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A Montreal soup kitchen in 1931. (CP/National Archives of Canada))
A Montreal soup kitchen in 1931. (CP/National Archives of Canada))

What readers think

Dec. 1: With government help, I’d be on the breadline, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Breadline strategy

Do I have it right? We buy stock in a company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, then hold it until The Auto Industry Regains Its Roar (Report on Business, Nov. 30). We then want to sell it, when it’s worth less than half the price we paid for it (Ontario Pushes Sale of GM Stake – Nov. 30).

Thank goodness I am managing my own retirement savings. With government help, I would be on the breadline.

Clifford Parfett, Ottawa

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Just wondering

Some questions for Foreign Minister John Baird (John Baird Rebukes The UN – Nov. 30): If Israel fears that the General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a “non-member observer state” will lead to cases in the International Criminal Court, is that because Israel has something to hide? Does the Harper government believe that is justified? Since Israel has refused to become an ICC member, the threat is a paper tiger.

Israel could forestall, or even prevent, such a move by the Palestinians by proposing immediate renewal of peace negotiations aiming at a two-state solution based on the borders that existed at the outbreak of war on June 5, 1967, with some agreed-upon adjustments.

There are extremists in both camps who make negotiation difficult, perhaps even hopeless. But Mr. Baird is right about one thing: Only negotiations can bring a permanent settlement. Now is a time to press both parties, not a time to punish one.

Ramsay Cook, Toronto

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If the Palestinians receive state membership in UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, does this mean Israel can have Hamas prosecuted for war crimes against humanity?

Marty Cutler, Toronto

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Foreign Minister John Baird went out of his way to commit Canada’s prestige to a lost cause (138 For, 9 Against, 41 Abstentions – Nov. 30). Voting the way Canada did, apart from the U.S. and Israel, were the Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

What does that say about Mr. Baird’s international credibility?

Graeme S. Mount, Sudbury, Ont.

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Cheap’s costly toll

In 2005, I was running an integrated water management workshop in Dhaka (The Price Of Always Wanting – Life & Arts, Nov. 30). As part of this workshop, we undertook a number of site visits outside the city centre. In passing a large garment factory, I noticed a banner announcing “ISO 14001 Approved.” ISO 14001 approval means a company has complied with certain voluntary environmental management regulations as established by the International Standards Organization.

At the end of the week, this multistory building collapsed, killing several hundred workers, many of whom were children. I asked my colleague how this company could have received ISO 14001 approval in the first place. His response was that the owners paid for the banner. Ultimately, it is the workers who pay, while we reap the benefits of cheap clothing through corrupt business practice. As the holiday season approaches, I encourage everyone to read labels, ask questions, do background research and think before buying. Lives may depend on it.

Larry Swatuk, director, International Development Program, School of Environment Enterprise and Development, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo

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Blackboard math

My, how things have changed (Elementary Teachers Set To Stage One-Day Strikes – Nov. 30). When I was a child, the spoiled, whiny individuals were to be found among those sitting at the small desks in a classroom.

Scott Roberts, Oakville, Ont.

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Dalton McGuinty says elementary school teachers must be mindful of the province’s financial situation when demanding an increase in wages. If the province hadn’t been so poorly managed over the past several years, perhaps the financial situation wouldn’t be as bad as it is.

R. Beaupre, Guelph, Ont.

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Seven names

Given the enormous efforts of of the Grandmothers’ Advocacy Network in support of Bill C-398, if I were the Prime Minister, I’d be worried (Tories Block Bill To Make Cheaper Medicines For Poor Nations – Nov. 29; Patent Protection Main Issue In Killing Drug Bill, Lewis Says – Nov. 30). Grandmothers are not taken in by misinformation campaigns about bills intended to remove obstacles in the way of shipping generic versions of life-saving drugs to the world’s poorest nations. And grandmothers vote.

Seven Conservative MPs had the courage to vote for the bill: Mike Allen (Tobique – Mactaquac); James Bezan (Selkirk – Interlake); Michael Chong (Wellington – Halton Hills); Ben Lobb (Huron – Bruce); Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon – Wanuskewin); David Wilks (Kootenay – Columbia); Terence Young (Oakville). In this regime, that takes guts!

D.J. Stewart, North Vancouver

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I would be grateful if you could publish the names of the seven Conservative MPs who supported the legislation. Shame on the other 148. Shame on Stephen Harper and his government.

Rob Robson, MD, Elora, Ont.

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The way it is

Don’t men realize that a man in a suit is the epitome of sexual desire in the female mind (Image, Gender – letters, Nov. 30)? To be taken seriously is no concern for men, however, because it’s not a problem for the fairer gender to control themselves. When it comes to that, too, “that’s just the way it is.”

Carla Pysh, Calgary

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Proud all over

Richard Florida makes many good points about Toronto’s mayor and autonomy, but I think he should be careful about what he wishes for (Toronto Needs A Muscular Mayor – Nov. 30). It’s too easy to see a red-states/blue-states divide in the Greater Toronto Area, but the division is not so simple.

The outlying suburbs have plenty of swimming pools, millionaires and chartered accountants. They also have many immigrants who came here to escape corruption, bribery and greedy politicians. I am sure they are just as proud as the people downtown of our judiciary for showing that no one is above the law, that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that conflict of interest is not tolerated in this country. We can all be proud.

Margaret van Dijk, Toronto

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Then there’s dad

A letter compared Justin Trudeau to Marc Garneau with a suggestion that, while Mr. Garneau has sailed back and forth across the ocean, Mr. Trudeau would have walked across it (Yeah, So? – Nov. 30). Perhaps his father would have run.

Malcolm Laws, Toronto

 

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