Spam’s hot buttons
The anti-spam legislation, which takes effect on July 1, was a good idea. Unfortunately, the government was naive when it set up the rules. Requests from companies asking my permission to send me spam generally consist of a large (sometimes flashing) opt-in button, while the opt-out selection is buried in small, grey-on-white type, hidden in numerous lines of legal boilerplate.
Why didn’t the government require that opt-in and opt-out buttons be of equal size and prominence? Does this questionable corporate behaviour really come as a surprise to the regulators?
Steen Petersen, Nanaimo, B.C.
Re It’s Justice, But It Means Chaos (June 30): Much has been said, written and posited about the Supreme Court’s decision on First Nations’ land rights. Stripping away the hyperbole, doesn’t it all boil down to money? There is no revenue from resources left in the ground. This new reality simply means new business partners for resource developers.
Rather than millions spent on constitutional lawyers and experts, these funds can be part of the negotiations needed to reach profitable (for all parties) agreements leading to economic growth for all Canadians.
Martin C. Pick, Cavan, Ont.
Case for the Defence
Re This Government Loves The Military. In Theory (June 28): Since 2006, our government has made significant investments in the Canadian Armed Forces. We are working to ensure the Forces have the people, equipment, infrastructure and readiness required to defend Canada and protect our interests.
These investments were necessary to rebuild the core capabilities of the Forces. Since coming to office, we have increased the defence budget by over 27 per cent; we have also delivered on procurement projects such as C-17 and C-130 aircraft, Chinook helicopters, Leopard II tanks, and major capital projects, such as the Aurora modernization. These are unprecedented investments that have been necessary to ensure that the Forces are positioned to defend Canada’s sovereignty and national interests.
We also need to ensure that National Defence and the Forces are using existing resources efficiently. We have directed the DND and the Forces to improve major business processes to maximize operational capabilities and readiness. By 2017-18, the objective is to generate $750-million to $1.2-billion for reinvestment into higher priorities.
Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence
Take pride in Pride
Re Pride And Joy (June 30): On the weekend, I volunteered at the Canadian AIDS Society booth, where I met people from around the world who lived in countries where being gay is a crime. It was inspirational to hear their stories of hope.
During the parade, I spoke with a young gay man whose religion shuns people who are gay; he told me how his parents wouldn’t accept him. For him, being at a festival that drew an estimated two million people celebrating diversity helped show him he is not alone. The WorldPride committee deserves congratulations for organizing a well-run event that culminated with an amazing parade.
Steven Lico, Toronto
Citizenship by choice
Like Margaret Wente, I was born in the U.S. (Shaken Down By Uncle Sam – June 24). However, I am not affected by its interest in determining if its citizens abroad owe taxes because, unlike Ms. Wente, I gave up my American citizenship years ago and am only a citizen of Canada. I don’t need to be American as well.
Washington’s position is actually quite reasonable and has always been quite clear: If Americans want the benefits of American citizenship, they need to file a tax return wherever they live.
Seems fair, doesn’t it? It might make sense for Canada to do the same.
The U.S. has always been clear that American citizenship involves obligations, as well as privileges, no matter where one lives. It is disingenuous to complain retroactively that this is unfair.
Lewis Auerbach, Ottawa
Many Canadian citizens whom the U.S. wants to call dual citizens are not. American law states U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. These acts include: 1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state; 2) taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions.
The U.S. immigration website states that if one intended to lose U.S. citizenship when becoming a Canadian, one may do so by affirming in writing to a U.S. consular officer that the act was performed “with an intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship.”
The State Department is not following U.S. law as written.
If you write a consular officer that letter, they schedule an appointment for you at the consulate, where they grill you on intent, and when convinced you did intend to relinquish, pass their recommendation on to “Washington.”
Washington eventually sends a letter confirming that you did relinquish on the date you became a Canadian citizen. “Eventually” was three to five months in my wife’s and my cases.
Jeremiah Allen, Hillcrest Mines, Alta.
Re Bee Business Faces New Threats (Report on Business, June 26): A panel of independent scientists has concluded that neonicotinoid pesticides are a threat to pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies, as well as to birds and earthworms.
In parts of China, indiscriminate pesticide use has destroyed the bee population and farmers are forced to hand pollinate crops. Europe has banned certain neonicitinoids, but Canada has not. Neonics are used here on common crops such as corn and canola; some farm groups and pesticide companies insist they need the pesticide to maintain production levels.
I have a solution: Expand the temporary foreign workers program to bring in skilled hand pollinators so we can continue to eat. Because at this rate, we soon may not have enough bees left in Canada to do the job.
Phillip J. Johnson, Regina
Mother Corp memos
Elizabeth Renzetti’s brilliant column on the CBC cuts almost had me choking on my breakfast (This Week – June 28).
In another life as a CBC employee, I, too, read missives the Mother Corp sent out to its people, justifying boneheaded, shortsighted changes those on high thought appropriate.
We laughed at the bafflegab, twaddle and puffery – but at the same time, we realized that under the roses was the manure we would soon have to live with.
Lindy Thorsen, Regina