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You are sentenced to …
The Crown prosectors’ request for a 10-year jail sentence for truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is preposterous (Driver Makes Statement In Broncos Hearing, Feb. 1). There are only two principles to be applied in Canadian criminal sentencing: deterrence and rehabilitation. Which of those would justify a 10-year sentence – or any jail sentence for that matter?
I don’t believe that a jail sentence would deter others from committing a similar offence, since it was unplanned and obviously caused by inadvertence. Also, from Mr. Sidhu’s demeanor in court, I don’t think any rehabilitation is required.
There is no place in Canadian criminal law for retribution. The only part of the prosecution’s sentencing request that makes sense is a 10-year driving prohibition.
The best way to make sure Mr. Sidhu doesn’t repeat this offence is to keep him off the road. Other than that, I think he has suffered enough. He clearly is remorseful and feels very guilty.
I just can’t see any point in sending him to jail.
Garth M. Evans, Vancouver
You report that the truck driver was estimated to be going 86 to 96 kilometres an hour. Let’s say 90 km/h. In the 400 metres before the stop sign, the truck driver would have had four warnings of a junction ahead, and a large stop sign with a blinking red light at the junction. The driver’s lawyer says the driver was watching his mirror to keep an eye on the load behind, due the tarp cover apparently becoming loose several times before.
How long does it take a vehicle to travel 400 metres while going 90 km/h? Answer: 16 seconds.
Is the defence at the sentencing hearing saying that the truck driver was looking at his mirror for a full 16 seconds as he approached the intersection, not once looking forward to check where he was going? Not seeing one of the four warning signs, or the large stop sign with the “blinking” red light?
Or does it seem obvious the driver intended to go through the stop sign to save time, and either did not see the bus due to the trees in that corner, or think he could beat the bus?
Bruno Bellotto, Markham, Ont.
Re Ottawa Likely Overpaid For Trans Mountain, PBO Says (Feb. 1): Much has been said in the media recently about Trans Mountain. Our federal government has made us the proud owners of this facility, and no doubt plans to make this a world-class structure for bringing our crude to expanded markets. One can only hope this planning will be done in a more structured way than the purchase, and that perhaps we will retrieve at least some of the more than $1-billion we may have overpaid for Trans Mountain.
As this ambitious project moves ahead, it might be useful to give it a more suitable name – one that will no doubt attract the international financial community’s attention.
My suggestion? The Trudeau Trans Mountain Pipe Dream.
Bob McKendry, Kingston
Re A More Unified Europe Isn’t Materializing (Jan. 31): While Eric Reguly is correct in his observation that no progress has been made on integration during the Brexit process – no surprise in itself, given the chaotic Brexit process and stress on the EU in dealing with it – I disagree with the pessimistic picture he paints for the EU.
Many anti-EU right-wing or populist parties have dropped EU- or Euro exit from their publicity and speeches. The chaos around Brexit has made it abundantly clear that EU and/or Euro exit would be calamitous for any member. Instead, they are now focusing on resisting and possibly reversing integration, or, in EU lingo, deepening.
But such resistance has always existed and the main member-resister has been the United Kingdom. So, with the U.K. gone, the balance between integrationists and anti-integrationists will likely remain fairly constant. The existence of the EU is likely more secure after than before Brexit, in part because the U.K. is making such a mess of it.
Mind you, how Brexiters ever thought they could satisfactorily deal with the Irish border question remains a mystery to anyone who understands the EU and the Good Friday Agreement.
Manuel Mertin, Calgary
Seniors in the workplace
Re Dear Boomers: The Economy Still Needs You (editorial, Jan. 31, 2019): I’m grateful to my employer for recognizing I have knowledge and skills worthwhile for continued use in the workplace.
Thirty years in clinical research in multinational pharma have been followed by 10 years in front-of-house roles in a performing arts centre (volunteer, then paid employee these past eight years).
My schedule is set according to my availability, I’m developing connections with my community, and my drive takes five minutes – great benefits after years of commuting and travelling for business. Although our household income fell, we’re still contributing to the economy in a simpler, more focused lifestyle. My thanks to all employers who value seniors.
Alice Marshall, Richmond Hill, Ont.
Rx for an elephant
Irrespective of the various approaches to pharmacare, which you discussed in your editorial last Saturday, the elephant in the room is medication non-adherence (Let’s Make This The Year Of Pharmacare – Jan. 26).
About half of Canadians are non-adherent to their medications in some way, and one-third of prescriptions are never filled to begin with. Medication non-adherence crosses all socio-demographic groups, chronic and acute diseases, symptomatic and asymptomatic conditions, adults and children. A World Health Organization report estimated that medication non-adherence costs Canada’s health-care system $4-billion annually.
While the cost of medication figures in about one in 10 cases, the most common reasons are forgetfulness, and deliberately deciding not to take a medication, often based upon how someone feels or their beliefs.
Intentional or not, fixing the non-adherence epidemic is a must before we move toward a universal pharmacare plan, otherwise we risk wasting more billions. More importantly, the health of Canadians will suffer unnecessarily. We need broad stakeholder collaboration of patients, health-care professionals, administrators, researchers and payors, as well as a health system that can readily monitor and communicate adherence patterns.
It won’t be an easy solution, but while the pharmacare debate continues, our priority right now should be addressing the medication non-adherence challenge.
Joanna Nemis-White, Strive Health Management Consulting Ltd., Halifax.
Re Quebec Asks School Boards Whether They Have A Count Of Staffers Who Wear Religious Symbols (Jan 29): Does this include gym teachers who wear a Montreal Canadiens sweater?
Tim Jeffery, Toronto