THE MAIL

THE MAIL

July 1 2002
THE MAIL

THE MAIL

July 1 2002

THE MAIL

‘Given that patients are in jeopardy, ! think an apt name for your article “Measuring health care” would be “Falling through the cracks,” ’ -GEORGE ROBICHEAU, Lower sacóme, N.S.

Indicators of health

Like many Canadians, those of us working in health care are very interested in how the system is doing and how we can help make it better. The Maclean’s annual health rankings (“Measuring health care,” Cover June 17) provide an important contribution in that regard. To be sure, any particular set of measures for something as complex as health is likely to be incomplete and imperfect. We should not, however, wait for the perfect set of indicators before either reporting or acting. The potential for learning from best practices and successes elsewhere in the country is enhanced—and our ability to improve is strengthened—through measurement. As broader and additional indicators are used in future rankings, we’ll gain an even clearer picture of what’s going well, and where. We’ll also develop insight into the areas that need more attention or resources. And then we must respond and enhance the overall health system. Given its importance to this nation, and the growing health budgets across the country, Canadians deserve no less.

Dwight Nelson, President and CEO,

Regina Health District, Regina

Just what year was your health report made? It sure as hell wasn’t since “The Hacker” Premier Gordon Campbell, and his Social Crediters who call themselves Liberals, took office in British Columbia. In today’s local paper, the headline reads: “Health cuts to hit the weakest cancer patients, kids to lose in Liberals’ latest round of proposed cuts.” Does this indicate a No. 1 health system? Come on back and do an update, and see how the Fraser Institute and Howe Street are running this province.

Frank McKerry, Vernon, B.C.

I commend you on your annual effort to inform Canadians of the quality of health-care delivery in various regions of the country, but I must say that I’m dis-

appointed that you don’t have national data on psychiatric issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, addictions, dementia and developmental disorders.

Over 40 per cent of all visits to general practitioners are for a psychiatric illness, and emergency rooms are often crowded with a disproportionate number of patients with a mental illness and nowhere to turn.

Dr. Steve Mathias, Vancouver

Inspirational

Amazing. I went downstairs this afternoon to grab a snack from the confectionery in my office building. A picture of a woman on the cover of Maclean’s in the magazine rack caught my attention, and at first I didn’t know why (“Wendy’s story,” Cover, June 10). I read the caption on the cover and that’s when I put two and two together. Several years ago in Calgary, I was one of a few instructors who had the pleasure of working with Wendy Mathewson. Our goal was to improve her reading, spelling and reading comprehension. I remember two things most about Wendy: her smile and her perseverance. Maintaining a positive demeanour and not giving up—now, if

OUR ANNUAL RANKING OF HEALTH-CARE SERVICES STRUCK A CHORD WITH READERS WHO SEE STANDARDS IN DECLINE. “What we have now is a two-tiered system which favours major centres,” writes John Zillich of Prince George, B.C., the main community of the vast rural region that ranked at the bottom of the list. Other British Columbians wanted to know why their regions ranked so well, “it will be interesting,” says Birthe Wilson Achtner of Nelson, “to see where B.C. will stand when Maclean's does the next survey.”

only all of us could master these qualities. And, given the circumstances, wow, what a triumph!

Warren Andrukow, Calgary

Politics Liberal-style

In these days of uncertainty and despair,

I find myself in need of a good laugh. Thanks to our national embarrassment, (some call him Prime Minister), I finally have one (“Losing his grip?” Canada, June 10). Jean Chrétien, of all people, has new rules on ministerial ethics. What does he think will change when he puts up yet another smokescreen to try to fool the public and deflect blame and guilt from him and his party?

Ivan Sheichuk, Moose Jaw, Sask.

The West trashed the Tories when they squandered their principles and promises, and created a new party with all the trials and tribulations that process has entailed. In my view, the Liberals make the Tories look like amateurs when it comes to pork barrelling and betrayal of public trust. Does the East have the courage to start a new centre-left party and trash the Liberals as they so sorely deserve?

Keith Alexander, Port Clements, B.C.

As a grassroots Liberal party member,

I am all too aware of the state of the party as a result of the Paul Martin organization. Liberal headquarters are welcome places for a select few, access to membership forms is severely restricted and Canadian Alliance-style back-stabbing has become commonplace. A party that has historically prided itself on its inclusivity and diversity has become a mere shadow of its former self.

Jonathan Ross, Vancouver

Korean clarifications Most of the Canadians who served in Korea (“Tales of northern warriors,” Television June 10) were not Second World War veterans (although many were). The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry were not denied the right to wear medals they had been awarded until 1991, as stated. You confused that with the fact that members of the 2nd Battalion PPCLI, which was awarded a U.S. Distinguished Unit Citation follow-

THEMAIL

‘It may come as a surprise to World Cup fans to know that soccer was king each summer in Canada 80 years ago/ -tedrooney,Waterloo,ont.

ing the battle at Kap’yong in April, 1951, were denied permission to wear the citation emblem (not a medal) until almost five years later. Maclean’s also used the term “Korean conflict” throughout the article. Most media and governments have recognized that the military actions, which took the lives of nearly three million civilians and military personnel, should be classified as a “war.”

Roly Soper, Public Relations Officer,

Korea Veterans Association of Canada, Calgary

When soccer was king It may come as a surprise to World Cup fans to know that soccer was king each summer in Canada 80 years ago (“ ‘Football is in my genes,’ ” Canada and the World, June 17). My father told me that, in his youth, soccer and lacrosse were the two big summer sports in Canada. Dad, who was on the 1919 Dominion soccer champion team, said there were 10,000 fans at the games every Sunday. Baseball was hardly known in Canada at the time, but the American press made Babe Ruth famous and gradually Canadian boys turned to baseball in the late 1920s.

Ted Rooney, Waterloo, Ont.

Mission position

Commonwealth air forces in the Second World War never used the term “missions” (“Keeping alive a hero’s death,” History, June 10). We used “trips” or “sorties,” but the common term used for flights carrying battle to the enemy was “operations,” usually shortened to “ops.” In Bomber Command, 30 operations constituted a “tour.” Some charmed individuals did two or three tours but, as in the case of the hero Andrew Mynarski, all too many did not survive to complete even one.

Lome Gardiner, Stanley Bridge, P.E.I.

Forests of activisim

TimberWest Corp.’s CEO Paul McElligott

states that there is nothing wrong with

exporting raw logs from this country (“When loggers turn green,” Business, June 17). In fact, he says it is no different from exporting coal or potash. Now, consider the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and their response to a proposal to export unprocessed nickel and realize that Inco Ltd. used to think the same way TimberWest does. Interestingly, McElligott also seems to believe that when communities and workers benefit from the public’s forest resource, nasty “social engineering” is undermining free enterprise. Conversely, when TimberWest and its unitholders are the beneficiaries, the market economy is purported to be working just fine. Our community’s true allies are not big business or big government, but the people here on the ground.

Roger Wiles, Secretary, Youbou TimberLess Society, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Domestic appreciation

Why do we measure equality in a relationship by the equal distribution of domestic responsibilities (“Ironing ironies,” Over to You, June 10)? Personally, I don’t think “liberation” is achieved when your husband finally irons his own pants or cooks a meal. I tend to look at the level of appreciation and respect I sense when I am working equally hard to pull off a family, a home and a job. My husband and I choose to treat each other well and to honour each other’s roles whether it all balances out in the end or not.

Teresa Klassen, Kelowna, B.c.

The nature of capitalism

I always found Maclean’s a pleasure to read and no less so for the contributions of Peter C. Newman. But if I read his latest column (“The mind boggles,” June 10) accurately, he is saying that the free market will either stagger under the weight of unbridled greed and dishonesty or it will be mysteriously reconstituted on more ethical lines. How about the other alternative: none of the above? Greed has always been the primary engine of growth

of the free market—for good and bad. What could possibly cause this to change and, more importantly, what will replace this force? Enlightened self interest? The common good? Not likely.

David Staines, Calgary

So, unregulated capitalism is not to be trusted. Well, the pendulum of change certainly seems to be in full swing once again. It wasn’t that long ago that businesses everywhere were calling for government to get its nose out of their affairs and let the free-market system determine financial viability in the economy.

Perhaps now we better understand the reasons for business not wanting the overview of any government regulating agency in its affairs. Just as absolute power corrupts absolutely, so also, it seems, unregulated capitalism leads to eventual economic collapse.

Bob Little, Dartmouth, N.S.

No place like home

What a delight to read John DeMont’s piece “Home from away” (The Back Page, June 10). I left my Maritime home 8V2 years ago to work in the land of opportunity in a quaint town in southern Ohio that I have nicknamed Hooterville. However, this place ain’t home. Every August (because the best weather at home is always the first two weeks in August), we load the truck and embark on a 26-hour drive to holiday “down home.”

I barely squeeze in all the visiting, cardplaying and beach time I want before we must pack up and cross the border for the return trip to Hooterville. And what do I think after getting back and unpacking the truck? I am already planning my Christmas visit to my beloved Nova Scotia. Paula Wentzell, Chillicothe, Ohio

Footing the bill

Ann Dowsett Johnston’s essay “The Crisis in Quality” (June 10) admirably highlights the current crisis in post-secondary education. Unfortunately, it implies that tuition fee increases and private funding are solutions. Reality shows the opposite: tuition fee increases have been linked systematically with an overall declining revenue base for colleges and universities. Joel Duff, Ontario Chairperson,

Canadian Federation of Students