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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a roundtable discussion with members of Sun Youth non-profit organization, victims and survivors of violent crime in Montreal on July 11.EVAN BUHLER/Reuters

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Bloody outrage

Re Canadian Blood Services Eyes Getting Plasma From Paid Donors Amid Shortages (Aug. 11): Let me get this straight: The CBS is considering a deal with a multinational pharmaceutical company so it can collect blood from Canadians and then sell it back to us at a profit. Why doesn’t the CBS simply expand and promote its own collection services in order to maintain our country’s valued tradition of volunteer donations?

In 1997, a royal commission into Canada’s blood system recommended that collection services remain public and non-paid. As recently as 2017, the CBS said plasma and blood collection was “a public resource that must by safeguarded for Canadians.”

Any deal to hand over blood services to a foreign for-profit corporation would fly in the face of these recommendations and commitments. In short, it would be bloody outrageous.

Murray Angus Ottawa

Golden years?

Re Situation Critical (Folio, Aug. 6): One elder-care strategy that does not get enough attention is focusing upstream to keep elderly people at home, in cases where that is their goal. Funding for community palliative care on-call, for example, was frozen for years by the Ontario government and has only recently started to reopen. Without a physician available for patients to call at off-hours, patients often have no choice but to go to the emergency department.

Health human resources in the community, especially nurses, personal support workers and occupational therapists, are at historic lows. The government’s refusal to repeal Bill 124 is exacerbating this crisis. Home is not only where most people wish to stay for their care, but it is also the least expensive for the system.

Stephen B. Singh, family physician and palliative care specialist Brantford, Ont.

Currently my bedridden mother is in a hospital. She has no other place to go. The hospital’s discharge team repeatedly instructs me that “a patient cannot wait for long-term care for six to eight months in hospital,” hoping, I think, that if they repeat that mantra frequently that a discharge destination will appear. What the hospital conceals is the pressure it places on families to take on the costs of care in expensive private programs or accept unsuitable programs that are not necessarily safe for the client.

The hospital’s discharge team is the harbinger of a culture of shaming and shunning. The hidden message is always the same: “Your mother is a burden. Find her a place to go at your expense.”

It is a shocking process designed to press families to get their loved ones out of hospitals in any way and at any cost. This is the hidden tragedy of the current crisis.

Janet Patterson MD Hamilton

One hundred per cent of the fees paid by residents in long-term care should go to their care, and not to shareholders, big salaries and bonuses to executives, and so forth. Let’s look to the Nordic countries for how to look after the elderly and infirm, and not to the greedy, for-profit chains that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra seem to want to enrich.

Duncan MacKenzie Guelph, Ont.

Minding our elders

Re Quebec Aims To Eliminate Indignities Of Institutional Living With The Green House Model, A Reimagining Of Long-term Care Homes (Folio, Aug. 8): This article about elder care reminded me of a development I once read about for seniors in the Netherlands. The Dutch development included several homes in the same area. The houses were designed and decorated according to the residents’ backgrounds. There was a house for those whose lives had been spent farming, for instance, where meals were served around a farmhouse kitchen-type table, while a house for retired professionals had more formal decor. Apparently living with those from like backgrounds in places similar to their previous homes was more comfortable for the resident seniors.

Additionally, the external environment was geared to keeping seniors active, with quiet roadways and special bicycle-like transports that seated two persons. A resident could walk or cycle around their “village” accompanied by a friend or a support worker.

Such “Green House” forms of residence do have definite benefits for older persons.

Anne Barnfield London, Ont.

No popularity contest

Re Trudeau’s Reality: He Is Widely Disliked (Opinion, Aug. 10): I am an adult, so I can simultaneously conclude that I often don’t care for Justin Trudeau but acknowledge he’s delivering all the things I want from the federal government. One of those things is legalized marijuana, with the associated drop in violent crime, defunding the cartels, lower youth usage, tons of legal new jobs, and lots of tax revenue. Other welcome achievements are access to medically assisted death with dignity; a crucial carbon tax that is there and increasing; a government that admits climate change is both real and a threat, unlike the alternative; a shift of the tax burden back toward the wealthy, not a ludicrous tax credit for children’s sporting goods; and an intelligent response to a global pandemic.

You don’t need to like someone to appreciate what he is doing for you.

Bruce Mason Toronto

While the world is facing crises of war, starvation, fires and drought, it seems that many Canadians feel comfortable enough to place at the top of their list concerns about our Prime Minister’s two-week vacation to Costa Rica at his own expense, a visit in 2016 as the guest of the Aga Khan, and a “showy” visit to Kyiv, along with several other world leaders.

Do these concerns outweigh the fact that under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, Canada addressed the COVID-19 pandemic well while paying one of the smallest percentages of GDP among G7 countries, or that our economy has bounded back with the lowest unemployment level since the 1960s?

While in real time Conservative heir apparent, Pierre Poilievre, is constantly spewing divisive and false rhetoric, apparently many Canadians somehow believe Mr. Trudeau “has divided the country more than anything the Conservatives have done in recent memory.”

Is it time Canadians did a reality check?

H.W. MacFadyen Canmore, Alta.

Pages of history

Re Travelling Through Time (First Person, Aug. 10): Are today’s selfie Facebook posts of family vacations the updated equivalent of those written travel journals of the 1970s? It’s unlikely the next generation will ever find them to read.

When I recently asked a clerk at Staples where I could find the steno pads, he stared at me blankly.

“Notepads, notebooks …” I elaborated, realizing he wouldn’t know a stenographer from a photographer. Perhaps journals, like handwriting, have already been replaced.

Louise Rachlis Ottawa

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