With the Tides
A government that seemingly cannot track or accurately report on a multibillion-dollar aircraft purchase is auditing Tides Canada twice in four years (Group's Charitable Status Being Audited – May 8), combing through its alleged “political activities” (a term that has come to mean advocating for open inquiry into facts and ideas detrimental to the government’s plans).
A quick sample of the hundreds of organizations benefitting from Tides Canada’s ability to manage donations turns up charities such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Africycle, the Cortes Island Seniors' Society, the Manitoba Children's Museum and the Stephen Lewis Foundation, as well as charities whose legitimate goals include the protection of our dwindling natural environment.
What a pity that Tides Canada lacks the Conservatives’ access to publicly funded, partisan PR. Even without those resources, its generosity, fairness and social justice commitments stand as a model the Harper government would do better to adopt than attack.
Janet Gadeski, editor, Canadian Fundraising & Philanthropy, Burlington, Ont.
The Harper government’s actions are the best argument yet for anti-bullying programs in schools. Because anyone might grow up to lead our country.
Susan Todd, Burnaby, B.C.
Reins of power
Notwithstanding Lawrence Martin’s predictable criticism (How Long Will Harper Stay – May 8), our Prime Minister stands head and shoulders above any opposition leader. I hope he remains PM until Bob Rae ambles into the sunset and Justin Trudeau knocks himself out in the ring of public opinion, if he hasn’t already done so. If Thomas Mulcair and his Dippers grab the reins of fiscal power, there will be no one to bail us out.
Jim McDonald, Dundas, Ont.
In 1841 Charles Mackay published a classic study of human nature with the self-explanatory title Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. It would be fascinating to see if any of the leaders of the student protests in Quebec have studied it (The War Over $325 A Year – editorial, May 8).
Charles Caldwell, Saskatoon
Lysiane Gagnon points out that student leaders of the recent demonstrations in Quebec are “born leaders” and, indeed, this may be so (Students – And Born Leaders, May 7). It should be pointed out, however, that it is not too difficult to rally students to the cause of having someone else pay for their education.
Robert Cairns, Cobourg, Ont.
Names not called
Not content with calling me a dangerous radical because I question the wisdom of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and its accompanying tanker traffic, now I’m accused of money laundering because I’ve made modest donations of hard-earned dollars to a couple of environmental groups in the past (Wildly Uncharitable Allegations – May 7).
I would like government ministers to please stop calling me names because I don’t always agree with them. After all, I don’t call them names. I don’t call Joe Oliver the Minister for Investment Banking. I don’t call Peter Kent the Minister for Environmental Disinformation. And I don’t call the government Bullies Practising McCarthyism.
James Allen, Victoria
Getting it right
Canada is justifiably proud of the diverse culture it has created (Canada Doesn’t Play Favourites Among Immigrants By Country. Should It? – May 8). Yet we are doing a disservice to ourselves and new immigrants if we say it’s discriminatory to expect newcomers to speak one of the official languages.
Common language creates understanding, which is vital to working together effectively. We want to attract immigrants who can work here but we don’t want to discriminate by limiting applicants from certain countries. What a dilemma! It seems to me the answer lies in two areas: 1) informing people who want to come here that they will have to work in the languages spoken here, and 2) expecting both business and government to commit resources to those immigrants who need help with their communication.
Elizabeth Fernandes, Toronto
Canadians who live in cities face challenges ranging from crumbling physical infrastructure to starved social infrastructure (e.g., health, education) to simpler ones, such as smog alert days and longer commuting times. Which of these will be ameliorated by adding more people?
Jon Legg, Ottawa
With all due respect to Shimon Peres, it is not Canada that is an “extraordinary friend” of Israel but Stephen Harper (Peres Lauds Harper’s Staunch Support – May 8). While we support Israel’s right to live in safety, most Canadians hold a much more balanced view of the situation in the Middle East.
Armida Spada-McDougall, Vancouver
Not the UAE
Dany Assaf (How Competition Helped Fuel The Arab Spring – May 7) would have us believe that the example of the United Arab Emirates galvanized Arab youth to take to the streets in revolutionary fervour. But the Spring’s call for universal rights, economic equality and representative government could not be more at odds with the sectarian and gender inequality, wealth disparity, and oppressive military dictatorships characteristic of the Gulf.
One look at the protests in Bahrain against that state’s hosting of a Formula One race shows that the people of the Middle East would like nothing less than to emulate “what the UAE had done.”
Fahad Siddiqui, former project director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Toronto
I would imagine responding to a quiz on morality would be made quicker and simpler and would result in consistent results across your moral tribe if you had a 2,000-year-old old cheat sheet to help you along (Why The ‘Sacred’ Still Matters – May 7). A human, engaged and evolving morality requires an open and questioning mind, not one driven by the fear of being excluded from a desperately imagined afterlife of eternal selfish reward. Just sayin’ .
Jonathan Orr, Vancouver
Cheering Expo 67
As I looked at the cover of John Lownsbrough’s The Best Place To Be, I realized that the Montreal Alouettes Larkettes were in and on the large Expo 67 sign, waving happily as their pictures were being taken (‘The Greatest Thing We Have Ever Done As A Nation’ – Books, May 5). As a former Larkette, I remember with delight that early Saturday morning, climbing on ladders to reach the letters of Expo 67. I am pretty sure that I was in the letter “P.” What fun it was!
Montreal was The Best Place To Be in 1967. I grew up there and have such fond memories. Guelph is a great city, but Montreal will forever have a special place in my heart.
Mary Gleason, Guelph, Ont.