Re Ford Tried To Buy Video, Police Believe (Dec. 5): Councillor Doug Ford says his brother Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is “doing great” and looking forward to the next election. I would hope that this is also the case for the Toronto electorate. Is this person the image Canada’s largest city wants to project as its leader? Are there no other fiscal conservatives who can lead “Ford Nation”? Do Torontonians really want a person who cannot understand why the Premier doesn’t want to talk to him?
It’s no longer “Houston, we have a problem.” It’s, “Toronto, we have a problem!”
Robert Morrow, Dundas, Ont.
Less spam? Right …
Re New Anti-Spam Law To Be In Effect July 1 (Report on Business, Dec. 5): Is this going to be as successful as the National Do Not Call List? I’m getting more unwanted telemarketing calls than I ever have; I’m even starting to get them on my cell. Both numbers are on the Do Not Call List.
It’s great that the government spends our tax dollars to devise laws that protect the public, but if they aren’t enforced, what’s the point? The job of releasing a new law isn’t done unless that law is accompanied by enforcement methods that work.
David Daniel, Aurora, Ont.
Re Facebook Call-Out For Kidney Reflects Organ-Donation Woes (Dec. 5): We are told provincial health ministers have not been capable of collaborating to establish a national donor registry. So now social media will replace government to organize organ donors? We ought to be outraged but this issue gets no traction. Are those in need simply too small a voter block? Are health ministers incapable of embarrassment?
One humble suggestion is a mandatory system for organ donations which we might introduce on our 150th birthday as a nation. Let’s start from the proposition that by 2017, if you have a driver’s licence in Canada, you are assumed to be an organ donor unless you sign a waiver affirming that you are not donating your organs in the event of your death (on whatever religious, ethical or moral grounds you want).
If you sign such a waiver, it will include confirmation that you are aware you don’t get organs in the event you need them. Of course, the devil is in the details but let the discussion begin.
R. Craig Neville, Vancouver
2005’s Mr. Harper
Re Conservatives Block Motion To Question Deloitte Auditor (Dec. 5): Were he to be transported to late 2013, the Stephen Harper of 2005 would be apoplectic over the actions of Canada’s current Prime Minister. The man who never missed an opportunity to assail the government for a lack of accountability would have a field day with the current leadership’s contempt of country.
Rob Cooper, Burlington, Ont.
Re The Damaging Legacy Of Discovery Learning (Dec. 5): Before I retired, I taught at an Ottawa-area college. Near the beginning of the semester, I would give my first-year students, presumed graduates of Ontario high schools, the following problem: While shopping, you decide to buy a shirt marked at $39.95. HST is 13 per cent. How much will you pay at the cash after HST is applied?
Typically, not more than five students in a class of 50 knew how to figure out the answer in the 10 minutes I allowed. As well as what that says about their math background, what about their preparedness for life in our society?
Doug Brandy, Ottawa
Eye of a safety storm
It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to keep up with all the disasters and potential disasters the oil industry brings to mind. Transport Canada – whose job is to ensure rail and community safety – confesses it wasn’t even aware U.S. regulators were concerned for months about the safety of North Dakota oil (Transport Canada Not Aware of Crude’s Risk Before Disaster – Dec. 5). Incredibly, it hasn’t imposed any new regulations on rail oil shipments.
In B.C., a government equipped with two major reports detailing how ill-prepared the province is to deal with marine oil spills can’t tell us what it would take to create a “world class” clean-up response (B.C. Still Struggling To Define ‘World-Class’ Response To Oil Spills – Dec. 5).
Meanwhile, the Harper government is set to fight with Russia and Denmark over rights to Arctic resources, when many U.S. lawmakers and environmentalists are calling for a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling (Canada To Test Russia’s Claim – Dec. 5). They argue that research that informs the development of an effective regulation regime for Arctic oil and gas drilling must be undertaken first. Not completed, but undertaken. This at a time when our government plans to reduce regulatory oversight for off-shore drilling in the Beaufort Sea.
It’s extremely hard to connect the dots when you’re in the midst of a perfect storm.
Esther Shannon, Vancouver
Greens on board
Re It’s Time For The Green Party To Pack It In (Dec. 3): Lawrence Martin tells the Greens to abandon ship? Look at it this way. We are mid-voyage on the Titanic. The Liberals are arguing about what tune the orchestra should play, the NDP is saying share deck space with steerage, while the Conservatives are on the bridge pouring coal into the furnaces. The few Greens on board are yelling slow down and turn the ship!
Mr. Martin wants Greens to “consider realities.” Yeah, right.
Stan Kozak, Guelph, Ont.
Wrong RCMP reaction
Re RCMP Boss Embarrassed For Pot-Smoking Mountie (Dec. 4): If anyone should be embarrassed, it should be RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.
While there may be some who think it was provocative of Ron Francis to smoke his lawfully prescribed medicinal marijuana while in uniform, I think the courageous corporal only added to his declaration that he is proud of that uniform and his years of service. On the other end of the continuum, the commissioner says he is “still trying to figure out what the story was.”
I am not confused about that. Initially, it was a tale of one proud Mountie, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and trying to get well. With the help of the commissioner, it became a proof-positive story that the RCMP is unable, or perhaps even unwilling, to offer its members the range of supports they need.
Bill Engleson, Denman Island, B.C.
Bikes and toilets
Re City To Run Bike-Share Program (Dec. 5): How ironic that the cash for the takeover of the money-losing bike-share program will come from spending previously allotted to public toilets. One way or another, the money was destined to go down the drain.
Ron Jones, Toronto
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