THEMAIL

THEMAIL

‘We are thalassemia patients in the care of Dr. Nancy Olivieri, who has always been helpful and never acted unprofessionally in 20 years.’ -Sandro and John Principato, Stoney Creek, Ont.

May 30 2005
THEMAIL

THEMAIL

‘We are thalassemia patients in the care of Dr. Nancy Olivieri, who has always been helpful and never acted unprofessionally in 20 years.’ -Sandro and John Principato, Stoney Creek, Ont.

May 30 2005

THEMAIL

Letters to the Editor: letters@madeans.ca

‘We are thalassemia patients in the care of Dr. Nancy Olivieri, who has always been helpful and never acted unprofessionally in 20 years.’ -Sandro and John Principato, Stoney Creek, Ont.

Waiting for the Big One One would hope that your May 16 cover story, “When B.C. gets hit,” about the inevitability of a massive earthquake and tsunami on the province’s Lower Mainland and the current dangerous lack of preparedness, will result in increased awareness of what awaits us. My personal experience as a local Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness instructor suggests otherwise. Most people only pay lip service to the urgings of those of us trying to ready homeowners for the Big One. I recall that following the Seattle earthquake in 2001, the numbers in our NEP classes increased significantly. Unfortunately, the recent offering of free two-hour preparedness workshops, advertised in local papers, was largely ignored, and the returns were so dismal that the classes had to be cancelled. George Potvin, Comox, B.C.

Your cover story was a frightening read. It seems that people in the highest levels of government have been sitting in blissful ignorance. One can only hope that after the next big earthquake happens, historians will not compare it to the AIDS crisis, 9/11 and the many other calamities about which the warning signs were ignored until it was too late. Edward Meek, Winnipeg

The Olivieri saga

Letters in defence of Dr. Nancy Olivieri poured in after our critical May 9 story, “The Olivieri

case revisited,” and accompanying book excerpt by Dr. Miriam Shuchman. (Dr. Olivieri has her say on page 6.) A sampling of comments from supporters:

As a parent who has a child who was involved and affected by the Ll trials, I find the comments and observations made by Dr. Miriam Shuchman clearly demonstrate her lack of experience. Shuchman suggests that patients would be alive if Ll had continued to be available in North America. In fact, Ll is available on a compassionate basis to anyone who cannot withstand the standard therapy. Furthermore, it is not Dr. Olivieri who has failed the thalassemia community, it is our own health care system. At the present time, the thalassemia/sickle cell anemia clinic at Toronto General Hospital has only one part-time doctor responsible for more than 100 thalassemia and 250 sickle cell anemia patients. At a July 2004 meeting with the Ontario ministry of health, organized by Dr. Olivieri and her colleagues, the Thalassemia Foundation of Canada and the Anemia Institute, I was shocked to learn that the medical attention allotted to thalassemia patients is less than six minutes per visit. It is utterly unethical to have researchers like Dr. Olivieri silenced when they have reason to doubt the safety of drugs, much less when they have solid proof of the serious side effects caused by them. Anna Vizza, Courtice, Ont.

We get all kinds of letters, from all kinds of people...

in reference to your May 16 Religion article “Mark’s secret gospel,” I can personally attest that Jesus was not gay, because I was Mary Magdalene. I remember being his wife and carrying his child, who we named John, after his first cousin John The Baptist. I witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus while I was carrying his child. I later witnessed the empty tomb and was told something I don’t recall. All i remember is thinking to myself, “They’re never going to believe this!” The so-called young man in

Bethany that Jesus rose from the dead was Lazarus, Martha’s older brother. We were visiting Lazarus and Martha with all of the other disciples, while Jesus taught. I sat beside him while he taught. I don’t recall what he was saying, but we were all listening intently in complete silence and with awe. Obviously I can’t divulge my present name to this letter because I don’t want to be labelled a prostitute! I will therefore just sign it.

Mary Magdalene, Peterborough, Ont.

I have known Dr. Olivieri in many capacities: supervisor, mentor and colleague. As a student in her research group, I observed her first hand in both the clinical and research setting. She has always been extremely supportive of her students’ research endeavours and encouraged us in every aspect of our careers. She is a caring physician who is always available to her students and her patients. Dr. Raveen Basran, Mississauga, Ont.

The Thalassemia Foundation of Canada does not support the allegation made by

Dr. Miriam Shuchman that people might be alive if the drug LÍ had been available. As suggested in your article, comprehensive care at other thalassemia clinics has led to a higher survival rate of patients. Lack of such comprehensive care at the thalassemia clinic at the Toronto General Hospital has contributed to the demise of thalassemia patients over the last several years. The lack of provincial funding, the hospital’s lack of interest and response in regard to the deterioration of the clinic and the lack of physicians and experts on thalassemia are all factors contributing to the premature deaths of several thalassemia patients. Silvia Livia, secretary, Thalassemia Foundation of Canada, North York, Ont.

Equal time, please

Your preoccupation with Allan Gotlieb baffles me (“ ‘Foreign policy reviews should not be conducted’,” The Maclean’s Interview, May 2, and “Bed the elephant,” Essay, by Allan Gotlieb, Wendy Dobson and Michael Hart, March 28). As a former Canadian ambassador to Washington, Gotlieb clearly espouses closer ties with our southern neighbour. This flies in the face of the opinion of many Canadians, who feel that the importance of maintaining our sovereignty far outweighs blindly following a reckless path of giving in to our neighbour’s ill-conceived foreign policy and the erosion of domestic personal and civil rights that has followed. Please give equal time to other opinions. Kevin Hansen, Toronto

It’s not easy being Green

Mary janigan’s column was condescending to anyone who voted Green in the last federal election (“The growing greens,” Mary Janigan on the Issues, May 9). The suggestion that Green supporters are doing so only as a protest and don’t fully understand the party’s platform ignores the compromises that most voters make when marking their ballots. Clearly, Janigan has been jaded by an electoral system that encourages negative voting—choosing your least worst option—and she has a hard time understanding that people really want Green representation in Ottawa.

Andrew Henry, North Vancouver, B.C.

Finally, someone is investigating the sudden success of the Green Party, which has managed to keep most of its program under the radar. The truth is that the Greens are a taxcutting, market-oriented, fiscally conservative party. Moreover, the Sierra Club rated both the NDP and the Bloc as more environmentally friendly in their 2004 campaigns than the Greens. Smarten up, Canada: just because the party calls itself Green doesn’t mean we are getting the greenest platform. Adam Green, Ottawa

You are correct, the Green vote is holding. That has certainly been my experience as leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia and as a candidate in Halifax in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. At the same time, there are many of us who are dismayed at the federal party’s right-wing shift in direction. Green parties worldwide have always stood for rejecting the growth paradigm inherent in our current economic system. The idea that we can just grow the economy when we live in a finite system is what has caused many of the problems we face todayglobal climate change, one ecosystem collapse after another, the loss of biodiversity and the end of cheap oil. Greens reject this growth paradigm, and it is for this reason that the Nova Scotia Greens passed a unanimous resolution declaring a lack of confidence in the current national leadership.

Michael Oddy, Fox Point, N.S.