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March 28: Letters to the editor Add to ...

She’s a commodity

There’s a woman in my neighbourhood who may not have heard the news about the Ontario Court of Appeal’s removal of the ban on brothels (Ruling Legalizes Brothels In Ontario – March 27).

She works a lot. Night and day. She sleeps in someone’s carport. I can tell by her skin and eyes she’s aboriginal, even though her hair’s blonde, and that she’s young, despite her body being too wasted to warrant a second glance by men who like to “gaze.” She moves with the palsied walk of an addict. Though she looks like she should be under medical care, any clear-eyed economist with the IMF could tell you that she’s a commodity.

I wonder, if it were explained to her using simple language in consideration of possible fetal alcohol syndrome and minimal education, whether she would think the court’s decision is really going to change her life for the better.

Stephanie Bogaert, Vancouver

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The appeal court has simply complicated this issue. Anyone who thinks this will somehow protect street prostitutes from harm is not being realistic. It will just drive them further underground, as many will be unable to find employment in legal brothels. They will still need, however, to feed drug habits.

Many young women are forced or trafficked into the sex trade; trafficking will increase to meet demands. Prostitution demeans women and devalues the society that allows it.

Larry Comeau, Ottawa

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America must ask

If George Zimmerman had been an armed black man on crime watch in Florida and shot and killed a suspicious unarmed white kid “up to no good,” would police have readily accepted his Stand Your Ground defence? That’s the question America must ask itself (Why Did Trayvon Die? – March 27).

Jim Meyers, St. Catharines, Ont.

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Take Lisa Raitt to task

Re The Perils Of The Airport Jungle (editorial, March 27): What the Air Canada baggage handlers did was wrong but a supervisor could have easily diffused the problem by telling them to cut out the nonsense. The whole thing would have stopped there.

The slow clapping by the handlers was not for a regular customer walking through the airport. It was for Lisa Raitt, the federal labour minister who had just referred their dispute to the Industrial Relations Board to let an obscure piece of legislation stop a legal labour dispute. This was the second time she’d done this. I do not support unions, but until we find a long-term solution to labour disputes that does not involve strikes, these workers had a legal right to strike.

With the right to deal with their dispute with traditional methods removed, the baggage handlers did something silly – but that is all it was, silly. This government is becoming so far removed from the people they govern that small acts of civil disobedience are going to occur.

Don’t take the baggage handlers to task, take Ms. Raitt to task.

David Bell, Toronto

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Downside be damned

I am suspicious of Warwick Cairns’s odds for child abduction – that the probability a child will be abducted is statistically so small, a child would have to be left outside unattended for 750,000 years (It’s Better To Be Prepared Than Scared – March 27).

Who ever heard about child abduction and sexual assault in the ’50s and ’60s, when we had free run of the streets? I was 8 on Halloween night when I was abducted a block from my Toronto home, along with another eight-year-old, by a man with a picture of his wife on the dashboard of his car. He offered to help us find candy, drove us to a nearby golf course, raped my friend, then returned us close to the spot where he had picked us up. The police were involved, no one talked about it, least of all the media, and to my knowledge no one was warned of a predator in our neighbourhood. It was as if child abductions never happened. Yet, it likely happened more then because now we are aware and take precautions to limit the possibility, downside be damned.

Denise Loader, Toronto

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Cowtown’s charms

It’s misleading to suggest previous attempts at rejuvenating downtown Calgary have failed (New Condo Owners Buy Into Calgary’s Urban Renewal – March 26). Calgary has a thriving urban centre with a density and diversity on par with Chicago and Manhattan – more than 50 million square feet of office, hotel, residential, retail, entertainment and cultural space in a 50-block area.

Over the past 15 years, dozens of new condo buildings have added thousands of homes to the urban villages surrounding the central business district. Over 60,000 people or 6 per cent of Calgary’s population call the city centre home – on par with Vancouver or Toronto. Urban living is alive and well in Cowtown and has been for many years.

Richard White, Calgary

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Follow the rabbit

Re Budget Cuts Are About Growth, Not Austerity, Ottawa Says (March 26): So, the Harper Conservative government is going to create jobs and sustainable social programs by cutting jobs and social programs? This sounds like something we’d hear from the Queen of Hearts. It will be interesting to follow the White Rabbit down his hole and see how such a feat is accomplished.

Dave Broad, Regina

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Thai business, Canada's PM

In 25 years working in Thailand, it has often perplexed me why Thailand and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) haven’t been more on the Canadian “map.” The Thai Canadian Chamber of Commerce, even with its limited resources, has done much to raise Canada’s image here. I expected that during Stephen Harper’s three-day visit last week, he and his mission would try to boost Canada Inc. here, our brand, and meet with local businessmen and investors, both Canadian and Thai.

But the PM’s advance team would not permit scheduling any meetings with him. There were no events, formal or otherwise, where members of the Canadian community here could meet the PM and exchange ideas on how Canada can raise its profile in this dynamic country. Perhaps the deafening silence during the visit was because Canada doesn’t have an ambassador in Thailand. The last one was reassigned and has not been replaced. When will that happen? This should be a priority.

According to the Thai ministry of foreign affairs, “ASEAN-Canada economic opportunities are still underexplored.” Basically, we send more exports to Rhode Island in an hour than we do to ASEAN in a year.

The PM is our “biggest” ambassador. Or one would think. He needs to do more to demonstrate abroad a Canada that we are so proud of at home. Why are we always so reticent about celebrating our greatness as a country and reinforcing the benefits, seemingly limitless, of doing business with us?

James Best, Bangkok, Thailand

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Subway funding

Jacqueline Murray’s history (The Whores Of Yore – March 27) tells us the University of Montpellier owned a brothel and collected its revenues. What a wonderful idea for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to pay for his subway dream. If his brother thought a casino could pay for the Sheppard subway, just think what a whorehouse could raise.

Bert Hall, Toronto

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