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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s two top aides originally claimed more than $200,000 in relocation expenses./Reuters)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s two top aides originally claimed more than $200,000 in relocation expenses./Reuters)

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Sept. 24: Following the rules? The horror. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Following the rules? The horror

Our country appears to be in a disastrous condition as a result of the Justin Trudeau-led Liberals. First, the Prime Minister is criticized because he “followed the rules” for reimbursing government officials for moving expenses. The horror! The horror! (PM Hid Behind Rules He Could Alter – Sept. 23).

Then a Liberal cabinet minister who travelled through risky environs to reach Canada as a refugee child and relied on her widowed mother’s assurance that her place of birth was Afghanistan is exposed as having been born in Iran instead (Monsef Has ‘Paperwork’ After Revelation – Sept. 23). Such effrontery!

“I’m sure there’s a birth certificate somewhere,” claims NDP MP Charlie Angus – no doubt on his way to catch a flight bound for Tehran, where he plans to thump on an Iranian bureaucrat’s desk and demand a copy.

Could someone tap Mr. Angus and others on the shoulder and remind them that thousands of First Nations people in this country continue to live at subsistence levels, with unsafe water and near-epidemic levels of teenage suicide? And that our military continues to fly helicopters whose design precedes the Beatles, while our navy depends on foreign countries to supply its ships and personnel with food and fuel?

Shouldn’t these and similar matters receive priority by our elected officials and – dare I say – our national media?

Or would that be “following the rules” too closely?

John Lawrence Reynolds, Burlington, Ont.

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Trudeau aides Gerald Butts and Katie Telford say they are not comfortable with some of the costs they claimed for their moves to Ottawa (Senior Trudeau Aides To Repay ‘Unreasonable’ Portion Of Moving Expenses Billed To Taxpayers – Sept. 23).

So why did they claim them in the first place if that is the case? If this is the kind of judgment we can expect from key advisers to Justin Trudeau, I suspect we will see many more prime ministerial “do-overs” in the next three years.

Paul Clarry, Aurora, Ont.

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East, West – the rights divide

Re Li Defends Use Of Death Penalty While Pushing Extradition Pact (Sept. 23): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang maintains that that there is no torture in China. So all the governmental and non-governmental agencies that say otherwise obviously must be inventing these allegations out of thin air and Canadians can sleep easy …

The appalling thing is that Justin Trudeau is seriously considering entering into an extradition treaty with China. With typical Liberal bafflegab, Mr. Trudeau describes China, with its rampant human rights abuses, as having “different systems of law and order and different approaches.”

Edward Rice, Winnipeg

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argues that a treaty with China would put us in a position to influence that country’s human rights record. Really? China is a colossus; I cannot name any country, large or small, that can influence it once its heels are dug in.

Canadians believe that even the worst among us deserves a fair trial. How likely is that, should anyone on China’s wanted list be sent back there?

Let’s wait until China demonstrably improves its actions where human rights are concerned, then negotiate extradition with them. Not before.

Bob Oxley, St. John’s

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There is no way Canada should be negotiating an extradition treaty with China. All Justin Trudeau has accomplished is the certainty there will be more Canadians in China unjustly accused of espionage to wring further concessions from this country.

Alexandra Phillips, Vancouver

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Just before the last election, during a Toronto campaign stop, Justin Trudeau was asked which country he admired most. His answer – China, because its “basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime,” – was understandably upsetting to some at the time.

Might this self-proclaimed admiration for China, one of the world’s most notorious violators of human rights, make his willingness to discuss an extradition treaty any more understandable? Might he be prioritizing his personal values over those of the country he was chosen to represent? Just asking.

Charles Sager, Ottawa

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What it costs: a doctor’s ledger

Re The Murky Waters Of Quebec Extra-Billing (Sept. 20): I have a cardiology clinic in Montreal where I see patients rapidly, many of whom are referred to me by hospitals. The visits are covered by the Quebec health system (and about the same as if I were in a hospital where a doctor has no expenses to cover), but electrocardiograms (ECG) are charged to patients ($60).

If patients choose to have other tests (such as ECG exercise tests or blood tests) done at the clinic with no wait time instead of through the hospital system, they pay for these (e.g. $165 for an exercise test). If these tests were billed to the health system, I would receive $7 per ECG and $60 per exercise test, again similar to what I would receive working in a hospital. The math is simple. The clinic pays monthly: $4,500 rent, $8,000 in salaries for nurse, secretary and receptionist; $1,000 for other expenses, not counting amortization on equipment. No way could this be covered without extra billing. The government will not assume these additional costs and given ever-increasing health costs, probably shouldn’t.

The clinic’s options: Close and deprive several thousand patients per year of personalized follow-up, or go completely private, which will also turn away many patients. Quite a few patients have insurance to cover most of these costs. Must the state pay for everything in health care? Flexibility is built into European health systems. Why do we have a problem with this in Canada?

Peter Bogaty, MD, Montreal

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