letters, Dec. 4).

But with the right leadership, a crowd blocking a bridge does not always become a mob, as proven so heroically by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Their remarkable courage set the stage for peaceful action that continues to this day to provide hope and inspiration for positive change.

Youth leaders have emerged but we need more leaders, people of all ages and from all walks of life. Peace above all must be stressed.

This grandmother can see a future where she may feel she has no other recourse but to chain herself to a tree, an immeasurably small but significant act to protect the natural world, indeed ourselves. That time may have come.

Kit Gagnon, Burlington, Ont.

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George H.W. Bush

Re Forty-First President Led U.S. Through Gulf War, Fall Of The Berlin Wall (Obituary, Dec. 4): How far the United States has fallen … from a thousand points of light to a dim bulb.

Robert H. Thomas, Kingston

Canada’s ailing oil patch

Re The Least Bad Choice For The Oil Patch (editorial, Dec. 4): Without a national, strategic approach to bitumen extraction and oil sands development, harmonized with similar provincial commitments (all of them accepting a national responsibility), knee-jerk reactions to crises will continue to be the political response.

Buy a pipeline, put a limit on extraction, defend decisions in courts – these are all reactions. It should not take decades to get a pipeline built, and to envision policies that would result in having our oil resources processed to higher, value-added products in this nation. We are witnessing the dysfunctional manner in which this file has evolved.

It’s not only the environment, gender equality and Indigenous reconciliation that matter. Leadership resides with both federal and provincial elected representatives. It is a team sport.

Walter Petryschuk, former director, Sarnia Refinery, Suncor; former president, Sun-Canadian Pipeline; Sarnia, Ont.

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Various letters on Tuesday touched on the actions (or inaction) of the federal government on questions of oil production and distribution (Oil. To Market?) One disparaged pipeline opponents as, among other things, “aged hippies” and “zealots,” another cited Bill C-69 (the Impact Assessment Act) as evidence of the Prime Minister’s “green obsession.”

Leaving aside the issue of possible pipeline spills, what part of the relationship between burning fossil fuels and climate change is being missed here? Why is the recent warning from scientists that we have 12 years to reverse our greedy ways to avert climate calamity falling on such deaf ears?

Sentiments such as those expressed in these letters are on the wrong side of history. Desire for action on climate change is firmly in the mainstream. What we need from governments at all levels is real commitment to green energy projects using solar, wind, and tidal power – investment in the future, not the outmoded past. Taxpayers’ money should fund projects (retraining and employing redundant oil-patch workers) to develop and implement renewable replacements for fossil fuels.

Elsewhere, renewables have created more jobs than have been lost in the move away from fossil fuels. This is no time for timidity on Justin Trudeau’s part. It’s time indeed for “green obsession.”

Lindsay Bryan, Welland, Ont.

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Numerous articles and letters in The Globe and Mail have declared fossil fuels are dead. I have yet to see anyone put forward a solid case that demonstrates how planes, ships and northern populations are going to function effectively without fossil fuels.

Customer demand increases each year, along with fossil fuel use, for international trade, overnight parcel delivery, air travel, tourism etc.

Perhaps it’s not the fossil fuel industry that is dying, but our interest in hearing from environmentalists who fearmonger while failing to bring forward a practical economic replacement.

Gerald Williams, Edmonton

Catch up with 404 AD

Re Stevenson Knockout A Scary Reminder Of Boxing’s Real Risk (Sports, Dec. 4): Do we really need another death to be “reminded” about the “risk” of a sport whose objective is to inflict damage?

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Over the years, we have learned much about the science of hits to the head which injure the brain’s delicate structures and lead to permanent damage. Perhaps some will see as “sweet” the fitness, skill and “science” of boxing. But what is sweet about its brutality and its outcomes? What does the condoning of this sport say about our attitudes to violence and safety? What does it say to our children about the acceptability of fighting?

It has been more than 1,600 years since gladiator fighting was banned in Rome. How long is it going to take us to ban boxing in Canada?

Joel Kettner, MD, Winnipeg

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