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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with with the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 1.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Up close

Re “B.C. Premier optimistic about health care talks, wary about private sector role” (Feb. 2): In mid-November, I was diagnosed with a severe aortic valve issue. I underwent tests in December and scheduled a valve implant at Sunnybrook Hospital.

On Jan. 20, a new valve was implanted into my original valve. The Trans Aortic Valve Implant team, composed of cardiologists, doctors and nurses, were skilled, efficient and caring.

The successful valve implant will allow me to share many more years with my growing granddaughters. No complaints about the swift timeline for my condition.

There are small, but significant, miracles happening everyday in hospitals across Canada.

Carol Twine Toronto

Re “A new way?” (Letters, Jan. 30): Letter-writers have commented on professional vocabularies and the use of “customers” and “patients.”

At the beginning of my clergy career in the 1970s, I did hundreds of hours of clinical training as a chaplain at Toronto General Hospital and what is now The Ottawa Hospital. This included interdisciplinary sessions with doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals who sometimes found it odd to have a minister among them.

I was once asked, “Doctors call them patients, social workers call them clients – what do you call them?”

“We call them people,” I said. “Human beings.”

Tom Sherwood Ottawa

Patient priority

Re Families Grieve Loved Ones’ MAID Deaths And Why They Didn’t Know (Jan. 21): As a palliative physician, I recognize how family dynamics frequently accompany a person’s end-of-life experience. These can be complicated by medical assistance in dying.

MAID recognizes the uniqueness of a person’s suffering and their desires around it. Physicians involved in MAID have a duty to patients that some families may interpret as ignoring relationships close to the core of humanity.

It is important to recognize that no physician has any interest in pressuring patients or promoting MAID. It is simply another end-of-life option that society has created and patients may consider.

Physicians are expected to respect a patient’s wishes within the legal context of MAID, despite family dynamics that may disagree. I have some sympathy for families in this situation and always encourage people applying for MAID to consider their relationships.

Ultimately, my duty is to the patient and their autonomy in dealing with suffering at the end of life.

R.L. Moore MD, FRCPC; Vancouver

Canadian heritage

Re “Bill Morneau wanted former prime ministers to address Sussex Drive decline” (Jan. 24): During my long-ago professional life, I too was consulted by temporary occupants of 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall.

At the time, both chatelaines were keen to improve “their” new homes, being convinced their senses of decor would improve and beautify their new environments. To this end, they were allowed to borrow anything they liked from our national museums and gallery collections.

Those collections are maintained not to be used, but preserved as historical records for future generations. The same should apply to 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall.

Our taxes maintain them and therefore should not be managed as personal properties for politically appointed occupants. They belong to all Canadians and should be managed by organizations such as Parks Canada or Public Services and Procurement Canada.

24 Sussex’s present condition is a disgrace and insult to our history. But politicians quite rightly do not have the mandate to intervene.

Michaela Keyserlingk Ottawa

Top down

Re “Ford ‘disappointed’ with federal Environment Minister’s Greenbelt comments” (Jan. 28): Doug Ford claims that matters related to Ontario’s Greenbelt and land use are “our jurisdiction.” The constitutional, legal and financial reality is more complicated.

The provisions of the federal Fisheries Act afford extensive protection for waterways, shorelines and wetlands; federal protections exist for areas occupied by species at risk and migratory birds; federal impact assessments can be conducted of major infrastructure projects such as Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass; federal funding can be provided for non-profit and co-operative housing, and for conservation land purchases and trusts; federal infrastructure funding can be used to leverage the location and form of development; federal tax rules around real estate investment trusts have had a major impact on housing affordability and can be reformed.

And wider questions are being raised about the impact of Mr. Ford’s Greenbelt initiatives on the treaty and traditional rights of Indigenous peoples.

The list goes on and on.

Mark Winfield Co-chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, faculty of environmental and urban change, York University; Toronto


Re “Nearly one-quarter of trails in southern B.C., Alberta unmapped and unmanaged: study” (Jan. 27): “Unmapped trails” is a euphemism for extreme damage done in the backcountry by off-highway vehicles, which are often enormous and can carry up to four adults.

They drive through virgin forest, on hiking trails and across and along formerly pristine creeks and rivers. The damage can be irreparable and cause loss of habit for all kinds of animals, birds and insects.

Many who try to hike along a trail used by OHVs find it difficult to impossible. The point should not be that these trails are unmapped, but that Alberta’s backcountry is being destroyed.

Leslie Lavers Lethbridge, Alta.

Addiction vocabulary

Re “Fentanyl’s rise in rural Oregon puts decriminalization efforts to the test” (Jan. 28): It is definitely worthy to celebrate someone’s recovery. However, society should not stigmatize people who formerly used drugs by calling them “clean.”

Are all drug users considered “dirty?” Let’s celebrate recovery and not the opposite of dirty.

Louise Lemieux White Co-founder, Families for Addiction Recovery; Toronto

Transit woes

Re “It’s not just the TTC. There’s a growing sense that things in Toronto are spinning out of control” (Jan. 28): I understand Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a national summit on mental illness and addictions. Can we please stop looking down the road to further study?

Surely Mr. Tory can go through our records, go online or go to the library. The studies have been conducted and are on record.

Spend our money to act on recommendations that have already been clearly stated: fentanyl control and treatment, providing homes and shelter, building out more green space – the list goes on. Clear solutions also cost less money overall.

Please do not spend any more time or money on studies. That would just be a dodge.

Lyle Halcro Toronto

Re “Toronto police to boost TTC presence after spike in violent incidents” (Jan. 27): I am a retired TTC driver and operator with 29 years of experience. I feel that police in uniform on transit are ineffective.

These officers should be in casual clothing to really catch criminals in the act.

James Davis Badge 1295, TTC; Toronto

Tip out

Re “Too many tip prompts? Blame business owners and unfair wages” (Opinion, Jan, 28): For me, tipping is straightforward: 15 per cent (calculated on the pretax amount) in a restaurant setting where I am served at a table, and 0 per cent where I do the work (take-out, coffee shops, fast food, etc.).

Multitier wages were eliminated in Ontario and all staff receive at least minimum wage. Restaurants should price food realistically and not expect customers to subsidize wages via tipping.

David Morgan Ottawa

Well lived

Re “Setting the bar for responsible drinking” (Editorial, Jan. 31): Winston Churchill famously drank, smoked and did not exercise, not unlike my ripe old Scottish grandpa. They both lived amazing lives for 90 years.

L.H. MacKenzie Vancouver

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