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A protester rushes the stage as Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Vancouver police say they won’t be pursuing criminal charges against two climate-change protesters who came within touching distance of the PM. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A protester rushes the stage as Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Vancouver police say they won’t be pursuing criminal charges against two climate-change protesters who came within touching distance of the PM. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)


Jan. 8: Waiters and the RCMP: Serving up security – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Serving up security

Re Mounties Red-Faced Over Security Breach (Jan. 7): The Conservatives’ next crime bill no doubt will include a section on impersonating a waiter.

Perhaps it should also include one on impersonating an RCMP security detail.

Jeremy and Georgie Wilson, Victoria


Flu-shot skepticism

Re We Hate To Needle You, But … (editorial, Jan. 7): Health Canada needs to stop treating us like two-year-olds. Nowadays, everyone does online research on everything from health issues to the best snow boots. A quick click reveals research by respected doctors and organizations (such as the Cochrane Database), indicating there are good reasons to question the wisdom of an annual flu shot. By stating that the public’s reluctance to be vaccinated is the result of “a campaign of ignorance,” you, too, treat us like small children.

It’s not that I consider myself smarter than a university full of doctors and scientists who have devoted their lives to immunology. I am grateful for their work.

What I do need are more facts, research and transparency. I’d like those experts or Health Canada to address the information presented in the “campaign of ignorance.” I’d like more facts about people dying of the flu, basic things like whether they had other complicating health factors.

Greater transparency about the relationships between pharmaceutical companies, the government and doctors would help.

Not long ago, doctors saw nothing wrong with smoking. There are reasons for our skepticism.

Kathryn Barclay, Toronto


Anti-psychiatry bias

Re Ontario Opens Doors For Troubled Teens (Life & Arts, Jan. 7): André Picard has yet again done a masterful job of drawing attention to the needs of troubled teens and educating readers about the services that exist for them. But Kiana’s comments about how her therapy was “way better than seeing a doctor or psychiatrist” concern me greatly.

There isn’t just stigma about mental illness. There is stigma about psychiatry, and her comments perpetuate the anti-medical bias that prevents some teens from seeking the help they need.

Child psychiatrists are covered by OHIP, there is no cost involved in seeing one. They receive a total of 10 years of training (including medical school), which allows them to diagnose and treat a wide range of problems, from mild to severe. They don’t just label patients or hand out pills.

Many are on staff at children’s mental health centres and must espouse a holistic, comprehensive approach that takes familial, social, academic and community factors into account.

Many (including myself) either do psychotherapy directly or supervise it, so that teens get the right form of counselling.

Marshall Korenblum, chief psychiatrist, Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children and Families, Toronto


Cruz control

Re I Am (Not) Canadian (editorial, Jan. 7): In the interest of reaching across the political divide, I am glad that Ted Cruz and I can finally agree on something. Neither of us wants him to be a Canadian.

David Holland, Ottawa


Economic democracy

Re The Western World Needs To Take The Long View, Urgently (Jan. 7): Banker Kevin Lynch says “If the goal is a competitive and dynamic Canadian economy into the future … then we must plan for the decade instead of the quarter.”

He’s got that right, but where is the CEO who would accept “short-term pain for long-term gain” (no attractive stock options, no more earning more in a day than the average worker does in a year)? Where are the shareholders who would accept slower growth and trimmed dividends to put the Canadian economy on a more solid footing for the next decade?

Good luck finding them.

Like the rest of us, most corporate leaders think of themselves first. Until they are forced to put the public interest ahead of their own, not a lot will change in our economy.

It would take a real “economic democracy” where there is a better sharing of the country’s wealth to achieve what Mr. Lynch suggests. Canada is far from that.

John Harvard, Winnipeg


NHL’s stranglehold

Re Russia Tops Canada, Claims Bronze (Sports, Jan. 6): I am a long-time World Junior Hockey fan(atic) and would like to offer two thoughts on the losses by a team of extraordinarily gifted young men led by the best of our best coaching staff.

First, we must take time to master “big ice” and spend more time in this very different arena.

Second, alone among the contenders, we give up an entire (potential) first line of hockey magicians every year to the NHL. Canada still supplies the majority of young superstars to the NHL, yet this wealth is not rewarded by releases to our national junior team. Why not? Why does the NHL have a stranglehold on our nation’s hockey genius?

Michael deConinck Smith, D’Arcy, Sask.


Pipeline ideologies

Re Investment In Resources Being Stymied By Vocal Minority (Report on Business, Jan. 6): Most Canadians likely agree that the vocal minority is holding the country hostage on many fronts. What would be helpful is suggestions on what specific actions can be taken by the “silent majority.”

I for one am prepared to devote personal effort and resources in order to present a more balanced argument in favour of resource development within a reasonable regulatory framework.

R. A. Cheadle, Calgary


Not just some agendas are ideologically driven: All agendas are. Gwyn Morgan is right about one thing though: Even when – not if – Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is approved by cabinet (in pursuit of its own ideological agenda), it “may never be built.”

Chris Gates, Pickering, Ont.


Suzusisa? Dream on

Re How C-C-Cold Is It? (letters, Jan. 7): Ian Smillie asks why we factor in the wind chill in winter but not cool breezes in summer, even though both make it “feel like” it’s cooler.

The reason is that a cool breeze on a hot day is a small “microclimate” effect that, while affecting thermal comfort, is not as dominant as winter wind and therefore much more difficult to account for. The same goes for why we factor in the “humidex” in summer.

Interestingly, the Japanese have a word – suzusisa – to describe the pleasant thermal sensation created by a cool breeze in a hot and humid environment (although not reported in their weather forecasts). I suggest Canadians adopt this word to describe what most have been dreaming about for the past month.

Mark Bessoudo, Toronto

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