Off the rails
I can agree that Rob Ford is a political train wreck (“Rob Ford’s wild ride,” National, Nov. 18). But “the greatest political train wreck of our time”?! Come on! Honestly, who actually believes this while Stephen Harper and the Senate are going at it in Ottawa? Or when the government is busy muzzling scientists and gutting environmental laws to allow big oil and gas companies to get their goods to Asia?
Trish Boyum, North Vancouver, B.C.
Rob Ford began his admission of culpability by saying he was about to do the hardest thing he has ever had to do and he hoped no one else would ever have to go through “this”—“this” being finally admitting to lying over and over again, and making the admission only because he was caught. As hard things go, does this make Ford one with the people who work in his city? The cops who have to attend a horrible accident and inform the family of the victims, or the doctors who must tell parents that their child is dying? The social workers, the teachers, the ambulance drivers who, every day, do the hardest thing they ever had to do? How dare he.
Barbara O’Neil, Courtenay, B.C.
Give at the office
The cash register is an improper venue to be asking for charitable donations (“It’s time to end the cash-register-charity holdup,” From the Editors, Nov. 18). One feels embarrassed to say no, even though, as a giver who wants to give in an informed manner, it is the right thing to say. I also dislike that when you give to a charity, they inundate you with mail. This makes me want to stop giving to them, especially when every letter is an urgent appeal. If I have given, I am aware of the needs of their charity and intelligent and caring enough to do so again as my heart and finances prompt.
Mary Ellen Tierney, Kitchener, Ont.
Donations, as a contribution to the general good, are tax-deductible. I value those deductions, and if I give at the till, my tax credit is lost. Where does it go? Does the store get it? I have great respect for Governor-General David Johnston, but this is one initiative I will not be supporting.
Helen McFadden, Surrey, B.C.
I applaud your editorial, and similarly, I have always resented the accolades the government expects when, at times of crises, they say they will match donations from the public. Yes, they will do that: with our tax dollars! It is made to appear as if they are being benevolent, but it is our money they are using to match our money.
Stella Watson, Toronto
Well, poor you, having to suffer embarrassment at a checkout! Imagine how embarrassing it must be to go to a food bank or beg on the street! Instead of shutting down charity checkouts, perhaps you could have recommended a national housing program or increasing the minimum wage or closing access to tax havens. When it is reported that a one per cent tax on currency trading could end poverty, it is clear there is something wrong with our economic structure. Any ideas?
Linda Easton, Port Stanley, Ont.
Honouring a victim
Thank you for the article on the life of Michael Richard Bleakney (The End, Nov. 18). Never has a tragedy brought Ottawa’s community together as much as the horrific OC Transpo-Via Rail crash of Sept. 18. To see one of the victims of this tragedy honoured with such a fitting tribute really means a lot.
Alison Sandor, Ottawa
One size does not fit all
I recently spent an hour observing in my child’s classroom and am horrified at what has been done to the kindergarten program (“Why full-time kindergarten is failing our children,” From the Editors, Nov. 11). We’ve suddenly decided that three-year-olds entering school should be thrown in with children who are five and have been in school for a year already. There were 30 children in this class; JK and K’s are all in the same program. Some of the youngest have never held a pencil, and some of the older ones can read a book. Some children at three still need a little rest in the afternoon. Some are not able to take care of their bathroom needs. I visited the same child last year in JK. It was a beautiful setting, the classroom was calm. All the children were engaged in similar activities and moved between various centres. Now they are all being done a disservice, students and teachers.
Rita Dillon, St. Catharines, Ont.
PM, but not MP
Your Nov. 18 challenge asks us to name the “only two Canadian prime ministers [who] did not actually sit as MPs in Parliament while they were prime minister,” the answers being Sir Charles Tupper and John Turner. There were, in fact, three more: Sir John Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell were both senators, not MPs, and Arthur Meighen—under the arcane rules then in place—had to resign his seat in the Commons before accepting his second (and very brief) mandate as prime minister in 1926.
James Ross Hurley, Ottawa
In the obituary for Michael Richard Bleakney (The End, Nov. 18), his wife Kathryn’s maiden name was incorrect. It is Ramsay, not Elliott.