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Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith unveiled her party's campaign bus in Edmonton, Monday, March 19, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith unveiled her party's campaign bus in Edmonton, Monday, March 19, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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March 23: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Quarterback, scientist

Peyton Manning's five-year, $100-million contract with the Denver Broncos is “obscene”? When did it become obscene (Sports Roundup – letters, March 21) for an employee to negotiate the best deal he can with management? If athletes were paid less, does anyone imagine that owners would give away tickets to underprivileged children? They’d just pocket the cash.

Profits in pro sports are limited only by what the market will bear, in terms of ticket prices, advertising during games and the consequent value of TV contracts. Why should any principle other than supply and demand govern the salaries of those athletes whose work is the basis for all of the revenue generated?

Saying all that Mr. Manning does is “throw a football around” is like saying that all Stephen Hawking does is fiddle with numbers. It’s snobbery to look down at natural skill in sports as somehow less worthy than natural skill in intellectual endeavours.

Neither is inherently virtuous, nor inherently valuable – it all depends on what you do with it. Mr. Manning is entertaining tens of millions and bringing in hundreds of millions. Objecting to him getting a fair cut comes off less as egalitarianism than as envy.

Jay Nathwani, Toronto

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Alternate strategy

Margaret Wente, in a predictable dismissal of the NDP leadership race, cites what is rapidly becoming a mantra among some of her peers – the general public’s lack of support for public-sector workers’ “privileges” (The New Democrats Have No Shot, Kumbaya – March 22).

Once it was made legal for them to do so, public-sector workers took to unionization in the late ’60s and early ’70s like ducks take to water (Greatly undercompensated in comparison to both the union and non-union private sector, they bargained collectively to catch up.

Those private-sector workers whose envy would demand that public-sector workers join them in a lemming-like rush to the lowest common salary-and-benefits denominator should consider an alternate strategy: Form or join a union and bargain collectively. Public-sector workers will support them.

Martin d’Entremont, Calgary

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Harp-seal science

Canadian Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has ignored the advice of his own scientists in setting the 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) for harp seals at an unsustainable 400,000 (Record Harp-Seal Quota May Not Save An Industry Without A Market – March 21).

In December, the head of the marine mammals section of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans concluded the harp seal population was in decline due, in part, to the lack of sea ice and reduced rate of reproduction. He advised that a catch in excess of 300,000 would be unsustainable. The minister has ignored his own scientists and acquiesced to sealing industry lobbyists.

The minister has ignored his own scientists and acquiesced to sealing industry lobbyists.

This is not the science-based, precautionary approach to fisheries management DFO claims to take. Once again, our oceans will suffer as a result.

Bridget Curran, director, Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition

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Let’s make a deal

Last year, in spite of the impact of disasters in Japan, about 30 per cent of total vehicle production in Canada came from Japanese plants in Ontario in Alliston, Cambridge and Woodstock (New Push For Free Trade With Japan – Report on Business, March 22). As a result of extensive investments in manufacturing in Canada and the U.S., two of every three Japanese-brand vehicles sold in Canada are built in North America. At the same time, Canada has been a net exporter of Japanese-brand vehicles every year since 1993.

We supported free trade under NAFTA, and now support Canada’s proposed Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan.

David Worts, executive director, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada

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Money, memory

The Ukrainian Canadian community never sought an apology for what happened during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920, nor compensation to the survivors or their descendants (Past Wrongs Can’t Always Be Undone – March 21). We asked only that the Government of Canada recognize this historic injustice. That will be done in 2013 when a pavilion dealing with this unhappy episode in Canadian history is unveiled in Banff National Park, complemented by smaller displays at Fort Henry, in Kingston, and at The Citadel, in Halifax, all sites of First World War era internment camps. Our campaign was always about memory, not money.

Lubomyr Luciuk, director of research, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

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At the very least, apologies for the wrongs of the past show an understanding and commitment by the contemporary government, that these past actions are no longer seen to be just and will not be perpetuated. Acknowledgment of past wrongs is important for the education of those citizens who were not wronged, to be aware of those who were.

Mark Anderson, St. John’s

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Have it all (almost)

There’s an interesting connection between veganism and eating healthily through diverse, rich food cultures (Vegans With Benefits – letters, March 22). Across Canada, people are cooking Moroccan tagine, Indian coconut curried veggies, Mexican black bean stew, Italian ribollita. All vegan. All delicious. And there’s no end in sight – with the access to food cultures Canada affords and the creative (vegan) reinterpretation of those food cultures through blogs such as , we can have it all. Well, almost.

Ruth Richardson, Toronto

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Fairness?

I am a retired criminal lawyer. I have had many disagreements with judges, both in and out of court. Public, reasoned criticism of judicial decisions is fine. Insults are another matter.

Many, but not all, lawyers I know, would say that the sentence handed down by the judge in the Graham James matter is supportable based upon decided cases and the circumstances in this particular case. I certainly do. However, even if I did not, I would not see such disagreement as justifying an attack on the judge as “despicable” (Justice? – letters, March 22).

Gwilym Davies, New Westminster, B.C.

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While I understand the judge’s statement that “the Canadian criminal justice system is not one of vengeance,” I do not understand why the violation of children is trivialized by such a meagre sentence when the maximum penalty is 10 years (Anger Greets James’s Two-Year Sentence – March 21). What is at stake here is not vengeance but the protection of society.

Cathryn Reeves, Clarksburg, Ont.

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Boobgate

About that Wildrose Party campaign bus (editorial cartoon, March 21) with Danielle Smith’s face and shoulders immediately above the tires: As Elmer Fudd might say, “She’s wheel sexy.”

Eddy A. Elia, Vancouver

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