Canadians. Full stop
Re Couple Under ‘Constant Guard,’ Family Told (Aug. 7): The responsibility of a Canadian government is to “vigorously defend and represent the interests of Canadians abroad” – full stop. The Conservative Party and Jason Kenney do not have the authority to pick and choose who they will go to bat for – Mr. Kenney isn’t entitled to add the qualifier “particularly if we conclude that Canadians have been unjustly detained” (italics mine).
It is our national embarrassment and disgrace that Canadian citizens continue to languish in prisons around the world (and at home, e.g. Omar Khadr), while this government cherry-picks those citizens it will support.
Nancy Dickson, Cambridge, Ont.
Words in a war
Heartbroken is the only word I can use to describe my reaction to Elie Wiesel’s message in a paid ad in The Globe and Mail (Wiesel Accuses Hamas In News Ad Of Child Sacrifice – Aug. 7).
I first heard Mr. Wiesel speak in 1981. I was 16, feeling very alone in the world after my mother’s death. It was the height of the “boat people” crisis and a series of events led me to a local synagogue where I heard Mr. Wiesel. His message of peace and call to free the oppressed whatever their religion or location was powerful and inspired in me a deep sense of kinship and purpose – one that has followed me into adulthood.
So it is with a broken heart and tears in my eyes that I write these words: Mr. Wiesel, shame on you.
Helesia Luke, Vancouver
If publishing both Patrick Martin’s article and the ad in the same issue was an attempt at “even-handedness,” it failed miserably. The Times of London was right to reject the Elie Wiesel-Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ad: Propaganda, whatever the sufferings and painful historical memories of the individual who penned it, is still propaganda.
Nicholas Lomonossoff, Nepean, Ont.
Elie Wiesel’s words remind us again why he is a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is indeed Hamas that makes dark the future of Palestinian children. How can anyone defend a movement that is willing to use its own young as shields?
Gilda Goldstein, Montreal
Perhaps Elie Wiesel should turn his eyes on why Hamas exists in Gaza. Surely the oppressive conditions under which Palestinians continue to live there have something to do with it. Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas followed the conditions imposed on him, including accepting Israel’s existence, and he was rewarded with more settlements.
Suleman Remtulla, Mississauga
Re Why ‘Strategic’ Bombing Doesn’t Work (Aug. 6): Palestinian polling done in June for David Pollock, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, revealed that a majority of Palestinians supported recognizing Israel and renouncing violence, a desire to be able to work in Israel, that Hamas should maintain a ceasefire and that the Palestinian Authority should send officials and security officers to take over Gaza.
The bombing of Israel by Hamas, along with the expected retaliation, pays dividends to an increasingly unpopular Hamas through international aid that will be siphoned off to buy weapons and enrich the leaders. Most of the population of Gaza are unwilling participants – hostages held and murdered for ransom.
Richard Zylka, Calgary
Life, in 140 strokes
Re Trudeau Autobiography Due Out In Fall (Aug. 7): Usually people wait until they grow up before the write their autobiography. Justin Trudeau doesn’t need to write a book. He could post his life accomplishments in a tweet. I think 140 characters would do it.
Ken Parker, Ottawa
How many spills?
Re A State Of Emergency After An Ecological Disaster (Aug. 7): How many tailing pond disasters, oil spills and pipeline leaks will it take before the public sector recognizes that the long-term well-being of watersheds and ecosystems is more important than the short-term financial gains made by the extractive sector? Development is important, but at all cost? Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
Rx for ethics clash
Re We Can’t Turn Doctors Into Moral Eunuchs (Aug. 7): In deciding what medical procedures are best for patients, physicians must often make ethical decisions. That is a universally recognized aspect of their profession. However, doctors who refuse to prescribe contraceptives because of their religious beliefs are not practising in the best interest of their patients, they are practising religious bigotry. To criticize this is not tantamount to asking doctors to become moral eunuchs. It is expecting them to put their patients’ health first.
Olga Eizner Favreau, Montreal
The day physicians have to deny we have a conscience, as well as beliefs and a personal value system, is the day that individuals who are not comfortable with this should resign our licences.
K.M. Peckan, M.D., Waterloo, Ont.
Firm and final
Re Mastering The Art Of Haggling In Bangkok (Arts & Life, Aug. 5): While some take pleasure in haggling in developing countries, others are appalled at these tedious transactions, degrading to vendor and purchaser. What pleasure can there be in beating a desperately poor vendor down in price, or alternatively, being cheated by one whose poverty makes him dishonest in the marketplace? Finding a mutually beneficial “fair price” is mostly an illusion in the circumstances, while offering different prices to different buyers based on their shopping apparel is little more than discrimination.
When I travel where haggling rules the marketplace, my wallet stays firmly closed. There are other ways of doing this that are beneficial to travellers and vendors. On a recent trip to Mexico, I shopped at a large retail co-operative outlet run by a consortium of Yucatan villages where there was no haggling and all crafts were locally made.
Fred Donnelly, Rothesay, N.B.
Got your attention
Re Green Carpet Gets A Yellow Card (editorial, Aug. 7): A world-class soccer competition requires world class fields. Let’s see The Globe’s editorial board play several rounds of a game rife with tackles that leave knees and elbows skinned, and the board will sing a different tune.
If the best men of soccer came to play here, you can be sure they would get real grass. They would demand it, as the women of soccer are now. The issue really isn’t artificial grass. It’s the difference in the treatment of professional men footballers, versus professional women footballers.
The threat of a court challenge is just that: a threat. And that perhaps is the most significant point of all: It got your otherwise occupied attention, didn’t it?
Alana Del Greco, Brampton, Ont.