VOICES

THE MAIL

October 4 2004
VOICES

THE MAIL

October 4 2004

THE MAIL

VOICES

‘The bottom line is that our health care system requires rewriting. We must learn to not only think outside the box, but learn from other countries.’ -caesarsqu¡tt¡, munderBay,ont.

Health-care havoc

We have been bombarded by journalists, politicians and ordinary Canadians telling us about the inadequacies of our health care system (“Writing a new Rx,” Politics, Sept. 6). I am of a different view: it’s fine. Nurses and doctors are devoted to improving our health, hospitals have the latest equipment and drug companies are constantly turning out new products to combat diseases. The problem lies with the people. How many of us eat terribly, fail to exercise, remain in high-stress jobs and generally fail to take care of our health? In my case it was job stress, bagels and cream cheese and fried chicken, along with genetic factors, that led to a heart attack—a tremendous user of medical resources. If we were to take better care of ourselves, the load on the medical system would be reduced. John Whitaker, Guelph, Ont.

The leaders of our country have just spent a few days at the First Ministers’ meeting being coddled, fawned over and generally pampered, while they argue how much money they are going to dole out for our good health. Why is it that we taxpayers appear to overlook the fact that all the money governments give us is our money that they have taken from us. This would be bad enough, except they misuse, squander and generally waste much of it in the process. Roy Anderson, Mount Brydges, Ont.

I would like to apologize for the disgraceful acts of our premier at the recent national health care summit. Ralph Klein, as our representative, has disgraced all of Alberta with his arrogance by walking out early. I hope the rest of Canada does not see us all as redneck morons.

Dennis Goulden, Edmonton

I do hope the message that Ralph Klein is sending to Paul Martin is loud and clear. Remember the hard-fought election at the end of June? Remember Martin accusing Klein of having a conspiracy with Stephen Harper? Remember all eyes falling on Klein as the villain who caused the election to fail for the

Conservatives. I do not blame Klein for shortchanging the meeting with Martin and his fellow premiers. Why should he show any kind of support when Martin made a mockery of him, nationwide? Good on you, Ralph. L. G. Anderson, Spruce Grove, Alta.

The meeting between the premiers and Paul Martin provides the best explanation of why we Canadians have given up on politics. The show on the first day, when total nonentities pontificated, preached and offered inchoate ideas to each other was enough to make me dream of an absolute monarchy. Carlo Testa, Blandford, N.S.

No surprises

I’m not exactly sure why Anthony WilsonSmith is so surprised that the majority of

Because of Iraq, Bush is beatable and the election is the

Democrats to lose-which is just what they are doing

voters in the U.S. is ignoring the Republicans’ mistakes and failings over the previous four years, while buying into the spin that electing Democrats would lead to chaos (“Rain, Republicanstyle,” The Editor’s Letter, Sept. 20). Sure, we’ve made our mistakes, the Republicans say, but don’t elect

rs to the F.riitor: letters a;macleans.ca

them, it’ll only get worse. That President George W. Bush is the frontrunner right now shouldn’t shock any Canadians. The Liberals have been using the exact same strategy—and it works every time.

Luc Lewandoski, Winnipeg

Anthony Wilson-Smith claims to be baffled by the U.S. presidential campaign and the Bush/Cheney lead in the polls. But his column conveys frustration rather than bafflement. Because of Iraq, Bush is beatable and the election is the Democrats to lose. Which is just what they are proceeding to do.

David Cottle, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Locals know best

How refreshing to read Stuart Hiscox’s story about the CIDA-funded bakery project in Salvador, Brazil (“Listening to the locals,” Foreign Aid, Sept. 6). I am proud that Canada puts money into innovative programs that respect the needs and wishes of the locals. Through projects like these we can most effectively fight terrorism, which is spawned in large measure by the despair caused by unrelenting starvation and disease. Imagine how much more we could accomplish if Canada honoured its long-standing pledge to increase its spending on foreign aid.

Jane Plant, Courtenay, B.C.

I would like to congratulate CIDA on its success in programs like the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives that allow foreign governments and organizations to direct funds to where they believe the money is most needed. However, Canada should not overlook the need for large, modern infrastructure when providing foreign aid. In fact, the World Bank has declared: “Providing basic infrastructure services will help cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 by bolstering the number of children in primary schools, improving the living conditions of slum dwellers and enabling local businesses opportunities.” We devote only nine per cent of our international aid to bricks and mortar programs that provide necessities like clean water and safe roads. Chris Newcomb, Chairman, International Committee, Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, Vancouver

Replacing humanity

I think all this communications technology is killing real human contact and making people less social (“A survival guide to gadget world,” Cover, Sept. 6). Everyone is so busy communicating with others on cell or Internet, but not face-to-face, that they have no time to get to really know what makes others tick.

Fixed image i When a single photo clears away the clutter

The daily news of global death and destruction threatens to desensitize us. But every so often, an image makes tragedy human again. “I saw your poignant photo of a Russian child, face etched with terror," wrote Lynn Crosby of Halifax. “It moved my mind from the general to the particular as I wondered what became of that child. What will become of us all?”

Ravi Sharma, Calgary

My community has changed with the increased use of email and the Internet. The people I keep most in touch with now are those with whom I share specific interests, rather than those in whose proximity I live.

Evelyn Jones, Saskatoon

I can spend hours at a time on my computer, shirking all responsibility, and the world seems new to me every time I finally get out again. And sad as it may be, I know dozens of people who share this same addiction. Every spare moment is spent on the Internet, rather than on productive activity. It’s unhealthy.

Krystine Wawrzonek, Grande Prairie, Alta.

Although I adore the Internet, email and the various forms of communication that technology has enabled, I find myself more and more content with my long-distance relationships (friendships, family, etc.) and, therefore, spend less time than I would otherwise socializing and meeting people where I live. In the past when I moved, I was forced to spend time meeting new people, but now it is much easier to maintain closeness with those back home rather than expand my social group here.

Tracy Cassels, New York City

Low-tech praise

I want to express my appreciation for the recent essay by Lianne George about how one man’s death went tragically unnoticed in Winnipeg for two years (“A high-tech ghost story,” Sept. 20). The originality of the topic and the ideas and insights that were raised about our high-tech world were thought-provoking and refreshing. Kudos for a job well done.

Scott Owen, Montreal

Irrelevant issues

In your Sept. 20 issue, I read the brief article on the Canadian musician twins, Tegan and Sara Quin (“Twins who live far apart to make better music together,” Music). What baffled me was why you specifically stated their sexual orientation. Is it necessary for you to say they are lesbians? Next time when I’m reading Maclean’s, should I look forward to an article on Paul Martin that states he is heterosexual?

Sarah Kim, Toronto

Scandals all around

I was surprised that your Sept. 20 piece “Black’s trap” on Conrad Black was under the section heading “Scandal.” Yet, in the same issue, there is an article on Westjet’s and Air Canada’s corporate espionage efforts. Entitled “Spies in the skies,” it appears under the heading “Business.” Seems to me you should have lengthened the Scandal section. Jeffrey Swystun, Toronto

Keeping score

Paul Wells’s article on Paul Martin and medicare was mean-spirited and revealed

no insights (“Tomorrow, tomorrow...,” The Back Page, Sept. 20). Honestly, this sort of slightly cynical, jokey, put-down kind of journalism is neither funny nor clever; it is actually destructive. What it does is denigrate the intelligence of the reader while trying to infect people with a supposedly clever, cynical, ironic perspective. This is particularly sad when done in the context of politics. Wells should instead use his creative and imaginative genius to look at what really ails Canada and propose some viable alternatives.

Andrew Salkeld, Wakefield, Que.

I am one of those few Canadians who does have faith in what Prime Minister Paul Martin says he will accomplish while holding the job as our PM, despite what critics like your columnist Paul Wells say. This faith goes back to the days when Martin told the nation he would balance the books, and then did. Back in June, Wells made a prognostication about Martin’s chance to remain PM on June 28—and he was dead wrong.

Ken Henderson, Kitchener, Ont.

Paul Wells’s latest rant against Paul Martin arrived in my home on the very day that the health care agreement between the federal government and the provinces/ territories was announced. This continued misreading of the Prime Minister’s political abilities demonstrates a strong journalistic bias. Time for an objectivity check, Mr. Wells.

Bob Little, Dartmouth, N.S.