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Today’s topics: budget blues; two Albertas; sex for sale; Lucy’s plight; hoodie hugs ... and more
Today’s topics: budget blues; two Albertas; sex for sale; Lucy’s plight; hoodie hugs ... and more

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March 29: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Budget blues

Premier Dalton McGuinty says Ontario’s people are “blessed to live in the greatest province in the best country in the world” (McGuinty’s Shrinking Vision – March 28).

Well, as the old Broadway song goes, just because he writes it in the budget, it ain’t necessarily so. Some countries have a higher – and better – standard of living, Norway, for example.

As for the budget itself, it is far from being the best budget it could be. Then again, it will likely look quite good compared to what Ottawa will introduce Thursday.

Simon Rosenblum, Toronto

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Tough budget? Maybe on some other planet. Seniors pulling down $100,000 a year will have to pay a $100 deductible for prescriptions. Get real, most of us with a family won’t see $70,000 in our best year, let alone when we retire. Anyone with $100,000 a year should be paying for their drugs, senior or not.

This is nothing more than window dressing. If I were Dalton McGuinty, I wouldn’t undress behind this particular window – the curtains he’s hung are pretty transparent.

Carolyn Cook, London, Ont.

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I’ve practised surgery at a tertiary care teaching hospital for 25 years. In the Mike Harris era, I was asked to conduct some of my clinical practice in Grimsby at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital as it was being considered for closure and its long-time surgeon was retiring.

I went gladly as the hospital is supported by an impressive group of primary care physicians who make the transition from in-patient to out-patient seamless. They work mostly in group practices, supplying remarkable care. Hospital staff give efficient, effective treatment with warmth and compassion.

While I understand we are in desperate economic times, stopping this hospital’s promised refurbishment is wrong. The physical plant is in dire need of improvement. The hospital and the communities it supports and who support it deserve better.

Dan Bowser, Ancaster, Ont.

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Lucy’s plight

If Who Will Speak For Lucy The Elephant? (March 28) doesn’t shame Edmonton into action, Valley Zoo should put a new sign over her enclosure: See Lucy, an example of solitary confinement and social neglect.

Helen Schiele, Kelowna, B.C.

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Two Albertas

Danielle Smith and Alison Redford don’t represent two discordant views of Alberta, they represent two discordant Albertas (Campaign Brings Out Discordant Views Of Alberta – March 28). Ms. Smith represents the old, rural, social conservative Alberta; Ms. Redford, Alberta’s socially progressive urban centre.

Until recently, the socially conservative values of rural Alberta dominated the electorate and policy. But the explosive growth of the past decade has grown the “new” progressive Alberta, such that the balance of public opinion has shifted level. This change in the balance of Alberta politics showed itself in Calgary’s 2010 mayoral election, pitting a progressive Naheed Nenshi against conservative Ric McIver. The provincial election is just another manifestation of the same dichotomy.

How these battles shake out over the next decade will decide who defines the Alberta Identity.

Andrew Cornhill, Calgary

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It’s a joy

While wading through the daily doom and gloom of wars, famines, budget cuts and the Leafs, it’s a joy to read about the creation of Canada’s first urban national park along the Rouge River (GTA Hopes For Budget Gift From Ottawa – March 28).

Tim Jeffery, Toronto

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Sex for sale

If brothels become legal, society will be in for a major shakeup (Ruling Legalizes Brothels In Ontario – March 27). It might be cheaper overall for the average, modern sexually active person to buy what they need, when they need (and can afford) it, rather than going the traditional route. Say goodbye to fruitless dates, pretending to be interested in the conversation, weddings, babies, RESPs, divorces, support payments, etc.

The more earth-shattering result, however, may come from changes in expectations in sexual performance. The sexual skill level of the average professional sex trade worker (and sex is a skill) probably exceeds average non-professional by several orders of magnitude. It’s their business to please the customer if they want a good tip; the provider’s pleasure is not something the customer has to think twice about. The big stumbling block for legalized brothels may well be the lack of skilled workers to fill the need.

W.R. Franklin, Brockville, Ont.

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Jacqueline Murray oversimplifies decriminalizing prostitution (The Whores Of Yore – March 27). The stigma has not arisen as a result of the illegality, but because of the belief that sex can be bought and that these women can be used as objects for men’s gratification. To revert to a time when it was more acceptable to use women in this way is an insult to the progress feminism has made over the past century to liberate women of harmful stereotypes.

Instead of making this exploitation socially acceptable, we should eradicate it by making the buying and selling of women unacceptable. Punish the pimps and johns, not prostituted women.

Hannah Brown, Vancouver

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The use of the word “women” in reference to prostitutes (Home Field And The Working Girl – editorial, March 27) is outdated. Presumably, the laws relating to prostitution apply to all sex trade workers, not just the females.

Christine Speer, Toronto

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Contrary to historian Jacqueline Murray’s naive belief that “there were few job opportunities for medieval women other than being a wife or a nun,” a wealth of work existed for them in those days. According to records of the times, many women were employed in the textile trade. Others were domestics. Still others worked in guilds – seamstress, chandler, mercer, baker, on and on. Others worked in the manufacture of food and beverages. Women brewed beer and ale.

Nuns, by the way, were mostly daughters of rich families. Some had servants and received guests in the nunnery.

Jean-Louis Brussac, Coquitlam, B.C.

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The appeal court’s ruling is bad news for pimps and johns. How long before the province treats sex as it does its cousin vices, booze and gambling? How long before we hear about the formation of the Ontario Prostitution Licensing and Control Board, with a legislated Crown monopoly in the sex trade? This, of course, would force pimps out of business.

But the really bad news is for the customers. Not only will the price go through the roof but the workers will be unionized with all the rights of seniority and sick days that go with it. At least, with a civil service pension, they’ll likely retire early. A dark day for Ontario.

Stuart McRae, Toronto

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Hub City hugs

The word “hoodie” has gained such a negative reputation (The Hoodie Decoded – Arts, March 27). Perhaps it’s time the rest of the world adopted Saskatchewan’s much gentler term: We call this garment a bunny hug.

Brian Michasiw, Saskatoon

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