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Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds during Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 29, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds during Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 29, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Nov. 30: Blocking drugs for the poor, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Tories’ bitter pill

Re Tories Block Bid To Make Cheaper Medicines For Poor Nations (Nov. 29): I am absolutely appalled. Even the brand-name drug manufacturers were not opposed to this bill, which was an effort, as you report, to “remove the obstacles that prevent Canadian generic drug companies from copying life-saving pharmaceuticals and shipping them to the world’s poorest countries at cut-rate prices.”

This lack of accountability may be forgotten by the next election, but not by me. The Conservatives should be ashamed; I hope The Globe and Mail will continue to hold their feet to the fire on this one (A Bill To Save Lives And Relieve Poverty – editorial, Nov. 28).

Hugh Heibein, Kitchener, Ont.

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The government has taken a firm stand in favour of industry profits, which appear to trump both treaty obligations and morality. I am genuinely ashamed by this new low in ethical conduct.

Atul Sharma, MD, Montreal

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History’s divide

The Harper government has chosen to place Canada on the wrong side of history (Will Canada Cut Palestinian Aid? – Nov. 29). No independent observer believes there can be lasting peace in the Middle East without a Palestinian state. Statehood for the Palestinians might not be sufficient, but it is necessary.

Simon Renouf, Edmonton

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Power, image, gender

Margaret Wente (From Redford To Marois, New Girls In The Old Boys’ Club – Nov. 29) is glad to see so many women entering politics and become a force to change the world. But how can women expect to be taken seriously when one views, in the same edition, the serious cleavage depicted in the photograph of Toronto city councillor Karen Stintz (Ford’s Adversary Stintz Casts Her Eye On Mayoralty – Nov. 29)?

This same style has also been seen on the venerable Angela Merkel. Don’t women realize that when they dress like that, they reduce themselves to sexual objects in the male mind? We poor male schmucks can’t help thinking this way. Unfortunately, for a women in any profession to be taken seriously, the only suitable dress is one that is demure and conservative. That’s just the way it is.

Don Cooper, Toronto

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While watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel featuring the formidable Judi Dench, many of us reacted as Elizabeth Renzetti did while watching Skyfall (The Vanishing Face Of The Older Woman – Nov. 24). We were amazed and thankful to see a woman not hide her age, even highlight it in close-ups – and still be beautiful in a very natural way.

Perhaps Ms. Renzetti could spearhead the Grande Dame Award for “a woman demonstrating excellence in her field, while presenting herself as a positive role model for women and girls everywhere without the aid of cosmetic surgery or enhancement.”

How ironic that many North American women wince at women in veils – yet are reluctant to reveal their true faces.

Shirley Holmes, Owen Sound, Ont.

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Rob Ford’s Toronto

I always enjoy Brian Gable’s often-acidic, always amusing cartoon commentaries, but Thursday’s cartoon, depicting Toronto’s “entertainment district” as City Hall is going to be very hard to top! I nearly choked on my drink when I saw it. Give the guy a raise.

Larry Tate, Napanee, Ont.

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Habs, Habs-nots

So the Leafs are worth $1-billion (1,000,000,000 – Sports, Nov. 29)? Not bad for a team that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004. My team, the Canadiens, may “only” be worth $575-million, but since 1967, they’ve won 10 cups – that’s three fewer than Toronto has won in its entire existence. This is proof that value and tons of money don’t bring home championships.

Phil Marambio, Oakville, Ont.

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HIV prevention

Re B.C. Leading The Way In HIV-AIDS Fight, But Others Slow To Follow (Nov. 28): The answer to André Picard’s question, “Why isn’t every province and territory following B.C.’s lead?” is easy. Why follow a jurisdiction that is only now beginning to catch up with them?

The fall in B.C. rates can be attributed almost exclusively to a decline in HIV diagnoses among injection-drug users. Attributing that decline to antiretroviral therapy is dubious, given the role of supervised injection sites, aggressive needle-exchange programs and other prevention outreach directed toward drug users in B.C. in the early 2000s.

Certainly, improving access to treatment for all HIV-positive people is a public good, for them and for potentially decreasing infectiousness. But the numbers are not there to support the claim that treatment will sufficiently reduce the epidemic in the community hit hardest by HIV across Canada – gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Investment in prevention-messaging, research and the promotion of HIV testing continue to be fundamental if prevention is to be achieved.

Barry Adam, director, prevention research, Ontario HIV Treatment Network

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Just like life

My counselling team at the University of Western Ontario spent a great deal of time talking to students having serious difficulties coping with the pace of university life (116 Ideas For Stress Relief – Nov. 29). A big part of the problem, especially for first-year students, is the lack of preparation they receive in high school.

There, students learn that homework and assignments can be handed in when they feel like it, that they will never get a zero and that exams can be retaken if they don’t like the result. None of this bears any resemblance to what they face at university. Everything counts, you can get zero, you only get one shot at an exam … just like life, really.

Keith Griffiths, former associate dean of science, University of Western Ontario

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Yeah, so?

In an attempt to portray himself as an exciting, individual Liberal leadership candidate, Marc Garneau says, “I have sailed across the ocean in a sailboat in both directions” (Does He Have The Right Stuff ? – Nov. 28). So what? Justin Trudeau would have walked.

Jonathan Skrimshire, Pincher Creek, Alta.

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