Down for the count
Re The Loss Of Clarity On Poverty (editorial, Sept. 13): To get meaningful, useful data, it is time to restore Statistics Canada’s census to its rightful place.
And Stephen Harper to his.
Rick Walker, Toronto
Cancelling the long form census, closing the experimental lakes facilities, muzzling scientists – it’s all of a piece. If you don’t know what’s going on, you have a perfect excuse to do nothing.
Leslie Lavers, Lethbridge, Alta.
Nuclear waste, water
Re How To Deal With Tons Of Nuclear Waste: Bury The Problem(Sept. 13): The proposed deep geologic repository near Kincardine, Ont., for low- to mid-level nuclear waste is a stalking horse for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s proposal for a $14-billion to $28-billion high-level nuclear dump.
As a councillor whose municipality, South Bruce, is in the running to win approval to host an even bigger nuclear dump, I have a number of concerns.
One is that if the site near Kincardine is approved, it will set dangerous precedents that the NWMO will exploit to gain approval for the higher-level nuclear dump, possibly near my village of Mildmay.
The other is that there has never been an undertaking such as this that can bring such risk to the drinking water of 40 million people, and was designed to serve the needs of only one industry.
David Wood, Mildmay, Ont.
Spur rental housing
Re Real Estate Owners Eye Development Of Apartments (Report on Business, Sept. 9): The continuing trend of home ownership becoming unaffordable is pushing many Canadians into the rental market.
It should give policy-makers pause that in the past decade, only 10 per cent of new builds have been for rental housing, and that vacancy rates continue to be very low across Canada.
In the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ report, “The Housing Market and Canada’s Economic Recovery,” we urge three things the federal government can do at little cost to stimulate the rental market and improve affordability: low-interest direct lending for rental-property construction, a rental-housing-protection tax credit and an eco-energy rental-housing tax credit.
Canadians need all orders of government to work together to solve the challenges in Canada’s housing system.
Claude Dauphin, Ottawa, president, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Syria on ‘hold’
Re U.S. Rejects Syria’s 30-day Handover Delay (Sept. 13): I’m just waiting for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to present U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with a symbolic “hold” button. Then Barack Obama’s red-line debacle will be complete.
Jonathan Skrimshire, Pincher Creek, Alta.
“Houston, we have a problem.” Barack Obama is making ex-KGB thug Vladimir Putin look like a statesman.
William Bedford, Toronto
Re Defaced ‘Highway Of Heroes’ Mural To Be Restored: (Sept. 9): The vandalism of the Highway of Heroes mural is yet another example of the graffiti epidemic.
Until Toronto takes it seriously, the vandalism will continue. Neighbours and I spend hours every week cleaning tags vandals paint on properties in our area.
Despite the tools available to the city to enforce the graffiti bylaw, and the well-documented evidence that removing graffiti within 24 hours is the best deterrent, tags on properties reported to the city go uncleaned for months or years.
The current anti-tagging framework places responsibility on property owners to remove tags, but city enforcement usually gives owners one to two months, and sometimes never gets the graffiti cleaned up, even though the bylaw allows the city to remove it and add the cost to the owner’s tax bill.
It’s up to the city to help us reclaim Toronto from graffiti vandals who consider defacing property to be great fun and their right to do. We’ve done scant little to show them otherwise. Other cities – for example, New York – have acted to get and keep themselves graffiti-free. Toronto should follow their lead.
Robin Penslar, Toronto
Re Rape On Campus – Is It An Epidemic? (Sept. 12): Margaret Wente misconstrues the concept of a “rape culture” in her commentary on recent events at UBC, Western, Saint Mary’s and Memorial universities. “Rape culture” does not mean everybody is getting raped all the time, as she implies. That is obviously not happening.
What “rape culture” means is that rape is trivialized, normalized and reduced to a sniggering joke or a risqué tidbit through cultural means, such as songs, chants, graffiti and slang, among other forms. “Rape culture” demeans both men and women, by reducing them to prospective brutes and victims respectively.
Unfortunately, “rape culture” crops up repeatedly on university campuses, as elsewhere. I am pleased to see administrators at the relevant universities acting swiftly and decisively to shut it down.
Amy Kaler, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta
Any number of rapes is too many. Universities, by their raison d'être, should aspire to a higher level of reasoned behaviour than “society at large.”
Luci Dean, Okotoks, Alta.
Sam: Forever Yonge
Re Preservation Of Iconic Signs Is Admirable, But Not At The Expense Of Common Sense (Sept. 12): Ryerson University knew full well the challenge it faced with the Sam the Record Man sign, but chose not to embrace it.
The university’s agreement with the city stated it would use “reasonable best efforts to identify an opportunity to incorporate the signs on Yonge Street.” Yet, it appears that Ryerson never directed its architectural firm to include the sign in any of its plans at any stage.
If Ryerson or the city planning department’s Heritage Preservation Services want to find ways to incorporate the sign, they only have to consider innovative cases of neon restoration in other cities, such as Boston’s Citgo sign near Fenway Park.
Mr. Levy and city councillors should be listening to the widespread support for the restoration of the Sam’s sign on Yonge Street.
Nicholas Jennings, Toronto
Charter vs. colander
Re Separatists Divided Over PQ Charter (Sept. 13): Can a Quebec Pastafarian (Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) civil servant – overtly representing secularism, mind you – wear the traditional colander headgear at work?
Bruno Hedman, Toronto