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George Cope, BCE president announces its bid for Astral Media by Bell in a deal worth about $3.38 billion, March 16, 2012 in Montreal. The takeover was rejected by the CRTC. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
George Cope, BCE president announces its bid for Astral Media by Bell in a deal worth about $3.38 billion, March 16, 2012 in Montreal. The takeover was rejected by the CRTC. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

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Oct. 22: Debunking a merger myth, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Acquired haste

Contrary to your editorial (The Mobile Borders of Broadcasting – Oct. 20), mergers and acquisitions are nearly always short sighted. About 70 to 90 per cent of completed acquisitions are failures, according to the Harvard Business Review’s March, 2011 issue.

And if BCE is so long-term consumer centric, why didn’t it start spending $3.4-billion on creating new content ages ago? The answer is simple – it would take long-term imagination. It would also mean taking real creative risks; two characteristics oligopolies abhor.

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If The Globe believes “billions of investment dollars are at stake, as are the choices of consumers and creators” then it would be wiser to question BCE’s lack of imagination in choosing to acquire rather than create.

Peter Smith, Toronto

A grounded tower

Margaret Wente’s suggestion of creating an elitist divide between research and teaching (Access Or Quality? We Can’t Have Both – Focus, Oct. 20) will not mend our current dilemmas in higher education. Teaching and research should never be divorced from each other.

The best pedagogy comes through the professor’s own practice, investigations and engagement with literature, and not through a textbook that someone else wrote. Likewise, presenting research through undergraduate teaching ensures that our work remains accessible, vibrant and relevant to young scholars, as well as to society.

University administrators would do well to remember that professors require a healthy balance between teaching and research. Faculty should not be relegated into ivory towers any more than they should lecture second-hand information to classrooms of hundreds of students.

Robert Huish, professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax

Shut out by hockey

As difficult as it is to pick a side in the hockey dispute (Impasse Deepens As League Rebuffs Union – Sports, Oct. 19), I could be persuaded. The first side to suggest eliminating the four bottom-earning franchises and moving the next two worst-earning franchises to Canada will earn my support.

Of course, this won’t happen because commissioner Gary Bettman is too arrogant to admit he was wrong about expansion; and, like union members everywhere, the players will insist on protecting the 13 per cent who would no longer be NHLers because they wouldn’t be good enough to play in a contracted league.

Too bad, because this step would solve a lot of the money problems that, in turn, would clear the way for meaningful negotiations.

Lyman MacInnis, Toronto

...............

Who’s going to blink first? And should we care?

A shorter NHL season (or none at all) will result in: fewer head shots (and more time for Sidney to recover before the next one), fewer times I will have to hit the mute button for Coach’s Corner, fewer millions for the players and owners to bank.

And somehow life will go on …

Bruce Walker, Oakville, Ont.

He enriched us

I had the privilege of sitting in the House of Commons with Lincoln Alexander (Former Lieutenant-Governor Took Discrimination As Personal Challenge – obituaries, Oct. 20). He was my friend. We both served in the Joe Clark cabinet and we both went on to be vice-regals in our respective provinces.

As a Newfoundland member, I didn’t feel exactly at home in the House – the Newfie joke was alive and well. And then there was Linc. He became a regular at our house and my six children loved him. We all did.

Linc came to visit me at Government House in St. John’s, and my one regret was that his visit didn’t include his wife, Yvonne. She always stayed behind in their beloved Hamilton. Our lives have been enriched because of Linc Alexander. Canada is rightly proud of him.

J.A. McGrath, St. John’s

The real scandal

As a veteran of several election observation missions who was also “deselected” for the Ukraine mission in the same manner as David Anderson, I have to say this is a perfectly normal part of the process. It was clear from the beginning that not all candidates “shortlisted” would make the final selection (Tories Under Fire For Staffing Of Election Monitor Mission To Ukraine – Oct. 19).

The logistics of a project like this are complex, the timelines short – Canadem does a great job of putting these teams together and getting them into the field.

As for the preponderance of Ukrainian Canadians on the mission, that is an unambiguously good thing. In missions I have been part of, about half of the delegates could speak Russian or Ukrainian and were completely familiar with the culture and environment they were working in. This gives the Canadian mission tremendous operational strength and credibility.

That said, it’s odd that Mr. Anderson and Elinor Caplan were cut from the delegation. We should be grateful that former parliamentarians of their stature volunteer to serve on these missions, often in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions.

The real scandal is not who or how many are included, but that Canada doesn’t do more of this important work in many other “democratically developing” countries.

John Coo, Ottawa

Liberal Arts College

Your article Why Big Business Needs You To Read Jane Austen: The Case for a Core Curriculum (Focus, Oct. 13) does not mention Liberal Arts College, Concordia University, probably Canada’s leading full-time Great Books-based core-curriculum liberal arts degree program.

LAC exemplifies precisely the rigorous “canon”-based liberal arts education outlined in the article. Soon to celebrate its 35th anniversary, the college is well-known and respected across Canada and, indeed, North America. Liberal Arts College at Concordia, reinforced by the rich resources of multicultural Montreal, and its devoted teachers, students and graduates, surely deserved proper attention.

Frederick Krantz, principal, Liberal Arts College, Concordia University

About the cutlery

I travel a fair bit on business throughout Ontario and I have found that many hotels and motels now have a “Bates Window” in the shower curtain (Scary Movies: Be Afraid – Film, Oct. 19). It’s at eye level so you can see any intruders before they break out the cutlery.

Larry A. Lewis, Toronto

 

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