Our current health-care system is expensive and wasteful (Patients Ill-Served By 'Fractured' System, Doctors Say – Aug. 11). Primary-care reform in Ontario, for example, is an abject failure. It has done nothing to improve accessibility or reduce costs. In particular, rostering has allowed generous financial rewards with no accountability for delivery of care to patients.
Physicians working two days a week in their office can collect the same yearly fee per patient as those working full time. Worse still, enterprising individuals are free to pursue paid work in the private sector, at the expense of office availability, and continue to collect for publicly funded care. Guidelines for after-hours care by physicians with rosters are nebulous and not enforced. No wonder the public is dissatisfied.
David Hughes Glass, MD, Saugeen Shores, Ont.
The Canadian Medical Association survey is an important indicator of Canadians' support for public health care. Perhaps the most striking comment therein, however, was that respondents felt that the Canada Health Act should be expanded to include such things as pharmacare, long-term care and home care. Really? That would be a lovely fantasy if money grew on trees.
I wonder if the survey respondents bothered to consider the impossible cost of such expansion. We cannot afford our current creaking system, which is acknowledged to be failing the public. So how do respondents propose to not only preserve but expand it? Shall we raise taxes? Shall we cut funding to social services and redirect it to health care? Perhaps we can see pigs fly and unicorns graze at the same time.
It behooves our politicians to have an adult conversation with the public to educate regarding the sustainability of our current system. Isn't it about time that they help us to face reality?
Brian Rotenberg, MD, London, Ont.
Re The True Costs Of Caledonia (Aug. 11): Joseph Quesnel maintains that Six Nations protesters should have worked within the justice system in seeking redress of their claims to the Haldimand Tract, and says that "there's never an excuse for violence or intimidation."
This argument is trotted out whenever aboriginal people assert their claims in an extralegal fashion and amounts to an insistence that they work within power structures established by their colonial oppressors. In the words of Bonny Ibhawoh, "discussion about rights within [the]context of colonial law [is]merely part of the many discourses employed to legitimize the colonial state."
Thus, in Mr. Quesnel's logic, aboriginal people face a no-win scenario wherein they must first recognize the legitimacy of their colonization in order to fight its effects.
Geoff Read, assistant professor of history, Huron University College, London, Ont.
Re The Unentitled Riot At The Loss Of Their Future (Aug. 10): I fully endorse the analysis of Mel Cappe, our former U.K. high commissioner: The unentitled are rioting because they have nothing to lose. Uneducated, untrained, unemployed and deprived of housing support, they have no hope of engaging positively with what is still a nastily hierarchical society. No wonder they are angry.
But university students – and teachers of humanities – feel equally betrayed by the Conservative/Lib Dem government that is about to withdraw a significant portion of the funds for teaching. They are being deprived of a full educational experience for a tripled load of debt. We watched them protest in a civil manner and be treated like cattle.
When Prime Minister David Cameron says those responsible for these actions will pay for them, he should look first in the mirror and then at his fellow Old Etonians: They are the "entitled" people responsible for this civil unrest.
Edwina Carson, Guelph, Ont.
Re Lenient Justice Begets Yobs – And London Burns (Aug. 11): Author Theodore Dalrymple's name alone – not to mention his ideas – qualifies him as a character in a Dickensian novel. He would make a fine beadle or master at Dotheboys Hall. He and David Cameron are obviously on the same page. After giving the Peelers carte blanche, he would no doubt restore "ethical inhibition or prudential reason(ing)" to Oliver Twist and "the radically unemployable" section of British youth with a long term picking oakum in a prison hulk followed by a one-way voyage to Australia.
Mike Rapsey, Ottawa
Retired British prison doctor and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple worries that the current anarchy in England is partly due to a deeply embedded criminality in the culture and minds of at least some of the British population. He also faults a lazy and dishonest political and intellectual class. Others have pointed to hopelessness, joblessness, lack of education and a trickle-down morality. All contributing factors no doubt, but for Mr. Dalrymple or anyone else to conclude that tougher laws and their enforcement are the whole solution is shortsighted.
Clearly ethical inhibition is lacking and rioting can be entertaining. But is it really such a leap of the imagination to conclude that these poor, disenfranchised youth who are social media savvy enough to organize using technology are also amusing themselves with violent, morally bankrupt forms of electronic entertainment that reinforce the glamour and normalcy of criminality in their minds? Countless studies over several decades have demonstrated that this is one of the many harmful effects of media violence to society at large.
Rose Dyson, EdD, Canadian Peace Research Association, Toronto
Re Food Inspection Cuts Put Canadians At Risk, Union Warns Ottawa (Aug. 10): All meat produced in Canada – whether in federally or provincially inspected plants – must meet the safety requirements of the federal Food and Drugs Act.
Canada has always had federal and provincial inspection systems, and the assertion that provincially inspected meat is somehow less safe is wrong. The main purpose of federal inspection is to enable meat for sale through exports and interprovincial trade due to federal jurisdiction in these areas.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to return provincial inspection duties to provincial inspectors by 2014. During this transition, we are ensuring that all needed training and guidance is provided so that those provincial meat inspection systems continue to meet Canada's stringent food safety requirements.
Catherine Airth, associate vice-president, operations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
With all the furor over grunting and screaming in women's tennis, I'd like to report that a plane just flew over York University going toward Pearson International while Maria Sharapova was playing a point and it actually drowned out her shrieking. Of course, I have to admit that she had her back toward me.
Bruce Reid, Toronto