The Mail

The Mail

August 30 1999
The Mail

The Mail

August 30 1999

The Mail

Managing pain

Having worked in the fields of oncology and palliative care as a pharmacist for more years than I care to admit, I am surprised at the negative tone of your cover story “Coping with pain” (Aug. 16). You don’t stress that, contrary to

popular belief, we are actually able to control pain in the vast majority of patients. Certain types of pain, neuropathic pain being a classic example, are = quite manageable if I diagnosed early and I treated aggressively. It % is a great pity that this “■ article serves only to

reinforce the public fears without acknowledging the great advances we have made in managing pain. Kim Stefaniuk, Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre Joronto

I thoroughly enjoyed your cover story. My pain was caused by nerve damage and was acute and constant for about three years. During that time, I saw many different specialists and had a number of different medical tests. None of this helped in any—as the doctors would put it—“remarkable” way. Then, I heard about glucosamine sulphate (as remarked on in the cover package) and started taking 500 mg

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three times a day. After two months, the pain began to ease and within six months I had resumed my normal life. I still have some pain, but as Paul Kelly states, “People in pain have to find a way to feel some control over their lives.” What a wonderful feeling that is. Sheila Hutton, Fredericton

1 can’t believe that you chose to build your case for pain management around the use of drugs. Drugs should be the last resort when everything else has failed. What about acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, energy balancing, craniosacral therapy? There is a raft of complementary therapies available nowadays that have no unpleasant sideeffects, yet are powerfully effective. To make it sound as if the only hope for pain control lies in the use of drugs is entirely misleading.

Marlies Regenbrecht, RN, Ottawa

I was happy to see the article “Every breath you take” on alternative methods of coping with pain. As a yoga instructor, I use a variety of yogic breathing techniques as well as meditation in a program designed to help people reduce pain and stress levels. These tools can not only help people deal with pain, but can improve overall breathing habits as well as mental and emotional conditions.

Heather Morton, Toronto

Ocean parks

I refer to your July 26 article “Water worlds” (Canada), which needs some clarification and correction. Your readers may not be aware of the series of public announcements Fisheries and Oceans made in 1998 that set out a course of action to establish five new marine protected areas in Canada.

Deep roots of spin

Andrew Phillips’s column (“The spin doctors look north,” Aug. 16) on the use of American political consultants in Canada and abroad is a welcome addition to a story with surprisingly deep roots. Since 1933, when the first political consultants set up shop in California, Americans have pioneered techniques of political marketing. It was the Mackenzie King Liberals in the 1940s who first brought American polling and political marketing to Canada, ffadley Cantril, a Princeton University psychologist and pollster, advised federal officials. More important, the American-managed Gallup organization conducted secret polling to assist Ottawa’s wartime propaganda efforts and the Liberal party prior to the 1945 election.

These announcements closely followed the initiation of a completely new focus in Canada for management of our oceans under the 1997 Oceans Act. Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa

Black anachronism

The picture of Conrad Black (“The man who would be lord,” Opening Notes, Aug. 16) struck me as pure buffoonery. Unless he or she is in a “uniformed” career, a person looks dressed for ffalloween in this kind of costume. Hank Bos, Wallaceburg, Ont.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the government of Canada have apparently forgotten that we have a parliamentary system of government. The Queen is our head of state and as such has the right to make appointments as she sees fit. In superseding her authority, Chrétien takes us one step closer to a republic.

I think I may have a solution for Conrad Black’s problem with the Prime Minister. If Black were to renounce his Canadian citizenship, the PM would have no say about his desire

to be elevated to a British peerage. Then, of course, we might also expect that our immigration department could protect us from the foreigner who wants to control us.

Don Mayne, Edmonton

What’s wrong

Congratulations on acknowledging a sector of our economy that is hurting (“What’s right—and wrong—with Canada,” Special Report, Aug. 16). I share the frustrations of George Linhart and John Railton along with many others whose standard of living, dignity and contributions to society are no longer valued in the Canadian labour market. Robert Smith, Toronto

I am becoming angry and frustrated with Macleans and your obsession with tax levels in Canada. You use an anecdote (the Hart family) to support your claim that taxes are too high, while mentioning the $10,000 that the family must spend to send their daughter to university. Excuse me, but isn’t that the point of paying taxes? To help subsidize postsecondary education? Instead of blaming taxes for their problems, what about blaming the cuts to universities, which result in families having to pay more to educate their children?

Karen Csoli, Hamilton

In your article you refer to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of Vancouver as a model for Canadian businesses. However, you failed to mention that this company is owned by the American giant Orbital Sciences Corp., and has been for the four-year period during which its revenues tripled. If this is a Canadian success story, then perhaps we need to redefine success.

Tony Zegarchuk, Vancouver

Iraq’s tragic embargo

The article titled “The genocide in Iraq” (Peter C. Newman, Aug. 16 ) angered me and gave me hope at the same

time. I am angry about the depth of the tragedy, but happy to see the coverage in Maclean’s. As an Iranian who witnessed eight years of useless and devastating war with Iraq, I do not consider my new baby more important than any Iraqi kid, much as I love him. Shame on those who think otherwise.

Ramin Sangi, Mississauga, Ont.

We have heard so much recently about ethnic cleansing. We have heard a great deal less about “dictator cleansing” and its genocidal effects. Obviously, the work of Dr. Allan Connolly and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War deserves greater publicity. Besides exposing the futility of the sanctions against Iraq, such a story might nicely underscore what difference it actually makes to have Canadian weekly newsmagazines. We are unlikely ever to see a cover piece on this issue in the American magazines currently clamouring for an open door to the Canadian magazine market.

Desmond Glynn, Toronto

Provincial empires

It disturbs me that the provinces continue to pursue their empire-building, each wanting to take power and money out of the hands of the federal government (“Juggling priorities,” Canada, Aug. 23). I feel that for their own narrow, short-term political interests, the provinces are risking developing a vicious circle. Governments are called on to reduce taxes by cutting programs, with the result that the brains we have trained cannot find employment in their field and leave the country. Meanwhile, research and development is taken on by transnational corporations with no interest in supporting health, education or culture, and thus call on governments to further cut taxes. And round it goes. I would sooner see the provinces working to support a stronger central government and a consistent national system of education, health and job creation to keep our brains here. Patricia Murphy, Timmins, Ont.