I read the horrifying details suffered by Tori Stafford and my heart breaks into a million shards. Why read? Why report? Why have open trials? I have asked myself this again and again. The best I can say is this: I read because I must be a faithful witness. Maybe, in some small way, so she is not so alone.
In those final hours, she lived and died in the grip of something darker than many of us care to acknowledge exists in the world. Yet, clearly it does. By being, in my own small way, a faithful witness to this darkness, maybe something else becomes part of the story. Maybe something of goodness and decency and love is held up to the monsters that threaten to annihilate the world.
Perhaps our willingness to witness that which threatens to destroy us is what will ultimately grow our humanity. I wonder.
Muriel McMahon, Guelph, Ont.
No one I have spoken to (and people are speaking of little else in London these days) believes the overwhelming media coverage to be either necessary or appropriate.
There is no possibility the details can act as a deterrent to crime. There is no need for the public to pronounce on the verdict, that is the unlucky jurors’ task. Exhaustive coverage can only be a mercenary appeal to the human fascination with the details of evil acts.
This is real life, not a movie. Those of us not motivated to attend the trial in person don’t deserve to know these details. Nor do we deserve to be sideswiped by sensational accounts. Coverage should be restricted to a workmanlike summary of the status of the trial.
Donna Kraft, London, Ont.
Why do we need the details of Tori Stafford’s ordeal? Because without them, we cannot as citizens judge how tough our criminal laws should be. Unless we know the crime, we can neither approve nor condemn the punishment.
Mel Bradshaw, Toronto
Margaret Wente (Ontario’s Green Dream Was Just A Fantasy – March 15) says “the green energy bubble is bursting everywhere” but, in the last year alone, global wind capacity has grown more than 20 per cent. She says “the world is losing interest” but Prof. Henry Pollack of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says wind “is the fastest-growing source of new energy-generating capacity worldwide, particularly in Europe and the United States.”
Gideon Forman, executive director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Thank you, thank you. Margaret Wente’s comments on wind turbine technology succinctly voiced many of the concerns of rural Ontario. Some unlucky people have found themselves living in close proximity to these monsters – and the 550-metre setback, an arbitrary figure ordained by the Green Energy Act, is far too close. They have experienced serious health problems to the extent that they have been forced to leave their homes.
Marilyn Lauer, Milford, Ont.
If we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate, we will be worrying about a lot more than hydro rates and countryside views in a lot less time than 100 years. Stating that wind power is not an efficient source of energy because “it always needs a parallel backup system” is no reason not to use it. Wind can provide a major portion of demand, thus reducing our fossil burn. Increasingly, methods are being developed to store power effectively.
We need to use every means possible to get off our addiction to oil.
Dave Carson, Dundas, Ont.
While I couldn’t agree more with Margaret Wente about the relative inefficiencies of green energy, I have to disagree with her that there are “vast new supplies of gas and oil – enough to keep us running for at least 100 years.”
Production decline rates for shale gas and oil can exceed 90 per cent in the first year. Some shale plays are already past peak production, while some U.S. companies devoted to shale exploration have already gone bankrupt because estimated production didn’t match reality. But don’t take my word for it: Do the research.
Brent Smith, Medicine Hat
First Nation youth
We need a two-pronged approach for the education of children on reserves. It is not only a matter of raising educational standards but also of reinforcing a sense of their roots and own identity (It Still Comes Down To Fixing The Reserves – March 14).
My experience in communities in Baffin and Northern Ontario speaks to this. There, one walks around the town surrounded by the laughter of children, obviously well loved and cared for, on bikes, sleds or in running shoes. Yet these same children, once they turn 13 or so, have one of the world’s highest suicide rates. This is the age children start to envision themselves as adults. If there is not a visible path to a life they want, drugs, alcohol, despair and suicide become their path.
We must work with these youth to discover the supports they need. For some, it will be aiding the transition to college or university life. For others, an upgraded high school education may suffice to build a more self-confident generation of citizens and leaders.
There is work for them, just ask the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, currently requesting immigration authority. If we can support individuals from all over the world to integrate and find lives in Canada, how can we fail these native youth?
Bill Johnston, senior fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto
The bill, please
As a former litigation counsel for the Toronto Transit Commission for almost 10 years and former director of litigation for the City of Toronto, I am appalled at the $45,207 spent by the three directors of the TTC subsidiary corporation, Toronto Transit Consultants Ltd., to alter it to become Toronto Transit Infrastructure Ltd. (Stintz To Axe Penniless TTC Subsidiary – March 14).
I call upon the commission to provide the public with details of the bill and how the law firm was selected.
Guy Jones, Toronto
Mete out fairness
It is unfortunate that the Canadian Muslim community again finds itself cast in the role of political football (Muslim Community Calls PQ Alarmist Over Halal Meat – March 15). The controversy du jour over halal meat is imported from the discourse of France’s far right. Undertaking a national discussion on the ethics of animal slaughter writ large may be worth doing. Singling out Canadian Muslims for partisan political gain is not. We all deserve better from our elected officials.
Tarek Saghir, Toronto
Big Julie’s demise
Those of us who grew up watching Wayne & Shuster on CBC will never forget their famous sketch about the Ides of March, where Caesar’s wife repeatedly says, “I told him: ‘Julie, don’t go’ ” (A Moment In Time: March 15, 44 BC).
Johnny Wayne played the role of the Private Roman Eye, Flavius Maximus, Frank Shuster played Brutus, but Sylvia Lennick, as Mrs. Caesar, stole the show.
For anyone who wants a laugh, the sketch Rinse The Blood Off My Toga is available on YouTube.
Manuel Matas, Winnipeg