more smart canadians calling out tony clement

Yesterday the Globe and Mail ran seven letters, all opposing federal Health Minister Tony Clement's wrong-headed stance on safe-injection sites.

I expected that today there would be a small flurry of letters from the other side. That's often how it works: news story, followed by letters from one side, followed by a second round of letters in opposition to the first round.

Today the G&M ran two more letters on the subject: one in support of Tory policy, which I will not link to, and an additional letter opposing it. In total, eight opposed and one in favour. When you consider that newspapers generally print letters, pro or con, in proportion to those they receive, this is significant.
Imagine if Federal Health Minister Tony Clement opposed providing coronary bypass surgery to all obese patients or respiratory medication to all smokers, because of the "moral" message these conditions convey.

We are left breathless at Mr. Clement's preposterous comparison of palliative care for treatable cancers to safe injection for substance dependence. In fact, safe injection is on the same spectrum of treatment as certain forms of life-prolonging (not lifesaving) chemotherapy. The big difference is the stigma and attitude ministers such as Mr. Clement bring with the Conservatives' campaign against people disabled by addiction.

As front-line physicians trying to improve the lives of people with addictions, it is discouraging that we should have to educate our government about the legitimate health-care needs of this population.

Thea Weisdorf, Philip Berger, Charlie Guiang and Chris Cavacuiti, MDs, Toronto

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