All for $3 T-shirts
Re Profits That Hang By A Thread (Business – Feb. 17) posits that “cutthroat retail competition” leads to lower prices for customers. This environment is created by monster retailers such as Wal-Mart, Costco and Target. They possess enormous purchasing power and undercut other competitors, eventually wiping them out. It is this same “cutthroat” competition, spurred on by trade liberalization, that results in dehumanized work environments in foreign sweatshops. Last fall, The Globe featured an in-depth report (The True Cost Of A T-Shirt – Oct. 12) decrying the working conditions, slave level wages and buildings that became the death traps for hundreds of workers in such sweatshops.
Loss of good paying manufacturing jobs, deaths in foreign sweatshops … all for $3 T-shirts. As Lord Byron’s poem The Dying Gladiator angrily put it, “butchered to make a Roman holiday.” This is our legacy.
Steve Sanderson, Quispamsis, N.B.
Former Mexican president Vicente Fox hit the nail on the head with his article about the futility of the so-called war on drugs (For Mexico, Legalization Is Freedom – Feb. 17).
U.S. Prohibition should have served as a reminder when governments first began spending billions of dollars to try and stamp out something with such a large market and resourceful suppliers.
By some estimates, the cannabis trade in this country is as much as $8-billion a year, making this “industry” one of the most productive in the Canadian economy. Other statistics indicate that simple pot use is increasing dramatically, with some estimates quoting a two-thirds jump in the past decade. The Fraser Institute estimates that the federal government could pull in $2-billion a year by effectively nationalizing the industry. Instead, the government spends many millions to “fight” it.
Bottom line: Take the extremely lucrative drug trade away from organized crime and let it be run by organized government.
Dave Ashby, Toronto
Why didn’t Mr. Fox promote legalization while he was still in power, in a position of authority and influence? The war on drugs is a phony war that can’t be won; Mr. Fox is just acknowledging the obvious.
Manuel Matas, Winnipeg
The Conservatives’ “rethink” on their income splitting pledge (Income Splitting Not The Only Option – Feb. 17) comes as a shock to the system we call the family. My husband and I were really looking forward to a break, but this isn’t it. The necessity of running a home on two incomes has undermined our children’s most basic needs. The sliver of time left over at day’s end when both parents work outside the home is totally inadequate for families to connect face to face and heart to heart. The Harper government has failed the family big-time with this one.
Dayna Mazzuca, Victoria
Not to split hairs, but a man earning $180,000 with a stay-at-home wife is not being treated with “gross unfairness” (Income Splitting – letters, Feb. 14). This is two people doing two jobs. But two schoolteachers with children are doing three jobs. They get up early to take kids to daycare, pick them up later, make dinner, do housework and much more.
Marlene Brown, Vancouver
Letter writer Laura Way’s response to Jeffrey Simpson on income splitting (Splitting Headache – letters, Feb. 17) implies that seniors get preferential treatment over families, and that this a bad thing.
Absolutely. As well, we must refuse these old people seats on crowded buses and remove expensive handrails on steep staircases. The elderly are a pampered lot whose silly sentimental impediments do not contribute to our going forward with élan.
Graham Watt, Sackville, N.B.
The good death
Similar to the McMaster family (The ‘Good Death’ – Focus, Feb. 15), I watched my father gasping for his last breaths in the middle of the night. At the nursing station, my calls for help were met with blank faces and laconic response.
When the doctors arrived, they calmly told me my father was dying, but only after I asked. This after he had spent weeks in hospital, living with fear and extraordinarily little support from staff. Our medical advances are stunning, but we need to build compassion back into the health-care system.
Janet Durbin, Toronto
The good death would be the right to a timely, medically assisted gentle passing, chosen by an elderly patient who is grateful for and satisfied with a long life well-lived, rather than an enforced miserable final existence with no quality or dignity.
Jill Kannegiesser, Toronto
There were a number of points worth considering in Transgender Kids: Have We Gone Too Far? (Feb. 15), such as providing hormone therapy to children whose bodies are still in flux, and the fact that such medical interventions are occurring without the long-term results being tracked.
However, the column used the wrong gender pronoun: “His name used to be Oliver.” It’s “her” name. Respecting gender pronouns shouldn’t be negotiable.
Daryl Elving-Klassen, Victoria
‘Tricks’ and snurfing
Shame on Gordon Jones (‘Tricks’ For Gold – letters, Feb. 14), who writes that synchronized swimming involves “essentially doing ‘tricks’ ” and requires less athleticism and fitness. I challenge him any time, any day, to attempt a synchronized swimmer’s “tricks” without drowning or dying from heart failure in the process.
Yes, there are judgment sports in the Olympics, and yes, some sports involve a qualitative decision, and no, not all are measured against a stopwatch. But to say such a person is not an athlete or not fit is wrong. And to diminish one group of athletes diminishes them all.
David Langlois, Russell, Ont.
I do not question the determination, hard work and talent required by the athletes in the new sports that have become so prominent in the Olympics. However, I do agree with Mr. Jones that as an observer, it’s thrilling to be able to see with our own eyes who has won an event. Faster, Higher, Stronger are all visible results, and preferable to having a panel of judges tell us who the winner is.
Diane Bethune, Ottawa
Mr. Jones might lose presentation marks for suggesting that these new athletic activities are derivatives of skateboarding. I would suggest surfing as the watery origin for these refrigerated offshoots.
Furthermore, when surfers headed for the hills with their boards, their snowy runs became “rides.” There’s nothing sexy about snurfing.
Martti Lahtinen, Chelsea, Que.