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Today’s topics: e-snooping unease; minimum sentences; electricity grids; Mackenzie King ... and more (iStockphoto)
Today’s topics: e-snooping unease; minimum sentences; electricity grids; Mackenzie King ... and more (iStockphoto)

What readers think

Feb. 16: Letters to the editor Add to ...

E-snooping epoch

Roger Brown begins his letter to the editor on the Conservatives’ e-snooping legislation (E-gregious? – Feb. 15) with the old pearl that people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from the law.

Tell that to the likes of Stephen Truscott, Donald Marshall, David Milgaard, Robert Baltovich and Guy Paul Morin.

R.G. McGillivray, Oakville, Ont.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper lumps environmentalists in with radicals, allows his Public Safety Minister to tell an Opposition MP that he is either with the Conservatives or “with the child pornographers” and limits judicial discretion in sentencing with his omnibus crime bill. He should not be surprised when Canadians view his cybercrime bill with suspicion.

Leslie Hill, Vancouver

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This is another example of the Conservative government acting against the common good. At the very least, this legislation would create the possibility of harassing people who disagree with government policy.

During the last election, the Conservatives used social media to exclude dissenters from Stephen Harper’s appearances – a tactic to limit democratic dissent and debate.

If police suspect cybercrime in the normal course of their activities they can access information now by getting a warrant. By not requiring a warrant, this legislation can be used for good or for evil and, at some time, under some government, it will be used for evil.

Dennis Casaccio, Clementsport, N.S.

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It’s your mess

Much is being written of the painful medicine Don Drummond is recommending (Drummond Delivers ‘Gloomy’ Wake-Up Call To Ontario –online, Feb. 15). It’s hard to see, really, how the media can make such a big deal about someone being paid to state the obvious: Governments need to spend within their means. What’s truly perplexing, though, is the overwhelming number of comments that place the blame on Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Ontario voters need to remember that Mr. McGuinty is where he is today because he “gives” them what they want: Responsibility for the current financial mess rests with them.

Jamie Fisher, Calgary

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Solid decision

Re Justin Trudeau Backtracks From Separatist Comments (Feb. 15): Justin Trudeau has said that he will not seek the leadership of the Liberal Party any time soon. He is to be congratulated for a very wise career decision.

Howard M. Greenfield, Montreal

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Three years? Yes

Had the gun Leroy Smickle “immediately dropped” when police arrived gone off and injured or killed someone, the conversation would undoubtedly be different (Wrong Man For The Penitentiary – Feb. 15). In addition to observing that Mr. Smickle was acting stupidly – he tried to take a photo of himself with a laptop while holding a loaded handgun that apparently didn’t belong to him – the judge could have also stressed that he keeps bad company.

This reasonable person wouldn’t have a problem in this case with three years (Judge Defies ‘Unfair’ Law On Mandatory Sentence – Feb. 14).

Jamie Black, Waterloo, Ont.

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A resource natural

How gratifying to see that the Americans finally have become aware of the great Canadian natural resource that is Chris Haddock (From The Fog Of The B.C. Coast To The Bright Lights Of Boardwalk Empire – Feb. 15).

Around 1990, Chris phoned me to say that he had seen a play of mine, then onstage in Vancouver, and had decided to steal its plot for an episode of a half-hour comedy-drama he was producing for the CBC, called Mom, P.I. However, he wanted to hire the most qualified person to pull off the plagiarizing, so would I like a job with the show? This led to my one and only season as a TV story editor, which, under Chris’s leadership, constituted a tremendous lesson in writing, editing and production. I have no doubt he’ll teach the Boardwalk Empire writers a thing or two.

John Lazarus, Kingston, Ont.

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All-day K matters

Re Is All-Day K Really A Leg Up? (Feb. 14): Yes, it is.

True, the gains in intelligence, as shown by massive follow-up studies of Head Start in the U.S. disappeared by Grade 2. But longitudinal research, such as the Perry Preschool Project in Ypsilanti, Mich., showed a “sleeper” effect, with differences between children in Head Start and a control group surfacing in mid-adolescence. Those who’d been in the preschool program stayed in school longer, had higher rates of college attendance and employment and lower rates of incarceration than the control group. In their 20s, they showed more stability with higher rates of home ownership and employment.

We now know it’s not IQ gains that predict school success, it’s increases in self-regulation – the capacity to have an intention, a plan for doing and to use self-control to test and evaluate that plan. Self-regulation is not simply compliance to teacher purposes in school, but active thinking, doing and making: That’s why play, inquiry and emergent curriculum matter.

Carol Anne Wien, professor, Faculty of Education, York University

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Job generator

The Conference Board of Canada’s recent report says that for every $100-million invested in electricity infrastructure, 1,200 jobs are created (Power Price Jolt On Way, New Report Says – Feb. 14). The report also notes that Ontario’s electricity utilities must invest $21-billion in their infrastructure over the next 20 years just to keep the lights on for our customers.

Ontario’s electricity distributors continue to call on regulators and legislators to enable much-needed investment in Ontario’s aging electricity system. And in a tough economy, we can’t afford to forgo anything that can generate jobs and deliver spinoff economic benefits.

Jim Keech, chair, Electricity Distributors Association

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How about …

In lieu of Riot TV (It’s The End Of Riot TV – Feb. 14), how about Investigator TV? On this specialty channel, the public could watch, with great interest, the everyday actions of the investigators assigned to the Stanley Cup riots. We could eagerly anticipate learning the reasons why it has taken over eight months to start any significant form of prosecution, as well as having the option to vote off our least favourite investigators throughout the season. Maybe this would encourage them to do something.

Patrick Lee, Vancouver

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Dear diary

Re Finally, A Full Biography Of Our Lovably Loony Former PM (Feb. 14): Although in some respects “loony,” Mackenzie King was not loveable. He was a highly successful, albeit sometimes petty and ruthless, political operator and prime minister who, nevertheless, served Canada well, notwithstanding some unfortunate shortcomings, as demonstrated in this monumental misjudgment. Of his meeting with Hitler in 1937, he wrote in his diary: “My sizing up of the man as I sat and talked with him was that he is really one who truly loves his fellow-men.”

Morley Gorsky, Toronto

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