While Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore’s wish to sharpen efforts to teach Canada about its past is to be applauded (History Goes To Head Of The Class – Oct. 12), commemorations the Conservatives are preparing to support during this decade, while all worthwhile, present a very narrow vision of this country’s past.
They might also consider commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident in 1914, the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919, or the winning of suffrage for women through the efforts of Nellie McClung and others. Could it be these commemorations don’t fit well with the story of great “men,” wars and royals?
Garvin Moles, Nanaimo, B.C.
Jessica Leeder’s reports on school food environments are an insightful contribution to an important but neglected subject in public discourse (School Food Programs Lack Unifying Vision – Oct. 12).
My own research on high-school food environments in Ontario strongly suggests two additional factors must be brought into the discussion. The first is the legacy of cutbacks in education in the 1990s that led to further privatization of school food or reduction in cafeteria staff where schools still controlled their cafeterias. Both scenarios tended to increase the use of nutrient-poor, processed industrial foods that could be easily reheated without much input of labour (i.e. real cooking). The second factor is the proliferation of fast food and junk food vendors within easy walking distance of high schools. This makes it much more difficult to successfully promote healthy eating among mobile teens when heavily advertised food high in sugar, salt and fat is so easily accessible to them.
There are no quick fixes to the problems of school food. What is needed is a comprehensive, multifaceted approach from different levels of government to deal with the various barriers to healthy eating in our schools.
Tony Winson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph
More than two million copies of Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em videos have been sold since 1989 (Men Of Dignity, Not ‘Pukes’ – editorial, Oct. 12).
Considering these heavily promote fights, headshots and violent checks, why be surprised by Mr. Cherry’s silly perspective on hockey violence? To top it off, the most current video in the series is for sale on CBC’s online shop. Why should anyone take Mr. Cherry or the CBC seriously? It's all about the money.
Pierre Nadon, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont.
One can only hope that Don Cherry will follow the lead of those he disparages and agree to donate his brain to science. We might then learn what causes someone to stubbornly cling to long-held beliefs despite insurmountable and growing evidence to the contrary.
Mark Roberts, Calgary
The “Occupy Wall Street” crowd is so ill-informed, it’s frightening (Yet Another Polarizing Movement – Oct. 11). Wall Street has little to do with the problems the world faces, but the bigotry of the left against business and finance is clearly evident. If they want to protest the true causes of our economic problems, then form “Occupy the Greek Embassy,” “Occupy Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” or “Occupy Massive Debt-Incurring Governments Everywhere” movements.
Steve Vanstone, Hillsburgh, Ont.
Man and message
While William Whatcott should be free to peddle his message and go to the Supreme Court, there is no reason why The Globe should put him and his homophobic message on the front page (Weighing Free Speech Against Hate Speech – Oct. 12). Indeed, there are many obvious reasons why The Globe should not give such unwarranted and gratuitous prominence to it.
Allan C. Hutchinson, Toronto
Profile of a user
In her review of Marc Lewis’s Memoirs of An Addicted Brain, Jessica Warner misses the point (Drug Memoir Is A Bad Trip – Arts, Oct. 12). The author focuses primarily on his drug abuse episodes to provide a human profile of a user from which to embark on his brilliant explanations of how these various agents operate on the brain.
Being a recovered addict and a respected neuroscientist authorizes him to both describe the experience and make the neuroscience accessible to lay readers. He does this at the expense of brutally frank self-revelation, which, as he explains, puts him at risk of recurring feelings of powerfully destabilizing shame, which in itself began his drug-taking. Ms. Warner wants him to be a philosopher when he offers himself as witness and survivor. Such testimony has an important place in our understanding.
Robin Roger, associate editor, Literary Review of Canada
Howard Rotberg (Culture Clash – letters, Oct. 11) is right to fear the anti-democratic values some immigrants import when they alight in secular Canada. To mitigate such tendencies, we should promote “inter-culturalism” rather than “multiculturalism.” We should not be a country that champions spools of string tied to one’s home country; rather, we should strive to be whole cloth, a unity of purpose stitched together from diverse threads. In that respect, Pierre Trudeau failed Canada immensely back in the day with his “bi-&-bi” fixation.
W. Baird Blackstone, Tsawwassen, B.C.
Any paradigm-shifting technology, such as the telephone, radio, TV and now the Internet, wears a Janus face. Their evolving use and impact on society is entirely dependent on the unpredictable ways society chooses to embrace these new capabilities, no matter how exuberant men like Bell, Edison, Sarnoff and Steve Jobs (Mush-brain Legacy – letters, Oct. 12) may have been.
The concept likely saw its finest expression in the words of Edward R. Murrow in television’s early days: “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely lights and wires in a box.”
Michael Lennick, Toronto
A high school history teacher at Cornwall Collegiate in the 1970s once gave us a giveaway on an exam: “When was the War of 1812?” It astounds me still that some got it wrong (1812 Adagio – letters, Oct. 12).
Debra Dolan, Vancouver