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April 18: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Mission possible

Your front-page article on Josh Cassidy, accompanied by a photo of a tenacious and focused athlete, had me smiling all day (A Champion's Childhood Battle With Cancer – April 17). His courage and determination inspire, and humble, us all. Thank you for this truly poignant story.

Teena Bogner, Newmarket, Ont.

.......

Josh Cassidy is intimately aware that each and every day is a gift. His incredible drive is powered by a passion for competition and the prospect of delivering his personal best at every opportunity. Sometimes, that performance has “smashed the world record,” such as his most recent accomplishment: the Boston Marathon wheelchair race.

What an astounding contrast to the world of highly overpaid professional athletes who are “powered” by money and materialism, while all too often being coddled by their owners, media and fans.

Mr. Cassidy proves that, in very rare cases, the indomitability of the human spirit can transcend virtually any obstacle, including what most of us would consider “impossible.”

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.

Goon games

Let's see: four photos of hockey action, four photos of goons laying into one another without a puck in sight (Sports, April 17). By emphasizing this aspect of the game to the apparent exclusion of all others, The Globe and Mail runs the risk of becoming part of the problem.

David Bright, St. Catharines, Ont.

Wildrose wonder

I'm sure Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is a nice person, as Margaret Wente (Wildrose's Winning Ways – April 17) says, but calling her a “moderate” boggles the mind.

Ms. Smith and her party don't accept that human behaviour has damaged the environment (‘The Science Isn't Settled' – April 17), object to transfer payments they say provide nothing back, and want Alberta to develop its own immigration and pension plans. Aiding other parts of the nation does nothing for you if you think you're a country unto yourself.

If Ms. Smith's Alberta tried to take the whip hand to the rest of Canada based on its residence above a polluting and time-limited natural resource, it might find itself even more isolated than it wanted to be.

And the latest poll in Calgary (Alberta Race Hinges On A Changing Calgary – April 17) shows that Wildrose isn't the shoo-in Ms. Wente supposes.

Simon Hearn, Vancouver

......

While Margaret Wente suggests that Danielle Smith “proves you don't need quotas for women in politics,” Wildrose itself may need one. Only 11 of the party's 87 candidates in next week's Alberta election are women, by far the lowest total among the province's four major parties.

René Guerra Salazar, Hull, Que.

.......

Margaret Wente misspeaks when she says Danielle Smith “has never held elected office.” Ms. Smith was elected to the Calgary Board of Education as a trustee in the late 1990s. The board was subsequently dismissed by the province on “dysfunctional” grounds. Ms. Smith was part of that dysfunction, though doubtless she and the parties involved would protest their own propriety.

It's little wonder that the episode is not being trumpeted by Wildrose, so I forgive Ms. Wente.

David Nash, Edmonton

Charter chatter

Re Let's Not Forget The Scars Of Patriation (April 17): It wasn't the patriation of the Constitution that “set in motion a fracturing of the country's unity.” It was the government of Brian Mulroney.

Louis Desjardins, Belleville, Ont.

.......

Louise Arbour's comments on the 30th anniversary of the Charter (How The Charter Helped Define Canada – April 16) strike at least one discordant note. I refer to her assertion that “Charter litigation has provided a high-quality intellectual forum in which to debate issues that are not best left to majority diktat.”

It's not clear whether she's referring to a majority in Parliament or a majority of the electorate, but, in either case, she's offering a profoundly undemocratic vision of an elite judiciary taking the affairs of the nation out of the hands of the (presumably) low-quality public deliberations of the citizenry and their representatives. An unfortunate choice of words from a former Supreme Court justice.

One last bit of late-breaking news: The Supreme Court does not just “debate”: It decides. And the ruling decisions are those of the court's majority.

John Dixon, Powell River, B.C.

Rating immigrants

We'd like to suggest that Citizenship and Immigration Canada's proposal (Kenney On Transformational Changes To Immigration Model – online, April 10) to have immigrants' credentials assessed before arrival in Canada through external bodies requires further consideration.

We recently completed a study where we surveyed the experiences of 300 internationally trained engineers in seeking work appropriate to their skills in Canada. The 300 approached various institutions to get their credentials assessed. Our findings show that, when credentials were assessed by a professional licensing body, they had better acceptance rates from employers and professional bodies than when the credentials were assessed by an educational institution/generic assessment institution.

Our findings suggest the importance of having professional licensing bodies involved in the process of accreditation.

Usha George, dean, Ferzana Chaze, research co-ordinator, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University

Shrinking oversight

Re Ottawa Cuts Environmental Role (April 17): Happy Earth Day, Canada.

Toni Ellis, Elora, Ont.

Moore's Law

Why is it that the exponential doubling of Moore's Law is only applied to good things? Peter Diamandis and acolyte Neil Reynolds (Waiting For The Age Of Abundance – April 16) need to consider it also applies to poor choices and destructive acts.

The utopian fantasy they describe runs afoul of greed, corruption and the AK47-cent solution to the obstacles to acquiring power and money. A brighter, sustainable future requires better choices, for better reasons, than we seem to be making right now.

Peter Denton, Winnipeg

Holographic hype

The rapper Tupac Shakur is to holography what Milli Vanilli were to singing (Wanted: Dead Or Alive – Arts, April 17). While minds were, no doubt, blown in the California desert by this dead cat, this was not “a clever use of bleeding-edge holographic projection.” It was a clever use of a bleeding-edge 19th-century magic trick known as Pepper's Ghost, plus a bit of old-fashioned hype.

Holographic projection on that scale still stubbornly refuses to exist, despite decades of work by brilliant physicists. Fortunately, audiences are willing to settle for a well-executed simulation.

Rob Cruickshank, Toronto

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