A Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig is grounded off the Alaska coast in rough seas (Shell Races To Recover Grounded Rig – Report on Business, Jan. 3). It contains more than 500,000 litres of diesel fuel, oil and hydraulic fluid. The area is a delicate ecosystem, home to sea lions, eiders and otters. Two towing plans have already failed.
This must serve as a wake-up call for governments considering allowing oil exploration in Arctic waters. The Globe should present this as a major story in the news section. It’s much more than a business story.
Helen Godfrey, Toronto
Aboriginal peoples are gathering in Ottawa and demonstrating across the country over the Harper government’s failure to consult them over radical changes to the Environmental Assessment and Navigable Waters Protection acts. Where’s the rest of Canada?
Doug Green, Toronto
You are partially right that such a large and diversified country will always have issues in the redistribution of wealth and programs (Balance Of Grievance – editorial, Jan. 2).
But as a Montrealer, my issue is not a grievance about redistribution or where power lies in the country; my bewilderment is seeing the Rest of Canada accept the destruction of the gun registry, the about-face on Kyoto, the new Canadian foreign affairs ideology, the alienation of science. It seems the ROC now thinks like U.S. Republicans and is quite comfortable with the Conservatives. Social values and ideology separate Quebec much more than what you refer to as the “balance of grievance.”
Guy Charron, Montreal
So chimney up
The proposal that “fiscal cliff” be included in the list of words to be banished suggests we need a new metaphor to help us understand the way political decision-making works (‘Fiscal Cliff,’ ‘YOLO’ And ‘Boneless Wings’ Among Phrases To Be Banned From English – Jan. 1).
Last month, when I opened the U.S. Senate in prayer, I suggested we replace the image of a “fiscal cliff” and adopt the metaphor that political leaders should “chimney up.” In climbing, chimneying requires pushing off one side of a mountain cleft and then the other to advance higher. The resistance of each face of the rock contributes to the ascent.
Those of us in Canada who care about the U.S. want to see its political leaders “chimney up” by reclaiming fiscal integrity and maintaining social concern, appreciating individual initiative and caring for the distressed, valuing competition and finding a path for co-operation, being mindful of individual liberty and being grateful for mutual help.
Until now, Democrats and Republicans have seen the mountain cleft as an either/or option. That’s why we feared falling off a cliff. If congressional leaders were to adopt a model of both/and, they might find that reasonable resistance would enable them to chimney up the mountain of leadership and responsibility.
Canadian leaders might also learn to “chimney up.” We’d all benefit from thinking about how to climb up the mountain – rather than push each other off the cliff.
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto
Stephanie Nolen’s excellent article The Dire Straits Of Being Single And Female In India (Jan. 2) reminded me of my son’s birth in Delhi in 1958. We received a birth certificate that listed his father and paternal grandfather but made no mention of his mother. Years later, this caused some difficulty when he wished to benefit from the concessions available to children of British citizens. As the authorities reasonably pointed out, he had proof that I, a British national, had married his father but not that I was his mother. By Indian standards, my role in his birth was insignificant.
Mary Taylor, Ottawa
A Canadian sexual assault victim who testifies against her assailant can expect to be interrogated by a defence lawyer about the clothing she was wearing, whether she was out alone late at night, whether she took alcohol or drugs, and umpteen other questions designed to suggest that she “asked for it.” To paraphrase a lawyer I know: The further a female sexual assault victim gets from petticoats, the less likely she is to receive justice.
While the situation women face in India is horrible, we have no right to be smug.
Joanne Robinson, Hamilton, Ont.
LCBO pay packs
Re Booze In Supermarkets Isn’t Going To End Ontario’s Liquor Monopoly (Jan. 2): You report, quoting the LCBO workers’ contract, that “casual employees start at $14.94 per hour and can earn up to $20.27. A grade three liquor store clerk – one of the lowest paid LCBO employees – starts at $22.65 per hour.”
What you don’t say is that more than 60 per cent of LCBO workers are part time and receive no benefits, sick time, vacation pay or any guarantee of hours; that the average wait for a full-time position, such as a Grade 3 clerk for instance (which no one “starts” at), is about a decade of part-time work; that the average annual wages for an LCBO worker is about $30,000 – $15,000 or so less than the nationwide average yearly salary. I’m 27, a four-year employee and have never broken $30,000.
Julian Benson, vice-president, OPSEU/LBED 5108
Call to Catholics
Gary Mason’s article Does Catholics Come Home Campaign Have A Prayer? (Jan. 3) brings to mind G.K. Chesterton’s comment: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
Yes, there are always weaknesses and problems in the Church, but there are incredibly bright lights of renewal, especially among the young. The Come Home campaign is aimed at providing a second look toward renewed understanding and purpose, stronger commitment, with the result of strong communities and new funds to improve programs, teaching and service to the community – all good things.
Tim Kennedy, Ottawa
I, too, was raised Catholic. In the mid-sixties, our religion class was given a tour of the church. As the boys strolled where they wanted, the priest told the girls that he had been given special permission from the bishop to allow us up to the altar. I knew then that I was being treated unfairly, because I was a girl.
Yes, a lot has changed in the Church in nearly 50 years and, no, it’s not enough. Years later, I have chosen a faith community where all people are welcome to participate fully, and women and men serve in all roles.
Anne Renouf, Peterborough, Ont.
Re Triskaidekaphilia (editorial, Jan. 1): As far as fixating on 13 goes, it’s bad luck to be superstitious.
Steven Leitman, Kingston