Whatever one thinks of the Quebec student protests, telling Quebeckers that they have it great compared to students in Chile seems out of place (A Far Cry From Chile – editorial, June 4). It reminds me of a great Homer Simpson comment on health care: “America’s health care system is second only to Japan, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, well … all of Europe. But you can thank your lucky stars we don’t live in Paraguay!”
Ed Morgan, Toronto
There are good reasons to oppose what some students are doing in Quebec: the casual indifference to lawlessness and violence; the lack of any democratic mandate from the students they purport to represent; the enormous fiscal problems Quebec has.
But there are also dumb reasons, primarily the notion that Quebec students shouldn’t complain because they already have the lowest tuitions. This is not a reason for Quebec students to stop protesting: It is a reason for other Canadian students to start.
Paul Paquet, Ottawa
As an academic criminologist, I am both worried and fascinated by what I call the pistolization of criminal culture in Canada (After A Brazen Shooting, Toronto Needs Answers – June 4). What is required is a national study of this evolving problem, conducted by qualified and independent academic criminologists. However, it is extremely difficult to find support for this kind of research. And, of course, politicians and policy-makers need to be prepared to listen to the results. As Marcus Gee points out, Canadians could be doing so much more to support efforts to find out about what lies at the roots of this problem.
James Sheptycki, professor of criminology, York University
Neil Reynolds concludes that the federal government’s relief program was, on its own, an appropriate response to a national emergency, the Great Depression – appropriate because, as Lord Atkin in his wisdom seemed to perceive: “The BNA Act protected Canadians’ human rights by protecting their property rights from excessive federal power” (Lord Atkin Knew Who Was Boss – June 4).
In other words, even during the Depression, the “human rights” of property holders (one guesses Mr. Reynolds is talking about their right to “freedom” or “liberty” here, in the American constitutional sense) trumped the “human rights” of Canadians to a meagre livelihood and a modicum of human dignity achieved through a compulsory contributory insurance scheme.
I suppose if you’re going to reject outright Keynesian demand-side economics, this makes sense. But, by the same token, you’ll have to be prepared to accept Great Depressions every once in a while.
Todd Stubbs, Barrie, Ont.
A simple solution exists for the GMO question (‘Frankenfoods’ Have Moved On. When Will Opponents? – June 2). Give people a choice, label GMO foods. That the GMO industry and government vehemently fight this request clearly tells us something.
Graham Pett, Fonthill, Ont.
Expensive, chemical-dependent, patented seed varieties are well beyond the financial means of the world’s poor farmers. The real “pro-poor” solution involves farmer-centred, agro-ecological methods that allow farmers to produce more and better food with few outside inputs. These provide a real solution to hunger since they raise the incomes and address the food needs of the most vulnerable.
André Magnan, Regina
The modified biology of GM foods does not allow for adaptation of seedlings to rapidly changing environmental conditions. In due course, the strains on which we become increasingly dependent will be unable to grow in their native geographies and we will have lost the necessary genetic diversity necessary for species survival. This will be to the detriment of us all.
Amelia Mahony, Vancouver
Unquestionably, Queen Elizabeth has many admirable qualities. Her 60th anniversary was rightly celebrated. However, the proud people of the United Kingdom would never countenance having someone other than one of their own as head of state and it baffles me that so many Canadians are content to accept this status quo (In The Fabric Of The Nation – editorial, June 2).
To properly take its place on the world stage, Canada needs to start making its own history and traditions instead of living vicariously through those of another sovereign state, no matter how impressive those traditions are.
Cormac Monaghan, Toronto
On Coronation Day, June 2, 1953, I was on parade in Whitehall with the RN contingent, standing to attention, wearing my best uniform, in the pouring rain. The Queen rode past in the golden state coach, to sustained cheering, flag waving and hats thrown into the air.
Other carriages followed. Then, a ripple of cheering gradually increased and became a virtual tsunami of sound; there, in the only open carriage, was Queen Salote of Tonga, a British Pacific possession. Soaked through, Queen Salote smiled and waved at the ecstatic throng.
Months later, as a junior officer on a ship in the Mediterranean fleet, I received compensation for a uniform ruined by Coronation rain. The compensation was one seventh of the cost of a new uniform; on the other hand, with the duty-free privileges of the Royal Navy, it could buy 10 bottles of gin, the favoured tipple of naval officers. We had quite a Coronation party, though somewhat delayed.
Colin Proudman, Toronto
Dogged by debt
Reading Eric Reguly’s erudite article (Greece’s Loss, Germany’s Gain? Why Merkel’s ‘Good’ Crisis Is Set To Turn Bad – Report on Business, June 2) prompts me to propose a solution to the eurozone crisis. Let Germany leave the EU and revert to the German mark. The mark will soar, German exports will collapse, exports from surviving eurozone members will balloon, and with the right amount of controlled inflation, their sovereign debt problems will take care of themselves.
The rest of Europe would also no longer have to endure Angela Merkel’s insufferable beratings. All round, a win-win situation – other than for the implacably, illogically inflexible Germany.
Robert A. Clarke, Fontainebleau, France
What needs to be done? Obviously, a Marshall Plan for the Mediterranean countries where jobs are moved from the north to south. And more purchasing of Greece’s exports, limited as they are. For a start, Germans should vacation in Greece this year, enjoying themselves and transferring money into the Greek economy. The transfer is going to happen anyway – they might as well get a holiday out of it.
Brian Latham, Yellowknife
I first thought that Mark Braude’s idea of a lower-case society was a capital idea (The Lower Case – Life, June 4). Then I began thinking. We might well end up with a nationwide group of shift-less people.
Jim Sanders, Guelph, Ont.