As a physician listening to Mr. Clement speak about safe injection sites at the meeting of the Canadian Medical Association, I was embarrassed. It was clear to me that rather than looking at the results of these safe injection sites and determining in an objective, evidence-based fashion whether or not these programs actually achieved the desired results of harm reduction and improved health outcomes, Mr. Clement used this as a platform to launch his party's agenda in case of a fall election.
I hope the Conservatives have more to offer in any campaign than this fear-mongering dribble.
Suzanne Strasberg, MD, Toronto
Mr. Clement impugns the ethics and morality of physicians who support (or, as I do, work with) supervised injection. His statement introduces an element of rancour into a painful, complex debate already characterized by too much emotion and a lack of dispassionate inquiry.
The minister may legitimately, if shortsightedly, question the specific harm reduction practice of supervised injection. But he ought to resign if he cannot tolerate disagreement without personally attacking health professionals who, under challenging circumstances and with no help from his government, are attempting to relieve suffering of which he seems to have no understanding.
Gabor Mateé, MD, Vancouver
Mr. Clement is as ignorant about palliative care as he is about harm-reduction measures for drug addiction. As a palliative care physician, I take care of many patients with treatable forms of cancer. One would think that Mr. Clement would know that oncology and palliative care are not mutually exclusive. Many patients with "treatable" cancer have pain, nausea and existential angst that is best managed by a palliative care physician.
Is this really the right person to be making decisions on health care for all Canadians?
Glen Maddison, MD, Sarnia, ON
Between "in-and-out" schemes, allegations of Chuck Cadman payoffs, mistreatment of Afghan detainees, and who knows what else behind the opaque shield erected by what was supposed to be a government of greater transparency, federal Health Minister Tony Clement and other members of this government are hardly in a position to lecture professionals about ethics and morality (Supporting Insite Unethical, Clement Tells Doctors - Aug. 19).
J. N. Trott, Oakville
Your front page yesterday had two guys up on their high horses. One, Ian Millar, deserved to be riding high (Millar Soars To Silver At 61 - Aug. 19). Way to go, Mr. Millar!
The other, Tony Clement, should get off his equine perch. That way, we can show him the way to go, too.
Joan Summers, Montreal
This lecture comes from a senior representative of a party that is being investigated for election irregularities, has written a guidebook on how to disrupt parliamentary committees and has broken election promises (e.g. income trusts).
On ethical issues, I think I will trust my doctor.
John Steeves, Sussex, NB
I was disappointed that Mr. Clement, as the Minister of Health, chose not to see the vulnerable as patients. Instead, he chose to make them political targets and further victimize them.
I expect better of my government.
Mark D. Macleod, MD
canadians respond to tony clement
The Globe and Mail ran seven letters today in response to Tony Clement's lecture. Here they are, with no editing.