Cut the grass
I believe B.C. lawyer Kirk Tousaw is incorrect when he says it would take a “police state” action to close the majority of dispensaries (“The drug dealer next door,” National, May 2). For the most part, this is an action more simply and effectively managed at the municipal level. RCMP raids are costly, impracticable, and often thrown out of court. But a municipal bylaw infraction or a court injunction is a simple regulatory matter. This is the process Vancouver is already undertaking, as well as several other B.C. cities.
David Brown, Vancouver
I grew up in the ’70s. Marijuana was illegal but available, though we did have to search for it. My concern, once it is legal, is that it will be more accessible, more available. Studies show that the use of this drug by teens and people in their 20s can actually precipitate the onslaught of inherited mental illness such as manic depression, depression or schizophrenia. I worry about young people.
Catherine Hammill, Kincardine, Ont.
I thought your cover about marijuana availability in Canada was ridiculous. Who do you think you’re scaring? I am nearly 63 and marijuana has been widely available since I was in high school (and I’m sure before that). To suggest that suddenly it is now “more available” is a howler. When I was in high school, I remember one of our supply teachers asking some of the guys where he could score some. The straight-as-an-arrow M.B.A. general manager at my first job in 1977 asked some of his employees where he could get some. One of his senior managers helped him out.
Robert Roaldi, Ottawa
“Medical marijuana” is such a misnomer. The irony is that in order to purportedly benefit their own health, pot smokers negatively affect the health of everyone around them. The smoke is harmful to children and persons with asthma and respiratory issues, as well as aesthetically unpleasant for non-users. I live in B.C. and no longer attend indoor or outdoor concerts and certain beaches because self-entitled marijuana smokers fog everyone out of the area. I find cigarette smokers are acculturated to being respectful of how their smoke affects others, but pot smokers have a politically defiant attitude that trumps any inclinations toward smoking etiquette. I am actually in favour of legalization, but only for edibles. I thought we, as a society, decided that smoking anything was rude, harmful, and socially undesirable.
Persephone Thorne, Smithers, B.C.
Still no dignity
In 2000 my husband died of lung cancer. I became interested in “dying with dignity” and at the time was irked by the elitist attitudes that prevailed in provincial and federal governments, all of whom ignored support from the public for a study of this issue, and all of whom espoused the “sanctity of life” claptrap of the day. Fast forward 15 years, after many battles and much discussion, a Supreme Court decision overrode politicians and Justin Trudeau supported medically assisted dying. I voted for him. Now I feel suckerpunched. The timid, flawed Bill C-14 will lead to further years of anguish for many aging and ill Canadians, and will spark needless court challenges (“Death’s last dignity,” National, May 2). It has ignored not only the top court in the land, but the results of many studies conducted by provincial and territorial governments and interest groups, and opinion polls. My only hope now is that the Senate will not allow this bill to become law. It’s a great shame, because we needed strong national leadership to enact progressive legislation.
Susan Bracken, Barrie, Ont.
Two issues will tarnish the legacy of the Liberal party: Legalizing euthanasia and marijuana. Instead of sunny ways, it will become murky days. It is sad to see the amount of wealth that will be lost in these two areas at a time when there are other areas in need for attention and support.
Abubakar N. Kasim, Toronto
Grim life of elephants
While elephants will no longer be chained into crowded, fetid boxcars for physically and psychologically grinding hauls that can last days, their lives at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s Florida breeding and training compound will still be unimaginably grim (“The elephant’s last bow,” Society, May 2). They will still spend most of the day chained on crippling concrete, and they will still live under the threat of bullhooks and electric prods. The elephants’ emotional attachments and desire to forage, explore, and live free of shackles don’t figure into Ringling’s business model.
Craig Shapiro, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.
MSG isn’t off the hook
In her article “Putting the mmm back in MSG” (Taste, April, 25), Sarah Elton makes light of a very serious food issue, one that is at the heart of the obesity epidemic in North America and many other parts of the world. MSG is a chemical used as a flavour-enhancer. The way it works is by controlling the appetite-regulation centre in the hypothalamus of the brain. MSG turns off that centre, and the urge to eat continues. People just keep eating when their food is laced with MSG. Sort of a restaurateur’s dream: feed them MSG and they keep coming back for more. MSG is also an excitotoxin that causes brain damage. It literally “fools” the brain into thinking that food tastes great. Another bonus for restaurants: use cheap food with little nutrition and the patrons will think it is gourmet food. MSG may help to line the pockets of the restaurant chains, but readers should be educated about the traps of fast food, compromised food, obesity and chemicals like MSG.
Kevin Parkinson, Cornwall, Ont.
Oh yeah . . . the CFL
Your May 2 Editorial states, “The NBA will be the first major North American sports league to allow corporate logos on team jerseys. Let’s stop the trend there.” That statement is factually incorrect. CFL teams have been sporting corporate logos on their jerseys since the late 1990s. Are you suggesting the CFL is not a major North American sports league?
Tom Sherbrook, Gimli, Man.
Former minister despairs
Scott Gilmore and Jean Chrétien are right when they say we should offer assistance to those on remote reserves who want to move (“The only end to a national nightmare,” April 25). As a former Manitoba minister of northern affairs, I know that many remote First Nations will never have the economic base needed to support the aspirations of their communities’ youth. The recurring tragedies in Attawapiskat have nothing to do with race or culture. The dysfunction we see in these communities is evident around the world where the economy cannot create enough jobs to support the expectations of young people. The closure of Newfoundland’s outports and the hundreds of communities that have disappeared on the Prairies are good examples. First Nations problems cannot be fixed by tinkering with the Indian Act, or even more money. We need First Nations leaders to embrace a new approach and a government that is willing to offer new solutions.
Jerry Storie, Winnipeg
Attawapiskat is on a flood plain! As sea levels rise, it will not only affect the Polynesian Islands, which are distant and seemingly not our concern. As worldwide sea levels rise, Hudson and James Bay areas will also suffer irreversible damage. Are we going to build new schools, medical centres and other facilities only to see them underwater maybe sooner than later?
George Collins, Bromont, Que.
Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump
What do Cuba, Jesus, Gloria Steinem and sleep have in common? Donald Trump, apparently. Scathing references to Trump have been included in recent Maclean’s articles on those topics, however vague and tenuous the connection. Other derogatory articles specifically focused on Trump’s hairstyle and his wife’s ethnic origin have been accompanied by shorter disparaging comments in your Bad News section. That’s not journalism. That’s obsession.
Trudy Frisk, Kamloops, B.C.
The isolation of incarceration
As members of democracies and civilized societies, we must ask, “Is incarceration punitive or rehabilitative?” In the case of Kinew James (“My friend Kinew,” National, April 18), it appears that this poor woman did not receive the necessary medical or therapeutic help for her tormented condition. Instead, she was left languishing in a cold, isolated world with only her demons to keep her company for much of her incarceration. There are many such lost people out there and I can only wonder how different our societies might be if we actually sought to treat those in need before they cause problems instead of deal with the consequences afterward. Prevention is always worth a pound of cure.
Dr. Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.
Mama’s little moneybags
I am scared for the day when kids who are given debit and credit cards grow up and don’t appreciate the importance of cash (“I’m richer than you think,” Help, April 25). It’s no secret that the use of plastic is adding to the societal problem of non-mortgage debt. Most of us are well aware of the difference between debit and credit, but the lines are continually blurred (see Visa Debit), and masked as convenience. Don’t be fooled: the only convenience is you lose the emotional impact of using cash, counting the bills and coins as you witness your wallet thin out. Using cash is a great way to budget: once you’re out, you’re out! And let’s not kid ourselves, banks and credit providers would love us to use their plastic and affiliated points programs. Is it any wonder why?
Cameron MacDonald, Winnipeg
The parent who gives a 12-year-old $25 a day on a debit card must be a whole lot richer than 99 per cent of the world. How on earth would a 12-year-old need that kind money even at today’s high prices? Is she paying the mortgage on a condo for her future?
Betty Walling, Brampton, Ont.