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WHAT READERS THINK

July 18: PMO to Santa – move over, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Move over, Santa

Re PMO Memo Asking For Enemies List Creates New Furor (July 17): It’s come to this – it’s not Santa, but the feds who govern us who are making a list and checking it twice. A list of those audacious enough to speak out about some of their decisions and policies. Shades of Joseph McCarthy? Richard Nixon’s enemies list?

What happens if your name is on “the list”? Will you be summoned before a future Senate committee and asked, “Are you, or have you ever been a member of the (fill in the blank)?”

The signal this sends is ominous. Who do they think they are, doing this in our democracy?

Ron Devion, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

.........

As a supporter of environmental protection and public health, humane rather than criminal treatment of the addicted or mentally ill, gun control and respect for science and evidence – all the things Stephen Harper’s government opposes – I am clearly well qualified to be on the list. I will be very offended if I am not.

Trevor Hancock, Victoria

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Alex Colville’s legacy

Re Renowned Canadian Artist Alex Colville Dies At 92 (July 17): Alex Colville’s death reminds me of the connective role that can be played by art. My wife and I have often discussed his paintings, in particular, To Prince Edward Island. His art is part of our story.

As well, I have always shown my history students Infantry, Near Nijmegen, Holland, one of his iconic paintings from the Second World War. Its haunting image captures the exhaustion of Canada’s soldiers and is a fantastic visual entry into the war for young people.

Mr. Colville made Canada a richer place with his art; the legacy he left behind will be enjoyed by Canadians for decades to come.

J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto

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Death by drugs

Re Monteith’s Death Ruled A ‘Tragic Accident’ (July 17): Heroin-related deaths are overrepresented in drug deaths, in part because, as behavioural pharmacology has shown, the same dose injected in an unfamiliar environment can affect the body far more, resulting in unintended overdose/death.

Clinics, like Insite in Vancouver, are prepared for this. Such clinics should dot the country where needed. They should be built only in about-to-be-developed areas (with transit access) to avoid NIMBYism, with prospective residents made aware that they do not increase local crime rates.

At a methadone clinic in Toronto where I worked, I learned that addicts don’t look like Hollywood’s version, but like regular Canadians, if a little more worn at the edges than usual (many were employed).

We neglect addicts because we secretly feel they are cheating in life – avoiding the pains of life we suffer and burdening society in the process. The reality is that they are people in dire emotional pain, self-medicating dangerously, profiting organized crime and needlessly dying, which is a loss to society and their loved ones.

We can do much better.

Denny Hall, Toronto

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Female persuasion

Re: Harper’s Political Fortunes Rest On Cabinet Shakeup (July 16): If acting like a teenager (perhaps of the female persuasion) counts as Stephen Harper putting an emphasis on youth and women in his new cabinet, then mission accomplished. Tweeting about all his new best friends and creating a (fr)enemy list have made for a busy few days.

For discussion at this weekend’s sleepover, however, is the fact that Canada ranks 45th in the world for female representation in Parliament. This shuffle is no rebranding: With only 12 women in Mr. Harper’s 39-member cabinet, the swearing-in ceremony was an embarrassing – not promising – day for equality and progress in Canadian government.

Lindsay Page, Toronto

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One article in The Globe’s Life section tells us about Mary Pratt’s work and the difficulty she has had as a woman establishing herself as a serious artist (An Artist In The Kitchen – July 17); another item by Kim O’Grady deals with the difficulty he had getting an engineering job until he put Mr. before his name on his résumé (Mr. Kim – July 17).

It appears that even seeming to be a woman creates difficulties.

Mei-fei Elrick, Guelph, Ont.

.........

Zimmerman’s guilt?

Re Avoidable Death (editorial, July 17): A jury, fairly chosen by both the prosecution and defence, decided after watching and hearing several weeks of testimony and examining many exhibits that George Zimmerman was not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

But that’s not enough for The Globe’s editorialists. You suggest that Plan B, a federal civil rights prosecution, wouldn’t be promising. However, your Plan C, a civil action by Trayvon Martin’s family, has a lower standard of proof and would, according to you, produce “a better balanced result.” If Plan C proceeds and loses, what is your Plan D? A show of hands?

George Mather, Brockville, Ont.

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1 + 1 = 1

Re Loblaw’s Bulk Purchase: Deal For Shoppers Creates Retail Giant (July 16): This country doesn’t seem to encourage competition. We can see that everywhere – airlines, railways, television networks, phone companies, cable companies etc.

Now, we have Loblaw taking over Shoppers Drug Mart – troubling.

Linda Peart, Wolfville, N.S.

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Honest Ed’s: the end

Re Honest Ed’s Is Going, Going . . . Into The Bargain Bin Of History (July 17): Every Christmas and birthday until I was a young man, my brother and I could count on the package from Aunt Julie. It would arrive on our doorstep, or be retrieved during a visit to her house anywhere within two months, give or take, of the actual event being celebrated.

The contribution of coffee mugs, T-shirts, rolls of tape, balls or games, plastic esoterica and assorted food stuffs became a bit of a joke between my brother and me, such that when I eulogized my aunt a couple of years ago, I quipped that I wasn’t sure how Honest Ed’s would stay in business after her passing.

With the imminent sale of the building, at the heart of a neighbourhood I still hold dear, I confess that even I am surprised at the extent of my aunt’s influence.

Michael Martyn, Orillia, Ont.

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I was a student in 1986 with little money. Ed’s had a sale on Romeo and Juliet towels. By mistake, I bought two Romeos.

Unbeknownst to me, my future wife must have been shopping nearby. She inadvertently bought two Juliets. Those towels lasted through university and the lean years of first jobs. Fourteen years later, we married and finally were able to reunite those star-crossed lovers. We still use our towels by the pool. Without Honest Ed’s, where will poor graduate students shop these days?

Keith McKee, London, Ont.

 

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