– Copyright cops
As happened in Vancouver, the Olympic copyright cops are out in full force, bullying shop owners to remove anything they perceive to be an infringement of copyright, even the Olympic motto.
A British shopkeeper with five hula hoops in her window was ordered to remove them (A Nation Of Shopkeepers Meets The Guardians Of The Olympic Brand – June 20). What about the hula-hoop manufacturer? Did it infringe on the Olympic logo by producing the hoops? I am constantly amazed at what can be copyrighted – colours, for instance. One company, whose name fortunately escapes me (don’t want to give them any free publicity) has copyrighted a bright yellow colour. How can it do that?
And can I use those three words in the Olympic motto – Higher, Faster, Stronger – in my writing or speech, or have they been expropriated, too? Maybe the motto should have another word added: Greedier.
Pamela Kent, Aldergrove, B.C.
The only thing more pathetic than the inappropriate e-mail from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk is the puerile behaviour of politicians wanting to make a big thing out of something trivial – and the news media for inflaming the situation (Kenney Sorry For Cursing About Alberta Politician – June 20). I wish everybody would grow up and focus on more important matters.
Richard Dean, Nelson, B.C.
Jason Kenney’s rude e-mail about Thomas Lukaszuk brings to mind an axiom, something about pots calling kettles …
Jonathan Taylor, Lethbridge, Alta.
According to John Baird, Canadians have rejected the carbon tax (Ottawa Kills The Emissions Messenger – June 20). Did he get the memo that B.C. implemented such a tax and, based on a 2011 poll, that almost 70 per cent of British Columbians support it?
The experts tell us that to meet emissions targets and become a global leader in innovative clean energy technologies, we must price carbon. If only the government would listen.
Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
While carbon capture and storage (CCS) is costly, when the costs are analyzed per tonne of CO2 reduced, they are in line with other CO2 reduction technologies such as wind and solar.
What makes CCS challenging is the large up-front capital cost – $1-billion or more per project. But the prize is significant. On average, a CCS facility will reduce more than a million tonnes of CO2 annually. Costs are expected to decline as the technology is advanced.
Canada and the world will need all the energy technologies we have, including wind, solar, other renewables and CCS, to address climate change. Let’s ensure we develop all of them, but let’s also remember that CCS offers the largest single opportunity for Canada to reduce its CO2 footprint in the next 40 years.
Eric Beynon, director, strategy and policy, Integrated CO2 Network
Some 60 years ago, my parents used to drive my brother and me between home in Montreal and summer cottage on Cape Cod, always approaching the Canada-U.S. border with trepidation. Mother was a smuggler, not in the traditional sense of guns, liquor or pot. Her thing, equally illegal, was slips of African violets, which she transported across the border from one home to the other for replanting.
Her terror of being caught would spike within two miles of the customs houses from either direction. She would order total silence in the car because she strongly believed customs agents had detection devices that could pick up what we said.
Years later, I submitted a creative-writing essay called “Borders,” in which I speculated about what would happen if we were caught. “It would be prison for sure for my parents,” I wrote, “and my brother and I would probably wind up in some foster home in either Quebec or New Hampshire where we would have to eat gruel.”
Now comes the startling news that Canadian customs officials have been using detection devices to eavesdrop on private conversations (Privacy Concerns Spur Toews To Shelve Airport-Eavesdropping Plan – online, June 19).
I loved my mother, now deceased, although I always thought she was a little neurotic. Now I realize she was prescient.
Jon Anderson, Chicago
Not as fat as the rest
Margaret Wente writes that exercise is not helpful in decreasing body weight (The War On Obesity Is A Big Fat Flop – June 16). It is true that unless exercise is extremely strenuous, it does not in itself decrease body weight. This is because our brain is controlled by numerous hormonal and neural connections that do everything possible to maintain our weight. This was critical for survival when access to food was not so plentiful.
Nevertheless, people who exercise regularly are less obese than the sedentary. Exercise requires discipline and time, which means that there is less time for sitting in front of the television or computer.
I would add that many people gain weight when they cannot adapt to stress. This is because eating is very pleasurable and can alleviate anxiety. Thus, reducing stress also helps control food intake.
Mladen Vranic, emeritus professor, physiology and medicine, University of Toronto
Cruel and unusual
I have been following the issue of assisted suicide/death with dignity/whatever other semantics one wishes to apply. But André Picard (Picking A Vocabulary For Dying – June 19) presents one of the most rational analyses I have read.
Like Gloria Taylor, I am trapped by an incurable neurodegenerative disease in a deteriorating body. In my case, it is advanced, progressive MS rather than ALS, but short of the feeding tube, life has become equally challenging. Quality of life is very important to me, as is the right to choose when the time has come.
Those who oppose the right of the competent individual to make this choice should consider this: Forcing me or anyone else to endure the sheer mental anguish that is part of living when the quality of life, no matter how it is measured, is gone, is cruel and unusual punishment.
And that is totally wrong.
John Yorke, New Glasgow, N.S.
The past’s baggage
Michael Ignatieff writes of ridding the party of the past’s baggage, then piles on more of it by rejecting outright a Liberal/NDP merger (The Liberal Party Belongs To The Young – June 20). The PCs and the Reform Party had to put aside their baggage to unite as the Conservatives to win power. The Liberals and NDP must do the same if they hope to return Canada to a country that respects democracy, that acts on facts, not ideology, that – as Mr. Ignatieff urges – wants to make sure “no Canadian is left out in the cold.”
Helena Whitmore, Vancouver
Michael Ignatieff says the Liberal Party needs to “rid the party of the baggage of the past.” Would he describe himself as Louis Vuitton or Samsonite?
Darcy Charles Lewis, Calgary