Omar Khadr’s homecoming
Your editorial Coming Home To Canadian Justice (Oct. 1) begins “Omar Khadr was raised to be a terrorist, and became one.” Please define “terrorist”? How does it differ, in the circumstances, from “armed combatant”?
Later, the editorial refers to the “U.S. terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay.” You have that exactly right – though not in the sense you intend.
Randal Marlin, Ottawa
So, Omar Khadr has paid a “heavy price for his crimes” – plural. His victim, and his victim’s family, have paid a profoundly higher price for his crimes.
Please spare us your sympathy and your appeal for fairness.
John Morrison, Burlington, Ont.
Regardless of what you believe happened on the day that U.S. Sergeant Christopher Speer died and Omar Khadr was shot, the fact is that Mr. Khadr will be eligible to walk the streets of Canada again (Khadr On The Road To Freedom – Oct. 1). The past is the past. It is the future that we should be concerned about.
What sort of person will emerge from prison? Will he be a danger to our society, or will he contribute to our society in some positive way? Now that Mr. Khadr is serving time in a Canadian correctional facility, do we accept that how he is treated in that facility will have an impact on what sort of person he will be when he walks out of it? Or do we just fantasize about some other outcome for him (death penalty, life imprisonment) that is not in the cards?
Now that Mr. Khadr is back on Canadian soil, what exactly does Public Safety Minister Vic Toews hope to gain for himself, his party, or Canada by continuing to portray Omar Khadr in the way he has done?
Trevor Amon, Victoria
As communications director to John Turner during the epic 1988 free-trade campaign, I may be qualified to offer a footnote to Robin Sears’s retrospective (The Great Free-Trade Election of 1988 – Oct. 1).
Following Mr. Turner’s impressive performance in the TV debate, the Liberals were ahead of the Conservatives until the final fortnight. Then, Bay Street launched a massive advertising campaign to discredit him. This campaign succeeded at the grassroots and was the decisive factor in Brian Mulroney’s re-election.
This could not happen today because of legislation imposing draconian restrictions on corporate, union and individual largesse to political parties.
Raymond Heard, Toronto
The free-trade agreements were never about trade (The Deal That Freed Canada – Report on Business, Sept. 30).
Corporations wanted the right to invest and produce anywhere in the world, sell these products anywhere, repatriate their profits without government interference and hide the profits in offshore tax havens.
John W. Warnock, Regina
T.O.’s new play?
This project – three towers, up to 85 storeys – will likely result in record-setting density for North America. It will compound King Street’s gridlock congestion and further overbuild on the downtown transit system (A Mirvish Production To Test City Limits – Oct. 1).
Architect Frank Gehry’s designs are spectacular but none demonstrate the green sustainability now needed in a world of increasing resource shortages and energy costs.
This proposal has to be dramatically scaled down or a free-for-all for land assemblers and developers will be the new play in Toronto.
David Platt, MRAIC, Toronto
It’s sad to see a theatre being taken down for a condo project that looks like a bunch of wood flats piled on top of each other. The design needs to go back to the drawing board. With what these 2,600 condos will cost, they won’t help working people live downtown.
Chanice Finch, Whitby, Ont.
I was delighted to read that David Mirvish wants to build a condo development involving Frank Gehry. Mr. Mirvish is a successful developer who helped build a superb Toronto landmark; as an office owner in the 1 King West facility, I will be one of the first in line to acquire part of the complex in his new blockbuster.
Mark Borkowski, Toronto
Fewer condos, more subways!
Edda Heinmaa, Toronto
It would appear that the sky is falling (An Urgent Prescription For Medicare – Sept. 29).
When compared with other largely public-funded health-care systems, Canada does relatively poorly in the provision of quality, effective, safe, co-ordinated, accessible, equitable and patient-centred care. But we rank near the top in providing long, healthy and productive lives.
At the end of the day, what measure really matters most?
Neil Rau, MD, Toronto
Great for the arts
Re Are Cultural Olympiads Good For The Arts? (Life& Arts – Sept. 25): The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad partnered with more than 150 arts organizations to produce a spectacular celebration that showed what our cultural community can accomplish when properly resourced. Attendance for ticketed and free events was strong before and during the Games; the Cultural Olympiad injected significant new resources into the arts scene.
The B.C.’s government’s failure to leverage this energy by increasing provincial investment in the scene post-2010 is not the Cultural Olympiad’s fault. Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company had been struggling financially for years; in fact, they, too, benefited from the Cultural Olympiad, through the co-commissioning and co-production of Beyond Eden, which otherwise wouldn’t have seen the stage.
When communities host major international sporting events, culture cannot be ignored, or these mega-events would be indistinguishable from one another and lose any meaningful relationship to the host city. We must argue for a stronger role for Cultural Olympiads, for local organizing committees to pay more attention to culture, not less.
In so doing, we not only leverage enormous resources for the benefit of the arts, we connect with new audiences – people who might otherwise avoid the National Portrait Gallery.
Robert Kerr, program director, Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad
In Social Studies (Oct. 1), you pass on that “researchers from Northwestern University in [Illinois] designed a silicon and magnesium circuit just a few millions of a centimetre thick which is easily and harmlessly absorbed by body fluids.”
Since one million centimetres is still 10 kilometres, I may wait until they get it down under one kilometre – and even then, I’ll have to have the waist of my trousers let out.
Garth Goddard, Toronto