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Letters to the Editor March 13: High anxiety over 737 Max 8 planes. Plus other letters to the editor

One of Air Canada's Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft lands at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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: letters@globeandmail.com

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Fear of flying

I am scheduled to fly on a 737 Max 8 in several weeks and am far from reassured by the bromides from Transport Minister Marc Garneau (Air Canada, WestJet Will Still Fly Boeing 737 Max 8 After Ethiopian Airlines Crash, March 12).

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Mr. Garneau acknowledged this week that the cause of the crash could be one of “dozens of different possibilities.” Given that one of those possibilities, by his own logic, is a faulty aircraft, the prudent thing to do would be to follow the lead of other nations and ground the plane until at least that possibility is ruled out.

Michael Benedict, Toronto

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The Transport Minister says he believes the Boeing 737 Max 8 is safe, despite the crash of two aircrafts of this type in apparently similar circumstances in the past few months.

The Minister’s statement of faith flies in the face of the facts of the first crash and the position of the pilots’ union. The cause of last October’s crash of a Lion Air 737 Max aircraft, operated by an Indonesian airline, has never been determined, to say nothing of troubling statements in a subsequent Federal Aviation Administration emergency airworthiness directive, which stated that the malfunctioning stall-recovery system on this newest version of the 737 affected the most critical aircraft performance instruments.

The extent of the malfunctions obviously raises questions as to the adequacy of the recommended pilot procedures for disabling the faulty stall-recovery system, which to my knowledge has never been put to the test. The Minister should heed the plea of the Canadian pilots’ union to give priority to public safety. The Boeing 737 Max fleet should be grounded until the cause(s) of these two tragic crashes has been determined, and the manufacturer has made the necessary corrective changes to the 737 Max flight management system.

Scott Burbidge, Port Williams, N.S.

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After the federal government introduced a new but very minimal air passengers’ rights bill in 2018, should we be surprised that Mr. Garneau has decided against temporarily grounding the Canadian Max 8 fleet? There is justifiable cause for concern.

Ursula Johannson, Vancouver

On the front lines

Shame on Rod Giltaca and the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights for saying that physicians have a lack of knowledge on the topic of gun violence (Gun Lobby Fights Doctors Advocating For Firearm Restrictions, March 8).

Physicians and medical staff are first-hand witnesses to the effects of gun violence, desperately working to save the victims. They intimately know the topic of gun violence, and it is definitely a public health and safety issue because of its devastating impact on families, communities and the country.

The gun lobby and people like Mr. Giltaca are part of the gun problem in Canada. Trauma surgeon Najma Ahmed and Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns are attempting to be part of the solution. When it comes to public health and safety, Mr. Giltaca is definitely in the “wrong lane.”

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Jane and Patrick McLeod, Toronto

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It seems quite apparent that those urging doctors to “stay in your lane” have never heard of preventative medicine.

Michael Vollmer, Burlington, Ont.

TB’s last stand

Re PM Apologizes For Treatment Of Inuit In TB Epidemic (March 9):

Make this the last apology related to tuberculosis.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Iqaluit to apologize for the awful management of the Inuit tuberculosis crisis several decades ago.

Since that time, all leaders of the world have agreed to end the epidemic of tuberculosis by 2030.

And they have given themselves a potent tool to accomplish their goal: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. This fund has had an unparalleled track record of success. It treated five million people against tuberculosis in 2017 alone.

The Global Fund is now seeking a replenishment to be able to continue its outstanding work. At its Replenishment Conference this coming October, it will be looking for US$14-billion over three years.

Canadian governments of all stripes have always been strong supporters of the Global Fund, but this year the Replenishment Conference will happen just at the same time as the federal election.

For the sake of the little ones, can we get all-party agreement that Canada will continue to provide its historic share of 5.2 per cent of the Global Fund, and make this announcement before the election campaigning starts? We are barely one decade away from ending TB, so let’s continue investing in a path that will do away with apologies.

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Jean-François Tardif, Gatineau, Que.

Getting along

As a newly minted member of the Kawartha Commons co-housing group, I was delighted to read your article on co-housing (Reimagining Homes For Seniors, March 9). It nicely captured the way in which a growing number of seniors are choosing to live fulfilled, active lives together while providing mutual support.

One thing the article doesn’t mention is the hard work that goes into building a cohesive community. Co-housing typically attracts a diverse group of intellectually curious people with plenty of life experience and the strongly held beliefs that go with it.

That can be a recipe for conflict, and successful co-housing communities put considerable effort into forestalling it. Co-housing is more than just bringing people together to live in artfully designed houses. It’s about keeping them together by instilling a shared ethos by which everyone enjoys and genuinely cares for each other.

Neil Macdonald, Toronto

Let’s move on now

Re SNC-Lavalin, Jody Wilson-Raybould And Trudeau’s PMO: The Story So Far (Online, March 11):

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Having witnessed this political reality TV program emanating from Ottawa these past few weeks, I, like many Canadians are beginning to wonder what all the fuss is about.

Yes, Jody Wilson-Raybould was put under pressure – 20 times apparently, or four times a month – to change her mind. She didn’t, which is the correct decision. SNC-Lavalin needs to be held accountable. No laws were broken, according to Ms. Wilson-Raybould, and no public funds were misspent. The system worked.

So, why can we not get back to discussing items that are in the public interest, including universal pharmacare or building pipelines.

It seems to me that the Conservatives and NDP want the public to essentially fund their coming election campaigns by either extending the Justice Committee deliberations or by holding a public inquiry. To me, that is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. Maybe we need an inquiry into why they think that is the right thing to do?

Jim Dubray, Toronto

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