Maybe Bob Dechert was not the intended victim of a Chinese honey trap (Dechert Affair Creates Ripples In China – Sept. 15). Maybe the Conservative MP with special foreign affairs duties was the honey in a trap intended for a Chinese spy agency.
Michael Feld, Vancouver
John Baird certainly pulled no punches defending Bob Dechert, stating that he is “mild-mannered.” How reassuring; after all, a milquetoast with a crush on a Chinese operative and the ear of the Prime Minister could only be the subject of fiction.
Roderick G. MacGregor, Red Deer, Alta.
Dance, said he
CTV should be proud of the extraordinary talent of dancers we have in Canada, as well as Canadian choreographers, such as Emmy-nominated Stacey Tookey (Cancel The Dance Show And Cheat A Child. Nice – Arts, Sept. 15). CTV should be proud of a program that offers high quality art, excellence and popular appeal to all ages.
That CTV decided to schedule the start of the So You Think You Can Dance Canada series at the same time that the American series was also being broadcast, thereby reducing the total viewing potential of dance enthusiasts, is the network’s fault. Canada should not suffer with the cancellation of the series because of their mistake. If CTV won’t continue this platform for Canadian talent perhaps we should invite the American series to come up and have auditions on this side of the border. Sad that Canadians still need to access American media to get the recognition they deserve.
John Dvorak, Toronto
I agree with Margaret Wente’s observation that greens pursue their goals with religious fervour (And The Winner Is ... Jobs And Oil Security – Sept. 15). What is so surprising about that? Opponents of the environmental movement pursue their conservative free-enterprise agenda with religious fervour, too. The difference between the two lobby groups is that the environmentalist position is built on a foundation of physical science – physics, chemistry and biology – tied together in a sophisticated mathematical framework of computer modelling. The free enterprise lobby builds their case on a foundation of social science, viz. economics and political science. Perhaps the next time Ms. Wente flies somewhere she should ask herself whether she would feel safer if the aircraft had been designed by a bunch of economists and political scientists.
Donald Smith, Ottawa
The proposal to rescind Conrad Black’s Order of Canada is unjustified (Black Faces Possibility Of Losing Order Of Canada – Sept. 15). His conviction in the U.S. had all the appearance of a witch hunt, now being perpetuated in Canada.
Phillip M. Wood Halifax
Aside from Conrad Black’s proven criminal activity, this is the guy who voluntarily gave up his Canadian citizenship. It is heartening to learn that the advisory council will “consider termination of a person’s appointment to the Order of Canada if the person has been convicted of a criminal offence.” That termination, however, should be automatic following a criminal conviction. If Lord Black’s Order of Canada were allowed to remain in force, the Order itself would be immeasurably diminished, and past and future recipients would surely wonder about the “honour.”
Martin Meslin, Toronto
You’ve quoted the Air Canada “facts of life” for flight attendants according to company official Susan Welscheid (Air Canada Points Out ‘Facts Of Life’ To Flight Attendants – Sept. 15). I’d like to share a few more “facts.” A new-hire flight attendant will earn less than $19,000 their first year; that’s below the poverty line identified by Statistics Canada for the major cities in which they would be based. Working conditions are so onerous that, as a flight attendant of 13 years and a service director for almost seven, I recently worked a pairing where I took the last flight from Toronto to St. John’s, stayed in the airport for four hours, then worked to Halifax on the first flight out in the morning, then to Edmonton, to layover during the day, to work the all-nighter to Montreal, to sit around three hours, to work back to Toronto at noon. Then I threw up.
Ten years ago, the average flight attendant gave up 20 per cent of their salary to save the company, a wage loss that’s been compounded by inflation. The facts of life are that negotiating a “pay raise” now that is less than the cost of living is not a raise but a reduction.
Blair Boudreau, Toronto
The fighting 104th
What can a history-minded Canadian offer as means of commemorating a long ago invasion by our powerful neighbour (Canada’s 1812 Overtures – Sept. 13). We might do well to find examples of Canadian ordinary defenders, including first nations contingents, who left family, farm and livelihood to add to the ranks of British regulars.
Although New Brunswick was not in any great danger of invasion, in February, 1813, the 104th Regiment of Foot (the N.B. regiment) was ordered to Upper Canada, an active theatre, and marched overland equipped with snowshoes and toboggans for Quebec. This march, in the middle of a severe winter that was seeing greater snowfall and lower temperatures than normal, was a spectacular feat of soldiering. After nearly two months through hundreds of miles of wilderness led by Lieutenant John LeCouteur, the 104th reached Kingston and shortly after its arrival fought its first action.
Something well worth commemorating.
Peter B. Clark, Nanaimo, B.C.
Jack Layton’s cancer
Gary Mason is the first journalist I’ve read who clearly “gets it” regarding the hopes and sensitivities of cancer patients (When Full Disclosure Kills Hope – Sept. 15).
Earlier this year, I spoke with Jack Layton about a cancer scare I had. I talked about the feelings that come like a tidal wave when the “C-word” is even mentioned by a doctor. Jack listened intently, as he always did, and empathized as only someone dealing with the disease could (at the time, he appeared to be well on his way to recovering from the prostate cancer; he seemed pretty healthy). I was a lot luckier than Jack, in the end, but I recognize it was just a matter of chance.
Steve Soloman, Toronto
A decent cup
As a student, I should be able to see firsthand the destruction that limiting caffeine sales in high schools would cause (Resistance Brewing To Ontario Schools’ Caffeine Cutback – Sept. 14). But I haven’t, and I know why. No one cares because no one buys coffee from the cafeteria. Cafeteria coffee is worse than bad, it is quite possibly the worst coffee on this planet! In a country where the morning ritual involves stumbling into Tim Hortons or Starbucks, there’s little doubt the last few stragglers still buying cafeteria coffee will finally be forced to see the light that is a decent cup of coffee.
Brendan Sommerville, Kitchener, Ont.