Ground that deal
It is completely acceptable that commercial airlines, for competitive reasons, can give perks, such as lounge access, to premium, higher-paying clients.
It is definitely not acceptable that Pearson International Airport can strike a deal with American Express that allows premium Amex cardholders access to shorter lines for security checks – especially since those checks are mandated for every traveller by government fiat (Amex Cardholders To Get Pearson Perks – Report on Business, June 19).
It’s no excuse that other foreign airports do the same. If Toronto’s Pearson International did the same as others, it would have separate queues for in-bound customs checks for Canadians, which would immediately cut down the horrendous wait times when several planes arrive at the same time.
Jacques Konig, Toronto
As a physician who frequently cares for dying patients, I share André Picard’s opinion about the importance of language and care at the end of life (Picking A Vocabulary For Dying – June 20). Poorly chosen language can pointlessly increase the suffering of dying patients and their families.
Mr. Picard writes about patients refusing to eat or drink at the end of life as “essentially starving themselves to death.” Belief in this misconception causes needless suffering for families of dying patients. For many patients, the loss of the desire to eat or drink is an integral part of the process of dying, not a cause. Vigorous efforts to encourage eating and drinking or steps to artificially hydrate and feed dying patients can increase suffering without prolonging life.
To say that dying patients who lose the desire to eat or drink are starving themselves to death is rather like saying patients who go unconscious and stop breathing are suffocating to death.
Stephen Workman, MD, Halifax
Both my parents died after massive heart attacks. I hope I will go the same way: quickly and suddenly. No lingering in a hospital bed wearing adult diapers. No unbearable pain barely controlled by drugs. No lying fully aware in a useless body, unable to communicate or help myself in any way.
However, I might not get my wish and, if so, I’d like to thank Gloria Taylor for fighting the good fight (Woman At Centre Of Case ‘Still Here For Living’ – June 19). Nobody likes to think about it, but death comes to all of us. We can debate ethics and religion and what we think is good and right for other people if we wish, but when it’s our turn, don’t we all hope we will die our own way, with dignity? I wish Gloria Taylor peace and courage.
Claudette Claereboudt, Regina
As a health-care professional, I can attest to the fact that our medical system already puts vulnerable Canadians at risk. How much more so, were physicians given the power to assist the suicidal?
The depressed, the elderly and the dying do not need to be pushed to their death. Rather, they need attention and care. A physician who would agree to hasten death is no physician at all.
Cristina Alarcon, pharmacist, Vancouver
Head versus curb
One objection of those opposed to mandatory bike helmets is that they “can create a false sense of safety” (Coroner Probing Deaths Wants Cyclists In Helmets – June 19). The implied cause and effect is that helmet wearers tend to ride more recklessly than those without helmets. This is like suggesting motor vehicle drivers became more reckless when seat belts or air bags became mandatory in cars. The stats don’t bear that out.
All riders can take a spill. My most serious one, at more than 60 kilometres an hour, was entirely due to my bad judgment. The doctors said my helmet saved my life.
Barrie Zwicker, Toronto
A better America?
Doug Saunders’s article is a reminder that the War of 1812 was in fact many wars (My Ancestors And The Worst Thing That Has Ever Happened To This Country – Focus, June 16). In Nova Scotia, there was none of the nasty fighting that occurred in Ontario.
The period is seen in retrospect as one of prosperity in agriculture, commerce and private enterprise afloat (privateering). We had our own local hero, too, in Halifax-born Provo Wallis, the senior officer left standing after the successful battle with the USS Chesapeake, and later admiral of the fleet.
Perhaps, after imagining a better Canada had the U.S won, Mr. Saunders might now go on to imagine a better U.S., had the British forces in the American Revolution been better commanded and defeated Washington’s armies. Slavery would have been abolished decades earlier, there would have been no Civil War and, of course, no War of 1812.
H. J. Whidden, Wolfville, N.S.
The difference in the cost of production between Canadian and U.S. shows is not nearly as important as the cost of acquisition (How Canadian TV Can Start Thinking Really Big – Arts, June 16). For a Canadian broadcaster, it is a lot cheaper to buy an existing program from an American producer than to licence a Canadian show.
In addition, a Canadian broadcaster benefits from the promotional efforts of the U.S. networks, which spill over into Canada. The ability to simulcast shows and substitute Canadian ads exacerbates the problem, as the Canadian broadcaster inserts its ads into the American feed and gets the revenue, no matter which channel the viewer watches.
Unless Canadian broadcasters are compelled to show more Canadian drama, the Canadian industry will not occupy more slots on the dial. Given our current government, the chance of the CRTC mandating more Canadian content lies somewhere between slim and none.
Jim Bertram, Minden, Ont.
Rather than step into the rabbit hole of the Northern Gateway project debate, Frank McKenna argues for a “bold project, national in scope” (A Pipeline From Coast To Coast – June 18).
He is at least half right. Whatever the potential benefits of projects like Gateway, they don’t knit the country together symbolically or economically. A national pipeline project is still just a piece of the larger puzzle that is a national energy strategy. Until we have a vision, national in scope, of what energy in this country might look like over the next 50 years, and how the various pieces of that puzzle fit together, we will spin our wheels trying to have intelligent conversations about discrete projects at a moment in time.
Rob Abbott, Victoria
To realize Frank McKenna’s vision of a coast-to-coast oil pipeline, the protagonists must recognize that pipeline diplomacy is like the dating game: The courted party needs to like you and they need to think you are clean. As America’s rejection of Keystone XL pipeline demonstrated, pressure tactics and a perception of loose environmental controls may not lead to wedding bells. Indeed, no one wants to spend life hitched to a dirty jerk.
Chris R. McDermott, New York