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Bright light in Brandon

Re: Wait times to treat eating disorders hit (Jan. 22). These disorders are common, insidious, often hidden and deadly. The available resources in this province are completely inadequate to deal with the scope of this problem.

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Anyone needing inpatient therapy is ultimately admitted to a large and very frightening inpatient psychiatric unit at Health Sciences Centre that has the full spectrum of severe psychiatric disorders. The eating-disorders team struggles to deal with the huge burden of this problem given the limited resources available to them.

One bright light is an excellent private facility in Brandon that admits and treats a limited number of women. It achieves good results, but as with any private facility, it is costly. There are similar private facilities across Canada, if one has the financial means to access them. Ontario apparently subsidizes patients entering into such private facilities if publicly funded resources are not available in a timely manner. Perhaps Manitoba should consider similar funding programs if the needs cannot be met in the publicly funded system.

DR. HANI EL-GABALAWY

Faculty of medicine

University of Manitoba

ñü

Larry Kusch quotes Health Minister Theresa Oswald as saying those suffering from eating disorders are triaged and those in "urgent circumstances" are treated "without delay."

Eating disorders by nature are entirely different from other medical illnesses where, once diagnosed, the course of the illness depends little on the actions of the sufferer. In contrast, an eating disorder is made worse or better completely depending on the actions of the sufferer.

Oswald's suggestion provides a damaging incentive for an individual with an eating disorder to get worse in order to be helped. The message is the way to get help is to prove that you are ill enough to need it. This is practically an endorsement of one of the sufferer's primary irrational beliefs: that thin is never thin enough.

It should go without saying that an effective approach to combating eating disorders must encourage sufferers to seek treatment as quickly as possible. It should never suggest, "Come back when you're 'really' sick and then we'll take you seriously."

TRISTAN SANDULAK

Gwillimbury, Ont.

Losing autonomy

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are disability-rights issues and people with disabilities should be included in the debate if an equitable policy on euthanasia is to be developed.

Your Jan. 18 editorial, Wait for the ruling on assisted suicide, seems to imply that most people who seek assisted suicide are suffering and in pain. Data from 2010 out of Washington state and Oregon indicate that physical pain and suffering are not the primary grounds upon which people request assisted suicide.

The No. 1 reason (94-98 per cent) given by patients requesting assisted suicide and euthanasia was loss of autonomy. The No. 2 reason was a decreasing ability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable, and third was a loss of dignity at 64-78 per cent.

These are issues with which the disability community is very familiar and to which solutions have been found through such options as self-managed attendant care and independent living.

JESS TURNER

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities

Winnipeg

Ideological lens distorts

In her Jan. 17 letter, Patriarchy hurts us all, Diana Goods has given no evidence that a thing called "patriarchy" exists or ever has existed as a self-interested entity. My study of modern history tells me there have been male rulers, typically, and sometimes female rulers, but at no point were rulers ruling for the benefit of men as a class, and to the detriment of women as a class. Rather, they were oligarchs, ruling for their own benefit.

While I don't doubt her goodwill, her ideological lens distorts the fact that the real situation was one of division of labour between complementary, not competing, sexes, and that in Europe the phenomenon of chivalry ensured women were venerated and considered treasures to defend with male lives.

Whereas now the typically male ruling class has deigned to grant women's requests for rights and opportunities, contemporary feminism with its story of unending female victimhood and misandry has helped take the choice away from many women who would have preferred traditional roles, including bearing children.

In its drive for equality-of-outcome, feminism has left many women childless and unhappy after being told they could "have it all."

The real concern of humanists should be the phenomenon of oligarchy itself -- which will function just as unjustly with an equal sex or all-female ruling class as it does now -- as opposed to chasing phantoms of patriarchal oppression.

GREGORY UNGER

Dugald

Germany pays price

Solar-energy proponents like Adam Johnston (Letters, Jan. 24) excel at presenting Germany as a paragon of solar power, but rarely do they mention that it and the country's commitment to renewables in general are responsible for its consumers paying the second-highest electricity prices in Europe.

Nearly half of green-energy subsidies in Germany go to photovoltaic cells; yet this is the type of renewable energy least suited to the German climate. These devices are well on the way to becoming the costliest error in the history of German energy policy, since photovoltaic plant owners and homeowners with rooftop solar panels received about $11.3 billion last year while providing a mere four per cent of the overall power supply.

Solar modules stop producing altogether at night, and in winter they generate barely anything during the day. As a result, the country is often caught in energy shortfalls that necessitate power importation from French and

Czech nuclear facilities, exactly the type of output that Germany has been trying to reduce domestically.

EDWARD KATZ

Winnipeg

Treaties 'legally loaded'

Al MacDonald, in his Jan. 21 letter, suggests that when "outdated," treaty rights should be arbitrarily abrogated. Wrong.

Because the U.S. benevolently handed control of the Panama Canal back to Panama, he argues, we should transfer back to First Nations all the lands that were ceded by treaty to the Crown and later Canada. Clearly, that isn't in the cards, and neither First Nations nor Canada is suggesting this should come to pass.

In order to understand the issues surrounding First Nations' frustration and protests against unfulfilled treaty promises, we need to understand why the Crown entered into treaties in the first place. Treaties were typically the vehicle by which the aboriginal inhabitants of the land were herded onto reserves, usually inferior land, to enable settlers and harvesters to occupy the land, develop supporting infrastructure and extract natural resources.

In retrospect, anyone who cares to can see that the treaties signed by First Nations ancestors were legally loaded in favour of the Crown, taking advantage of the naivety of the Indians. It is true that some token payments were made to the Indian signatories of the treaties, but in hindsight, many if not most were morally inadequate, often short-changing our aboriginal colleagues.

Current protests are focused on reviewing and correcting the deficiencies in implementation of those treaties.

J. HUGH McMORROW

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2013 A11

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