I read with gratitude the thorough and excellent article about marijuana laws (“We need to legalize marijuana now,” National, June 17). Nearly half the adults in our country feel entitled to disregard drug laws. When people pick and choose which laws they will obey, we have a seriously pervasive cultural problem. In a democracy, we give our permission to be governed. It is clear that there is no public permission for marijuana laws. It is time for Parliament to wake up and smell the coffee—and isn’t it lucky that coffee has never been banned!
David Tanner, Cobourg, Ont.
Marijuana is a mood-altering drug capable of producing dependency and adverse effects on memory, learning and behaviour. It also contributes to increased traffic accidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that between three and 11 per cent of those fatally injured in car accidents had marijuana in their blood and that 70 per cent of those had both marijuana and alcohol in their blood. And a study in August 2012 found that adolescents who, before 18 years of age, regularly smoked marijuana and continued for years afterwards, showed an average decline in IQ of eight points. According to the British Lung Foundation, smoking one marijuana joint a day for a year is as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 tobacco cigarettes a day for a year. It is unrealistic to assume that decriminalizing marijuana, and taxing it as alcohol and tobacco are taxed today, will create an economic bonus. If decriminalized, the increased use will result in higher health care and social costs, as has occurred with alcohol and tobacco use. Legalizing marijuana is no solution.
C. Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice-President, REAL Women of Canada, Richmond Hill, Ont.
I’ve been on the anti-drug campaign all my life, but Ken MacQueen’s article raises interesting arguments as to why marijuana should not be considered as a harmful drug in comparison to tobacco or alcohol. It has made me really rethink my opinion on the question of legalization. When he states that “94 per cent of the costs to society of cannabis comes from keeping it illegal,” decriminalization seems like a no-brainer to me. If alcohol and tobbaco are so harmful to our health and are being taxed, why is something less harmful not reaping the same benefits?
Dale Siggerfjell, Newmarket, Ont.
It is not surprising that when Bob Plamondon, author of The Truth About Trudeau (“Nothing to write home about,” Society, June 10) sees the word “Trudeau,” he reacts as a bull to a red flag, and chooses to argue with success. The greatness of P.E. Trudeau was not just in what he did, but when he did it. A government can do all kinds of things (e.g., increase or decrease immigration, increase or decrease taxes and interest rates, etc.), but it has to be done at the right time. Trudeau knew that, Brian Mulroney did not. That is why Trudeau left the Liberal party in good shape, while Mulroney left his Conservative party with fewer seats than a Honda Civic.
Ivan Pokus, Winnipeg
Bob Plamondon makes it sound as if all new immigrants, after living here for a minimum of three years and passing a test to get their citizenship, would have no free will but to blindly vote for Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals. That is an insult to all Canadians, not just new Canadians. Plamondon states that immigrant numbers during the Brian Mulroney era jumped from 90,000 in 1984 to more than 250,000 by 1993. But during that time, Hong Kong’s pending handover to China drove a lot of people to emigrate. The jump had little to do with policies of the Tories or anybody else.
Bill Fung, Calgary
Media-elite conspiracy theories
Has the mayor of North America’s fourth-largest city been a crack-cocaine user while in office? Barbara Amiel says, “Who cares?” and suggests that, if this were a left-wing individual, the press would lay off (“The attack on Rob Ford is over the top,” Opinion, June 17). If Justin Trudeau were in a similar narrative involving drugs and shootings, then got on a treadmill of arrogant denials and refusals to answer a single specific question, she thinks these same journalists would leave him alone? Mayor Rob Ford has a pattern of dishonesty, stonewalling and at least one instance where he has admitted to lying to journalists. Ford is no victim here. What is sad and fatiguing about all this is the irrational, suffocating swamp of partisanship in which we all seem to be up to our necks.
Vezi Tayyeb, Toronto
Reading about Rob Ford and an alleged video its creators have demanded $200,000 for, consider this: Any extortionist worth his salt who has something in his possession that he considers of value—say, pictures or videos of questionable behaviour by a politician—would first determine its monetary value to the media. If the media are interested, the next step is to try to sell it back for a higher price to the person who wants to keep it under wraps. In the Ford case, as soon as the media came close to gathering the $200,000 for the alleged video, it was suddenly “gone.”
Cam Trudel, Peterborough, Ont.
We’re all winners
In your article about bilingualism (“Tongue-tied no longer,” National, June 10), you write: “Canada’s language battles are over. And the winner, judging by the progress and gains made over nearly a half-century, is clear: French Canada, by a long shot.” Declaring a winner would suggest a loser. I’d argue all Canadians have been winners, reaping the dividends of these struggles, dating back to the very beginning of this country. Canada has grown up, not despite these struggles, but because of them. Nothing that’s worthwhile comes easily.
Joe Banks, Osgoode, Ont.
Proud public broadcasting
Colby Cosh accuses the CBC of having outlived its usefulness (“Outgrowing the Mother Corp.,” Opinion, June 17). While the CBC has one of the most engaging broadcaster websites anywhere, Cosh first says it is outdated, then complains it should not be allowed on the web. What kind of illogical poppycock is that?
Dan Perley, Costa Mesa, Calif.
With unprecedented concentration of broadcast outlets, the presence of a public broadcaster is more important than ever. Private broadcasters are by default driven by the bottom line, so they provide sound bites instead of investigative journalism, they license U.S. shows instead of developing content and they filter their content to appease advertisers. We are not customers to private media; we are the product they are delivering to their clients. What CBC, particularly CBC Radio, delivers does not affect private media one iota. If it did, private media would offer similar, better, programming and win those audiences to sell to their clients—but they never have and they never will.
David Bradshaw, Kitchener, Ont.
Wait in the cafeteria, grandma!
After seeing what risks are involved in the delivery process, I am unsure why allowing more people to witness the birth of a new family member is a good idea (“Make way for the labour crashers!” Help, June 17). Even low-risk pregnancies can go completely awry, and if this is the case, how will extra health care professionals work in a room packed with panicking family? Having numerous family members go in and out of the room only makes infection control more difficult. I absolutely agree that the birth of a baby is an emotional and intimate time in a family’s life, but let’s keep the number of family members to an absolute minimum for the safety and comfort of our loved ones.
Natalie Dufresne, Lethbridge, Alta.
More than Montreal and Toronto
Your list of municipal villains (“Why municipal governments are winning the race to the bottom,” From the Editors, June 17) overlooked Joe Fontana, mayor of London, Ont., who is charged with breach of trust while he was minister of labour in Paul Martin’s cabinet, for allegedly using government funds to pay for his son’s wedding reception—the same son who is president of a now-disqualified charity that was dispensing mammoth tax receipts for modest contributions, and whose governing board Fontana chaired from 2010 to 2012. Political leadership in general, the world over, is in a sad state of decay.
C.W. Patterson, Goderich, Ont.
No one-sided flight fight
Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a happy and proud Air Canada Express employee, I was ecstatic to finally see WestJet featured equally in an aviation article where all are facing a bumpy ride (“The gates of hell,” Business, June 17). Buckle up!
Corry Rae Kowalchuk, Grimsby, Ont.