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Next up after Obamacare …

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Now that President Donald Trump and the Republicans have successfully set Obamacare on the road to being repealed, I suggest they turn their sights to eliminating universal fire protection, and restrict fire services to those who can afford to pay for them (Senate Next Challenge After Trump Ekes Out Health-Care Win – May 5). Just think how many more wealthy communities could be built if poor neighbourhoods were just left to burn to the ground

Ian Savidge, Toronto

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Demographic shifts affect us all

More aging seniors will result in more family members stepping in as caregivers and providing help and support at various levels (In 'Historic Moment' For Canada, Seniors Now Outnumber Children – May 4). As a former co-caregiver for aging parents (mom had Parkinson's and leukemia, dad had Alzheimer's), I found the job wasn't easy. I had to carve out more time in each day to complete caregiving responsibilities, try to balance caregiving with my own life, career and family, watch helplessly as both parents physically and mentally declined, and accept it when dad forgot who I was.

Situations like mine are certainly not uncommon. Stating the numbers and identifying the issue are just the beginning. We must take concrete action to help both aging seniors and their family caregivers. This could be in the form of more programs/services being readily available, more seniors housing, more government funding to help seniors and caregivers.

The job of caregiving is not something to be tackled independently; with our country's growing aging population, it will require even more hands to help.

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Rick Lauber, author, Caregiver's Guide for Canadians, Edmonton

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Rural aging is indeed a crucial issue facing policy makers across Canada, but it's not like we didn't see it coming. For more than 20 years, community leaders have been warning us about the challenges of meeting the needs of disproportionate numbers of older people aging-in-place or retiring to small towns and villages across the country.

But they've been showing us opportunities, too: innovations in rural health and long-term care, age-friendly community economic development and intergenerational volunteerism, among others.

Already there are key lessons for the rest of Canada to learn before the next census tells us we are all living in aging communities. It's time to start listening more carefully to what older rural Canadians and their community leaders have to say.

Mark Skinner, Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care; director, Trent Centre for Aging and Society

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As I live out my remaining years on this Earth, I am optimistic about the Canada I reside in: a good health-care system, a more multicultural society, an older population. My advice to younger Canadians: Get as educated as possible. If you are lucky enough to get a job that pays well, work hard to keep it. Be prepared to travel to find employment. Go easy on us seniors as we move slowly and deliberately. Most important, keep contributing to CPP. Forever young!

Dan Smith, Stoney Creek, Ont.

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Climate of change

Re 'Climate-Change Agnosticism' Is A Cop-Out (May 4): Climate change is a fact – yes, indeed. But the uncomfortable truth is that from the Ice Age to the present, climate has always been changing.

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What is in dispute is how much of the present warming is due to anthropogenic activity. Is it 10-, 50- or even 80 per cent? It is certainly not 100 per cent, as evidenced by the swings in temperature before there was any industrial activity.

In the Middle Ages, there was warming followed by cooling in later centuries. What caused these "natural changes" and how dominant is the effect of increasing carbon dioxide by anthropogenic activities? This should be the focus of our attention.

Reid Robinson, Regina

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Wouldn't it be wonderful to be agnostic or in denial about climate change? No more angst about the climate crisis or efforts to reduce my carbon footprint. No more public outreach. Just roll over and press the snooze button.

But that wouldn't be terribly responsible, would it?

Reality, facts, evidence have taken a real hit, which is maddening, particularly when solutions offer positive outcomes. In the case of tackling climate change by transitioning to clean energy, these outcomes include more jobs, healthier communities and a diversified economy, all while reducing the impacts of a rapidly warming world. Climate change agnosticism? I can think of a few more colourful words to describe it, but cop-out will do.

Cheryl McNamara, Toronto

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Bullets? Deadly. Politics, too …

In the beginning, when chosen by the Prime Minister, Harjit Sajjan was a seen as a "model" Defence Minister, the "badass" tough guy. Now, suddenly he's a liability. The military is tough, but politics can also be a deadly game (Sajjan Has No Excuses For Battle Claim – May 2).

Mr. Sajjan is a combat veteran. He completed three deployments in Afghanistan and another in Bosnia. He is obliged to do what soldiers must do: 'Fess up (which he has done) … and step down!

Consider that Maxime Bernier, once the Conservative minister of foreign affairs ("Mad Max" some called him), stepped down after he left a briefcase of secret documents in the apartment of his girlfriend, who had past ties to organized crime. Yet some now see Mr. Bernier as the front runner in the Conservative leadership race.

You never know …

Carl Shalansky, North Vancouver

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