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Three lattes a year
Re In Canada, The Mental Health Gap Continues (editorial, May 16): While the federal government has allocated $5-billion to improve access to mental-health care over 10 years, this will only provide a fraction of the funds required to meet the Mental Health Commission goal of 9 per cent of health spending.
Although the provinces have now negotiated agreements with the federal government, they initially opposed dedicating federal funding to mental-health care. Access to psychotherapy is improving in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, but services for people with complex conditions are not in place.
Admissions to hospitals have increased in Ontario for young people because of service gaps, and the wait list for supportive housing in Toronto has grown to more than 16,000 from 700 just 10 years ago.
More must be done to overcome the funding gap that Dr. Heather Stuart has identified as a structural manifestation of stigma. A per capita investment of $120 over 10 years would do the trick – that’s three lattes per year, per Canadian.
Steve Lurie, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto
Route to Canada
Re Jailed Migrants Have Right To Challenge Detention Before Judges, Supreme Court Rules (May 11): Canadians wanting to know why increasing numbers of migrants risk deportation by leaving the U.S., arguably a safe country, and crossing the border, need only read this decision by the Supreme Court. It has ruled that a man from Pakistan can have his case heard again based on the principle of “habeas corpus,” which allows him to appear in person before a judge.
The case of Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina is an example of an activist court challenging a process that has worked well, and creating an additional opportunity for individuals such as Mr. Chhina to enter the country.
Granted refugee protection in Canada in 2006, he was later detained after it was discovered he had a criminal record. It should be noted that the Refugee Convention, of which Canada is a signatory, allows excluding a person from refugee protection for “serious criminality.”
Mr. Chhina was released after six months in detention because of delays in his removal, and went missing again. He was rearrested in 2015 and deported in 2017. Now, based on the high court’s ruling, he can have his case heard again.
As Justice Rosalie Abella, the one dissenting judge, wrote, this decision will open “an alternative route, one that will lead to … forum shopping, inconsistent decision making and multiplicity of proceedings …”
Peter M. da Silva, Toronto
Re Trump Fully Pardons Former Media Mogul Conrad Black (May 16): The President, the Perp, and the Pardon: It would be a bad movie, were it not true. Conrad Black doesn’t think that he broke the rules because he doesn’t think that the rules apply to him. And Donald Trump doesn’t think that Conrad Black broke the rules because he doesn’t think that there ought to be rules in the first place.
Donald Wright, Fredericton
The news that President Donald Trump has pardoned Conrad Black, convicted in the United States of fraud and obstruction, reminds me that Dante confined flatterers to the Eighth Circle of Hell … the same level as fraudsters.
Andy Lehrer, Toronto
Having pardoned Conrad Black, presumably Donald Trump will pardon himself next?
Bob Parkins, Caledon, Ont.
I have trouble keeping it straight. Did the President phone the Lord and say, “There’s a pardon in it for you if you write me a glowing biography,” or was it the other way round?
Nigel Brachi, Edmonton
So Donald Trump looked in the mirror and pardoned his fellow swashbuckler, Conrad Black. I can only hope that soon Mr. Trump faces justice – judicial or electoral, preferably both.
John Sudlow, Oakville, Ont.
Re U.S. Abortion-Rights Activists Vow To Fight Alabama Bill (May 16): If anti-abortion supporters on both sides of the border wanted to decrease the number of abortions, they would increase the availability of effective sex education, affordable child care, free contraceptives, and living-wage jobs. Instead, they support eliminating the availability of the medical procedure itself.
It seems to me that this has nothing to do with the sanctity of human life, and everything to do with control of women’s bodies. As others have said, concern about the sanctity of human life begins at conception and ends at birth – at least for humans in the United States of today.
Leslie Lavers, Lethbridge, Alta.
Re Moment In Time, May 14, 1796: Edward Jenner wasn’t the first to deliberately inject material from cowpox lesions into patients to prevent smallpox. The Chinese practiced inoculation of matter removed from cowpox about 1000 AD. Variolation, as it was called, was done in Turkey and parts of Africa in the Middle Ages. It was used sporadically in England in the 18th century; Jenner was himself variolated as a child.
Although Jenner didn’t invent the technique, he was the first to present it to The Royal Society, subsequently publishing his studies in 1796, and thus spreading this important information widely in the medical world of the time. This was his major contribution, showing in a statistically valid, scientific manner that vaccination was effective and represented a significant advance in preventive medicine.
As in science and medicine today, the first to publish the material gets the credit.
Morley Lertzman, MD, North Vancouver
Almost 80 years before Edward Jenner administered what is described as the first documented vaccine, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu saw “vaccination” being carried out in Adrianople (now Edirne).
During her husband’s appointment as British ambassador to Constantinople, Lady Mary immersed herself in Turkish culture and wrote letters describing her experiences. In April, 1717, she described “the invention of engrafting,” wherein families held parties where elderly women inoculated everyone “with a nutshell … of the best sort of smallpox … She puts into the vein as much venom as can lie upon the head of her needle and after binds up the little wound.” Lady Mary had her own son inoculated (with the help of the embassy surgeon), which made her the subject of severe criticism in England until the Princess of Wales had two younger princesses inoculated.
History has largely overlooked Lady Mary. I recommend The Turkish Embassy Letters for this and many other adventures of a curious, open-minded woman.
Katherine Peel, Toronto