Be fair: Greener is hard
At the same time that Jeffrey Simpson points out why It’s The End Of The Oil World As We Know It (Nov. 21), and how a rise in global temperatures of more than two degrees Celsius is inescapable, and a price on carbon is “the best tool for reducing emissions,” across the page we’re reminded we must be “fair” in our new awareness of the need to be green (Green But Not Fair – editorial, Nov. 21). You state: “It is to be hoped and expected that the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will include provisions that eliminate discriminatory procurement policies at all levels of government.”
Kermit the frog has always lamented that it isn’t easy being green. As Mr. Simpson points out, with fossil fuel subsidies in 2011 six times greater than those for renewable-energy supplies, it isn’t getting easier.
George Burrett, Cambridge, Ont.
Two men, two cases
In 2011, in a very similar case to Saeed Jama’s, the Human Rights Committee determined that Canada would violate its international legal obligations by deporting a young man to Somalia (To Deport, Or Not – letters, Nov. 21). As with Mr. Jama, the young man had been in Canada since childhood and had never been to Somalia, a country so violent Canadian diplomats won’t go there.
Mr. Jama’s case is also similar in some respects to another non-citizen of Canada who was convicted of serious offences and sought to live here. This other “foreign criminal” had the great good fortune (unlike Mr. Jama) to be born a Canadian citizen, but he discarded it for a citizenship he considered more attractive, and subsequently quit Canada. Then, after being convicted and sentenced to prison, he was permitted to re-establish himself in Canada, even though he could live in his chosen country of citizenship, the U.K. I do not object to Conrad Black’s admission to Canada, but I do wonder what other differences explain the vituperation heaped on Mr. Jama and the generosity extended to Mr. Black.
Audrey Macklin, professor of law, University of Toronto
Margaret Wente has it right (Celebrate Boys’ Boyness – And Work With It – Nov 17). It put me in mind of a family trip to Kenya 30 years ago and seeing troops of young rural lads celebrating their initiation into manhood.
Most of them, having been recently circumcised – a procedure that would concentrate anyone’s mind – did not look too happy, but there was a camaraderie in the agony as they held their initiation gowns out before them. This, of course, was a culturally sanctioned event and we saw many groups of these adolescents that holiday. Traditional societies have known this need to celebrate boys’ boyness since long before it became a talking point for the chattering classes.
I know it left an impression on our two young sons, and my wife and I thank our lucky stars that school and sports helped to concentrate their adolescent spirits.
Doug Kittle, Wasa, B.C.
Soundness of mind
Philippe Pinel may have written about the mentally disabled receiving institutional care in 1794 (On The Streets – letters, Nov. 20), but Jonathan Swift also weighed in early with regard to the treatment of mental illness. In 1747, St. Patrick’s Hospital for Imbeciles was established in Dublin, funded by a bequest from Swift, who had died two years earlier.
That institution is now known as St. Patrick’s University Hospital, an independent, not-for-profit mental-health hospital.
While Swift himself was once declared to be of unsound mind by a Commission of Lunacy, he exhibited great soundness of mind with this particular bequest.
Jim Roche, Toronto
Rx for Oxy addicts
I read with disbelief your conclusion to the rampant OxyContin drug abuse problem – that Ottawa should fund more treatment programs for addicts, and open more beds for those going through withdrawal (Prescribe With Care – editorial, Nov. 20). How about cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that pay high profile “pain specialists” to travel widely, givingfree lectures to doctors to promote their sales?
We could also learn from Alberta’s triplicate prescription program, which identifies pretty quickly the doctors who are heavy prescribers, and the users who are visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions. Those measures would be more pro-active than pouring money into withdrawal treatment.
Kate Anderson, MD, Fergus, Ont.
Oxycodone is a double-edged sword: Despite its pain-saving effects, it has the dangerous potential for abuse and addiction. Canadians and physicians often don’t realize a simple prescription can spiral out of control into a horrible addiction. It can happen to anyone; I see it every day.
As André Picard (Action Needed On Oxycodone – Nov. 20) points out, opioid addiction is a major public health issue. As such, it requires major attention and action. Banning generic oxycodone is an important step, as is better access to addiction treatment, and providing ongoing education to family physicians to be effective in treating the growing number of opioid-addicted patients. We cannot do it alone. It is our government’s responsibility to address the addiction epidemic. Let’s get on the same page.
Joel Bordman, addiction and chronic-pain physician, Toronto
Say (big) cheese
Last spring, several American students from Penn State University joined my Ryerson students for a course on Canadian-American relations. Imagine the surprise of the Americans one evening when they encountered Stephen Harper in a downtown sports bar. When they told me the story, I thought they were pulling my leg, so I asked if they took any pictures of themselves with the PM. They said they were intercepted by the PM’s assistant, who told them they were not allowed to, but that he would take posed pictures of them with Mr. Harper (It’s All About Visuals, And Harper Takes Advantage – Nov. 20).
The students were then given an e-mail address and told to order copies of the “official” pictures from the PMO. I really thought they were pulling one over on me. But reading Lawrence Martin’s column, I now know – our PM’s visual paranoia knows virtually no bounds.
Gregory J. Inwood, Toronto
As far as the PM being less controlling about how his image is presented, surely the press can be trusted to make sure everything is presented fairly, reflecting the context in which it was delivered. No doubt, John Baird really is always angry and animated, and Barack Obama really is always composed and professorial.
One question: Does Lawrence Martin always look the way he does in the picture on his column?
Darryl Squires, Ottawa