In jail in Egypt
Re The Prime Minister Should Make A Call (editorial, Sept. 18): Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Prime Minister to lift a finger to help the two Canadians in jail in Egypt. He did not help Cynthia Vanier, who was held for 18 months in a Mexican jail.
I have struck both countries from my travel list.
Peggy Hutchison, Singhampton, Ont.
As the head of a non-nanny-state government, Stephen Harper does not need to chase around after highly educated people who appear unable to understand what a curfew means in a police state.
And as for the usual “coalition of artists, filmmakers and celebrities” who have “taken up their cause,” they should know full well they will have no impact whatsoever on any “crop of military rulers” – Egyptian or otherwise.
David Murray, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
‘Oh so reassuring’
Re Gunman Complained Of Voices, ‘Microwave Vibrations’ (Sept. 18): It’s oh so reassuring that a deranged shooter’s assault is “raising more questions about the adequacy of background checks” for security clearances. Heaven knows, U.S. military and naval forces need all the protection they can get from those scary IT contractors they keep hiring, like that gimlet-eyed Edward Snowden.
If only schools, daycares, civilian workplaces, shopping malls and university campuses took security as seriously as the U.S. military establishment, we could rest easy knowing that crazy people with guns are no longer a threat to unarmed U.S. citizens – only to police and security guards, whose armed and hapless representatives Aaron Alexis quickly neutralized at the start of his killing spree.
Because the only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is … wait, that didn’t work either.
M.J. McKenty, Winnipeg
Re PQ Calls For ‘Respectful Debate’ On Secular Charter (Sept. 18): In the Canada-Quebec, “them-us” debates of the past, the designation used to be W.A.S.P. (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) versus the others.
Now in the “them-us” debates in Quebec, it’s W.P.L.C. (white, pure laine, Christian) versus the others.
M.P. Martin, Ottawa
While it seems encouraging to note that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a key leader of the Quebec student demonstrations of 2012, has signed the Manifesto for an Inclusive Quebec, what’s happened to his legion of noisy supporters who were so eager to throw out the government over a proposed tuition increase?
During the strike, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois loudly proclaimed that “democratic choice” must be respected. How strange, when confronted with the Marois government’s proposed charter of secular values, to find that the pots and pans have suddenly fallen silent.
Are Quebec students too busy studying Marx and Hegel to demonstrate against the government?
Or are they really interested only in money, and not the ethnic vote.
Lorne Hicks, Keswick, Ont.
Re The Core Of Quebec’s Charter? Republicanism And Feminism (Sept. 16): I’d like to thank the feminists who are determined to save Muslim women.
We appreciate your efforts but, actually, we’re managing well without you. I don’t wear the hijab, but many friends and relatives do. Here are a few: a cousin who got her PhD while her husband stayed home and looked after the kids. She’s now a successful academic. A friend down the road who is a prominent cardiologist. Another friend who is an extraordinary artist.
For them, and the vast majority of Muslim women like them, the hijab is not a symbol of female subordination. It’s a religious choice that in no way hinders their ability to achieve their full potential.
Why as Muslim women do we continually have to face this debate? It detracts from the serious issues facing all women in Canada.
Corinne Saad, Edmonton
M. et Mme. Quebec
Hanging on to their jobs and paying the mortgage or rent are the real preoccupations of M. et Mme. Quebec. They are also the realities that this government will eventually have to face and address in a budget speech before heading into another election.
Ultimately, it is not so much the outcome of this values debate that will determine if the Parti Québécois gains a mandate to pursue its sovereigntist agenda, as it is a matter of how successful the PQ is in addressing bread-and-butter issues.
That is what will or won’t get them through a vote on the inevitable budget speech next spring.
This is what will determine if they can achieve another mandate to govern, should the opposition parties send us into an early election.
Bryan Dubé, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.
Through sick eyes
Re Art of Healing (Facts & Arguments – Sept 18): Art does matter.
After two days in intensive care, I was moved to a room with a dreary picture of a tree in late fall. My pain medication transformed the dull brown and yellow leaves on the ground into the bodies and blood of fallen soldiers.
A nurse covered up the painting but I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. I had a very difficult night. The nurse said she always felt that it never should have been hung in a hospital.
Some staff do notice.
Heather Row, St. Catharines, Ont.
Telus on competition
Re Our Summer Fling Is Over, But You Can Call (Focus, Sept. 7): It was actually Telus that first proposed that the government split the prime spectrum being auctioned into four sections and limit all companies to one each – thus ensuring four companies would gain spectrum, which is critical to providing wireless capacity for customers across urban and rural Canada. What changed is that the government inserted a loophole, allowing new companies, including giant foreign firms, to gain two blocks, thus gifting them a two-for-one advantage over companies like Telus.
Since 2001, Telus has repeatedly been on the public record calling for an end to restrictions on foreign ownership and operations in Canada. We welcome competition, foreign or domestic – as long as the rules are fair.
Ted Woodhead, Telus senior vice-president, government and regulatory affairs
Brought by stork
Re Birds Without Borders: Diplomacy Takes Wing In The Middle East (Sept. 16): Egyptian authorities are now detaining storks on suspicion of espionage.
Imagine what that will do to the birth rate.
Irwin Diamond, Toronto