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Letters to the editor


 
Letters

Julio Cortez/AP

Bombing fallout

Terrorists and those supporting them have no place in a civilized society (“Boston bleeds,” International, April 29). Islam specifically preaches love and respect toward all and does not stand for terrorism, does not condone terrorism or preach violence. Killing thousands of innocent people in the name of religion is pathetic. U.S. President Barack Obama has cautioned against the kind of anti-Muslim vigilantism that marred the U.S. in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, and urged the American people to stay “true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong.”

Waris Shere, Winnipeg

Surely something has gone awry with our sense of proportions when North American media can cover this story virtually without let-up, while we barely mention events of relatively greater consequence around the globe. What especially irks me is that Afghan civilians continue to die in targeted missile attacks from U.S. drones with comparatively brief coverage—if they are reported at all—because of their frequency.

Red de Witt, Ottawa

Rather than basically spout the seemingly only acceptable reply in many reactionary circles to the emotionally and politically charged topic of terrorism—i.e., unconditional condemnation—cannot so-called civilized Western society find the courage to look beyond violent persons’ atrocious acts and more at the violent offenders’ motivations for committing the acts, however abhorrent, and therefore possibly learn how to prevent future offences of the kind?

Frank G. Sterle, Jr., White Rock, B.C.

I applaud the Canadian media for at least owning responsibility that the teenage terrorists killed in Algeria were indeed Canadian. I am still waiting for the U.S. media to refer to the suspects of the Boston bombings as Americans. They have been associated with a number of geographical places and religions, but there has been little mention of what they are: American citizens.

Maidah Ahmad, Barrie, Ont.

The Boston Marathon bombings were certainly a terrible tragedy. But while three people were killed during the marathon, if the statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are broken down daily and held true, on that same day, 30 U.S. citizens were murdered with a gun, 162 suffered firearm-related injuries, some causing permanent paralyzing damage, and 53 people committed a firearm suicide. Something is wrong with this picture. If thousands of law-enforcement personnel were mobilized to fight gun problems in the same proportion as to catch two alleged bombers, and the silent vast majority wanting stiffer gun control would speak up, the U.S. would be the envy of the world in safe gun use, instead of near the top of the heap in gun-related mayhem.

Gord Gibson, Castlegar, B.C.

Bullying behaviour

The latest television attack ads, this time against Justin Trudeau, are more childish and insulting than ever (“Trudeau’s other opponent,” National, April 29). So he had a few laughs taking off his shirt and hamming it up at a fundraiser, so what? A friend of mine telephoned the Conservative party’s national headquarters and told them that every time she saw an attack ad, she would send a dollar to the Liberal party. They hung up on her.

Robert Roaldi, Ottawa

Bullying is precisely what the Conservative Party of Canada’s series of television attack ads are. The underlying message is that character assassination is an acceptable form of discourse within our society. I work in the field of youth mental health, where the effect of social-media bullying is devastating. And where do youth get the idea that bullying is acceptable? Through the behaviour modelled by the adults around them.

Karen Robinson, Emsdale, Ont.

Wake up, Stephen Harper: there is no election being contested right now, and this useless negativity is not what Canadians are all about. Perhaps if this government put as much energy and (albeit, lacklustre) creativity into actually governing, it might actually accomplish something. If the worst thing you can find to say about the Liberal leader is that he is good-looking, personable and willing to put himself out there for a cause that affects millions of people, then you may find you have underestimated your opponent.

Merle Morgan, Okanagan Falls, B.C.

Lemmings of Parliament

How unique that some MPs actually think they should represent their constituents (“A House divided,” National, April 22). This is Canada, land of the benevolent dictatorship, where most MPs are elected on the basis of bogus promises to represent their riding. In fact, it seems many are there only to reap the rewards of being good little boys and girls: a fat salary, a terrific expense account, lots of parties to have their egos stroked and, of course, the really big lure of that bloated pension availability six years down the road. Is it really any wonder that Canadians have so much contempt for most of their MPs, who abrogate virtually all of their responsibilities to their constituents in order to be obedient little sheep blindly following the orders of the herd ram?

Dave Cavazzi, Blind Bay, B.C.

Thatcher, tobacco baron

After Margaret Thatcher’s death, I scoured four major newspapers and Maclean’s (“True grit,” International, April 22) and found not a peep about the wonderful multi-million-dollar job Thatcher began just a few months after resigning from politics. After 11 long years as one of the most powerful people on the planet, Thatcher became a “geopolitical consultant” for tobacco giant Philip Morris. Why the blatant avoidance by virtually all of the mainstream media of any mention of Thatcher’s job after resigning from politics?

Errol E. Povah, President, Airspace Action on Smoking and Health, Delta, B.C.

Public-sector pariahs

If anyone deserves comfortable salaries, it’s teachers, police officers and firefighters (“The new upper class,” Business, April 22). Decent wages attract high performers, inspire dedication and show how much we value and respect the service provided. I’d like to believe we still think education and emergency services contribute more to our society than the big bosses of Wal-Mart or the owners of NHL teams.

Marcie Wallace, Lethbridge, Alta.

If everyone were forced to make a 12 per cent investment into their pension plan—as teachers are—there probably would be much less handwringing about CPP and OAS meeting the aging population’s needs.

Kim Lalonde, Elmvale, Ont.

Your article discusses the high salaries of police and firefighters. However, there is no mention of how much of that salary is based on overtime. Police constables have to go to court on their days off, before and after their shifts. This sometimes means working 10 hours and then sitting in court for a case for the rest of the next day, and then going back in for their next shift. Likewise, firefighters might be called out to an emergency and then have to work past their 24-hour shift. This article was written in an attempt to inflame the public about the salaries civil servants receive.

Elaine Griffin, London, Ont.

Civil servants are the new upper class because they were smart enough to organize and create unions. If one studies the labour movement between the two World Wars, one can see that the middle class developed from the strong union movement. Any companies trying to avoid the unionization of their workers granted benefits to their employees. It was unionism—and the threat of unions—that gave North America the record prosperity in the second half of the 20th century. Today, management—while enriching itself at the fastest rate in history—blocks efforts to form unions and some have gotten legislatures to pass laws to make it almost impossible to form effective unions. To protect and keep the middle class developing and growing, the answer is to encourage unions, not throw rocks at the ones that exist and blame them for the country’s economic problems

Patrick J.T. Curran, Dartmouth, Mass.

Anyone who is willing and able to take on a classroom full of teenagers, step into a burning building, or face potentially dangerous criminals is more than welcome to join this new “upper class.”

Cameron Luft, Calgary

Taxing truckers’ meals

I take exception with the condescending tone on middle-class tax credits in your editorial (“How Trudeau can avoid getting stuck in the middle,” From the Editors, April 29), when you cite “long-haul drivers who eat out” as getting a tax credit from Stephen Harper for an “alleged middle-class pursuit.” As a truck driver, I assure you that meal-allowance tax credits were in place long before Harper was even in politics. Besides, where’s a driver to eat when he’s not at home? And since the tax credit turns into the generous amount of approximately $11 per day of actual tax saving, compared to federal civil servants, who may claim about 10 times that amount, we’re not talking about a heavy milking of the system. As for kids’ sports fees and extracurricular improvement, why not encourage people to fight obesity and the general dumbing-down of society? Don’t you want our next generation to be healthy and wise?

Tony Ollenberger, Saskatoon

Dirty old man

I read with amusement your review of the Al Capp biography (Books, April 29). Coincidentally, I just finished reading Goldie Hawn’s autobiography, in which she tells about being one of those students whom Capp sexually harassed. As she fled the scene, he yelled, “Go home and marry a Jewish dentist!” Years later, after she’d won an Oscar, she sent him a note saying that she didn’t have to marry that Jewish dentist after all. I do remember that his satires were quite clever, but toward the end, he got heavy-handed and decidedly unfunny. But before all that sort of vitriol, he was good—damn good.

Daryl Moad, Winnipeg

Stumpers

Maclean’s new addition of a brainteaser (“The Quiz,” Challenge, April 22) is a hoot! I think I can finally justify my guilty pleasure of reading the Daily Mail as “research” to my inner intellectual snob.

Gillian Taylor, Toronto


 
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