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Dec. 30: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Remain calm

Uranium shipments to and from the U.S. are nothing new (Uranium Shipments Quietly Heading South – Dec. 28), and a recent bilateral agreement to convert uranium to low enriched material is part of a broader nuclear non-proliferation initiative on the part of the U.S. that this and previous Canadian governments have supported since the 1990s.

The description of highly enriched material as “weapons grade,” however, is misleading, as the material transferred to Canada may have a concentration of more than 20 per cent U-235 but not the grade (90 per cent or more) required for nuclear weapons manufacture.

George MacLean, Winnipeg

#parliament

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says he wants to use social media to “crowdsource” the direction of government (Ottawa Cautiously Dipping Its Toe In Social-Media Pool – Dec. 29). Is this not the purpose of Parliament? Yet, this government refused every amendment suggested by opposition members to a raft of legislation during the last session. Would opposition MPs be more successful if they just tweeted their suggestions?

Jason Scott, Ottawa

Birthday bash

Re CBC's Birthday Cost At Least $6.6-Million (Dec. 29): If the Harper government is looking for reasons to scale back funding to the CBC, it has the smoking gun.

Larry Comeau, Ottawa

.......

Your headline is a typical cheap shot against the CBC. Your article makes it clear that $1.5-million was earmarked to celebrate the Crown corporation's 75th anniversary. The programming funds alluded to were used to make – programs. This doesn't seem to be a sinister or extravagant plot, given the CBC's raison d'être.

Sarah Jennings, Ottawa

Term limits

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan need look no further than the op-ed column by Belinda Stronach (Politics As A Tour Of Duty, Not A Career – Dec. 29) to explain his suggestion that politicians still lag behind the public in grasping what's at stake (Ontario Getting A Dose Of Duncanomics – Dec. 29).

Most politicians are afraid to speak the truth for fear of losing their seats. As Ms. Stronach says, “The focus is almost entirely on the mechanics of getting re-elected once elected,” rather than “what's good for future generations of Canadians.”

Her idea of term limits deserves consideration, although she doesn't explain how this system would handle party leadership.

Ann Sullivan, Peterborough, Ont.

Beyond home sales

The idea that homeowners with negative equity are less likely to move (Prolonged U.S. Housing Slump Taking Toll On Labour Market Recovery – Report on Business, Dec. 28) doesn't hold up when tested against the data.

Joseph Gyourko and his co-authors, whose research is cited in your article, based their analysis on an incomplete data set. My research has shown they dropped certain crucial homeowners from their data: those who moved without selling their homes, for example, by renting to tenants or leaving a property vacant.

When those other data are added to the mix, the picture changes. Homeowners with negative equity are at least as mobile as those with positive equity.

We need to look beyond home sales when considering the forces that influence mobility. Just because people can't sell their homes doesn't mean they won't leave them.

Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, senior economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Fat theory

Re Free To Be FAT (Dec. 28): Don't frame obesity as a private problem of limited physical activity or gluttony – it's a public and collective problem of poorly designed communities and markets saturated with unhealthy and unaffordable food choices.

When society shames the victim and makes obesity a private issue, it surrenders key public policy tools – education, taxation, subsidization, poverty reduction and infrastructure – that can change behaviour.

Meghan Spilka O'Keefe, Ottawa

.......

There's one place where fat is fine: on the line of scrimmage in football. Those pot-bellied guys would never make it in rugby.

Alun Hughes, Thorold, Ont.

One of our own

Your article The Top 10 Ideas Firing Up The Food World (Life, Dec. 28) mentions, in passing, “Hugh Acheson, the Ottawa-raised chef who's become a star in Georgia.” No mention of his wider acclaim, or of his new cookbook, A New Turn in the South, written with wit and using his own illustrations. His focus is family, community, local farms, freshest, best. In Canada, I see no celebration of one of our own's astounding success.

Hugh's repute, at barely 40, is international. But Canadian bookstores and the media make little, if any, mention of him. He drove his own education: to seek the best to work for in Ottawa and San Francisco. Unlike many chefs, he is human, kind and beloved. Mario Batali, no less, says: “Hugh is one of my heroes.”

Hugh was on the coveted cover of Food & Wine magazine before he was 30, and the James Beard Foundation has honoured him many times. I believe we should take great pride in him.

And, oh yeah, he's my son.

Mary Osler, Toronto

Three coins in a cup

So the Governor-General wants us to keep tossing our coins into the homeless person's cup (Canadian Giving Subject Of Governor-General's New Year's Message – online, Dec. 28). What a great way to show we're a caring country.

Andy Mulcahy, Victoria

Spot check

The deliberate posting of RIDE spot checks on Twitter, or any other social media, is simply unconscionable (Drunk Driving Spot Checks Battle Spoilers On Social Media – front page, Dec. 28). Perhaps these irresponsible tipsters would tweet a different tune if they were to lose a loved one as a result of a drunk driver who managed to avoid a spot check after being tipped off.

Heide Bell, Hamilton, Ont.

.......

There's a very logical reason why citizens are trying to “obstruct justice.” That's because many social drinkers don't consider anyone caught with a blood-alcohol concentration between .05 per cent and .08 per cent to be “drunk.” So these citizens are simply fighting bad law.

Tim Runge, Guelph, Ont.

Fact Czech

Any headline writer who uses the words “bounces” and “Czechs” in the same sentence (Canada Bounces Czechs – Sports, Dec. 29) clearly didn't get the gift of imagination for Christmas. And as for Czech Mate on the front page …

Gareth Jones, Toronto

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