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'Does anyone really believe that lobbyists buying $1,500-a-plate tickets (from any political party) do so only to have dinner, with no ulterior motives?'

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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What $1,500 gets you

Re Pols, Fundraising, Ethics (letters, Sept. 24): All political parties engage in fundraising. Cash for access describes the relationship they have with donors. Only the most ingenuous person would discount this fact.

Does anyone really believe that lobbyists buying $1,500-a-plate tickets (from any political party) do so only to have dinner, with no ulterior motives?

Does anyone believe that “think tanks” have no political agenda? Or that every media outlet is completely unbiased?

Does anyone believe that third-party advertisers spend their money only with the noblest intentions?

Money finds its way into politics in many ways, and it is always done to promote the contributor’s agenda. To think otherwise is truly naive.

Agostino Di Millo, Toronto

Health care? Now boarding aisles 1 to 20

Re Private Participation In Health Care Is Historical And Justified (Sept. 22): So Messrs. Brad Wall and Gordon Campbell want us to have a “reasoned” discussion on health care.

I find it fascinating that neoliberals like themselves always appear to have only one solution to everything: privatization. It seems tax increases to pay for valuable public services or – Heaven forfend! – expanding public services that benefit everyone are never part of a “reasoned” discussion.

Let’s cut to the chase: What the two former premiers want is to do turn medicare into a modern jetliner. Preferential treatment for business class and no room, no food, extra charges and being in constant danger of being bumped from overbooked flights for the rest of us.

In a time of precarious incomes and growing social inequality, their proposal would make life far worse for ordinary Canadians and better for those with Business Class tickets.

Rev. Christopher White, Whitby, Ont.

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Brad Wall and Gordon Campbell go on at length about allowing private health care, offering a few platitudes and selective quotations from Tommy Douglas to bolster their case.

Far from a “reasoned, fact-informed discussion,” they do not address the main objective of private, for-profit health care – in my view, to ensure that the wealthy need not wait for elective procedures like hip replacements along with everyone else.

Every day in my practice I see the effects of absent drug coverage and dental care – these are the priorities for a “focus on patients and their care.”

Josh Gould, MD, Corner Brook, N.L.

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It is regrettable that two former premiers appear to have so little understanding of the views of Emmett Hall and Tommy Douglas. It was Hall’s 1964 Royal Commission (Chapter 18, Vol 1.) that recommended terminating the role of private insurance in Canada’s health-care system. Douglas would be turning in his grave if he heard he was being cited as a proponent of expanding private payment for health services.

More perplexing is the authors’ failure to acknowledge the overwhelming body of evidence that a two-tier system in which the rich can pay to jump the queue undermines the public system. Doctors cannot be in two places at once. Taking health professionals out of the public system to service affluent private patients lengthens public wait times and makes access dependent on money, not health needs.

John Calvert, MD, Burnaby, B.C.

Long time coming

Re Ottawa Signs Self-Government Deal With Métis In Manitoba (Sept. 22): There is only one apt response to this news: It’s about time!

William Emigh, Victoria

Access to abortion

Re How Invisible We Are (Opinion, Sept. 22): Brava to Jessica Leeder and The Globe and Mail for publishing her sad and infuriating story of trying to find an abortion in the Maritimes in 2018.

It’s been said before but nothing much has changed: If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. Unfortunately, reproductive health care for women has been politicized, leading to absent or substandard care for too many.

Ruth Miller, Toronto

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Jessica Leeder reports on the obstacles that she faced when seeking an abortion in Nova Scotia. One would hope these hurdles to be more prevalent across the country, so mothers-to-be think twice before obtaining an abortion.

Thomas Johnson, Montreal

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I am simply in awe of the bravery of Jessica Leeder in sharing her revelatory personal experience of the reality of abortion availability in many parts of Canada.

Similar inconsistencies (and the often tragic consequences that add to individual suffering) occur in access to both palliative care and medically assisted dying across the country.

Much work is still to be done to try to ensure excellent, timely access for Canadians to these vital services, with as much compassion and understanding, and as little delay and bureaucratic pain, as humanly possible.

Gail Saiger, MD, Victoria

The Bard at Dalhousie

Re The Goal Of University Is – Diversity! (Sept. 22): As the professor who teaches that “one lonely little course on Shakespeare” Margaret Wente identifies in a sea of other courses (such as “popular culture”) “designed for people who are ambivalent about reading books,” I feel moved to point out that in his own day, Shakespeare was popular culture and his plays were never designed to be read as books.

Her statement that Shakespeare is “not required” in our department is only partly correct: Shakespeare is one in a range of courses in literature prior to 1900 from which students may choose to fulfill their requirements, including (to mention a few) Renaissance Poetry and Culture, The Canterbury Tales, Renaissance Drama, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, and Irish Literature 1700-1900. However, as global citizens our students are also rightly interested not only in studying “traditional” literatures but also in thinking critically about contemporary literatures and cultures.

As one of the oldest departments of English in the country (founded in 1865), we are proud that they can do both.

Christina Luckyj, professor, Department of English, Dalhousie University

Under two roofs

Re One Love, Two Homes: How Some Couples Find Joy In Living Separately (Sept. 24): You published four photographs to illustrate your story on why people who love each other choose to live apart, instead of in the same house.

You really only needed one of these photos to make your point. You had me at the guy holding the banjo.

Dan Turner, Ottawa

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