Bad heir days
Lawrence Martin says the contestants in the Liberal race are avoiding discussing the most pressing issues of the day (Hey Liberals, Stop Boring Us To Death – Feb. 5). Not so: Joyce Murray has a number of bold proposals – co-operation with the NDP, a carbon tax, legalizing marijuana. But since Ms. Murray is not a front-runner, her ideas get little coverage. Meantime, the issues-averse campaign of Justin Trudeau receives outsized attention in the tiresome “horse race” reportage where personality (and nice hair) trumps substance.
Phil Boychuk, Regina
If the media actually interviewed the candidates – especially the non-MPs – it might discover that things are far from boring. Stringing together bursts of 140 characters is not “reporting.”
Karen Sinclair, Kanata, Ont.
It is apt that the company trying to create an energy corridor for pipelines across northern B.C. is called Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings (An Energy Bridge To B.C.’s Coast – Report on Business, Feb. 5). Actual eagles, not eagle spirits, would be another thing. When the actual eagles living there now are gone, they can be commemorated by the company name.
This template is established in many suburban developments called things like Fox Run or Turkey Hill, where human residents would be horrified to find a fox at the door or an actual turkey threatening the miniature poodle. Whoever does it, under whatever name, destruction of the environment is still destruction. As someone else said, the trouble with an environmentalist is that she can’t see the forest without the trees.
Martha Gould, North Bay, Ont.
Just when I think I have enriched the lives of my children by enrolling them in French immersion schools, along comes Margaret Wente with her scathing critique (Why Is French Immersion So Popular? – Feb. 5). She says “any rational analysis of French immersion is almost impossible to find.” Her column underscores that very point.
Linda C. Hunter, Calgary
Will our children be fluent in French at the end of the program? Likely not, since French instruction time decreases as children move into high school, and more specialized math and sciences courses are offered only in English. But it has been rewarding to see our daughter comfortably play on an all-French ringette team in nearby Memramcook, N.B., and our son converse in French at hockey camp in Moncton after only a few years of immersion.
They will also have a solid base in the language should they seek fluency in the future – something that has greatly helped colleagues at work who were in French immersion when they went to school.
Larry Pardy, Amherst, N.S.
Re Canada Approves ‘Energy Shots’ As U.S. Investigates Risks (Feb. 5): For more context about energy shots – “which typically come in fist-sized bottles that contain as much as 200 milligrams of caffeine” – consider this. A quick look at the Tim Hortons website reveals that an extra large cup of its coffee contains 200 mg of caffeine.
Mark Schacter, Ottawa
Energy head winds
Wind energy is growing rapidly at a time when Ontario is updating a decades-old electricity system (McGuinty’s Legacy: A Green Nightmare – Feb. 2). Coal power is a key producer of greenhouse gas; wind energy provides electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or air pollutants, and uses no fresh water.
Wind energy is growing in more than 90 countries because utilities and governments have found a reliable, cost-effective partner to help clean and modernize the electricity system. The cost of wind energy is known and transparent in Ontario, and is cost-competitive with most other options for new electricity production.
There is arguably no other form of energy currently contributing and dispersing economic benefits in as many rural communities across Ontario at the scale of wind energy: hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues, payments to farmers and landowners, and community vibrancy funds.
Robert Hornung, president, Canadian Wind Energy Association, Ottawa
The size of these enormous wind turbines is truly shocking.
The real threats are to the people living in rural Ontario and to the beautiful countryside they used to take for granted. No one wants to live near these behemoths with their flashing red lights in the night sky, the swooshing noise of the enormous blades, the flicker created each time the blades pass between you and the sun, and the yet-to-be-determined health issues the government is studying. We need a moratorium to prevent any more turbines from going up before this study is completed.
Don Clark, Priceville, Ont.
‘In a balanced way’
Painting me as an extremist is unfair: You have described me as a “famously radical former mayor” (Wynne’s Political Journey Marked By Connections, Not Divisions – Jan. 28) and “arguably Toronto’s most leftist mayor” (Toronto: Meet Your New (Premier) Mayor – Feb. 2).
I was elected mayor in late 1978. I strongly challenged discrimination against homosexuals. I stabilized public transit, freezing fares, introducing a monthly pass, and improving service. I helped expand the supply of affordable housing. I called for more police accountability and helped establish the first independent police complaints mechanism. I protected historic buildings. I strengthened the city administration. I established policies and procedures that welcomed the Vietnamese boat people to Toronto. I helped save the Toronto Island community.
In the 1980 election, I received 86,000 votes, significantly more than in 1978, even though the powers that be pushed hard for the election of Art Eggleton, who only won by some 2,000 votes. The support of the electorate speaks well for my ability as mayor to serve the public in a balanced way.
John Sewell, Toronto
Most monarchs, one suspects, live unremarkable lives of quiet desperation just like the rest of us – except for the servants and the jewels and the castles.
Shakespeare may have got the history wrong, perhaps on purpose, but at least his Richard got to utter the delightful “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” That line that has made him immortal in a way no mere dry history book could have done.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto