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Re “A young life in Gaza, shattered” (Opinion, April 6): The account of Nada and her family in Gaza is a tragedy.

It is a tragedy for that family. Equally it is a tragedy because there are thousands of innocent Palestinian families just like Nada’s who have similar experiences, cannot get wounds healed or access health care, have lost their homes, family members and futures.

But Nada is not alone in not forgiving. Many people outside of Gaza will not forgive, either.

Roger Emsley Delta, B.C.

The life of Nada before Oct. 7, 2023, as a student with a bright future living a “fairly prosperous” life in a modern apartment in Gaza City, is contrasted to her present nightmarish existence. It’s shocking.

However, I fail to comprehend who she blames. Had the events of Oct. 7 not occurred, there would be no grudge to bear.

David Sacoransky Toronto

Whose rights?

Re “Why should Indigenous Canadians not be entitled to the same rights as other Canadians?” (Opinion, April 6): Ask First Nations if they signed on to the Charter. If the answer is no, then deference should be given to Indigenous peoples determining their own path.

The Charter is characterized as an altruistic, unchangeable, perfect set of rights for all peoples. But it is “interpreted,” and I would not presume that to be done in the best manner for another group, especially First Nations.

Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Rowe, as the only dissenter on this point, seems to have got it right.

Jason New Foothills County, Alta.

First Nations that successfully negotiate self-government treaties should be free to bring themselves under the jurisdiction of the Charter.

But one of the purposes of Section 25 seems to be ensuring that the constitutional underpinnings adopted by a First Nation are of its choosing, not necessarily reflective of the values of its colonizers. In other words, the Charter cannot be used to invalidate or detract from the rights of Indigenous peoples, even when those rights are different from Canadians. (The right to an Indigenous fishery comes to mind.)

Why should First Nations not be entitled to the same rights as Canadians? Canadians do not have the right, for example, to govern Quebec when they live in British Columbia. More importantly, a First Nation may decide it wants a different type of rights-and-freedoms regime.

Does colonialism keep us from seeing that possibility?

Brenda Taylor Surrey, B.C.

Primary problems

Re “It’s time for Canadians to have the right to a family doctor” (Opinion, April 6): I would vote for any party committed to implementing primary health care that mirrors the structure of public education systems. However, I wonder if the main stumbling block might be doctors themselves.

It would mean abandoning family practices as sole proprietorships. All physicians would become civil servants. There would be greater accountability for patient loads and hours worked. Team-based models would be required, not optional.

On the other hand, it would address a common complaint among family doctors that, as small business owners, they spend too much time on administration. It would mean more time with patients.

But would they give up the power that accompanies running the show? I would hope so, for the greater good.

Michael Brooks Burlington, Ont.

Kudos to doctor Jane Philpott for her interesting idea. Her model might contribute to solving unnecessary waiting times and rationing Canadian experiences related to failures of primary care governance.

Many Canadian public schools are successful, partly because they have parent-teacher associations and other elements of local participation and governance.

Several years ago, the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council suggested a series of local health co-operatives, governed and managed by local boards. They would have maintained the principle of universality and negotiated salaries and revenue with members, staff and governments.

Unfortunately, both the federal and provincial governments rejected the idea. They preferred to continue the failing model of centralized governance and management.

David Zitner MD, Halifax

The year I was president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians, the provincial government introduced family health teams.

As a member of a team, I witnessed the excitement as medical students watched the renaissance of our specialty. We attracted many young, talented family physicians. The percentage of students choosing this career increased dramatically.

But that was almost 20 years ago. Subsequent governments felt teams were too expensive and a moratorium resulted. Now students mainly see overwhelmed physicians working in non-teams. Recent government announcements have added a small number of new teams that will hardly undo the damage of years of complacency.

Our residency matching process witnessed an abrupt decrease in those choosing family medicine. Teams cannot exist without a physician or nurse practitioner to lead them.

Although I applaud doctor Jane Philpott’s ideas, it may well be that our governments have done too little, too late.

Val Rachlis MD, Toronto

As a family physician of 40 years, I appreciate doctor Jane Philpott’s eloquent call to action.

The research of doctor Barbara Starfield has shown that “investment in primary care was associated with improved system quality, equity and efficiency.” Yet in Canada, there is inadequate financial support for primary care practices which provide access to the health system, preventive care, diagnosis and management of disease.

In my role of training future physicians, I hear them speak of their moral dilemma regarding family practice. They want to serve their communities, yet worry about the double debt from medical training and running private offices, as the costs of these have risen sharply.

We should redesign the system together, to meet the urgent needs of our population. Who will have the courage to fund primary care adequately?

Cleo Mavriplis MD Ottawa

No kidding

Re “No kids? No problem: How Canada’s child-free and cash-rich couples are spending their time and money” (Report on Business, April 6): The people presented all seem solely focused on themselves.

Does the money saved let them support charities? Does the additional leisure time let them become more engaged in their communities?

Are these choices good for Canada? Are these the citizens of the future?

Perhaps immigration is the cure to find people who really care.

Grant Swanson Oakville, Ont.

Fyodor Dostoevsky writes that “the soul is healed by being with children.” I guess that is one type of healing which “DINKs” mostly sacrifice.

Paul Thiessen Vancouver


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