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Public Safety Minister Vic Toews: “We feel it’s not in the public interest to provide pizza parties to criminals on a regular basis. We make no apologies for that.” (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews: “We feel it’s not in the public interest to provide pizza parties to criminals on a regular basis. We make no apologies for that.” (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

What readers think

Jan. 8: Job training and pizza behind bars – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Pepperoni pundit

We can all be grateful for the happy accident that restricting access to pizza is cheaper, easier and requires less thinking than, say, designing an effective system to prepare inmates for a productive life outside of prison (Prison Work Programs Fail Prison Inmates And The Public, Study Finds – Jan. 7).

Thor Kuhlmann, Vancouver

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Maybe Public Safety Minster Vic Toews should look into training pizza chefs.

Craig Sims, Kingston

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I am struck by the self-righteous tone in Vic Toews’s letter to the editor about … pizza (Slice Of Life – Jan. 5). This from a minister who has had little to say about the real problems bedevilling the prison system: increased overcrowding, a growing population of mentally ill offenders, persistently high levels of HIV-AIDS etc. etc.

It’s enough to make one weep.

Peter Maitland, Lindsay, Ont.

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A way forward

Re Attawapiskat Audit Raises Questions About Millions In Spending (online, Jan. 7): $104-million over six years for 1,500 people and they are living in abject poverty? When Chief Theresa Spence’s spokesperson was asked about the audit’s findings, just like a true politician, he said neither he nor the chief would make any comment.

Is this going to be a quiet meeting with the Prime Minister?

Sarah Wasylycia, Ottawa

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I was surprised to read that Jeffrey Simpson was under the impression that first nations were longing for a distant past (Nothing More Than A Dream Palace Of Memory – Jan. 5).

First nations have always said they want the agreements that were made between them and Canadian governments to be honoured. The Kelowna Accord was a series of agreements among the federal government, provinces, territories and major national aboriginal organizations in Canada. Brokered by prime minister Paul Martin in 2005, it sought to improve the education, employment and living conditions for aboriginal peoples through governmental funding and other programs.

If Stephen Harper had implemented the accord, he would not be facing the problems he has today.

Teresa M. Smith, Kelowna, B.C.

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Referring to first nations’ spiritual landscape as “mythology” is about as insulting as you can get. Their system of beliefs is no more a mythology than the Talmud or the teachings of Mohammed. Imagine telling a Roman Catholic that their sacred site, also known as St. Peter’s Basilica, should be vacated to exploit nearby mineral rights. Or that the Bible is a mythology not to be taken too seriously. Seriously, try it.

Giving first nations’ stories the same reverence as a religion and imagining their sacred sites as cathedrals is a step in the right direction. A paradigm shift, not complicated, but profound in its implications. What it really comes down to is respect. And it’s about time.

David Ray, Vancouver

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Saving a season

I think it’s great that after 117 days of no NHL hockey, the NHL and the NHLPA have saved the rest of the 2012-2013 season (The Puck Drops Here – Jan. 7). If the NHL can resolve its labour dispute, then the Ontario government and the teachers’ unions should work harder to solve theirs.

We students in the Toronto District School Board have already missed 73 days and counting of after-school sports and clubs.

As a Grade 6 student, this is my last year to represent my elementary school teams. I hope that we won’t be locked out of our sports and clubs for the rest of the 2012-2013 “season.”

I’m looking forward to watching hockey again but I’d like to be playing for my school as well.

Griffin Betts, Toronto

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Citizenship choices

Brigitte Bardot has asked for Russian citizenship because France “is nothing more than an animal graveyard” (Russia Welcomes New Citizen – Jan. 7). Ms. Bardot ought to visit a circus in Russia before she picks up her new passport. A few years ago, we went to the circus in St. Petersburg. The sight of bears being prodded with electric shocks before their “performance” was truly appalling. If her choice of citizenship hinges on how a country treats its animals, she will be filling out an application for somewhere else very soon.

Vic Satzewich, Arkell, Ont.

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Frightened by fat

Your editorial Debunking The Obesity Myth (Jan. 3) is unnecessarily reassuring. Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease and some types of cancer are more common in overweight and obese people. What are the diseases that are more common in normal weight people?

You may be right that overweight and obesity won’t bankrupt the health-care system, but it is clear that the system is financially strained. Caring for increasing numbers of lifestyle-related preventable diseases is one of the causes.

It may also be true that it is better to be fat and fit than slim and unfit. Unfortunately, most Canadians are not fit, no matter their weight. We do need better markers for increased risk of death and illness than just BMI. But for now, we shouldn’t ignore the role of weight in illness.

Mike Cotterill, Addis Ababa

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Bank-fee value

We couldn’t agree more with The Globe’s comments that competition among financial institutions for customers is a good thing (But About Those Fees – editorial, Jan. 5). However, The Globe seems to imply that this competition is limited to mortgages.

Canadians are shopping around when it comes to banking and paying bank fees. Thirty-one per cent of Canadians pay no monthly fees and another 29 per cent pay between $1 and $15 a month. Canadians are getting value and convenience for the fees they pay – fees that help pay for access to secure online, mobile and phone banking 24/7, and access to more than 17,000 ABMs and 6,000 bank branches across Canada.

Readers might infer from the editorial that banks in Canada have different lending standards in different parts of the country. Our banks apply the same rules and regulations for determining the borrower’s ability to pay back loans, regardless of location in Canada. Some lenders other than banks specialize in riskier parts of the market.

Terry Campbell, president, Canadian Bankers Association

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Second verse …

As an atheist, I cannot help but agree with letter-writer Gail Fosbrooke when, in support of the the Catholics Come Home campaign, she writes that life is finite and there are no second chances to do it all over again if we get it wrong. However, I am certain that there are hundreds of millions of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs who would disagree with us.

Brian Caines, Ottawa

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