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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 6. Trudeau is calling on the committee of parliamentarians that reviews matters of national security and the national intelligence watchdog to independently investigate concerns about foreign interference in Canada.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Get on with it

Re “A scrambling Trudeau’s half turn on interference” (March 7): Stop looking in the rear-view mirror.

I am unclear what the fascination is with a public inquiry, or for that matter reviews by a special rapporteur. Both of these activities are focused on the past.

They will ultimately result in a large expenditure of cash and reports that might support the assumption that other countries and individuals are acting to influence Canada’s political direction. Where are we then? The same place we are now.

Let’s start from the assumption that forces external to Canada, certainly including China, Russia and others, are trying to influence our political direction. We should be focused on how we can counter those attempts at influence, regardless from where they come.

David Wartman Calgary

A wise political operator would do one thing about this interference kerfuffle: Get it done and over with as quickly as possible so that the Prime Minister (the true subject to investigate, really) can say “we looked and found nothing wanting.” Be free and clear for the next election, rather than have investigations drag on to some unhappy conclusion (for the Liberals).

As Sir Humphrey Appleby said on the show Yes Minister: “A basic rule of government is never look into anything you don’t have to. And never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.”

Clay Atcheson North Vancouver

Re “Canada’s foreign-interference alert system failed voters in the 2021 election. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again” (Opinion, March 4): I agree with columnist Konrad Yakabuski that “Chinese-Canadian voters were the biggest victims of China’s interference in the 2021 election.” Unfortunately, the victimization has not stopped.

Beijing’s agents can surveil Canadians like me to discourage opposition to its brutality in Hong Kong, Tibet and East Turkestan. Those who consistently speak up can be commercially blacklisted, hacked, harassed and intimidated. Families in China can essentially be used as hostages to ensure that members of the diaspora toe the line.

I believe Beijing’s proxies have spread a lie that effective action to counter foreign interference unfairly targets Chinese-Canadians. On the contrary, it would protect our community from the bullying of a foreign regime.

The first step should be a foreign-influence registry.

Gloria Fung President, Canada-Hong Kong Link Toronto

Pay as you go

Re “Average of 25 senators skip each legislative vote, Globe analysis finds” (March 6): A Senate composed of Canada’s well-informed and experienced elite can serve us well, and a degree of absenteeism can be tolerated if senators turn up when their own knowledge is especially important.

Perhaps Canadian senators should have the option of being paid only when they turn up, as is the case for British hereditary lords and bishops in the House of Lords.

Nicholas Tracy Fredericton

Justice for …

Re “Former NHL goalie whose parents were murdered laments Supreme Court life-without-parole reversal” (Feb. 27) and “New Brunswick appeal court reduces sentence for killer of three Mounties in Moncton” (March 3): Recent stories about families’ grief with parole-board decisions have deeply distressed me.

Our Supreme Court has determined that consecutive sentencing for mass killings, as well as sentences longer than 25 years for first-degree murder, are not in line with “Canadian values.” Does the court not take seriously that the horrendous suffering of victims and their surviving families should also be considered desecrations of Canadian values – and lives?

A justice system that would deny justice to the innocent is unjust.

Peter Wyatt Burk’s Falls, Ont.

Live better

Re “A right to die, but first a better life” (March 4): No sensible person is proposing medical assistance in dying for “children.” We are talking about competent 16- and 17-year-olds with fatal illnesses, such as cancer, who are forced to suffer until they turn 18 under the current law.

We should also keep in mind that MAID for mental illness was allowed under rules arising from the Carter v. Canada Supreme Court decision in 2015. The government then took this right away with Bill C-14 in 2016. What we see now are attempts to restore Charter rights to what I estimate to be 25 Canadians per year who have irremediable psychiatric illness.

Statistics show that of the 10,064 Canadians who chose MAID in 2021, 80.7 per cent had received palliative care. This suggests to me that palliative care is reasonably available.

Derryck Smith Clinical professor emeritus, department of psychiatry, University of British Columbia Vancouver

Re “As a gerontologist, I’m deeply worried about advance consent for MAID” (March 6): I am a healthy and active 87-year-old. I have some experience of a family member with Alzheimer’s who eventually needed long-term care. I personally would sign an advance request for medical assistance in dying.

Why would I want to add another few years to my already long life, being toileted, fed and cared for by strangers? Not to mention the strain on one’s family.

Sometimes we can stay too long at the party.

Elizabeth Thompson Oakville, Ont.

We do not know how we will feel or what we will want in our old age, when death approaches.

When my wife’s aunt was in her late 70s, she insisted that she would never want to live in a nursing home. When the time came, she loved it.

My father had Alzheimer’s. The day before he died, he looked at me and said, “Do you know what I am doing? Trying to stay alive.”

We like to think that we understand ourselves. Yet I am reminded of what Bob Dylan once said: “All I can to do is be me, whoever that is.”

Joe Stafford Kingston

Re “Dementia thawed my mother’s frosty side and we had fun together again” (March 6): I am the proud daughter of Marion Samworth, CM, my 98-year-old, dementia-afflicted mother, one whose British stoicism and ridiculously long good health deny her the release she so ardently and vociferously articulated before becoming incapable of independent decision-making.

Sure, there have been humorous moments where she still corrects my grammar while feasting on chocolate cake and sweets ruled out by a wartime childhood. But this is nothing compared to the stimulating adult relationship we enjoyed previously.

My advice to children of all ages is to go out of their way – now – to spend meaningful time with their parents before it’s too late, and not to wait until they assume a caregiver role.

Clare Samworth Toronto

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