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Oct. 26: Letters to the editor Add to ...

The $5.50 tax

Re Loss Of Tax Break Raises Cost Of Travel To U.S., Strains Relations With Canada (Oct. 25): The U.S. will now charge Canadians a $5.50 entrance fee? I could get into my local amusement park for a whole year for just three times the price.

If we're going to pay this fee, then we should demand something competitively attractive. At a minimum, I'm thinking some discount coupons and options for all rides and meals included.

John Wright, Calgary

.......

With the big banks shifting their purgatory onto the backs of the American working class, I will gladly pay $5.50 to help out.

I suggest we all visit at least once a year as a gesture of foreign aid. It's the least we can do as neighbours.

Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.

The $4-billion plan

If Treasury Board President Tony Clement is looking for $4-billion a year in savings as part of the deficit fight (At Flaherty's Update, Scant Optimism – Oct. 25), the answer is obvious: Don't spend billions earmarked for the new F-35 fighter jets and cancel the $33-billion shipbuilding contracts.

If more is required, sell off the gazebos in Muskoka.

Tim Jeffery, Toronto

Debt crisis, indeed

Re Political Shockwaves Shake Europe's Leaders (front page, Oct. 25). It's been almost two weeks since Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote his op-ed calling for Europe to stop idling in these times of economic turmoil (It's Time For Europe And The G20 To Act Decisively – Oct. 13).

I presume Europe's leaders can't afford a Globe and Mail subscription because they obviously didn't get the message.

Connor Hammond, Oakville, Ont.

The 99-per-cent club

In your article Time Is Running Out For Occupy Protesters (Oct. 25), I was rather amused when one of the Occupy Vancouver representatives, Ben Makowski, was quoted as saying: “There are a lot of people here who have different agendas. So getting to consensus is not easy. It will take time. But we have lots of time.”

Of course they have lots of time. Most of them probably don't have a job – unless one considers serial protesting a job – and that, dear protesters, is the principal reason why you probably will never get into the 1-per-cent club.

John Morrison, Burlington, Ont.

Pending demises

In her column Steve Jobs, Warts And All (Oct. 25), Margaret Wente writes: “The world knew he was dying long before he could bring himself to publicly (or even privately) admit it. He and Jack Layton had that in common.” Is she criticizing these men for continuing to live their lives rather than announcing their pending demises?

My father was diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was 52. Typically, that stage is the most serious. But he lived very well and courageously with this illness for 15 years. He used to joke that he thought the stages went from one to 10, so he didn't have that much to worry about. Was it incumbent on him to inform his friends and family at 52 that he was likely dying?

Public or private figure, it's no one's business but the person living with cancer as to whether they share their health status with their social circle or the world.

Mr. Jobs created the iPad while he was “dying,” while Mr. Layton led the NDP to a historic victory. There's no rule that says people who are sick have to sit home waiting to die.

I would rather they live their lives to the fullest, as evidenced by both of these men, and my dad.

Lea Ann Mallett, Toronto

Geographical note

In denouncing certain forms of contemporary scholarship in the humanities (They Hijacked The Humanities, And My Canoe – Oct. 22), Margaret Wente might well recall that such behaviour is perfectly natural.

The research activities of many professors resemble the feeding patterns of homocoprophagous pigs who, in apparent violation of the second law of thermodynamics, eat each other's partially digested droppings and then, in their turn, process that dinner for their companions' gustatory delight.

Ian Johnston, Nanaimo, B.C.

.......

Margaret Wente's first assignment for Geography and Linguistic Deconstruction 101: (1) List the factual and Eurocentric errors in the common phrase, “Columbus discovered America.” How would a native of this continent interpret this statement? (2) What assumptions are implicit in the following common labels: “Middle East,” “Far East”?

For Women's Studies 101: For what etymological reason are men usually not described as “hysterical”?

Walter Schwager, Toronto

Through the ages

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, my father was sent from Ottawa to Quebec as a surveyor. When he arrived in town, he was given a list of men he was allowed to hire and a list of men he wasn't allowed to hire.

Good luck to those who're trying to change the system. Old habits are hard to break.

Glenna K. Ritchie, Toronto

But seriously, folks

So Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called 9-1-1 to protect himself from This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Mayor Ford Is Not Amused – Oct. 25). At least he didn't call out the Canadian army, as former mayor Mel Lastman did after it snowed.

We're making some progress.

Geoff Smith, Kingston, Ont.

.......

Maybe the Mayor thought he was being accosted by Margaret Atwood.

Steve Soloman, Toronto

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Two members of This Hour Has 22 Minutes stood outside Rob Ford's minivan while it was parked in his driveway and he was inside it. He went back inside his house to call 9-1-1 because he didn't recognize them. Does Mr. Ford only use his cellphone in his vehicle when he's driving?

Brian Dust, Toronto

.......

Ambush journalism, whether practised by the likes of Bill O'Reilly or This Hour Has 22 Minutes, is despicable. You don't mess with people at their homes without invitation. Period.

“Many politicians have participated in these kinds of interviews,” said CBC spokesman Chris Ball. Talk about misplaced entitlement. Because some politicians have voluntarily participated, others can be compelled to? It frankly disturbs me that my tax dollars support this kind of hubris.

What we don't need in this country is a herd of sacred clowns wandering around exercising their imaginary rights to disturb other people and their children at their homes, regardless of their intentions.

The CBC and the other participants in this affair should apologize to Mr. Ford and his family.

Peter Mantha, Sarnia, Ont.

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