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NDP leadership candidates Martin Singh, Niki Ashton, Thomas Mulcair, Brian Topp, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar and Peggy Nash wave to the crowd during the NDP leadership debate in Vancouver on March 11, 2012. (REUTERS)
NDP leadership candidates Martin Singh, Niki Ashton, Thomas Mulcair, Brian Topp, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar and Peggy Nash wave to the crowd during the NDP leadership debate in Vancouver on March 11, 2012. (REUTERS)

What readers think

March 15: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Balancing point

When should human decency outweigh the public’s unfettered right to know? I am struggling with this in light of the lurid coverage of testimony by a convicted murderer in the trial of the second accused killer (How Tori Was Taken: A Murder Through A Killer’s Eyes – March 14).

The publication of the photograph of Tori Stafford’s mother in the arms of someone who cares about her is an intrusion upon her privacy, but she is an adult and can speak and act for herself.

What of Tori? Even with a warning about the story’s disturbing detail, the line-by-line recitation of how the eight-year-old was assaulted and killed goes too far. In fact, such coverage does a great disservice to the child’s memory. It feels less like justice and more like a desecration to me.

J.C. Sulzenko, Ottawa

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Enough already

I’m tired of media complaints, including John Doyle’s, about how boring the NDP leadership race is (I Watched The NDP Leadership Debate. Someone Had To – Arts, March 14). Here we have seven articulate candidates vying for one of the most important jobs in Canada. All have been outlining where they stand on issues while continuing to show respect for each other. What do you want? Attack ads? Misleading robo-calls? Dirty tricks? We should be proud the NDP is running such a clean campaign.

Look at the Republican Party. Now that nomination race isn’t boring, but which party would you rather have in Canada?

Diana Pepall, Ottawa

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Brian Gable’s editorial cartoon (March 14), where MPs are passing the crime bill as cops chasing robo-callers tear through the House of Commons, brings to mind several adages. First, that politics is the art of compromise, second, that all is fair in love and war.

The first no longer holds true, politics has evolved into outright war, demonizing and destroying the “enemy” by whatever means necessary. Personal attacks, half truths, robo-calls, dirty tricks, overspending, voter suppression, who knows what else. All justified to win power.

A third adage is that if you throw enough BS (male bovine excrement) against a wall, some of it will stick. This is very much used today by all political parties. I ask for two things from politicians and political parties. No more robo-calls, if you want to talk to me, have a person call. Next, cut out the BS. Sure, some sticks, but at the end of the day, we have a pile of BS at the bottom of the wall. The stench is becoming unbearable.

Paul Luoto, St. Thomas, Ont.

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Designed in Canada

The government should scrap the F-35 purchase (Ottawa Having Second Thoughts On F-35 Jets – March 14). If possible, it should buy a few retired USAF F-18s with lower flying hours as a stop gap and set up a military aircraft-design facility in Canada.

The F-35 has only one engine, not a good idea in the Arctic because of potentially great distances involved in rescuing a downed pilot. What we need are very long-range fighters (VLRF) to patrol our borders. The F-35 (like the F-18) will require external fuel tanks to provide range. We all know what happens when we carry a box on the car roof rack. The same drag inefficiency applies to aircraft.

It would be better to spend 10 times as much over the next 10 to 15 years on a new VLRF specifically designed for the job. Such a jet would be longer, to accommodate larger internal tanks, perhaps with delta wings to store even more fuel. Reminds us of the old Avro Arrow – except for improved speed, new composite materials, stealth technology and better engines.

Alan C. Carr, retired aerospace engineer, Stratford, Ont.

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Minister for labour?

When Charles Caccia was appointed minister of labour, I joined his office as chief of staff. Soon after, Bryce Mackasey, a former Trudeau labour minister, searched me out to tell me that we should think of the office as the “Minister for Labour”: If we did, we would always be doing our job as there are plenty of other departments to look after the interests of the rest of the economy. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt might do well to consider this advice (Bill Passes To Send Air Canada Labour Disputes To Binding Arbitration – March 14).

Karl Feige, Merrickville, Ont.

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Into the pit

How ironic to see former News International executive Rebekah Brooks’s shocked/stalked face captured through the glare of an automobile window (U.K. Police Arrest Brooks In Hacking Probe – Report on Business, March 14). There’s an Old Testament prayer that yearns for one’s enemies to fall into the pit they dug for you. Surely a News of the World victim must have prayed it.

John Van Sloten, Calgary

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‘Any poem of mine’

The article on Irving Layton (He Dared To Rage – Arts, March 14) reminded me of an incident that quite clearly demonstrated his view of his place in the history of world literature.

It took place in the early 1970s in the faculty common Room at Winters College, York University, where college Fellows Irving Layton, Eli Mandel, D.E.S. Maxwell, the college master, sundry others and I were tippling as members of the wine-tasting club. It had just been announced that Australian author Patrick White had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Should’ve been mine,” growled Irving.

“Why so?” questioned Maxwell, a bluff Irishman with a great sense of humour.

“Because any poem of mine is worth any one of his novels, and I’ve written more poems than he’s written novels,” reasoned Irving.

James P. B. Kelly, Unionville, Ont.

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1812, 2012

With reference to David Allan Stein’s rather dispiriting exercise in Canadian self-deprecation (1812 Outcome – letters, March 14), it should be noted that when the gods of war left Canada with Margaret Atwood, Margaret Atwood and Margaret Atwood, they rendered everything else immaterial.

Frederick Sweet, Toronto

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Pay, performance

Great idea, paying teachers according to their results (ABC’s Of Pay – letters, March 13). We should extend it to the medical profession, too: The faster a doctor or nurse cures the patient, the more he or she is paid. Should the patient die, there would, of course, be no pay. On second thought, I wonder if any teacher, doctor or nurse would agree to work with the most vulnerable of our population, those who most need their nurturing and help?

Peter Gower, Kingston, Ont.

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That gravy train

Mayor Rob Ford set up a Toronto Transit Commission shell corporation that spent $175,000 of city money on a KPMG study to buttress his political goal of a Sheppard subway (Stintz To Axe Penniless TTC Subsidiary – March 14). I assume we are calling this “train gravy”?

Tyler Hargreaves, Toronto

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