Re “Public interest” (Letters, March 9): A letter-writer suggests that a public inquiry into Chinese interference is unnecessary because “the value of sensitive information depends on the credibility of the source.” I would argue that the source is far less relevant than any evidence that could potentially be uncovered as a result of a public inquiry.
Let’s say that an anonymous source called 911 to report a house on fire. The firefighters, upon arriving at the burning house, wouldn’t stop to question the integrity of the anonymous caller. They would put out the fire, then later assess how the fire started and, ideally, help to ensure that such a fire never happens again.
Dismiss the value of a public inquiry and watch the house burn to the ground.
David Brooks Toronto
Re “The Prime Minister launches an investigation into everything but his government, his party or himself” (March 8): The Prime Minister is looking for an eminent Canadian to investigate election interference.
May I suggest Jody Wilson-Raybould? She has demonstrated integrity and courage and that she will not give in to bullying or pressure. I believe she is eminently qualified to be the special rapporteur.
I would trust her findings.
Tom Butler Vancouver
I suspect that with all the secrecy surrounding the Trudeau-appointed investigations, the special rapporteur will likely be more of a raconteur.
Cam Kourany Kelowna, B.C.
Re “Please be seated, senators: Canadians are owed an upper chamber that works” (Editorial, March 9): We Canadians currently pay $126.7-million a year for the privilege of having a Senate. So it is crucial to ask: What are we getting for that?
There are currently 16 vacancies in the Senate. The fact that our Prime Minister can’t be bothered to fill longstanding vacancies leaves the impression that no one in government really takes the place seriously. So why should we?
Since it seems unlikely we will ever abolish the Senate, I agree with a previous letter-writer (”Pay as you go” – March 8) who suggests that compensation for senators be based upon attendance, particularly during legislative votes. At the very least, this would certainly improve attendance.
Eric Paine London, Ont.
Re “Caste bullying at Toronto schools prompts vote over new protected category” (March 8): As someone of South Asian descent with Indian-born parents, I applaud the Toronto District School Board for tackling the issue of caste discrimination.
I am reminded of ugly incidents that I saw in India against Dalits or “untouchables” just for being in the presence of upper castes. To fight caste discrimination, we should be honest and admit that caste bigotry has existed for thousands of years in India, and led to innumerable levels of persecution and even deaths there.
Let’s ensure that this ugly system is not tolerated in any other society, including Canada’s, by condemning its practice.
Gohar Razi Ottawa
Access and consent
Re “Doctors, disability advocates condemn parliamentary committee’s recommendation to expand MAID law” (March 7): I would like to address the distressing issue of access to palliative care.
There are many hospices and palliative care units that do not permit medical assistance in dying on premises. This means patients choosing MAID are transferred out – an ambulance ride just to die somewhere else.
Faced with this scenario, many patients opt not to go into hospice. They choose MAID because they are denied the option of hospices where they could benefit from palliative care. Unfortunately, it is a few palliative care physicians and faith-based facilities that impede palliative care access for Canada’s most vulnerable populations.
I have worked in hospices which permit MAID. I have seen many patients who end up choosing a natural death because of the quality of care they receive.
I suggest that removing barriers to MAID in palliative care would be a good step forward.
Jyothi Jayaraman Palliative care physician and MAID provider, Vancouver
Re “As a gerontologist, I’m deeply worried about advance consent for MAID” (March 6): I have witnessed end-of-life suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Joy and contentment can happen, of course, at some stage before the terminal decline of those living with the disease. Lack of basic recognition, barely any use of language, inability to taste food or even eat without a feeding tube, end-stage recurrent infections: There are not things to wish on anybody one loves.
I recently mourned three friends who died by suicide, despite the best of psychiatric care and with all the resources one could want. Medical assistance in dying is not just an important issue of personal autonomy, but of humanity, respect and the utmost love.
Michael Gordon MD; emeritus professor of medicine, University of Toronto
Re “Property taxes are popping in some cities – how worried should you be about other tax hikes?” (Report on Business, March 7): Canadians should be reminded of when GST/HST is applicable.
It does not apply to basic groceries, rent, mortgages, insurance, prescriptions drugs and glasses; financially unsecure individuals and families spend a much high percentage of dollars on these things and not taxable discretionary spending.
Financially secure folks will still spend on big-ticket items, increasing the government revenue base to pay for services we enjoy as Canadians.
Shawn Garrett CPA, Mississauga
In 2016, we moved from Calgary to Toronto. I questioned the wisdom of swapping a townhouse for a shoebox. But one bright spot was a sharp drop in property taxes.
I googled why taxes were so low and I learned it was primarily economies of scale: Big cities are more efficient. But we now see that office towers, now largely empty, contributed to keeping residential taxes low.
It’s tempting to tell Torontonians to pay up. But from an environmental standpoint, that would be problematic. People in big cities have smaller carbon footprints than their rural counterparts.
We should make living in suburbs and small towns more costly. The good folks who live in 40-storey towers should be rewarded for helping to reduce emissions.
People should be reminded that small-town life may not be sustainable in the long run. The future looks dense, and large, whether we like it or not.
Ken Johnston Ottawa
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