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Ontario Transportation Minister Glenn Murray announces a new route and funding plan for the proposed Scarborough subway in Toronto on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Ontario Transportation Minister Glenn Murray announces a new route and funding plan for the proposed Scarborough subway in Toronto on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 6: Wazoo subways, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Wazoo subways

Re Ontario Moves Alone To Build Shorter, Cheaper Subway (Sept. 5): Transportation Minister Glen Murray says, “We have subway champions coming out of our wazoo.” I thought probably Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would correct him to say the term, used correctly, is: “We have subway champions up the wazoo.”

I checked my computer’s Webster Dictionary and both “up the wazoo” and “out of the wazoo” are apparently acceptable.

Both versions do satisfactorily reflect the tone and level of dignity of intergovernmental communications aimed at – well, perhaps the aims are better left unsaid.

Peter Skuce, London, Ont.

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I once again sank my head into my hands in anguish as the Ontario government announced its own subway plan for Toronto after it seemed the matter was decided. More debate and still no shovels in the ground. It is less painful to stick pins in my eyes.

I was in England in July and was surprised to find an extensive light rail system in Newcastle. Yes, Newcastle, a smallish city in the north of England. Called the Metro, it uses tunnels in the core and above-ground rail in the suburbs. It has high ridership and very little problem with fare cheats.

The two separate, but linked lines provide quick service covering 60 stations. Yup, 60! It sold me on light rail. How many stations will be on the Scarborough subway? Was it two or three?

Can we send all the politicians involved in this mess to Newcastle to see how an extensive, functional transit system can be set up in relatively short time? Please!

Ken Davis, Markham, Ont.

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MPP’s entitlements

Re Tory MPP Billing Taxpayers For Second Home (Sept. 5): Rarely has an elected politician’s sense of entitlement been laid so bare. While millions of Canadians try to cobble together a reasonable retirement income, what right does Ontario MPP Peter Shurman, with his $112,500 salary, have to expect taxpayers to fund a second home for him as a future retirement residence?

As the Tory finance critic in the Ontario Legislature, it also speaks to his inability to manage a budget – his own. He should immediately pay back the expense claim and apologize – or resign and find a job that can support his retirement expectations.

Matthew A. Rotenberg, Beaconsfield, Que.

.........

It looks like Peter Shurman is getting ready for a seat in the Senate.

David Crump, Toronto

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Bombing Syria

I suppose there is one possible plus to the distinct possibility that the United States will ignite a broader regional war in the Middle East by bombing Syria (‘My Credibility Is Not On The Line. The International Community’s Credibility Is On The Line’ – Sept. 5). It will take pressure off President Barack Obama to live up to his promise to close his country’s offshore jail at Guantanamo – a solemn commitment he appears utterly powerless to fulfill.

A new cohort of global jihadi terrorists will be spawned; those unfortunate enough to be captured alive will need to be housed indefinitely somewhere, so the Nobel Peace Prize-winning President would be off the hook.

Roger Barany, Vancouver

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I believe it was Harry Truman who said: “A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him.”

Charles Whipple, Oakville, Ont.

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I was disappointed by your editorial Imposing A Cost For Chemical Warfare (Sept. 5). It failed to provide a legal justification for a U.S. attack on Syria since the U.S. is under no threat from Syria and the Security Council has given no approval.

Further, it failed to justify the inevitable result of such an attack – more killing, more refugees.

There are better alternatives. Based on UN findings, begin the process of bringing any criminals involved in chemical attacks before the ICC; demand that both the rebels and the Syrian government immediately begin negotiations; seek the support of those nations, on both sides, which are supplying arms to cut off the flow. If they do not, sanction them.

Edwin E. Daniel, Victoria

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Make book on it

Re Harper’s Hockey History (Sept. 5): Finally, the real reason Stephen Harper has so often prorogued Parliament – he was finishing his book.

Garrett Klassen, Elora, Ont.

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Rote ’em results

Re Who’s Failing Math? The System (Sept. 5): As an educator entering my 77th year in schools (this year, co-ordinator of seniors’ courses), I feel I can comment on Margaret Wente’s column.

If you want good results for a short term (a year or so), rote’em, rote’em and rote’em again.

If you want results for life, you must use a far more difficult approach – the Discovery Method.

Bill McRae, Windsor, Ont.

.........

Thank you (cubed) to Margaret Wente for telling the truth about learning math.

If a personal computer (brain) has not been programmed with the software (rote knowledge of all the fundamentals), it will not boot up.

Gordon Rogers, P.Eng., Toronto

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Research vs. teach

Re An Endnote For Researchers As Universities Focus On Teachers (Sept 5): Mission creep? We already have postsecondary institutions where teaching does not need to be intimately connected to scholarship. They are called “colleges.”

Rather than have universities that duplicate colleges, perhaps there are overlapping teaching areas where colleges should replace universities altogether.

Ron Melchers, Ottawa

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The article comparing time allocation between teaching professors versus research professors didn’t deal with an important element – the time research professors spend applying for grants.

Nina Truscott, Burlington, Ont.

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Ottawa’s league

Although I appreciate that our nation’s capital could use some sprucing up, attempts to compare it to other world capitals like London and Paris are absurd (Capital’s Plight – letters, Sept. 5).

These are great (and ancient) cities that also happen to be seats of government. Let’s stay in our own league and rejoice that Ottawa has it all over Canberra and Brasilia.

David Smith, Halifax

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Just wondering

Re Imagining A World Without Gridlock (Report on Business, Sept. 5): Cartoonist/author Ben Katchor’s suggestion to help decrease gridlock is to have “every gas station attendant trained to counsel people on whether they really want to go where they’re planning to go – and how if they just stayed home, there’d be less gridlock.”

What’s a gas station attendant?

George Olds, Hamilton

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