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Feb. 20: Motion 103, and other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Playing politics

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Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly takes an opportunity to play politics with the Conservatives' reservation about Motion 103 (MPs Clash Over Islamophobia Motion, Feb. 17). The Tories are not contributing to Islamophobia by proposing alternative wording, as she charges.

It is sad that, even on an issue upon which all parties agree, and which Canadians strongly support, the government cannot pass up an opportunity to play politics.

Joe O'Brien, Halifax

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Had a particularly heinous incident of anti-Semitism occurred recently in Canada, I doubt whether the Conservatives would have opposed a motion to condemn anti-Semitism. Indeed, they might well have been the party proposing such a motion. When it comes to free speech, politicians get religion rather selectively.

Howard Greenfield, Montreal

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Stall tactics

I wasn't fond of former prime minister Jean Chrétien but when he deliberately and wisely sat on the fence for months while George W. Bush was dragging so many world leaders into a pointless, ill-advised war in Iraq, I realized that this is how a good leader keeps his country and citizenry safe.

When current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his intelligence and charm to sidestep the chaotic whirlpool of all things Trump during his visit to Washington last week, I was appreciative (Trudeau, Trump Strike Conciliatory Tone, Feb. 14). I did notice, however, that Mr. Trudeau's grip was powerful enough, when shaking hands with U.S. President Donald Trump, that he was able to quietly resist Mr. Trump's shake-and-tug trick that usually unbalances and embarrasses those he greets. He was also subtle enough to resist turning the tables on him.

Claudette Claereboudt, Regina

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ICU's trauma

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Mac Horsburgh's description of his intensive care unit hospitalization resonated (A Survivor's Guide, Feb. 9). I shared a similar trauma from a fall last year.

Being a psychotherapist for 30 years familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder helped, but recovery really began when a colleague undertook research and found ICU survivors can suffer from a little-known posthospital condition, called postintensive care syndrome (PICS).

PICS shares similar symptoms with PTSD. Both are the result of trauma, resulting in flashbacks, difficulty focusing and returning to work. But there's a significant difference: PTSD is often a shared experience, whereas ICU patients are isolated and their near-death experiences internal and unvalidated. Their hallucinations are disbelieved, ridiculed or too terrible to share. This results in mental health issues with unrecognized residual effects that may last for years.

There's an urgent need for awareness about PICS with protocols about the condition for those working in the field of mental health. This would be a great relief to those bewildered ICU survivors who are at risk of being misdiagnosed.

Mikela Ronning-Philip, Dundas, Ont.

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Telling our stories

Cameron Bailey's essay on Canadian filmmaking is a courageous but rarely expressed truth that we all know about Canadian movies (Dear Canadian Filmmakers: It's Not About You, It's About Us, Jan. 28).

The importance of telling our own stories determines how we are seen by the rest of the world. Countries are like individuals – our health and well-being depends on understanding who we are and what makes us unique.

From 2008, we, with Canadian producer partners, developed a screenplay about the infamous Bre-X story budgeted at $17-million, but we could not find the interest of backers. Tom Hanks's company, Playtone, described the script as intriguing and well-written but strangely Canadian. Hollywood agents and potential U.S. partners told us set it in Denver or New York – because no one's interested in Canada.

Perhaps in this new political climate, we are ready to mythologize ourselves and our history. Filmmakers, distributors, festivals and critics play crucial roles. However, incentives for Canadian private investment, with the potential to retain profits in Canada, are fundamental to any kind of sustainable industry.

Our cultural health is observed by what we say. It has a direct effect on tourism, trade and immigration. Movies with their potentially high profile give us a chance to communicate and enrich our sense of ourselves.

The saga of the massive 1990's Bre-X fraud is one of the greatest untold Canadian stories. We could begin by making a better, more-acclaimed version of it, unlike the very disappointing recent Americanized version Gold starring Matthew McConaughey.

Richard Craven, head of development, Casablanca Motion Picture Corp., West Vancouver, B.C.

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Spelling checkup

Brian Deady is correct, as far as the Oxford English Dictionary is concerned, regarding the spelling of "vomiting" (right) and "vomitting" (wrong) (Grammar Doc, Feb. 16).

But when enough people misspell a word the misspelling becomes the correct spelling and the correct spelling becomes a misspelling. Just look at the history of "its" and "it's."

Besides the rule Dr. Deady cites, there is another rule according to which an added "t" signifies that the "i" is to be pronounced in the short rather than long form. So you get the change from "biting" to "bitten" and "writing" to "written," for example.

Dr. Deady and I may just be part of an older generation soon to find ourselves on the losing side of an orthographic struggle.

Randal Marlin, Ottawa

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Dr. Deady may wonder if he's a "pedantic prick" (his words) but he is right to insist on correct spelling and syntax in the written medical record. I'm a physician, too, and we are judged by our writing by those who do not know us; errors in spelling suggest either inattention or ignorance – neither are positive attributes in a physician. Syntax is equally challenging for some and reveals a paucity of knowledge or care. Attention to detail is the mark of the competent physician and our writing reveals our ability.

James Waddell, Toronto

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Dr. Deady writes on a subject close to my heart. In the years when I measured out my life in chalk, I tried hard to make travel and tourism students, amongst others, learn the rule for doubling a consonant, so they would not writing "dinning" when they meant "dining."

It seems, though, Dr. Deady's bright young medical students had actually learned the rule about short vowels versus long vowels, and were dutifully applying it. They knew the difference between "shiny" and "shinny." Unfortunately, like so many rules in English, there are exceptions. Vomiting is obviously one of them.

Margaret van Dijk, Toronto

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