Big picture debate
Observed in Montreal late last week: Three 40-year-olds and one 20-year-old having lunch. On leaving, the older ones take their trays to the station. The younger one leaves his on the table.
An ambulance, siren blaring, bears down on us. Everybody jumps to the curb, except one youth who saunters across, smiling, impeding the ambulance.
Could this be entitlement – or is it just Montreal?
Robin Quinlan, Montreal
We are witnessing the “big picture” debate unfold in Quebec: Will our priority be the aging boomer generation, or will it be today’s youth, and tomorrow’s work force? By virtue of their greater numbers, the older generation appears to be winning this debate, with health-care funding largely untouched.
Much like boomers once took to the streets to protest the Vietnam War, today’s students are also exercising their right to be heard.
Nick Krukowski, Toronto
Supporters of the red-square rebels who live outside Quebec might ask themselves if they have ever heard of taxation without representation – because their support of this ongoing protest feels a lot like representation without taxation.
Why don’t those who agree with the students who are affecting the lives and businesses of everyday Montrealers move here and pay the highest taxes in the country? That would show real commitment to the cause.
John Overing, Lorraine, Que.
Instead of bullying EI recipients (EI Targets Occasional And Frequent Users – May 25), why doesn’t the Conservative government look at more pro-active approaches to recession-related unemployment? Germany’s strategy of work-sharing avoided demoralizing thousands of individuals through layoffs.
Job loss takes a huge toll on the human psyche, and recovery has as much to do with human dignity and self-confidence as it does with GDP growth.
Rob Kleysen, Toronto
It is commendable that the Harper government is attempting to curb Canadians’ reliance on EI. I trust it will now focus on employers who deliberately offer short-term contracts year after year as a tactic to avoid paying higher wages, benefits and pensions, thereby abdicating responsibility for their workers and placing it squarely on the shoulders of the EI system.
Vanessa Rukholm, Guelph, Ont.
Not one woman
Your editorial on democracy in the Egyptian election (Reborn As Democrats – May 25) omits a significant factor. In an era when there are more women on the international political scene than at any time in history, not one woman leavens the bland “set of grey, staid presidential candidates.” Until the likes of a Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Julia Gillard, Aung San Suu Kyi and many other powerful female figures transform the Egyptian political landscape, it cannot be said to be a truly democratic election.
Ann Strickland-Clark, Mississauga
The Globe misses the mark in its criticism of President Barack Obama’s new initiative that devolves responsibility for alleviating global hunger to large multinational corporations (When The Short-Term Matters Most – editorial, May 23). Corporations are a big part of the problem: Increasing corporate control over the global food supply has accelerated overall food production, but also narrowed food availability and access for those who need it most. To curtail global hunger, we need investment in agro-ecological methods that are appropriate, given the environmental, political and economic realities facing smallholder farmers.
We need a long-term vision for ending global hunger that privileges the needs of local farmers over global corporations.
Matthew Schnurr, Department of International Development Studies, Dalhousie University
To horse, to horse
You report that horse racing has “receded to the fringes of the sports world” (I’ll Have Another To Hog Sports Spotlight – May 21) and is an “anachronistic” sport, “fallen out of mainstream sports consciousness” (Too Far Gone To Make A Difference – May 21).
If horse racing, or harness racing for that matter, have fallen off the radar of mainstream sports enthusiasts, it’s in good part due to the continued marginalization of major racing events in the media. It’s a shame, but don’t blame it on anything intrinsic to racing. The likes of Triple Crown-contender I’ll Have Another and trotting great Windsong Geant are doing their part, but where is the regular coverage?
Ontario’s decision to end slots partnerships with racetracks is one more misguided attack on racing, falsely portrayed as a hobby of multimillionaires.
Sorry for sending this a little late, but I was busy playing Mohawk Racetrack. And I’m not over 40.
Melissa Keith, Lower Sackville, N.S.
Missing from Gary Mason’s list of Canadian greats was Northern Dancer (Spellbound By A Fast Horse – May 24). The Dancer was the 20th century’s greatest sire – a remarkable, remarkable animal.
Craig Kent, St. John’s
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is deeply concerned with the recent release of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force report on the effectiveness of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests (Warning On Prostate Tests Sparks Debate – May 22). We disagree with the task force’s recommendation to cease all use of PSA tests to detect prostate cancer.
While the task force claims that abandoning the PSA-test might not have a huge impact on mortality rates, this is only true for patients well into their mid-70s. It does not speak to males in the high risk 50-65 age range.
The American Urological Association and the American Cancer Society were not represented on the task force. Both strongly advocate for increased use of PSA tests because other methods can’t detect the cancer until it spreads.
Work needs to be done to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of prostate cancer screening methods. While not perfect, a PSA test is a valuable safety net for those who need it.
Jackie Manthorne, president, Canadian Cancer Survivor Network
Quite the bargain
The reproduction of the Zenith advertisement featured in Eugene Polley’s obituary was quite interesting (The Man Who Gave Us The Remote – May 23). The 1956 Zenith 21” black-and-white TV cost $399.95, which is $3,466 in 2012 dollars using the Bank of Canada inflation calculator.
Just the other day, I bought a 23” colour TV for $169, which is $19.50 in 1956 dollars. Quite the bargain compared to 1956 prices.
Peter Dielissen, Fredericton
As the long-suffering spouse of a non-stop channel-changer, it’s a good thing the guy who invented the remote is dead – otherwise, I’d have to kill him.
Marilyn Nguyen, Vancouver