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March 18, 2011: Sarah Burke wins her fifth Winter X-Games gold medal in Tignes, France. (Icon SMI)
March 18, 2011: Sarah Burke wins her fifth Winter X-Games gold medal in Tignes, France. (Icon SMI)

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Jan. 21: Letters to the editor Add to ...

In life, in death

A role model in life, a role model in death (Death Of A Pioneer – Jan. 20). In accordance with Sarah Burke’s wishes, her family has donated her organs. Somewhere, Sarah’s heart, the heart of a lioness, still beats. There is comfort in that.

Our 12-year-old daughter, who loves to ski, was caught up in Sarah’s career. At a time when, even here in Canada, females are being aborted for no reason other than their gender, Sarah fought her corner for women.

My daughter’s world, our world, is emptier today.

M. K. Mason, Vancouver

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Who gets heard

I hope Derek Burney and Fen Hampson appreciate the irony in their categorical rejection of another foreign policy review (The Last Thing We Need Is Another Foreign Policy Review – Jan. 20), following it as they do with their own instant review.

Much of what they suggest is sensible, all of it is debatable.

They say that, above all, we have to get the relationship with Washington right, but then we’re reminded that the rising economic stars are “pivotal to Canada’s growth prospects.” Simply repeating both of these obvious truths does little to help. Soliciting views on how to rebalance Canadian relations with traditional economic partners and emerging economies actually could help.

They quite properly want Canada to help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. If anyone thinks you can do that without some attention to the disarmament requirements of existing nuclear powers, they are in serious need of a foreign policy review.

The fact is, foreign policy is under constant review – the question is, whose voice gets heard? The benefits of periodic public reviews are the opportunities to seek views beyond those of advisers in the Pearson Building, Ottawa professors and former mandarins.

Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.

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Red and white, right

You report that the Harper government is determined to add Tory symbols to the national scene by changing red government graphics on web pages and documents to Conservative blue (Revisiting History – Jan. 12).

What many of us may not recollect (or understand) is that the red in use is there because red and white are the heraldic (national) colours of Canada, duly designated many years ago by none other than the royal authority that Stephen Harper now seems at great pains to give more emphasis (The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – Jan. 19).

Alan Winship, Ottawa

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Kudos to the federal government for allotting a whopping $7.5-million dollars to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (In Ottawa, Plans For A Lavish Surprise Party – Jan. 19). With education, health care, culture and a multitude of other essential services being slashed across this great land, I commend the Harper government, and Heritage Minister James Moore in particular, for putting ordinary Canadians first, and allocating a portion of our federal budget to throw a party for a distant Queen.

I have no doubt that the families in Attawapiskat will be delighted to hear that they’re “eligible to apply for funding to create their own celebrations closer to home.”

Laara Sadiq, Toronto

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Regulation roulette

It obviously makes sense to review existing and proposed regulations (Tories Seek To Cut Red Tape Wrapped Around Businesses – Jan. 19). But an honest review should be open to the possibility of increasing regulation, if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Requiring the elimination of an existing regulation for each new one creates perverse incentives. Regulators will husband unnecessary regulations so they have something to eliminate when new ones are required. If not, the “one-for-one” rule could impede needed public-interest regulation.

Erin Weir, economist, United Steelworkers

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Pro piracy?

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruling giving individuals a legal weapon against intrusions into their privacy is a step in the right direction, even though the compensation awarded in the case was small (Privacy Interlopers In Danger As Ruling Offers Victims Legal Recourse – Jan. 20).

What I find difficult to comprehend, however, is the popular resistance to “anti-piracy” legislation in the U.S. Doesn’t that strongly suggest some degree of complicity in, or support for “piracy” on the part of those opposing such legislation?

G. Stirling, Sylvan Lake, Alta.

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Land in common

The First Nations Tax Commission is a creature of the Canadian government; it was not mandated by any treaty First Nations (Always Ours – letters, Jan. 19). Reserve lands are protected by treaty between the Crown and First Nations and are specifically set out in the treaties to be held in common.

First Nation Property Ownership (FNPO) is just another attempt by Canada to steal the remaining lands held in common by First Nations and to do away with treaty rights once and for all.

Craig Fontaine, Sagkeeng First Nation

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Private land ownership may work for some aboriginal land, in some locations, but what do you suppose land in a remote community is worth? Probably not a great deal, even less as collateral.

Yes, owners invest more in property when property rights are secure. But with the extreme lack of employment and the high cost of delivering building materials to remote settlements, how much improvement might be anticipated? Very little, I suspect. Owning their own plot of ground will not change much for First Nations citizens in most northern communities.

John Owen, Dartmouth, N.S.

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Budget balancers

Before long we will probably adapt systems like those in London, England: for taxation purposes, cameras to identify cars entering the city and – to really excite drivers – cameras that enable calculation of drivers’ average speed between two points (Budget Memories – letters, Jan. 20).

None of this slowing down to beat the radar and zooming away. If the car is over the “limit,” the computer generates a ticket. For the city, it would mean increased revenues and a smaller police force. Today’s speed trap will go out with Kodak film (Say Cheese, Buzz – Jan. 20).

Philip Russel, Toronto

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Here’s your hat

There is no future in getting into a tit-for-tat exchange with the Russians on embassy staff (Russian Embassy Staff Expelled – Jan. 20). Everyone knows embassies have spies in them. They do. We do. What the Russians did or didn’t do doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the thought of what one of our own might have done with information that could hurt Canada.

Amalie Gagnon, Montreal

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All this talk of spying for the Russians reminds me of a groaner I heard as a kid: What do you call a frog that’s posing as a spy? Answer: A croak-and-dagger agent.

Jake Cameron, Regina

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