By telling Washington about the Harper government’s failure to pursue sustainable development policies, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is bravely risking the loss of voters convinced that growth at any price represents our salvation (Mulcair Takes Alternative Canadian Voice To Washington – March 14).
Speaking an unpopular truth is a difficult, yet important, task. Political leaders who do have long been on the endangered species list, much to our cost. Shipping Alberta crude east and refining it there will create jobs and increase Canadian control over the production and distribution of a carbon-rich resource. Ironically, a new Greenland government is about to tighten controls over access to its resources for many of the same reasons (Greenland Rolls Up The Resource Welcome Mat – Report on Business, March 14).
Keith Oliver, Cobourg, Ont.
I was disappointed in Thomas Mulcair’s behaviour in Washington. While I respect the ambitions of the NDP faction, I have lost respect for their leader. Instead of praising Canada for our achievements, he chose to degrade his own country for political gains. It was a cheap shot.
Murray Katzman, Toronto
Church of more …
Margaret Wente suggests that the Catholic Church is failing because it is a rigid, hierarchical and exclusive institution (Thrilling Pageantry, Failing Church – March 14). She deplores its inability to adapt to changing realities and values, like the equality of women.
Last year, Ms. Wente explained a decline in United Church of Canada membership by accusing this church of being too contextual and worldly (The Collapse Of The Liberal Church – July 28). She wrote that “in the 1960s, the liberal churches bet their future on becoming more open, more inclusive, more egalitarian and more progressive. … It was a colossal flop.”
I can’t help but see a contradiction in Ms. Wente’s critiques.
Natalie Istead, Master of Divinity student, Queen’s University
Although I seldom agree with either John Doyle (Like The Oscars, Superbowl And Tahrir Rolled Into One – Life & Arts, March 14) or Margaret Wente, they both got it right regarding the media coverage and the selection of the new Pope. Did we really need wall-to-wall coverage of such a non-event?
Most of us will continue on without giving the Vatican and Pope a second thought, looking forward to the next spectacle, scandal, hair-raising event – whatever grabs the media. I despair for humanity.
Joy Ruttan, Gatineau, Que.
It has been a bad few days for those of us who identify as liberal, progressive Quebeckers. First, Robert Vézina, president of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française, wants to force thousands of small Quebec companies to impose French as the language of communication in the workplace, saying knowledge of English should not be a job requirement in Quebec. Then our Education Minister announces the cancellation of an intensive English-language program in elementary schools (PQ Cancels Program To Teach English – March 8).
To succeed in almost any field of endeavour in this world today, you must be fluent in English. Example: Agriculture is a large segment of the Quebec economy. Quebec is a small market, so exports are essential. I happily live and work 24/7 in French, but my English skills are a big part of the successes I’ve had exporting Quebec agricultural products for almost 20 years. It follows then that my sales and marketing team and customer-service people also must be bilingual. These are interesting, lucrative jobs. Spain, Japan, Ontario, Germany or New York, for a Quebec exporter, it’s all done in English.
It’s so elementary, it’s inconceivable that this government and others before it don’t get it. They have placed the protection of their language and culture on the backs of young Quebeckers. There has to be a better way.
Robert Swain, Lévis, Que.
The contrast between the comprehensive understanding of the urban issues that Canadian cities must address, as exhibited by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi (The Cost Of Crumbling Cities And Roads – Report on Business, March 14), as well as the manner in which they should be resolved, and the fragmented manner in which these concerns are being addressed in Toronto, is stark.
Notwithstanding the valiant, but independent, efforts on the part of agencies or groups such as the city planning department, Metrolinx, Waterfront Toronto and the Citizens Coalition on Parks, the sum will not be greater than the parts if not co-ordinated by a larger vision for the city.
A.J. Diamond, architect, Toronto
It’s not bling
Not all Calgarians installing elevators are “well-off” (Moving On Up: Single-Home Elevators On The Rise In Canada – March 13). We’re in our 60s and building a home on an inner-city lot, which means it will be multistorey. We’ve lived in three-storey homes for 25 years and know the benefit of “doing stairs,” but, as we age, don’t want to end up selling our home because one of us can no longer manage stairs.
And the elevator won’t cost any more than real-estate fees would have. It’s not bling, it’s forward planning.
Maureen Thomas, Calgary
Hip-replacement surgery is one of the most successful of all elective orthopedic surgical procedures (The Nightmare Of Margaret Wente’s Miracle Artificial Hips – March 2). The overwhelming majority of hip-replacement patients benefit from the procedure.
What was novel about Ms. Wente’s hip surgery was the implant type and the precise insertion technique. The orthopedic community itself remains divided on the success rate of that specific implant and for whom it is best suited – the Canadian Orthopedic Association has been instrumental in leading this discussion.
Improved quality of life relies on innovations in medicine. But all things new, and novel, are not necessarily improved or of better quality. There is clearly a need for an expanded registry of orthopedic devices to monitor successes and identify failing implants. Canada’s voluntary joint-replacement registry is designed to do just that. Were this registry mandatory across the country, it would increase patient safety.
Steven MacDonald, president, Canadian Arthroplasty Society; Geoffrey Johnston, president, Canadian Orthopedic Association
Your article A Grounding In Sinkhole Science (March 14) says the 14th hole recently sank an Illinois golfer, who’s now able to tell the tale of surviving a giant sinkhole. You could call this the revenge of the golf green – or “a one in hole.”
Paul A. Hallam, Toronto