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Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, front, and Mallorie Nicholson, back, paddle to win the 500 meters C2 women’s final race at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in 2011. Today’s topics: Female canoe racers and Olympic-sized discrimination; ganging up on violence in Toronto; turning to Russia for help in Syria; CEOs’ non-retirement ... and more (Bela Szandelszky/The Associated Press)
Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, front, and Mallorie Nicholson, back, paddle to win the 500 meters C2 women’s final race at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in 2011. Today’s topics: Female canoe racers and Olympic-sized discrimination; ganging up on violence in Toronto; turning to Russia for help in Syria; CEOs’ non-retirement ... and more (Bela Szandelszky/The Associated Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

July 20: Olympic-sized discrimination, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Every. Olympic. Sport

I was astonished to read that there are no women’s canoe competitions in the Olympics (Female Canoe Racer Takes Olympic Inequality To Court – Sports, July 19).

My daughter is one of Canada’s top junior athletes (800M, 1,500M races), with her sights set on the next Olympics. When I read this, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel as a parent, a mother and a woman if my daughter had chosen to excel in canoeing and was denied participation in the top athletic event in the world for her sport – only because she is a female.

Women must be represented in every sport – anything less is degrading and insulting, particularly in relation to the many gains woman have made in all other areas of life.

Mary Anne De Monte-Whelan, Toronto

.........

Dickens in 2012?

We’re not living in a Dickens novel where the poor are always meritorious. They’re human beings who may end up in gangs despite social spending, but at least a framework has to be made to give them a chance. Some will respond, and the majority of the population will benefit from decreased violence.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is demanding more money, not for social programs but for a crackdown on street gangs after this week’s mass shooting (Mayor Calls On Harper, Province To Help Fight Gangs – July 19). Even if we had one police officer for every citizen, what then?

When will our politicians be interested in using our tax money to facilitate a quality of life worth living, thereby creating safer, not militaristic, neighbourhoods?

Laura Young, Toronto

.........

It is a wonderful thing that Margaret Wente (Broken Families Caused This – July 18) has figured out a practical “wait till your Daddy gets home” solution to neighbourhood gang shootings: Through role models, structure and consistency, encourage fathers to stay with their families.

Oh – and throw more young offenders in jail – where one will find structure, consistency, role models galore, and bonus, lots of (teenage) dads.

Paul Morrissey, London, Ont.

.........

Following the shootings, everyone’s a critic – the entire spectrum has been covered, from the issue of absentee fathers in the African-Canadian community to tougher sentences for young offenders.

Comments that restrict violence to one race or assume it will only occur in one area are grossly misinformed. Violence can happen anywhere; the “tragedy of the bystander” is becoming a common thread. So how do we address the issue without being divisive or racist?

Following the 2005 “Summer of the Gun,” a co-ordinated effort by communities, police, all three levels of government and NGOs led to a systematic decrease in gun-related violence. Since then, as attention faded, priorities shifted and communities that truly needed assistance were once again ignored. The cycle of violence continued.

We must think and act like a city united if we truly want things to get better. Residents of Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods who are affected by violence must challenge the realities of their circumstances as best they can: If this means an introspective look at families, it must be done. Torontonians who are not well-informed about the issues these communities face should get a sense of their reality before making quantum leaps of judgment. Government must not only highlight the plight of neighbourhoods when high-profile shootings occur, it’s in governments’ best interest to prevent them in the first place.

Let’s once again collaboratively develop sensible solutions. From investing in communities to better policing, to simply listening to those who have something informed to say, we must unite and step out of our comfort zones. The safety of our city depends on it.

Saeed Selvam, former director, Youth Police Relations; served on the Chief’s Advisory Council, following the Jane Creba shooting; executive director, Change12 Inc., Toronto

.........

Handgun tax

Your publication of a letter (When It’s Broken – July 19) proposing a tax on legal handgun owners to cover the costs of violence betrays a lack of judgment. There is no connection between already heavily regulated handgun ownership and this violence.

Does anyone seriously believe the use of handguns by these indiscriminate gang bangers would end, even if every legally owned handgun in the country were to disappear? Ending this scourge requires measures based on serious thought and study, not pseudo-economics.

Teri Jane Bryant, Calgary

.........

Calling on Russia

Re How To End The Fighting In Syria (July 19): Russia could establish contact with senior military officers who may not be completely subservient to the current regime and encourage them to take over the military (with assurances of support from both U.S. and Russia).

The military would then establish a civilian council, with representatives from Syria’s major ethnic and religious groups, tasked with drafting an interim constitution akin to the role played by the Egyptian military. I would not be surprised if some such effort is already under way.

Baily Seshagiri, Ottawa

........

CEOs on the go

Could it be that the increasing number of CEOs who won’t retire (Still At The Top Of Their Game – July 19) has something to do with being subconsciously so addicted to the rush of their excessive incomes, that they cannot kick the habit?

Charles Simpson, Victoria

........

Chilly reception

The sudden announcement by Baskin-Robbins that it is closing its busy facility in Peterborough, Ont., a city that has seen too many such closures, ensures I won’t become a fan of their product any time soon (In A Heat Wave, End Of An Ice Cream Plant – Report on Business, July 19).

Consider that when the Chapman’s ice cream plant burned to the ground, no one was put out of work while they rebuilt. Chapman’s has earned my loyalty.

Ken Duff, Vankleek Hill, Ont.

........

Suing the DND

Col. Bernard Ouellette obviously doesn’t get it (Army Colonel Sues DND For Defamation – July 19). Even if, as he contends, he had no inappropriate relationship with a female UN staffer, he should have shown much better judgment, recognizing how his actions would have been perceived, and thus could have avoided the situation entirely.

L.M. Hickey, Bedford, N.S.

.........

Cut to the chase

J.C. Sutcliffe critiques Pasha Malla’s debut novel for its “extraneous material that doesn’t really go anywhere” and “whole characters and storylines that provide colour and social commentary but not action” (People Park Party Proves Problematical – Books, July 14).

This might be a valid response to a lightweight genre novel, but we’re talking literary fiction here. I’m sure some critics must have made the same point about all those “extraneous” essays that kept getting in the way of the chase for Moby Dick.

Mark Foss, Ottawa

 

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