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Canada’s men’s team poses for a team photo after defeating Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan DenetteNathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Only in Canada

Re Sochi 2014 (Feb. 24): The ranking of countries by total medal count is not very insightful as it values a bronze medal exactly the same as a gold medal. Much better to value gold at three points, silver at two and bronze at one. On this basis, Russia was the runaway winner with 70 points, Canada was second with 55 points and Norway and the U.S. tied for third with 53 points.

Robert Scott, Toronto


And the gold medal goes to The Globe and Mail for the best front and back cover celebrating Sochi and the symbolism of hockey in Canada, and how proud we are of all the athletes who competed (Feb. 24). We somehow say it through our achievement in hockey, women's and men's. The men's team gave us a wonderful surprise with a classic win, worthy of the poster cover.

Ronnie Kaplansky, Toronto


Can we say "overkill"? If Christ himself had returned, I doubt he'd have received the same over-the-top treatment as the men's hockey team. Enough already – it is only a game played by overpaid professionals. And why them?

Why not the women's team? Or any other gold medalist? Why the overpaid professionals?

Bryan Cummins, Bolton, Ont.


February. Sunday. Five in the morning. Calgary. Lights on in all the houses. Only in Canada.

Terry Gudzowsky, Calgary


Sporting glory

Sport history was made on Sunday. Not Canada's gold medal in men's hockey, as wonderful as that was. Basketball player Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play a game in a major North American pro sports league (Collins Takes Court, Makes History – Feb. 24). When Mr. Collins stepped on the court, it was this era's Jackie Robinson moment.

Did The Globe feature this on the front page? No. This historic event was relegated to the back of Sports section. Shame on you.

Larry Gordon, Toronto


Ballot bonanza

Re Cities May Get Option To Ditch First-Past-The-Post Elections (Feb. 24): While Ontario's decision to consider changing the municipal electoral system seems suspiciously timed to ensure that one particular candidate does not regain the mayor's office, it's nonetheless long overdue.

The change should not be restricted to ranked ballots. Let each municipality choose its electoral system so we can see how these play out on Canadian soil and have an informed discussion about the pros and cons of each.

Martin Hyde, Ottawa


Decriminalize death

Some people might be surprised that I, a Muslim woman, voted to pass a resolution at the Liberal convention in support of decriminalizing voluntary, medically assisted death (Liberals Accelerate Strategy To Attract Centre-Right Voters – Feb. 24).

Don't misunderstand: For me, assisted death is a great sin. But this resolution is not about sin. It's about crime. And there is a critical difference. A sin relates to my relationship with God, whereas a crime relates to how my behaviour negatively impacts on another person in society. Judging crimes is in the realm of the political, but judging sin is in the realm of the divine.

A person who asks a medical professional to help them die is not harming anyone except themselves. I may be sad that they are incurring this sin, but that is their choice. A choice, I believe, God gifted us with.

Astrid Le Jeune, Gatineau, Que.


Dying days

The Canada Health Act's tenet of comprehensiveness defines medically necessary services as those provided by doctors and hospitals. When the concentrated interests of these groups compete with the diffuse interests of patients, the status quo prevails (The End Of The Hospital – Focus, Feb. 22).

Dying is a case in point. Most of us would prefer not to spend our last days, or see our loved ones spend theirs, in the corridors of a hospital. What constrains change is the absence of political will to create patient-centred care that integrates health and social care in the community. How long can patients wait for policy to catch up to the problem?

Mary Wiktorowicz, chair, School of Health Policy and Management, York University


Re Assisted Suicide: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Feb. 20): Scientifically-conducted studies from Europe, Oregon and Washington show that those who receive assisted death are usually not the vulnerable, but are disproportionally younger, white, non-handicapped, educated patients who are far more concerned with controlling the circumstances of their death than with whether or not they are a burden to their loved ones.

Most importantly, studies from Belgium and the Netherlands show that the incidence of patients receiving an assisted death without an explicit request has fallen dramatically since assisted death was legalized and regulated.

Clearly, there are ethical dilemmas involved in the debate about assisted death. But these ethical dilemmas are not resolved by the existing laws that ban assisted death. A blanket ban does not prevent people from ending their lives, nor does it protect the vulnerable from abuse.

The studies from other countries clearly show that we can provide a compassionate, assisted death to those who want it, while actually reducing the incidence of non-voluntary euthanasia. If we are going to talk about what might happen, we should also talk about what has happened.

James Downar, palliative care physician and intensivist, University Health Network, Toronto


Stability in Ukraine

Re Fractures Widen Between East And West (Feb. 24): The recipe for long-term stability in Ukraine is clear: While moving toward EU membership, the interim government should allow a measure of devolution of powers to the East and Crimea. It would be madness, however, to encourage membership in NATO, which would result in a direct threat to Russia.

Nils Larsson, Ottawa


Genius times two

Re Stories Of The Street (Books, Feb. 22): Those of us who have been long-time members of book clubs have been avid readers of both Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro. There is no need to criticize or compare these two astoundingly gifted writers. Read their stories, savour the clarity and the nuance, marvel at the genius of both.

Andrea Battista, Burlington, Ont.


Click. Click. Click

Re A Win For The Ages (Feb. 24): Most emotional moment in the Canada-Sweden game? When the players laughingly lined up for a postgame team picture on the ice – goalies sprawling out front – just like every proud Canadian peewee team ever.

Nancy Dorrance, Kingston

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