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Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly lay flowers at the Memorial Wall of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine in Russian-Ukrainian War in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 18. Ms. Joly's visit was a show of Canada's solidarity amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.The Associated Press

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Emergency call

Re Health Care System Hit Hard By Case Surge (Jan. 17): Indeed, the pandemic has nakedly exposed chronic problems in the delivery of Canada’s long-neglected emergency health care system. To be clear, problems with delayed paramedic response, unconscionable waits in our country’s emergency departments, and rural communities abandoned by shuttered ERs existed long before COVID-19.

Our hospitals are crowded and have limited to no capacity for patients waiting to be accepted from ERs. They wait in hallways for days. Ambulances can’t off-load because there are no vacant stretchers, and there they wait unable to respond to community emergencies.

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians identified an anticipated shortfall of 1,500 emergency physicians by 2020. Nothing was done. Our staff has been deeply affected by decades of ignored exposure to violence and moral injury. Nobody seems to care, the result being the staffing crisis we now find ourselves in.

The chickens are coming home to roost and COVID-19 is an all-too-convenient excuse.

Alan Drummond MD; co-chair, public affairs, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians; Ottawa


Re Rules Of The Game (Letters, Jan. 18): A letter-writer counsels Canada not to support Ukraine’s admission to NATO. I find that bad advice.

Ukraine would not be subject to Russia’s bullying if it was in NATO today. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were also once Soviet-occupied states; they all became part of NATO in 2004 and are now doing just fine.

NATO is a defence alliance that works.

Borys Sydoruk Calgary

Legal precedent

Re Rule Of Law (Letters, Jan. 18): I beg to differ with a former solicitor-general of Canada who writes that “with the rule of law, the law is supreme.” We do not have to look very far back to see examples of where the law got it wrong.

Outlawing First Nations potlatches; placing Indigenous children in residential schools; the Chinese head tax; the SS Komagata Maru; Ukrainian Canadian internment camps during the First World War; Japanese Canadian internment camps during the Second World War – all these actions were perfectly legal within the rule of law.

Shakespeare wrote that “when law can do no right, let it be lawful that law bar no wrong.” Rather than bow before the Canadian rule of law, we should be more realistic and realize it has limitations. It is but a tool we use to attain, hopefully, a more just society.

Gary Mortimer Surrey, B.C.

Nurse back to health

Re School Of Thought (Letters, Jan. 17): In addressing the shortage of family doctors in rural areas, letter-writers seem fond of exhortation or coercion, but not examination of what might encourage doctors and their families to move from large towns.

As enticements, shouldn’t we be thinking about higher remuneration, the forgiveness of tuition fees and perhaps tax holidays or income-splitting? To mitigate problems of remoteness, high-speed internet and improved roads are surely a must. Finally, for those doctors with children, there is the perception that many public schools are not up to snuff.

A district should not complain about a lack of doctors if it makes no provision for all these things.

David Allen London, Ont.

I am one of the lucky ones who has a family doctor. But if I didn’t, I would look for a nurse practitioner.

A friend of mine worked as a nurse practitioner in the North where there were no doctors. Her scope of practice and skill set met the needs of her community, with only the occasional medevac out.

I am at a loss as to why this solution is not being implemented in all areas of Canada.

Leslie Lavers Lethbridge, Alta.

The general practitioner, the traditional provider of health care, continues to function in rural settings where specialist care is not easily available. On the other hand, the family practitioner, no longer able to provide levels of care available in more urban settings, has mostly evolved into a 9-to-5 office position.

If we are to throw more money at the system, we should do so only after considering current practice and how it is likely to evolve as science marches on. We should become more efficient and more effective. Medical curriculums should be continually evaluated.

Illness care will likely become the province of specialists and hospitals, where stays would shorten while the need for non-hospital care expands. Preventive medicine might be dealt with as well or better by appropriately trained nurses under the umbrella of public health.

M.A. Ashworth MD Kingston

Forestry frustrations

Re B.C. First Nations Push For Revamp Of Province’s Forestry Policies (Jan. 17): As someone whose career was in stakeholder and Indigenous relations in the pipeline industry, I applaud the highlighting of the human, common-sense and predictable concerns of people (whether Indigenous or not) affected by the potential risks and benefits of nearby resource development projects.

We are reminded that, typically, the anxieties of residents are not driven by blinding ideology, extremist environmentalism, greed, misinformation nor hypocrisy, as is too often asserted by authorities. These concerns, which often escalate into project opposition, are fuelled by understandable fears and frustrations. They stem from inadequate local input and control regarding project planning; lack of procedural and economic fairness; feelings of untrustworthiness directed at them by authorities; perceived lack of caring, responsiveness, respect and shared priorities.

Gerry Kruk Calgary

Parliamentary review

Re National Security Can’t Become A Tool Of Partisan Feuding (Jan. 13): As pointed out, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is not a committee of Parliament.

Unlike its British counterpart, our Prime Minister has the final say in what the committee can write in reports to Parliament and what issues it may address. That this body is a creature of the executive branch has been obvious to me from the get-go.

Use the imminent five-year review to create a genuine committee of Parliament with all-party participation, an independent chair and appropriate judicial review mechanisms to ensure the correct balance between public interest and national security confidentiality.

Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.


Re Knitting My Boredom Away (First Person, Jan. 13): As a very basic knitter, I sympathize – I cannot follow a pattern.

However, essay-writer Ashley Holloway can indeed expand her repertoire of knitting projects by branching into ever-popular dishcloths, baby blankets or couch throws. Possibilities for colour and yarn type are endless, and there is always a willing recipient.

The only limit is money, as yarn is expensive. I wish her many more happy hours of boredom.

Melanie Rantucci White Rock, B.C.

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: