Re Scandals Provide Politicians With A Taxpayer Litmus Test (Aug. 12): John Ibbitson writes that Ontarians are “as angry over a penny-ante affair involving a few senators’ expenses as they are over the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted in cancelled [provincial] gas-plant contracts.” He asks: “What gives?”
The public suspects that senators claimed expenses incorrectly to enrich themselves personally.
Yes, the total amount may be less than C.D. Howe’s famous dismissal of “What’s a million?” But perhaps voters do not measure moral failings with a cash register.
A.A. Sayeed, Toronto
Re Harper Stands Firm On Wireless Policy (Aug. 10): Canadian consumers apparently dislike telecom providers so much that, even when pricing is competitive to the U.S., they want to see telecoms penalized. Even if the rules are unfair.
Imagine for a moment if the government owned all the land (just as it owns the wireless spectrum). Imagine if Stephen Harper limited the land Tim Hortons could purchase to build new stores, favouring Starbucks. Imagine if Tim Hortons could not buy Second Cup, while Starbucks could. That would be ridiculous, but that is what the government is doing to wireless.
I fault the wireless industry for not operating in such a way as to have consumers love their wireless provider as they love their coffee provider. But I also fault Mr. Harper for taking advantage of this situation – all for votes. It’s not about more competition, it’s about winning the next election. And that is wrong.
Cameron McCuaig, Mississauga
Re These So-Called Vacations (Aug. 12): For someone who is a founding member and chair of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, Jamie Gruman seems to be quite negative. Perhaps he should consult with the other founding members of the CPPA for some positive reinforcement.
John Morrison, Burlington, Ont.
In poorer countries, people cannot think of taking a break from eking out an existence. In more affluent countries, people who are entitled to paid vacations from work often find they no longer enjoy these seemingly aimless, purposeless periods and instead are opting to do some volunteering, perhaps combined with travel to a new destination. “Voluntourism” is a rewarding way to spend your “free” time, where any bugs and uncomfortable beds are part of the experience.
Avril Taylor, Dundas, Ont.
Re At Least The Russian Arctic Is Open For Business (Aug. 12): As one of those Arctic reconnaissance specialists who flew literally hundreds of RCAF surveillance missions in the polar basin during the 1950s and early 1960s, I want to applaud Michael Byers’s keen perception of today’s Arctic.
Half a century ago, the red spinners of Canadian Lancasters were frequent visitors to Russia’s floating ice stations and mobile platforms, which dotted the Arctic Ocean. Clearly, the Russians earned their spurs in mastering the Arctic’s architecture.
F. Ronald Cleminson, Ottawa
Re Judge Iran’s Regime By Its Actions, Not By Empty Words (Aug. 10): Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says we should judge the Iranian government by the actions it takes, and not by its empty platitudes or symbolic gestures. Shouldn’t we apply the same standard to the current government’s (in)action on real threats we can actually do something about here in Canada, such as climate change?Stephen Moore, Regina
Re False Miracles And True Inspiration (Focus, Aug. 10): A sincere thank you to The Globe’s Stephanie Nolen. She has excelled in presenting a balanced, factual picture of social challenges and economic opportunities in India. The path to progress and prosperity lies in true recognition of the status of women, as India and other countries continue to wrestle with these issues.
I look forward to her reports from Latin America.
Dhanu Kothari, Toronto
Inside a fire station
Re A Nation Of $100,000 Firefighters (Aug. 8): I have been a firefighter for nine years. I spent nearly $40,000 to become one, and could never imagine how the job would affect me for the rest of my life. I am privileged to do it, but I struggle with things I have seen and how they affect me.
Did I know this is what I was getting into? A little – but I did not realize the diversity of the job.
Yes, fire calls are down at times, but we are not searching for things to do. We are continually training for the “what if” situations, doing inspections and providing information to the public.
We know that we will get called for everything that we are trained for, and that we will also respond to a lot of “we didn’t know who else to call.”
Paul Graham, member, Woodstock Professional Firefighters Association
Boys of summer
Major League Baseball has a strange definition for “performance-enhancing drugs.” They suspend players who have not tested positive for anything, but are suspected of having taken PEDs.
On the other hand, players like Curt Shilling, who used anesthetics and anti-inflammatories (Marcaine, cortisone), which clearly helped his performance, is revered and inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.
Without these drugs, it is unlikely the Red Sox would have won their League Champion series, let alone the World Series in 2004. Rather than picking and choosing which drugs should be banned, all drugs should be illegal. That way it would be much easier for fans to know that all games are honest and fair.
Steen Petersen, Nanaimo, B.C.
Re The Oddball Game With A Hold On The Soul Of The Old British Empire (Aug. 10): Cricket is the favourite bat-and-ball game of more than a billion people with, apparently, the Chinese set to join them. The writer, contrasting cricket and baseball, asks: Could such a thing as a match decided by rain happen in baseball?
Well, indeed, does anything ever happen in baseball, a game involving guys on steroids, wearing facial hair and long underwear, throwing a ball past another at an imaginary target in which, on a good day, meaningful contact is made by bat with ball less than 10 per cent of the time?
Little wonder baseball’s fans are so entranced by statistics. There is precious little action on the field of play to engage them. That would explain why interest in such a game is essentially confined, to paraphrase your correspondent, to America and its former Empire.
Gordon Jones, Glen Margaret, N.S.