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(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)
(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

What readers think

Nov. 26: The NHL has lost its grip, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Fan respect

The stranglehold that pro hockey had on the Canadian sporting scene is starting to come loose.

A big cheer for CFL football that has seized our nation coast to coast, charging in to take command of a vacated market.

There’s a lesson here. It doesn’t take us long to figure out which sport respects and courts its fans.

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Glenn Kletke, Kanata, Ont.

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It is wrong to suggest TSN has enhanced the CFL (The Game That Binds Us – Sports, Nov. 24).

Anyone who attends a TSN televised sporting event should be aware that any resemblance to an athletic contest is purely coincidental. The fact is, that by sitting in the stands, a fan has become a de facto extra in a TV show – a prop to put it bluntly.

The game, itself, has been altered by interminable TV commercial breaks to the point that in many, many situations a fan, who is not inebriated, is simply praying for time to run out. The score is secondary to the soreness of one’s butt from sitting. As Marshall McLuhan stated the medium is the message. The CFL has been converted by TSN from a football league to just another survival series soap opera.

Douglas L. Martin, Hamilton

Title IX takeaway

Re Gender Parity Trumps Excellence In Science? (Focus – Nov. 24), Margaret Wente raises an interesting argument by suggesting that career preferences may help explain differences in the rates with which women and men pursue careers in the sciences, but she was offside in saying women have less interest in playing sports than men do.

Ms. Wente then leverages this false assumption by saying that Title IX-styled legislation to correct the subtle and systemic discrimination in the sciences will deal a heavy blow to academia just as it did to U.S. men’s college sports. The analogy is false. Women’s sports have thrived in U.S. colleges and, judging from the spectacular success of the juggernaut which is college football, men’s sports are doing alright too.

Jon Heshka, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Adventure Studies, Thompson Rivers University

Deficits’ rewards

According to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, “We can’t afford to take the risk of running deficits any longer than we must and we only must for a couple of more years before we can get to balance” (Flaherty Warns Interest Groups Of Lean Times Ahead – Nov. 23). But what exactly is that risk?

Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 200 per cent, but has low interest rates and low inflation. Canada’s debt to GDP ratio is only 33.8 per cent, whereas in 1945, our debt to GDP ratio was more than 120 per cent. In the postwar years, far from cutting back, the government built infrastructure, welcomed immigrants and introduced new social-service programs. With an economy running efficiently, the debt ratio dropped.

In view of the painful effects of austerity on those who lose jobs or find their support services slashed, can the Finance Minister please explain why we need a balanced budget before the next election – other than because his government made a foolish promise?

Larry Kazdan, Vancouver

They’re ill

Why would The Globe and Mail endorse, sight unseen, draconian legislative reform which is based on ignorance and misunderstanding of the forensic mental-health system (Illness And Danger – editorial, Nov. 23)?

Your paper trumpets initiatives to end stigma. Stigma would not exist without prejudice toward people with mental health problems. It’s time for The Globe to look in the mirror to see and challenge its own discriminatory preconceptions about people who offend when ill.

Suzan E. Fraser, lawyer, Toronto

Rx for pain

Most family doctors report that they are deficient in knowledge in the diagnosis and management of chronic pain problems (Rx for Oxy Addicts – letters, Nov. 22). This is not surprising, since most Canadian medical schools offer only a scant few hours in pain management, much less than the teaching received by veterinary students.

It is widely acknowledged that the lack of awareness among front-line clinicians about chronic pain treatment has contributed to the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse. It is inappropriate to denigrate pain specialists who work hard to educate their colleagues in the safe prescribing of opioids and other pain-relieving medications.

Patricia Morley-Forster, medical director, St Joseph’s Hospital Pain Clinic, London, Ont.

25, and no more

As a homeowner benefiting from higher prices, and a long-time Liberal, my biases should be against Jim Flaherty’s recent changes to mortgage rules, but I completely agree with capping amortization at 25 years.

Commentators point to the downturns in Vancouver and Toronto home prices (Housing Slump Ensnares Toronto – Report on Business, Nov. 22), and the probability that this will become a national trend. As a former U.S. resident who watched that country’s lenders eat people alive, and saw people perform the financial equivalent of dousing themselves in gas and lighting a match, I can only agree that government has a duty to step in and protect people from lenders and themselves.

If a person’s cash and income is so out of balance with the property they want to buy that the purchase can only be made with a 30-year mortgage, they shouldn’t be buying that property.

Paul Hobin, North Bay, Ont.

They nailed it

The picture of the house in China in the middle of the road (A Monument To Stubbornness – Nov. 23) is a sign that things are changing for the better in that country. This phenomenon, known locally as “nail” houses as they tend to stick out and are difficult to remove, just like a stubborn nail, would have been dealt with more forcibly in the past.

Despite being stranded in the middle of a wide roadway, the elderly homeowners are still reported to have electricity and water. This same photograph of the five-storey building in the centre of a busy road was widely carried by Chinese state media and Internet sites – an indication that the authorities would like to project a new caring attitude toward citizens.

Ranjit Bhaskar, Toronto

Saving face

Re Elizabeth Renzetti’s The Vanishing Face Of The Older Woman (Nov. 24). Shakespeare’s Enobarbus said it best: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.”

Stan Cunningham, Windsor, Ont.

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