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Re Social-Conservative Groups Call For Scheer To Resign (Nov. 26): While walking my five-year-old granddaughter home from school the other day, she made an announcement. “My girlfriend and I are going to do something, we will wear white dresses,” she said somewhat conspiratorially.
When I guessed it might be a wedding, she proudly confirmed it, then added, with that air of a child who has newly discovered adult information: “Girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys."
I would like to inform Andrew Scheer that this is what the average five-year-old knows.
Dennis Walker Burlington, Ont.
Re The Conservative Leader’s Days Are Numbered (Nov. 26): My understanding of John Ibbitson’s advice to anyone contemplating the leadership of the Conservative Party is that they should not be so conservative. Interesting! At what point does someone shedding their conservative values to lead the Conservatives become a liberal? Just wondering.
Stuart McRae Toronto
A warm welcome
Re China Warns Canada Against Imposing U.S.-like Sanctions On Hong Kong (Nov. 23): Cong Peiwu, China’s new ambassador to Canada, wants the Canadian government to ask Hong Kong protesters to “stop the violence.” I think we could meet that request, just as soon as the Chinese government closes the internment camps where it has imprisoned at least a million Muslims without charge or trial.
To sweeten the deal, Canada can even promise to ensure that Chinese businesses operating here will be treated fairly and justly. While that kind of treatment is standard in this country, the Chinese government may need reassurances as it’s widely believed there are no such guarantees in China.
Esther Shannon Vancouver, B.C.
Canada has been very clearly told by China that any expression of support for the demonstrators in Hong Kong would be considered interference in its internal affairs. Then Cong Peiwu, China’s new ambassador, says he hopes Ottawa will ask Hong Kong protesters to “stop the violence.” But wouldn’t that be interference in China’s internal affairs?
Jim Duholke North Vancouver, B.C.
China’s new ambassador to Canada warns that any move by our country toward sanctions against Hong Kong officials would result in “very bad damage in our bilateral relationship and is not in the interest of Canada.” It appears that he doesn’t consider the imprisonment of two Canadian citizens, as well as the embargo of Canadian pork and canola products, to already constitute “very bad damage.”
Alan Rosenberg Toronto
While I don’t begrudge our public concern with Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held in Chinese prisons in difficult conditions for nearly a year, I would ask that we show no less concern for Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen of Uyghur nationality, who has been languishing in similar circumstances since 2006.
Why praise only the grit and tenacity of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor while ignoring Mr. Huseyin’s incredible struggle? Especially now that the Chinese government’s policies against the Uyghurs, which some clearly call “cultural genocide,” are out in the open for all to see.
Ian Martin Toronto
Money and medicine
Re Drug Maker Urges Patients To Speak Out On Cheaper Medications (Nov. 22): We all want any health decisions that affect our choices of medicine to be based on interpretations of the best available evidence. Those experts claiming that it is dangerous to be switching patients from biologics to biosimilar medications are not basing that recommendation on good quality evidence, a point to which they openly admit. Lacking an independent analysis of the quality of a study should render any conclusions unreliable.
Canada is not in a bubble here, facing affordability crises when it comes to covering expensive medicines. Thankfully, there have been more than a dozen systematic reviews around the globe and nearly a decade of experience, mostly in European countries, where switching between biologics and biosimilars is considered effective and safe. That evidence is solid and overwhelming and many governments have acted on it.
Let’s face it. We can’t pay for everything. But in a country that is considering a national pharmacare program, and where nearly $500-million a year is spent on a single drug in Remicade, there is a vital need to base decisions on interpreting the most independent and solid evidence possible.
Ken Bassett MD, Co-director, Therapeutics Initiative, University of British Columbia; Vancouver
I am 76 years old. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2004 after almost dying and many years of intermittent suffering. Five years ago, I was told I needed a different kind of medication. First, we tried Humira – this made me ill – then I was put on Remicade. It has dramatically improved my life.
I knew how expensive Remicade was and I knew I could not afford it, but I was covered on a program. All I paid was a prescription charge.
Last week, I received the letter from Janssen Inc. telling me what was likely to happen in regards to biosimilars. My concern is that because of my age, and because of the position paper by Paul Moayyedi of McMaster University indicating that inflammatory bowel disease patients were more likely to have problems changing to biosimilars, I wonder how my body will react?
I agree the drug company is making a lot of money, but why do we not have a way to make them reduce their prices?
Elizabeth Allchin St. Albert, Alta.
Re Detroit Is New And Improved – But For Whom? (Nov. 19): I’ve been travelling to Detroit almost weekly for the past 20 years. The past five pale in comparison to the prior 15. Detroit is back and it’s better than ever. It’s a whole new city.
And while Detroit still has many decades of issues to unravel, the work that Dan Gilbert, Mike Ilitch and many more have done is nothing short of remarkable. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
However, we can find examples of massive economic inequality everywhere we look. Consider Vancouver’s tent city as a prime example. When will the Canadian Gilberts arrive at our Canadian cities in need?
Noah Fleming Kingsville, Ont.
Re Accent Piece (Opinion, Nov. 23): Contributor Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé's thought-provoking article on French accents and ID cards unearthed memories from my 40-plus years as a hyphenate. Many comments, both supportive and derisive, have been directed at that computer-unfriendly hyphen in my last name.
My most jarring experience was at an airport kiosk, when the machine could not read my passport. I asked for assistance, and an employee of a major Canadian airline suggested I change the name on my passport so that in future I could properly use the kiosk. I now go directly to the service counter.
Anne Taylor-Vaisey Toronto
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