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Aug. 28: Man on moon, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Man on moon

All praise to Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts, and to The Globe for its excellent coverage of Mr. Armstrong’s death and the profound implications of his landing on the moon (The Man, The Mark, The Moment – Aug. 27). The courage of these pioneers is even more apparent now than it was then.

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I’ve seen no mention of the political courage required for president John F. Kennedy to announce in 1962 that “We choose to go to the moon.” There was great risk in putting his presidency behind this goal, knowing full well what failure would mean to his and his country’s prestige. As a glimpse of the boldness and leadership so often lacking in politics today, it is worth rereading his famous “moon speech.” One can also appreciate that people were less cynical and more easily inspired 50 years ago than they are today.

William Graham, Edmonton

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On July 20, 1969, I was among the millions who watched, enraptured, as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. I was a 19-year-old university student, working as hired help on a cattle ranch in the Alberta foothills. It was late and I was watching a black-and-white TV with the rancher’s two teenaged boys.

Shortly after Mr. Armstrong blew his historic line, the old rancher came out in striped pyjamas. “Turn that thing off and get to bed,” he ordered. “It’s all fake, staged in the Nevada desert.” We dutifully headed for bed.

The next day, the boys came tumbling out of the yellow school bus and approached me on the tractor. They were bubbling over. What did I think – real or staged? I sensed this was the first time they had questioned their father’s word.

I told them I thought it was real, that Mr. Armstrong really was standing on the moon. They went home, lost in thought – suddenly, their lives had expanded as they imagined themselves as him, standing on a celestial body, looking back at the lovely blue planet we share.

Peter Raymont, president, White Pine Pictures, Toronto

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Thanks, PQ!

Tom Flanagan suggests that Canadians seriously consider a Parti Québécois “demand” that employment insurance be turned over to Quebec’s jurisdiction (Why Not Let Quebec Manage Its Own EI? – Aug. 27). Alas, I fear that the PQ’s model will have Canada paying in and Quebec doling out.

However, there is much to be said for moving EI to provincial jurisdiction, provided that it is funded entirely from premiums paid within that jurisdiction. As Mr. Flanagan notes, such a change would go a long way to address the inequities in the system.

Thanks for the great idea, PQ!

Robert Cairns, Cobourg, Ont.

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Franklin? Frankly …

With due respect, a search for Sir John Franklin’s ships is arguably the least important of Arctic research projects (Historic Sovereignty – Aug. 27). While the search is no doubt exciting for the archeologists involved, there are so many pressing research problems in Canada’s North, problems that successive governments have studiously ignored or underfunded (problems related to climate, geology, ecology, permafrost melting, ocean circulation, long-range transport of pollutants, contaminant levels in wild foods, and many more).

Canada needs a vigorous Arctic research program, but it’s hard not to see the current initiative, from a government that has done more than any other to emasculate Canada’s research capability, as a cynical ploy for a couple of prime ministerial photo-ops.

Michael Healey, professor emeritus, University of British Columbia, Peachland, B.C.

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Eye-opening

Thank you for Saturday’s eye-opening front-page headline (Muslims Among Us – Aug. 25). I assume this article is the first in a series, and we can now look forward to exposés on Christians among us, Jews among us, white people among us, Canadians among us …

John Lazarus, Kingston

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I enjoyed the article, but I take exception with listing women’s rights as just one social issue among others. Women’s rights are not just another “issue” – women make up more than 50 per cent of our population, mother our children, make up a huge percentage of our work force and still have to fight for equal pay in many cases. Can you imagine referring to “tolerance of men’s rights”?

Valerie Cousins, Ottawa

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‘Free flow’?

In arguing that we’re now in a new cold war in which American championing of a “free flow of information” is being resisted by countries seeking “control of information,” Anne-Marie Slaughter (The ‘New Cold War’ Is An Information War – Aug. 25) presents a serious issue in simplistic and distorted ways.

Arguments supporting a “free flow of information” began with Washington’s post-1945 campaign to open up foreign markets to information commodities produced in New York and Hollywood. Its latest iteration is more about the priorities of corporations like Google than about promoting freedom.

Beyond this economic priority, U.S. security officials now rely on “free flow” to conduct everything from the worldwide surveillance of electronic communications (including the communications of Canadians), to their expansion of drone warfare activities from bases in the United States, to the Obama administration’s extension of U.S. “public diplomacy” through the Internet.

Edward Comor, professor, faculty of information and media studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.

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Erased

Now that Henry Srebrnik has mentally erased Quebec from his emotional map of Canada (Should … Don’t – letters, Aug. 27), he should come here to convince Québécois that erasing is the best solution for them as well. It might avoid a heartbreaking referendum campaign and liberate the Rest Of Canada from all that casserole noise and all the insignificance of the electoral campaign.

Vive le Canada libre!

Pierre Trottier, Montreal

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Golf on the Gulf

As a reasonably good golfer, I read with great interest the article on Cabot Links (Finding The Missing Links – Travel, Aug. 25).

So, basically, if you’re really rich (private plane), a really good golfer (bank shot, knockdown, spinner) and in really good shape (no motorized carts), then this is the place for you!

When Cabot’s masterminds decide to create a golf experience for the rest of us, please give me a call if you need a fourth.

Paula McPherson, St. Catharines, Ont.

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