Let’s play two
The mere fact of a baseball editorial halfway through February (Embrace Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here – Feb. 18) is evidence itself of the special hold the sport has on those who have succumbed to its charms and imbibed the elixir of the great game.
W.P. Kinsella knew this well and had a thing or two to say about baseball and its fans and I think of him as we await our chance to feel “the thrill of the grass” once more.
Reflecting the religious lexicon used in The Globe’s editorial, Mr. Kinsella wrote in his 1982 novel Shoeless Joe: “We’re not just ordinary people, we’re a congregation. Baseball is a ceremony, a ritual, as surely as sacrificing a goat beneath a full moon is a ritual. The only difference is that most of us realize it is a game.”
J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto
It’s a little early for Toronto to be planning a World Series celebration.
Share your optimism, Canadian baseball fans, but as New York Yankees great Yogi Berra has reminded, “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”
Farley Helfant, Toronto
Despite your front-page story (The Baby Bust: In A First, The Newly Retired Outnumber The Newly Hired – Feb. 18), it’s not all doom and gloom.
The newly retired may leave the paid work force, but they often use their skills and experience in the voluntary sector. In 2007, Statscan reported that 36 per cent of Canadians 65 and over volunteered, with an average of 218 hours a year – the highest average of any age group, equivalent to more than five weeks of full-time work. We can hope that their huge contribution to society will increase in step with their numbers.
Claire Marshall, Ottawa
Point of no return
An article in Report on Business (Canadian Tire, Loblaw In ‘Battle Mode’ Ahead Of Target Arrival – Feb. 18) examines the cost-cutting strategy at what could be considered Canada’s premier feel-good, go-to store. You can be the lowest-cost provider of any product out there, but if you’ve lost the trust and goodwill of your market, you’re doomed.
Canadian Tire’s returns policy is an anachronism of 1970s retailing at a time when minimizing one’s personal information footprint is paramount. Possession of the original receipt is not sufficient – the store continues to operate under the belief that its customers are happy to have their driver’s licence numbers, home address and telephone numbers recorded. Walmart makes no such personal information demands. Neither does Loblaws and it is unlikely that Target will so misjudge the trustworthiness of Canadians.
I love Canadian Tire, but until they remove this policy, I’ll shop where making a return won’t risk my personal information being hacked.
Carsen Campbell, Calgary
It is perhaps a sad commentary on his influence that the Governor-General needs to resort to the media in order to be heard on the importance of science and scientific research in Canada (We Need To Celebrate Our Scientists And Researchers – Feb. 18).
Given the government’s muzzling of its own scientists, its budgetary cuts to scientific inquiry in areas (such as the environment) with which it is uncomfortable, and its tendency to ignore the results of scientific research that discredits its pet ideological preferences, it’s clear that the G-G is not having much success in attempting to “advise” Prime Minister Stephen Harper on these matters during their regular discussions.
Mike Hutton, Ottawa
Unity of purpose
German mid-sized businesses are alive and well but their Canadian counterparts aren’t doing as well despite dealing with similar challenges (Mid-Sized Canadian Manufacturing Has Gone Up In Smoke – Feb. 15).
Why is it that Germany has been the only Western country competing with China and other emerging countries while retaining its highly unionized environment and high wages, without shipping jobs abroad? The answer lies in its unique management style. Unlike North American businesses, German ones have a management structure that gives significant voice to the workers in its decision-making process, from production and marketing to outsourcing. Elected representatives of the workers seat in the boardroom along with the top managers and stockholders participating democratically in all decisions the company makes.
This system has created an unprecedented unity of purpose between labour and management, which has resulted in a huge increase in export sales. The German model is an important alternative to North America’s top-down approach, which has effectively alienated labour. Canada has much to learn from the German model.
Ali Orang, Richmond Hill, Ont.
The scandal in Doctor At Heart Of Queue-Jump Allegation To Take Stand (Feb. 18) is a three-year wait for a colonoscopy at an Alberta cancer-screening clinic.
By the time cancer is revealed, you may as well put your affairs in order – if you haven’t died in the meantime.
Saskatchewan has recently come up with a smart new way to deal with this problem: Everybody over 60 is sent a prediagnostic test kit. You administer it yourself, drop off the samples and if anything problematic is found in your stool, you get a colonoscopy very shortly afterward. No need for three-year waits.
Claudette Claereboudt, Regina
That old chestnut
Re It’s Probably Delicious, But I Say Neigh (Feb. 16):
“What’s the difference between a horse and a goat?” asks Pierre Desrochers of the University of Toronto. I would ask, what’s the difference between a Mercedes-Benz and a Toyota? What’s the difference between a 1,600-square-foot home and an 1,800-square-foot home? Would you even notice?
The issue in this scandal is not whether horsemeat is edible like beef; the issue is public trust. If we can’t go to a grocery store and trust what we buy, how far does this extend? As consumers, we put our faith in grocery stores, car manufacturers and home builders. I think it’s fair to act a bit “irrational” when you don’t receive what it is you’ve actually paid for.
Delaney Hines, Whitby, Ont.
As Elizabeth Renzetti points out, people choose not to eat horsemeat for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons we do not eat it at our house is that it might give us the trots.
Dick Scarth, Vancouver