To the editor:

All those that deeply wish for an ethical McGill with a humanitarian mission to influence the world are deeply indebted to Professor Robert Kok (Letters, February 25) for raising his concerns about an advertiser's product that has caused global misery, suffering and death. Never has a letter influenced me so much. The day after reading it, I delivered letters to Chancellor Gretta Chambers, Chair of the Board of Governors Richard W. Pound and Principal and Vice-Chancellor Bernard J. Shapiro asking them to use their influence and have the Board of Governors dissociate McGill completely from these companies.

David Sommer Rovins

To the editor:

Do we need a super-hospital for super-people promoted by the influential elite, or a face-lift of existing hospitals as demanded for years by overworked medical staff and patients relegated to hospital corridors? That is the real dilemma for a cash-strapped Canada that sports the highest debt per capita in the world.

From its inception, the MUHC godfathers have skirted public debate on Montreal hospitals. A scheduled public meeting about the MUHC's physical facilities planning was cancelled because Mr. Steinberg (the MUHC's chair) felt that "the event was being turned into a kind of 'town hall meeting'…which was not the goal agreed upon in the beginning" (Reporter, March 11).

Although the self-nominated elite is confident in its power and is working to preserve that position in pushing forward the MUHC structure, at the same time, it needs to maintain a semblance of democracy in its search for public support.

Nevertheless, the public is of the impression that all is set in stone (e.g., the site has already been chosen), and that it's too late to question the fundamentals of the project. The MUHC team, in its effort to ram through the project, smashes opponents like Dr. A. Lippman and brings out its best bureaucratic artillery -- a dashing list of governmental bodies who were made aware of the existence of the MUHC project. Steinberg's claim that this constitutes public consultation is reflective of his autocratic respect for structural hierarchy and his general disdain for the public's interests. He also conveniently forgets to mention that some of the organizations consulted were in fact opposed to the project!

We should be sceptical of ever getting the opportunity to debate the merits of the MUHC in light of MUHC planning director Dr. N. Steinmetz's comment that public consultation at the present stage would complicate the process and result in "everything will get thrown off track!" (See February 11 letter to The Gazette from Richard Gottlieb quoting Steinmetz.)

This arrogant statement proves what kind of "elite" (clique) is having too much access for playing with public money -- by the way, how much has been spent on the project already?

The MUHC team also seems unperturbed at the complete lack of interest regarding the MUHC in the French media and population. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is only a small close-knit circle of elites from the Montreal Gazette and from McGill that is doing its best to keep the MUHC patient alive.

Statistics and opinions of MDs still adhering to their missions reveal that more people are dying from classically curable diseases, which are not monitored properly, rather than from sophisticated forms of illnesses. Budget cuts have restricted access to many crucial tests, extended waiting times for tests and even resulted in the cancellation of some monitoring procedures.

Should we not be injecting any available funds into prevention, general medical practice and help for existing hospitals?

By accepting another Olympic Stadium the public is being manipulated.

How accessible to ordinary citizens will this Star Trek MUHC hospital be?

It is unlikely that we will be given statistics comparing the average consumption of fancy tests and therapies by Westmount or Outremont elite, with that of others from marginalized areas.

According to the Canadian constitution, when a ruling party is losing the vote on a motion that it put forth, it must step down. The same logic should be applied to the MUHC. We should terminate the project, end costly discussions, and send the directors on a medical mission to Africa, and let them return when they have achieved social maturity (e.g., by donating half their salaries to those in need).

To avoid the further growth of oligarchy, we should demand the full story. Who was behind the MUHC project? Was it a group of corporations (e.g., from our board of governors) seeking moneymaking contracts? Who else beside real estate owners, banks financing each projects, etc., is benefiting? Are directors getting fat salaries, travel and representation benefits, etc.? The public has the right to be informed!

Slawomir Poplawski
Technician, Department of Mining
and Metallurgical Engineering