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(Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
(Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 22: The Bre-X mystery, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Bre-X mystery

Re Bre-X Saga Staggers To An End – But Its Mystery Stands (Report on Business, March 21): As an investor who lost a small fortune in Bre-X, I’m awestruck at how a bankruptcy trustee and its lawyers can spend 16 years incurring $13-million in fees for themselves to come up empty-handed and none the wiser for shareholders.

Where’s the accountability? Doesn’t it look as if the file were kept open until virtually all of the money in the Bre-X estate had been used up in fees?

Tony Andras, Toronto

Stop the bashing

I’m sick and tired of the bullying of public servants (Absent Feds Are Too Expensive – editorial, March 20). The federal government, in providing sick leave to its employees, supports the Canadian Medical Association’s advice to stay home if you’re sick, thus helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Private-sector workers, having no such safety net, are obliged to carry their contagion into the workplace. This, in large part, accounts for the disparity you report concerning the levels of sick leave between the public and private sectors. The federal workplace environment, with benefits (including sick leave) established through collective bargaining, has helped to sustain a stable middle class in Canada.

Rather than fuelling resentment against what (and who) serves Canada so admirably, the focus should be on developing measures to improve benefits for private-sector workers.

Julie Hughes, Ottawa

Holocaust lessons

Re Exploiting The Holocaust Has Become All Too Acceptable In Canada (online, March 19): At every Passover seder, Jews throughout the world repeat the phrase: “In every generation they will rise against us.” Sadly, this particular truism manifested itself in the unspeakable genocide of the Holocaust. Today, the threat comes from other extremists who have vowed to destroy the Jewish people.

Tema Smith complains of B’nai Brith’s actions in working to alert a world that was silent during the Holocaust to the potential for a new one. She says the focus should be on new findings on the extent of the Holocaust, that we need only “study and remember the Holocaust for its own sake” to make us “better global citizens.” As a child of Holocaust survivors, I find her thinking frightening in its naiveté. I’m proud of our organization’s positions to protect the future, as well as remember the past.

We say kudos to the Harper government for recognizing the importance of ensuring Holocaust awareness that’s rooted in today’s challenges and for supporting the new research and learning resources created by B’nai Brith Canada’s National Holocaust Task Force. How far-thinking of the government to ensure Canada’s leadership role in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada

.......

I’d like to thank Tema Smith for her well-balanced article on the dangers of exploiting the Holocaust. The horrific reality of the Holocaust isn’t to be denied. Nor, however, is vigorous criticism of the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and the human-rights violations being perpetrated.

Remembering the Holocaust – and teaching individuals to recognize the signs of dehumanization – is vitally important. Just as criticism of Israel isn’t de facto anti-Semitism.

Diane Ballantyne, Fergus, Ont.

Just a myth

Roland Paris is quite wrong in explaining Canada’s decision not to support the U.S. intervention in Iraq (Staying Out Of Iraq Was Said To Hurt Canada’s Standing. It Didn’t – online, March 20). The Canadian government made it quite clear that, were a UN Security Council mandate obtained in support of the intervention, it would indeed have intervened.

And Canada did participate in the war through naval interdiction in the Persian Gulf and the deployment of a small number of officers in support of the U.S. action. Mr. Paris’s article only adds to the myth that Canada was right to take the high ground when facts speak otherwise.

David Carment, professor of international affairs, Carleton University

Speaking of myths

The National Geographic should be congratulated for no longer being “a stickler for facts” and for addressing UFOs, Bigfoot and booze (UFOs, Bigfoot And Booze. This Is National Geographic? – March 20). In so doing, it has caught up with the lively work in the discipline from which it takes its name: geography.

Ever since the 1950s, geographers no longer simply strive to consider measurable and observable “facts”; they also take seriously the importance of human experiences, interpretations and, more generally, social life.

A narrow and unadventurous view of what geography can do is far more dangerous to our children than tales about spaceships, ghosts and megafactories.

Paul T. Kingsbury, associate professor of geography, Simon Fraser University

.......

Associating the sasquatch with UFOs implies that Bigfoot is an inappropriate subject for the National Geographic Society to address in its TV productions. Not so fast. Dismissing the sasquatch as mythical or lumping it with UFOs is just wrong thinking.

Although the sasquatch is a taboo subject for most scientists, research into the ecology of this mammal is well advanced. Unfortunately, this research has been overwhelmed by entertainment-oriented TV shows.

The few scientists who study the sasquatch are unable to correct misperceptions when their own research results are overshadowed by such media distortions.

John Bindernagel, Courtenay, B.C.

Back in the USSR

Re Tories Taking Heat For Scientific Method (March 21): I can remember going to international scientific conferences and witnessing Soviet scientists accompanied by political commissars. The Conservative government now sends media monitors to control the output of Canadian scientists at international meetings. Is there a difference?

William H. Blackburn, Halifax

Polynesian gospel

Easter Island is moving to northern Alberta. The tar sands aren’t subtropical yet, but our government’s frantic promotion of them completely ignores what everyone else on the planet knows: Excess emissions today will devastate future generations tomorrow.

Your Der Spiegel quote says it’s “the stench of money” (German Scientists Cut Ties To Oil Sands – March 20). On Easter Island, it was the obsession with statues.

Our leaders are set to mine the last ooze of bitumen, the consequences be damned.

Anthony Ketchum, Toronto

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