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Ontario Premier Doug Ford laughs as he speaks with the media at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, November 28, 2019.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Dynamic duo

Re Elections Alberta Stops Disclosing Names Of Fined Recipients and Former Ontario Police Commander Challenges New Law That Limits Lawsuits (Nov. 28): We have reached a new low point in our democracy wherein politicians now take what amount to pre-emptive measures to skirt responsibility.

Lawyer Julian Falconer very correctly refers to the Ford government’s actions as “a shameless exercise in public officials trying to duck accountability at every level.” The real shame here is that Doug Ford, as well as Jason Kenney, are likely to get away with these disgraceful actions while the rest of us are too busy with our own responsibilities.

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Steve Soloman Toronto

Unlocking competition

Re How To Lower Canada’s Phone Bill (Editorial, Nov. 28): It’s Economics 101 that more competition leads to more innovation, lower prices and more choice. Additional wireless studies by the Competition Bureau shouldn’t be needed.

What we do need is action from the CRTC: Allow virtual operators to buy into telecom networks at a fair price and get on with more competition. Canadians have been paying far too much for far too long.

David Enns Cornwall, Ont.


More competition in the telecom business won’t be good for everyone. As a retired senior with no desire for a smartphone and reliant on dividends from Rogers, BCE and Telus to supplement a fixed income, I’m quite happy with the current situation. As the old saying goes: Competition only benefits the consumer.

T. S. Ramsay Guelph, Ont.

Angina answers

Re Angina Shouldn’t Be Treated As A Time Bomb (Nov. 26): I worry that readers may be misled into believing that angioplasty or bypass surgery may not be beneficial in the treatment of stable angina.

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These surgeries are meant to maximize the long-term health of heart muscle affected by lack of blood flow and to relieve symptoms of angina. That’s why the recent ISCHEMIA study, which doubts the efficacy of angioplasty, excluded patients suffering with “unacceptable” angina. Even so, the study still showed that surgery improved quality of life compared to medical therapy alone.

Patience should be practised with angioplasty, since some of the beneficial effects can take years to emerge. While it may be true that a stable blockage of a coronary artery is not a time bomb, the patient is still generally best off having it removed.

Eric Stutz MD, Toronto


An important question to be asked of the ISCHEMIA study comparing surgery and drug use for angina: What are the long-term effects of the drug treatments? I am on this protocol and have done research on side effects to make sense of my own experiences.

Although the research is sadly lacking, here are three examples: statin drugs lower DHEA, the “mother hormone," which may lead to other side effects; beta blockers may cause depression and insomnia; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may cause dizziness and breathlessness. From my own discussions with cardiologists and pharmacists, not only are side effects only modestly considered, but drug interaction is also often missed. Further, there seems to be little study of how these drugs work differently for men and women.

So if arguing for more drugs and less surgery, I would suggest these additional issues be properly considered.

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Linda Briskin Toronto

Clear conscience

Re Private Member’s Bill To Protect Doctors’ Conscience Rights Rejected (Nov. 23): I have written and lectured against abortion since I started practising medicine in 1978. During this time, I cared for everyone who came to me – without question. The acts of my patients did not concern me; it was my own acts for which I was responsible.

So when it comes to conscience rights, I believe it is other health-care workers, rather than physicians, who are most vulnerable. Over 40 years at my hospital, I listened to many colleagues complain about relentlessly bullying by superiors – especially physicians – to assist in procedures (mainly abortion and now also medical assistance in dying) which they found abhorrent. They are the ones who most need the protection of conscience rights.

Although I was sorry to see the Alberta bill defeated, I recognize it was guilty of legislative overreach and being too imprecise. I hope a more carefully crafted bill will be brought forward.

Arnold Voth MD (retired), Edmonton

Housing how-to

Re Toronto Needs Housing Now – And The Planning To Match (Nov. 23): The same conclusion can likely be drawn about the planning policies of any major Canadian city: They all seem to suffer from institutional NIMBY-ism.

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City councils across Canada always talk the talk, only to end up in planning paralysis. If appropriate densities and social policies (and I would include the use of expropriation in the social-policy category) were combined with a time horizon beyond a current council’s mandate, private-sector developers would be lining up with proposals for these sites.

If our city councils would only promote these planning principles, we would soon be able to check the housing crisis off the to-do list.

Monty Caplan London, Ont.

Justice served

Re Ontario A-G Defends Proposal To Overhaul Judicial Appointments (Nov. 19) and If It Ain’t Broke (Letters, Nov. 22): I have been a close observer of the Ontario Court of Justice before and after the advent of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. (I also once sat on the JAAC for a year.) There can be no doubt that the current process has produced a better qualified, more diverse and gender-balanced group of judges for the provincial court than the previous regime of political patronage.

With no coherent explanation, the Ford government has now said it will effectively abolish the JAAC. I can only hope that good sense and voices of reason will persuade Doug Ford to reverse this proposal.

Paul Copeland CM, barrister; Toronto

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DF + JT = ?

Re Ford And Trudeau Hope For ‘Collaborative’ Future (Nov. 23): Bromance is in the air. It is interesting what an election result can do to kindle political affections.

Last year, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won 76 of Ontario’s provincial ridings and 40.5 per cent of the vote. Last month, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won 79 of the province’s federal ridings and 41.4 per cent of its vote. And they say that romance is dead.

David Powell Toronto

House of commons

Re Busted Flush (Opinion Nov. 23): Who knew there were so many statistics behind peeing? My only additional comment is that when I pee at home, I use the same facility my husband and son use.

Why can’t public bathrooms be the same? Put a wall and door around those stalls and let everyone use the same toilet. Problem solved.

Frances Horodelski Sutton West, Ont.

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