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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: ‘I know that an explanation or an apology with not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the last few months, but I owe you an apology nonetheless.’ (Frank Franklin II/AP)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: ‘I know that an explanation or an apology with not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the last few months, but I owe you an apology nonetheless.’ (Frank Franklin II/AP)

What readers think

Jan. 11: Message to the NHL – save the sorrys, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Save the sorrys

The billionaire and millionaire hockey people are saying their “I’m sorrys” to fans over the NHL dispute (One Step Closer To Game Time – Sports, Jan. 10). Oh, and how excited they are to be back playing our beloved sport. But let’s not stop there. They’re going to – somehow – make it up to the fans. Well bless their hearts.

So tell me, what on earth are they going to do for the people who lost their jobs and income during this lengthy, needless dispute? What about the thousands of servers, cooks and cleaners at the arena and nearby facilities? The parking attendants, hot dog venders, T-shirt sellers? I’m sure most of these hard-working individuals would be thrilled to make a 10th of the minimum salary of an NHL player.

Bruce Scott, St. Catharines, Ont.

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The NHL commissioner, owners and players should save it. Real apologies mean you regret what happened, and you take responsibility for doing it. An unlikely combination in this case. Regret an action you repeated day after day for months? (It couldn’t be helped! they cry. See the part about taking responsibility.)

Apologies also require an honest promise not to do it again. That’s a laugh and a half.

Jayson MacLean, Edmonton

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Transparency by all

Your editorial Let There Be Light (Jan. 10) wants transparency in the financial affairs and conduct of Attawapiskat. The fundamental problem facing Canadians is the erosion of democracy, transparency and accountability – in Parliament. No matter how much Stephen Harper manipulates, no matter what the flaws on either side, the issue of first nations rights will not go away.

Yes, let there be light, but let it shine everywhere.

Patrick Friesen, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

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A letter writer notes that $104-million over six years for Attawapiskat’s 1,500 people works out to $11,555 per person a year (Promises Made – Jan. 9). If you reframe it as income per family of five being $57,775, and consider the tax exemption involved, the picture looks a bit rosier.

Fred Conlon, Halifax

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Agreements were reached between two sovereign peoples (Chief Theresa Spence May Fall Victim To Liberalism’s Blind Spots – Jan. 4): We have broken them. Should we discard the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, or the paper released by the first ministers’ meeting in Kelowna in favour of empathy?

What’s needed is recognition of our commitments and the hard, unglamorous work of good faith negotiation, compromise and sacrifice. Introspection into our political culture offers a dangerous absolution through which we attribute our present failures to the march of history.

Jonathan J. Weisman, Vancouver

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I think Stephen Harper should go on a hunger strike until Chief Theresa Spence explains what the $104-million was spent on.

Adam Plackett, Toronto

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The Federal Court of Canada’s move to extend special benefits to “non-status” Indians and Métis is an outrageous position for a modern democratic society to adopt (Federal Court Decision Raises The Question: Who Is A Métis Or Non-Status Indian? – Jan. 10). Institutionalized benefits for specific groups based on bloodlines are the very essence of racism. I would have hoped that, when it came to aboriginal rights, our misguided and paternalistic government and judiciary would pursue greater equality, rather than add to the ranks of “others.”

David Jones, Calgary

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Sri Lanka, women

A letter writer suggested that India could follow the Western example and become a safer place for women, one of the great triumphs of Western democracy being “the sweeping liberation of women” (Culture Gap – Jan. 7). But India could also look into its own backyard – Sri Lanka, which produced the world’s first elected female prime minister (Sirimavo Bandaranaike, July 20, 1960), where women have been able to vote since the early 1930s, and have attended university in significant numbers since the first one opened there in the 1940s. Women have traditionally owned land. In our own family, my mother controlled the family purse.

As for safety, a well-respected national ideal has been an unchaperoned young woman with a pot of gold on her head going from one end of the country to the other, unharmed.

Suwanda Sugunasiri, Toronto

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Numbers add up?

Much of the discussion around nurse practitioners (NP) working alongside physicians in our health system seems to concentrate on the number of dollars they save the system (The Future of Health Care – Jan. 5). Until someone does the analysis and research to determine whether cost savings exist, this argument is a fallacy.

Please don’t get me wrong: Physicians are open to this prospect, but we need to make sure that the numbers are correct. Simply working with the math in the article ($100,000 NP salary taking care of 550 patients), and what we know about average GP earnings, we find that nurse practitioners will end up costing the system more. If the average GP, with about 1,500 patients, has gross billings of $200,000, after removing overhead costs (office salaries, rent, utilities etc.), the result is $120,000 in income for taking care of three times as many patients.

Obviously, this should not be considered conclusive, but that’s my point: neither should the nurse practitioner financial argument. And until an evidence-based study is conducted, erroneous claims about cost effectiveness should be avoided.

Shelley Ross, president, B.C. Medical Association

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Where we help

The worthiness of a cause is not determined by the likelihood of success, but rather by the need (Aid to Haiti: Are We Nuts? – Jan. 10). Foreign aid should not be valued in terms of “bang for our buck” – at least not when choosing those who will be the recipients of our aid. Certainly, we should try to make aid as effective as possible, but we should not pull back simply because it’s difficult.

The aid we have sent to Haiti is to our credit as a nation; it would be to our credit to continue to send it, no matter how difficult it is to see results.

Jeff Breukelman, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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Just wondering

Re As Teachers Plan Walkout, McGuinty Warns of Retaliation (Jan. 10): Would it be possible for Ontario taxpayers to go to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to have McGuinty and Co. ordered back to work?

David Chalmers, Ottawa

 

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