Today’s letters: Mulroney treated guests wonderfully at 24 Sussex

Saturday, March 2: Remembrance of the former Prime Minister’s hospitality; More letters about healthcare and seniors. You can write to us at [email protected]

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The Mulroneys were generous hosts.

Along with my music faculties, I was proud to have played the flute at many official and unofficial events at 24 Sussex Drive for the Mulroneys. Canadians should be proud to know that Brian Mulroney, Mila Mulroney and the entire family did, in fact, treat everyone who crossed that threshold incredibly well, from the Aga Khan to Vice President George HW Bush to Barbara Bush. They were genuine, courteous and generous hosts.

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Thomas Brawn, flutist, background chamber musician, Orleans

Requests for home care make a lot of sense

Re: The Fall: My once vibrant father left the hospital devastated. He then disappeared, on February 16.

Elizabeth Payne’s article about her father’s experience and Diane Éthier’s letter about her mother’s admission to intensive care are alarming and perhaps all too common in these times of crisis in hospitals.

Hospitals are simply not capable of providing the type of individual care that would meet the needs of the elderly and minimize the impact of change on them when they enter a hospital. It is traumatic to face changes in functioning in older people, regardless of their cognitive status, and this is perhaps intensified when dementia is present.

Further deterioration can be expected in persons admitted for evaluation and treatment of even routine events. The slippery slope of physical decline is compounded by the age factor and the complicated prognosis because of it.

There is wisdom in the cry of “Get me out of here,” heard so often when older people are subjected to the mysteries of the emergency department and the abrupt alterations in lifestyle after hospital admission. Similar stress reactions are triggered by admission to long-term care homes. Coping with this stress is difficult when physical and mental resources are diminished by injuries.

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The call to improve home care makes sense, since it optimizes well-being and independence, two highly valued assets for older people.

Celia M. Carter, Brockville

Private care is part of the system.

Private health clinics appear to be the route governments want to take to alleviate pressures on the weakened health care system; However, there is resistance against it. There is a basic misunderstanding: the belief that our health care system is a pure, non-profit government service for all Canadians. This may have been true a generation or so ago, but today it is a patchwork of government-run services joined by private clinics.

For example, blood tests are primarily performed by private clinics that charge the government for each patient test. This mode of operation is more efficient when performed in specially designed and operated clinics than in public institutions such as a hospital. Private entities, in a competitive environment, beat the government without a doubt, not only financially but also qualitatively. These productivity increases are well demonstrated in many cases and in many countries.

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The cost factor has now become dominant, as healthcare costs are considered unsustainable given the aging boomer population. It seems obvious to me that the privatization of some parts of the health system is inevitable if we want to avoid its inexorable descent from mediocrity to poverty.

Rafal Pomian, Ottawa

A good story about hospital care.

With all the negative aspects of hospital care, I wanted to convey positive news.

A medical emergency sent me to the emergency department at Queensway Carleton Hospital and from the moment I arrived I was treated with empathy, concern, respect and often humour. The doctor explained my condition to me clearly and calmly, and every nurse I saw was caring and compassionate. Despite the packed waiting room, the staff never seemed to be in a hurry.

When I left three hours later, I already had aftercare clinic appointments scheduled and instructions to follow for home care.

A huge thank you to everyone who works in the hospitals; we appreciate you.

Judy Warren, Ottawa

Public toilets are still difficult to find

Re: Ottawa must build a better urban experience as its population grows, February 26.

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Thanks to Toon Dreessen for the article on creating a better urban experience in Ottawa. Not finding a public bathroom when you need one will surely sour the experience. Currently, the city center has only two separate toilets: on Parliament Hill and in Major’s Hill Park.

We understand that designing and building new public restrooms is expensive and time-consuming. In the meantime, the public should be able to make better use of existing bathrooms in city-run buildings.

Places such as libraries and community centers should post signs indicating that public restrooms are available there.

In downtown Ottawa, there are at least six such buildings: Ottawa City Hall, Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Court, Tourist Information Kiosk, and ByWard Market. With no external signs or wayfinding guides, these public toilets are essentially hidden.

Alan Etherington, I have to go! Campaign, Ottawa

Lansdowne audit will reveal a lot

Re: Hopefully this audit sheds new light on Lansdowne, February 29.

The city’s auditor general, Nathalie Gougeon, is right. The financial rationale for the Lansdowne 2.0 plan needs to be scrutinized. Her research will ensure this controversial project offers good value for money.

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Even with the initial cost estimate of $419 million, City-OSEG’s conclusion that the cost to citizens will be only $5 million a year is questionable. As has been demonstrated in other recent urban projects, there will be huge cost overruns. Under the current agreement, we understand that any surpluses will be the responsibility of the city. Accordingly, it is encouraging that the door is open to examine non-financial aspects in a future audit “sprint,” such as the revised agreement between the city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, and the procurement process.

The citizens of Ottawa are the legal owners of Lansdowne. We have a right to know if its redevelopment could detonate the fiscal time bomb projected by Potter.

Richard Moon, ReImagine Ottawa, Ottawa

Can DND find any records?

Re: DND Said to Ignore Records Requests, February 29.

A sentence from David Pugliese’s article – DND “claims the records do not exist” – caught my attention. This is very different than what I recently received from DND: “after a thorough and complete search…it is determined that no records could be located with DND.”

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I had requested a copy of simple documents (three tables, a map of the country with some comments and a graph). I provided the subject matter of these documents (not related to national security); the name of the person who completed, scanned and filed them (me!); the date of these documents (July 2013); the name of the group you were working with; and the specific address of that group where the electronic copies were filed.

I can only think of one valid answer: “Your documents were destroyed in xx years in accordance with our policy which states that originals can be destroyed after xx years.” If that’s the case, say so. Otherwise, one could be forgiven for wondering if DND can locate and read other important documents, such as contracts, invoices, and its own employee list.

André Corriveau, Stittsville

At least people are still trying.

One recent afternoon, I was buying pizza and ran into a woman outside who was in what appeared to be significant mental distress. He wasn’t sure how best to help her.

He walked into the SportClips barbershop next door. It was 7:59 pm and the stylist was trying to close up for the night. I’m not sure exactly how the conversation unfolded, but when I walked out with my pizza, the women were sitting together at the planter, the lights were off in the store, and the stylist was rubbing the distraught woman’s back.

Things are hard and they feel like they’re getting harder, but it’s nice to see people try.

Jeremy McConnell, Orleans

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