The Ford follies
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, mayors Gérald Tremblay, Gilles Vaillancourt and many members of Montreal’s Union Party resign. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is ousted by the court (Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Removed From Office, Vows To Appeal – online, Nov. 26), there is pressure on the mayor of London, Ont., to resign. A Trudeau apologizes: Is this our Canadian version of the Arab Spring?
Alana Ronald, Montreal
With the litany of offensive comments and actions associated with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (Rob Ford And A Decade Of Controversy – online, Nov. 26), it boggles the mind that he has lasted in office this long. Mr. Ford should have been held to a high standard as the mayor of Canada’s largest city, but so often, we had to lower that bar. Let’s get back to the serious business of running this great city without the circus that revolved around him.
Catherine Bertmount, Toronto
Rob Ford is a caring politician who listens to people and tries to do something about their problems. Aside from elections, how many times has a politician replied to you, let alone shown any initiative to solve your issue? I will never forget my experience with Mr. Ford and he was not even my representative on council.
Mr. Ford should not be treated differently than anyone else. Other politicians have done far more serious things with far lesser consequences. While I respect the court’s ruling, I think it was a little too harsh.
Abubakar N. Kasim, Toronto
The Grey Cup. The court’s booting of Rob Ford. What should be my third wish for Toronto?
Michael D. Arkin, Toronto
Patrick Martin (The Unintended Victims Of Israeli Attacks – Nov. 26) captured what too often gets overlooked: the actual cost of war on the people who try to live in these areas. Political powers considering war – even terrorists choosing violence – would do well to heed Grandmother Saada’s words about her grandson’s shrapnel wound: “It’s forbidden to hurt a child like this.” There’s only truth in her words. “It’s forbidden” should be our guide.
Having been brought up in Ireland during the euphemistically termed “Troubles,” I firmly believe that it is the treatment of our children, if they are taught to hate the “other,” that allows sectarian violence to continue.
Certainly economic and political suppression, and the land issue in the Middle East, that dreadful mess in the sand drawn up last century, are parts of the peace puzzle that must be addressed. But let the children be safe; children will play, hate will disappear.
Catherine Brennan, Toronto
Without its Iron Dome anti-rocket shield, Israel would have sustained many more civilian casualties than the people of Gaza. After all, while the goal of Israel was to limit civilian deaths, the intent of Hamas in launching hundreds of rockets was to kill Israelis indiscriminately.
Raymond Heard, Toronto
Re Gender Parity Trumps Excellence In Science (Nov. 24): Our report, Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension, was based on studying research career paths in all disciplines, not only science. We showed the evidence of the major improvements Canada has made in opening up research to women since 1970, and the expanded pipeline of talent among graduate students as well as faculty researchers – but also responded to Industry Canada’s request to provide evidence on the barriers that seem to block women from succeeding in the proportions we would expect, given their performance and success in universities. The study documents the depth of the pool of talent in many fields that could be mobilized to ensure we remain an innovative, internationally competitive nation if we remove those barriers.
Far from diluting Canadian research efforts, this report is about strengthening those efforts by drawing on all the highly educated, diverse and accomplished research talent in our universities.
Lorna Marsden, chair, expert panel, Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension
As female professors with several decades of experience teaching and doing research, we are disheartened by Margaret Wente’s analysis: The gender report does not say gender parity is more important than excellence. Rather, it encourages us to think about how we define “excellence,” to recognize that excellence comes in many forms, and to consider the ways in which certain institutional factors might prevent women from achieving some of the criteria currently utilized to determine “excellence.”
The report never blamed “men” for inequities it clearly acknowledged have been caused by a variety of social, cultural and institutional factors. If the language of the report sounds as dated to Ms. Wente as the “shoulder pads” she wore in the 1980s, it may be because many of the inequities from the 1980s still haven’t been addressed.
Mary Chapman, Susan B. Boyd, Sneja Gunew, Margot Young, professors, University of British Columbia
Africa’s greatest success story is Botswana – land-locked, 70 per cent desert and, at independence in 1966, one of the continent’s poorest countries (In Case You Missed It: This Is The ‘African Century’). Its government refused World Bank advice and the quick fix of massive investment loans and took a gradualist approach to development, building on what little strength it had – its people and their cattle.
When diamonds and copper were discovered, it did not sell off these resources for an infusion of riches but partnered with international firms to develop them gradually. It reinvested the royalties in education and health. It regulated the banks, making credit available to ordinary citizens to build homes and create economic opportunities. The results: Per capita income rose from $70 to more than $13,000, cattle herds tripled and the country has prospered. This is what intelligent, honest and pragmatic government has achieved.
Burris Devanney, Halifax
Does it help?
Your article suggests Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer spy character would have quickly sussed out James Bond as an upper-class “git” (The Spy You Wish Had Taken On Bond – Film, Nov. 23). But the caption under the accompanying photograph says Harry would have sniffed out James as an upper-class “twit.” Twits and gits are different animals. The Monty Python series, for instance, is full of twits, a word that suggests deep-rooted idiocy. Git, on the other hand, doesn’t mean that the person being referred to is a total prat. Hope that helps.
Ray Jones, Toronto