State of emergency
Shame on John Duncan, federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, for his cynical attempt to blame the Attawapiskat community in Northern Ontario for their current state of emergency (Officials Investigate State Of Emergency – Nov. 29). Unfortunately, the ploy worked, judging from many of the comments on The Globe’s website Tuesday.
The federal government gives just under $1-million a year to this community for housing, and this amount “includes other community infrastructure projects like roads and hydro lines.” Before anyone asks where “all the money” has gone, we should ask ourselves how many houses, roads and hydro lines you can build for under $1-million.
Lisa Matthewson, Vancouver
Where is the wisdom in subsidizing people to live on a barren patch of Northern Ontario so lacking in economic opportunity that its inhabitants can’t earn the money to build or buy housing for themselves? I truly feel sorry for each member of Attawapiskat First Nation, but there is something wrong with a system that has told them that when you don’t have a roof over your head, the best thing to do is stay put and demand that the government build one for you at a cost of $250,000.
Daniel J. Gormley, Toronto
The housing situation on reserves along the western shore of James Bay is a disgrace. No one jurisdictional body will ever solve this problem. Federal, provincial, municipal leaders must work as one, not individually while wearing blinders. Politically correct, well-rehearsed rhetoric must be replaced with frank, factual discussion.
Assigning blame and finger-pointing must stop; each person must actively participate in improving the situation for themselves and their family. I am sad when a baby is born to the region as the child’s future will be one of sickness, early death, poor education, unemployment, violence, incarceration, poverty. But what do I know, I am just a doctor who has watched the endless suffering of the Mushkegowuk people for the past six years.
John Waddell, MD, Kingston, Ont.
So, our Environment Minister won’t confirm or deny reports that Canada will pull out of the Kyoto accord after the Durban Conference ends (Ottawa Adds To Climate Fund Objections – Nov. 29.) That shouldn’t come as any surprise when you consider that Peter Kent’s expertise is in reading the news, not making it.
Dick Moutray, Kitchener, Ont.
The Grey zone
Lawrence Martin asks: What does the Grey Cup football game have to do with the Canadian military (Under This PM, The State Is Everywhere – Nov. 29)?
From 1942 to 1944, the Grey Cup, established as an amateur prize, was contested exclusively by service teams. Two air force teams competed in 1942, with the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes defeating the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers, 8 to 5. The 1943 Grey Cup Game was won by the Hamilton Flying Wildcats, 23 to 14, over the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers. In 1944, the St. Hyacinthe-Donnacona Navy team won the Grey Cup against the Hamilton Flying Wildcats, 7 to 6.
The Canadian Forces share the fabric of all that is Canadian.
Gerald W. Pash, Victoria
The amalgam of sport and the military to promote Canadian nationalism is straight out of Don Cherry’s playbook. To honour the sportscaster, why not rename the capital, Ottawa, D.C.? Given the PM’s agenda for Americanizing Canada, this would kill two birds with one stone.
Howard M. Greenfield, Montreal
I enjoyed Honor G. Nivin’s letter (On Track With CP – Nov. 28) about the geography (and history) lessons we can learn from the CPR. The photo of No. 9126 that illustrated your cover story about the railway’s current troubles (Trouble On The Tracks – Report On Business, Nov. 26) was taken just a few miles from the Spiral Tunnels that he mentions. Not often can I guess the location of a generic train-in-the-mountains photo, but I can say with certainty this one was taken at Mile 113 of Laggan Subdivision, known to rail fans continent wide as Morant’s Curve.
The profiles of Mount Aberdeen and Saddle Mountain, which with the other peaks of the Plain of Six Glaciers embrace Lake Louise high above the rails, are unmistakable from the many photos that Nick Morant (1892-1994) took at that picturesque location during his long career as CPR corporate photographer.
About as iconic a Canadian photograph as you’re going to get. Well done.
Leslie MacMillan, Waterdown, Ont.
Pay it forward
Gwyn Morgan simultaneously dumps on the Occupy protesters and the labour movement (A History Lesson For The Occupy Protesters And Those That Supported Them – Nov. 28). Inequality here? Try this: Since 1976, median earnings in Canada have barely inched up from $44,100 to $45,600 adjusted for inflation. That’s an increase in income of just $1,500 in a third of a century – less than $45 a year in real terms. There were 1,334,200 unemployed Canadians in September. The unemployment rate among workers aged 15 to 24 was 14 per cent, and 48.2 per cent of that age cohort were employed only part-time.
With their fat pensions, Mr. Morgan and other corporate executives need not worry. For example, former CEO Jim Shaw, according to your newspaper, is drawing down a pension of $6-million a year. That’s about $16,000 a day, or more than the maximum yearly Canada Pension Plan benefit every 24 hours. This is what the Occupy protesters are talking about and it is why people in the labour movement are sympathetic to them.
Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress
17 cents a day
Cutting the vehicle registration tax cost Toronto $64-million last year (Ford, Nenshi And The Human ATM – editorial, Nov. 29). The Ford 2012 budget will have to make up for that by cutting shelters, library hours, transit service, grants for kids’ nutrition programs, grants for arts and culture programs, AIDS prevention programs, wading pools, ice rinks and emergency workers. Additionally, the property tax increase will cost the average household $60 year, and the TTC fare increase another $60 a year. Perhaps those people who voted for Rob Ford would like to think about what everyone will now lose in order to save drivers about 17 cents a day.
Dorothy Graham, Toronto
I empathize with Margaret Wente in her wait to find Dr. Clavicle and Dr. Wrist (Calling Dr. Clavicle – Nov. 28). As we grow older, increasingly we find that the centre and extremities cannot hold; our GPs must find specialists to put us back together again. So we wait – for how long, one does not know – in my case for Dr. Hip. Which no doubt qualifies me to become part of another kind of Tragically Hip. Wish I could sing.
Geoff Smith, Kingston, Ont.
Attention, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, cancel that last page.
Humpty Dumpty paging Dr. Clavicle.
Mary Saunders, Lethbridge, Alta.