Chief Spence’s hunger strike
Like many Canadians – most, I suspect – I sympathize with those native leaders who have grown impatient with the doubletalk out of Ottawa when it comes to resolving the very real and pressing problems of Canada’s aboriginal people (Rae Pledges To Take Up Cause As Spence Ends Hunger Strike – Jan. 24).
That said, I’m at a total loss to understand the support that Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has received for her hunger strike. Now that the chief is no longer in her “weakened condition,” I’m wondering when the federal government will begin looking into the financial black hole that is Attawapiskat, with its missing paper trail for millions of dollars between 2005 and 2011.
Ken Cuthbertson, Kingston
Twice, Globe editorials advised Chief Spence to give up her fast. If only such wisdom had been available to Mahatma Gandhi during his fasts – just think, India might still be the jewel in imperial Britain’s crown.
George Clark, Kingston
A Wynne/win idea
You endorse Sandra Pupatello as Ontario Liberal Party leader because she’s an Effective Economic Messenger (editorial, Jan. 24), even though she is just offering “a better-managed version of the status quo.”
A study released by the World Economic Forum suggests “the single most likely risk in the next decade is severe economic inequality” (Income Disparity Seen As No. 1 Threat To Global Economy – Report on Business, Jan. 10). Many studies have emerged in the past few months linking improved economic equality with better economic performance. Kathleen Wynne, the other leading contender, has put a focus on economic inequality in her bid for the leadership, which would seem much more relevant to reinvigorating the Ontario economy.
Ms. Pupatello would be a good leader for the 1990s. Ms. Wynne is the best leader for this decade.
John Sewell, Toronto
It seems like a brilliant business model: Incur $17-million in losses running a news channel it appears that few want to pay for, then apply for $18-million in subsidies (As Losses Mount, Sun Turns To CRTC – Report on Business, Jan. 22). Perhaps I can save Canadians some money. I will produce a news channel for $0 that no one wants to pay for – and only request a $50,000 subsidy.
Bryan Waller, Calgary
John Doyle is on to something (Here’s My Pitch For Stroller Wars: Toronto – Life & Arts, Jan. 24). Most people would agree that courtesies should be extended to a mother and child. But the “bourgeois mom dragging a stroller the size of a Nissan Pathfinder” is something else again. They wield them like high-tech battering rams with the presumption they have the right of way under any and all circumstances.
I was walking down the sidewalk, minding my own business on a pleasant summer afternoon, when I felt such a painful jab to my Achilles tendon, I almost tripped. My default in unexpected social situations is to assume I am guilty (inadvertently) of some faux pas. As I turned to apologize, I saw a huge stroller with a pointed chrome bumper being wielded by a woman giving me the snake eye. Her fierce expression basically said: “Get the F-bomb out of my way!”
Robin Breon, Weston, Ont.
I read Whatever Happened To Global Warming? (Jan. 24) with considerable amusement, having just showed a graphic to my students illustrating the fallacy of the idea that the world has not been warming recently. (Please have a look at this link with its short video which nicely shows that, yup, the planet is still warming.) Although climate modelling is by no means an exact science, the models are in agreement on one thing: We are looking at radical warming in the next 100 years unless we act.
Modelling groups around the planet project serious warming if you add CO2 to the atmosphere at about the rate that we have been adding it. The use of “radical” in this case is well founded: We are looking at warming over the next 100 years that rivals the amount of warming that happened as we came out of the recent Ice Age (which took more than 1,000 years). I’m not sure what Margaret Wente’s point is – are we supposed to put our head in the sand and hope that this goes away? When we have chosen to act as a society, we have successfully reduced the amounts of other pollutants (including atmospheric ones). CO2 is no different.
Jay R. Malcolm, associate professor, Earth Sciences Centre, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
I agree with one thing Margaret Wente said: She does not hold out much hope of changing our direction with respect to climate change. Our society has too much invested in our current economic model and lifestyle to give it up. We will look to data and ideas on the subject with great skepticism, just as Ms. Wente does, because it is just so much easier. And therein is the real problem.
Bill England, Edmonton
Fortunately, Margaret Wente is one of your journalists who understands there’s much more to climate science than CO2, the tiny corner of this vast, complex subject that the Kyoto-Protocol and environmental alarmists rely on for doomsday fear-mongering.
Gerald Crawford, Mississauga
To proponents of do-nothing-and-wait, I offer this analogy: A large meteor is heading toward Earth; 98 per cent of scientists say it will cause immense damage, 2 per cent say don’t worry – it will miss. Do you blow up the meteor or do you wait because it’s too expensive to act? Margaret Wente ends her column: “We should be humble about what we know – and what we don’t.” I humbly suggest Ms. Wente follow her own advice.
Richard Chapman, Montreal
Margaret Wente says we might as well just bundle up and get used to extreme weather. In a way, she’s got a point.
Whether the climate is changing because of natural patterns, human action, sunspots or alien intervention, we have to face the fact that extreme weather has become more common. More Canadians are suffering more weather-related property damage than ever before. Severe weather incidents that used to happen every 20 to 30 years are happening every five to 10. Storm and water damage has replaced fire as our No. 1 cause of property insurance claims.
Worldwide, insurers report the same results – more hurricanes, severe storms, droughts, tornadoes, etc. But it is wrong to think our only responses are either massive intervention or simple acceptance. The smart course is to adapt to our new weather reality.
Land-use policies and building codes need to be updated, water and waste water systems upgraded, and future risks kept in mind when building infrastructure.
If Ms. Wente is right and we can’t stop the rain, let’s at least have enough sense to put up an umbrella.
Don Forgeron, president, Insurance Bureau of Canada
Whatever Happened To Global Warming? I can forecast with 100-per-cent certainty a major storm due to arrive at The Globe’s letters page right about … now.
John McLeod, Toronto