Letters, Feb. 10: Follow medical, not political, guidelines

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As health-care providers, we support evidence-based care for transgender and gender-diverse youth.

We believe access to appropriate and timely gender-affirming care is a fundamental human right. Such care is not only life-affirming but also essential for the mental and physical well-being of transgender and gender-diverse youth.

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Denying access to appropriate health care not only contradicts established medical consensus but also increases the risk of adverse health outcomes in youth, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide.

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We are deeply concerned about the Alberta government’s proposal to restrict gender-affirming medical care for youth under 16 in Alberta. These policy changes send the message to vulnerable communities that discrimination is allowed in Alberta. 

The proposal ignores the advice of Canadian and international medical experts. Leading medical organizations such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society have established clear guidelines for the provision of gender-affirming care to minors. These guidelines emphasize the importance of a patient-centred approach, informed consent and the appropriateness of interventions such as puberty suppression for those who require it.

We believe that any policy changes in this domain should be based on the latest scientific evidence and medical best practices. They should not be based on politics.

We respectfully request that the Alberta Ministry of Health re-evaluate its position and align with international guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of all Albertans. 

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Kate Greenaway is the medical director of Foria Clinic, Calgary. She is writing on behalf of 48 other Alberta doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses.


Students benefit from relationship with police

I worked as a police officer in the classroom and it was one of the most rewarding jobs I had with the CPS.

I talked to students about the law and how it fits into our society, how laws are created to protect the good folks from the bad, and what the consequences could be if the law is broken. I stressed that police enforce the laws, not make them up. I believe that I had a good relationship with the teaching staff, who on occasion would speak to me about certain challenges they were having with students.

I strongly believe that school resource officers do make a difference in the betterment of children’s lives.

It is important for students to meet and get to know a police officer in a school environment, rather than what they hear from their peers, or see on TV and in the movies.

Martin Cull, Calgary

City’s zoning plans must be stopped

The city needs to stop the ill-thought-out plan to change zoning bylaws. It is going to have a long-term negative effect on many of Calgary’s neighbourhoods. It does not seem to take into account any provision to provide for off-street parking or property values, now or in the future.

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The city recently committed millions to a new hockey arena; imagine what could be done if they matched that amount for housing?

What about Midfield mobile home park? Six years ago they booted everyone out to make way for new multi-unit residential development, yet this project is stalled.

The city can’t continue to make mistakes.

John Beal, Chestemere

Common sense ways to save water

Re: Continuing dry conditions mean every drop counts, Feb. 3

Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra believes that a punishing drought would galvanize the political will to build a massively expensive new reservoir on the Bow River. I contend that existing reservoirs on the Bow and Elbow provide Calgarians with all the water we need.

What we do not need, however, are hundreds of thousands of lush green lawns on the fringes of the semi-desert “Palliser Triangle.” What we do need are changes in infrastructure and behaviour, more water-efficient washers and toilets, on-demand water heaters, grey water cisterns and rain barrels.

And do people really require a shower every single day? Does a shirt require laundering after just one wear?

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Common sense would go a long way to eliminating the need for an “upstream reservoir (that) is going to be at least $1 billion.”

Rob Jobst, Calgary

Playing politics with alcohol sales

Has it occurred to provincial governments that they are essentially running a protection racket concerning the sale of alcohol? They purposely limit or prohibit the sale of wine and other alcoholic beverages across provincial borders. Why?

To reduce or eliminate competition to preserve and increase government’s take from wholesale markups and taxes. Meanwhile, consumers are threatened to obey the rules or be punished, plus they have no choice but to pick up the tab for higher prices.

Alberta has an opportunity to lead the way by declaring free trade with other provinces. Of course, that would mean our government would have to be competitive with alternate sources of supply to win the business going forward.

So what’s wrong with that?

Grant Lovig, Edmonton

Trans policies distract from real issues

Re: LGBTQ+ advocates criticize Danielle Smith’s policy announcement, Feb. 1

With only 0.37 per cent of youth identifying as binary or transgender, and no evidence presented that there are “top and bottom” surgeries, irreversible hormone therapies or sports incursions occurring among those youth in Alberta, one has to wonder why Premier Danielle Smith has decided that this is her primary policy issue to address.

It seems like a cynical tactic to distract Albertans from the UCP government’s unpopular moves (e.g. pension plan) and their floundering efforts to address the major issues that really are their responsibility — the botched daycare funding rollout, overcrowded and understaffed schools, under-resourced primary and emergency medical care, lack of affordable housing, delays in judicial services and impending drought and wildfires.

Let’s all stay focused on what actually matters and let’s ask our government to, you know, actually govern. 

Carol Berndt, Calgary

In support of transgender rules

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We call them minors or dependants. We don’t let them vote or drink and we protect them.

The premier is attempting to pre-empt a violation of minors’ rights by laying down some ground rules regarding children with real or perceived gender dysphoria. I support her completely. Life-altering procedures at such a young age are irresponsible at best and maybe criminal. Let children wait until they’ve developed.

I support the “experts” who insist there is not enough long-term data for there to be “experts” — if for no other reason than to avoid the litigation that European countries are now dealing with.

Rob Simpson, Calgary

Choosing identity is a personal right

There are freedoms that everyone should have, no matter their age. One of those is the right to choose one’s identity and how to present yourself. Taking away the ability for anyone, including a student, to choose who they are is an infringement on their rights. 

The UCP’s proposed legislation is going to do just that. Removing not only a student’s right to self-expression, identity and self-determination, but the parents’ rights as well. The irony of claiming to “protect parents’ rights” while actively removing the ability to make choices on behalf of their children is unbelievable.

As a high school student, I would expect my government to understand the concept of human rights at least as well as I do.

Elena Stovell, Calgary

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