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Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre addresses the Conservative caucus for the first time as leader during a meeting in Ottawa on Sept. 12.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Whole new world

Re Poilievre’s Landslide Victory Charts New Course For Conservatives (Sept. 12): I hope that those who voted for Pierre Poilievre as new leader of the Conservative Party will enjoy a guaranteed Liberal government, perhaps still under Justin Trudeau, until at least 2030.

Way to go.

Mike Priaro Calgary

Justice served?

Re Canada’s Justice System Is A Revolving Door (Opinion, Sept. 10): When unfortunate or horrific incidents happen with parolees, often we blame the parole system of mandatorily releasing individuals at two-thirds of their sentences.

What is difficult to articulate to the general population is that if someone presents a level of risk to society, it is best to release them gradually with guidance, support and conditions, rather than at the end of a sentence and expecting them to succeed. Let’s focus on the root causes and complex conditions which lead to traumatic events, rather than knee-jerk reactions to find someone to blame.

I am pleased that columnist Robyn Urback balances the need for substantive preventive measures with the security of Canadians.

Marie-Josée Frenette Ottawa

It is reasonable to re-examine the decision to grant the mass-stabbings suspect parole, but I find it wrong to infer from this example that Canada’s justice system is a “revolving door.”

The number of truly violent individuals is quite small; the fact that nearly all parolees do not commit violent crimes should prove it. Perhaps we can learn something from this horrifying experience, but let’s be clear: This should be considered an extreme case, and should not influence policy for the overwhelming majority of incarcerated persons.

Eric Philpott Toronto

Broken up

Re Most Ontarians Put Patients’ Rights Ahead Of Easing Hospital Pressures: Poll (Sept. 7): Bill 7 feels like draconian legislation that reflects a government which sees vulnerable old people as disposable, sucking up resources from other (more deserving?) patients.

Thousands upon thousands of old people are dumped into institutions, even though that is not what the vast majority want. Until we confront the profound devaluation that drives our dysfunctional elder-care system, things are not likely to change.

Yes, hospitals are in crisis. But they cannot be fixed on the backs of seniors. My access to better health care should not depend on making things worse for older people who are already suffering.

Judith Sandys Toronto

Ontario’s local health integration networks were set up to facilitate long-term care services. Instead, they became top-heavy offices that acted as gatekeepers for the government.

I have firsthand experience over decades of helping family members navigate this broken system. Some experiences were heartwarming, but many became bitter battles fought for more help. Although done willingly, it is at great personal cost – to which a silent army of family caregivers can no doubt also attest.

Ongoing health services, proper nutrition and exercise, mental-health monitoring, companionship and stimulation, whether in long-term care or at-home settings: These are the current needs of elders. Beyond this, planning and delivering should include expanding the types and frequency of home-care services, along with urgency in building better facilities with holistic, patient-centric designs.

And before the when, where and how, we should accept the imperative of getting it right. Ontario owes our elders and their families.

Marian Kingsmill Hamilton

The other side

Re The Forgotten Men Of The 1972 Summit Series: The Russians (Sept. 9): As columnist Gary Mason points out, Soviet players were used, abused and discarded to face old age and penury. But in the quagmire of relativity, NHL players of that era were battling not an exploitative government, but an enemy within.

As head of the NHL Players’ Association, Alan Eagleson colluded with team owners to keep salaries and pensions low, pleaded guilty to embezzling from Canada Cups in 1984, 1987 and 1991, and expensed a lavish lifestyle on the players’ dime. Worst of all, when injured players – some his own clients – filed disability claims, Mr. Eagleson invented battles with insurers so that he could further gouge those who trusted him.

He was eventually jailed, disbarred, forced to resign from the Hockey Hall of Fame and removed from the Order of Canada. Soviet players fared worse and got no redress. But like them, Mr. Eagleson’s actions are often largely forgotten.

John Sudlow Oakville, Ont.

I was frequently lambasted in 1972 as one who rooted for Russia to beat Canada, given the miserable lives the Russian players would live thereafter.

By 1972, the six-team NHL I’d loved as a boy had been ruined by greed and more than double the number of teams. For me, the league lives on as a bloated farce, far removed from real hockey.

W. Selby Martin Bracebridge, Ont.

Canada vs. everybody

Re Griffin Poetry Prize Eliminates Category Reserved For Canadians (Sept. 9): Too many of our institutions send the message (through quotas, separate shelves, maple-leaf stickers) that work created by Canadians can only be valued as expressions of Canadianness.

The Griffin Poetry Prize should be congratulated for treating Canadian poets as genuine participants in literature, rather than reducing them to nationalist tokens.

David Arthur Cambridge, Ont.

I am a longtime fan of the Griffin Poetry Prize’s Canadian and international categories. To posit that Canadians are up to competing with every poet writing in or translated into English seems more smokescreen than credible rationale for a single category.

It suggests to me that the prize process to date has coddled Canadian poets, which does them a great disservice. Their achievements in even getting published, within our country’s climate of diminishing publishing houses, restrictive retailers and flavours of the month, should be celebrated and championed at every opportunity.

I regret this decision to build up an already generous prize so that, in the end, the prize itself wins more profile on the international stage.

J.C. Sulzenko Ottawa

Why is it tedious in Montreal to perceive the unwitting and unsaid premise that a Canadian poetry prize should naturally be for poetry in the English language?

I’d love if the Griffin Poetry Prize was better characterized as an English Canadian prize, as I see nothing solely Canadian about it.

Jean Bisping Montreal

I think the problem was having an international category to begin with. I doubt anyone thinks the Pulitzer Prize goes to Americans who can’t compete on the world stage.

Josephine Grayson Toronto

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