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April 10: Jobs with a BA? ‘E-Z,’ and other letters to the editor Add to ...

BA jobs? ‘E-Z’

Re I’ll Take Fries With That BA (April 9): Toike Oike, the humour newspaper of the University of Toronto’s Engineering Society, has summarized the dilemma faced by new BA grads.

The February issue introduces the concept of an express checkout for arts students: the “E-Z” degree, which can be paid for by cash, cheque, debit, Visa, MasterCard, PayPass, flex dollars, OSAP loans and internal organs.

The standard E-Z degree package includes: an arts degree redeemable at any Starbucks, McDonald’s, Cineplex or H&M; a pamphlet describing vague memories of attending psychology, sociology and/or philosophy classes; $38,000 of student debt; and regret.

With the E-Z degree – enrolment to graduation in less than 20 minutes – the student can avoid the four years at university and get into the work force as quickly as possible to start paying off their student loan.

Bill Holt, Toronto

.........

Margaret Wente uses the experience of one young woman to suggest university grads are grossly overqualified for their jobs and would have fared better had they pursued a college diploma where the skills acquired are presumably better aligned with labour-market needs.

Statistics Canada regularly surveys a nationally representative sample of university and college grads two years after graduation asking, among other things, whether they consider themselves overqualified for their jobs. In the most recent available National Graduates Survey (released in 2008 for the class of 2005), 33 per cent of BA grads considered themselves overqualified; among college grads, it was 34 per cent.

Torben Drewes, economics professor, Trent University, Peterborough, Ont.

.........

Royal pain

I’m sympathetic to Royal Bank CEO Gord Nixon’s explanations of the outsourcing at RBC in relation to improving efficiencies and lowering costs (Ottawa Pushes For Answers As Uproar Over RBC Gains Volume – Report on Business, April 9). I presume Mr. Nixon, who was paid $12.2-million last year, is now spearheading a search in the Indian press for candidates for his own replacement with the same end in mind.

John Royall, West Vancouver

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Shame on RBC for humiliating its own employees before shoving them out the door. RBC has broken trust with the people of Canada.

Penny Thacker, Uxbridge, Ont.

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Before we get carried away in a national orgy of self-righteous finger-pointing at the big bad bank for outsourcing a minor part of its operations, look at the labels on our clothing or appliances. These items were once made in Canada by now-displaced workers, outsourced to a list of developing countries. In today’s global economy, yes, some people get hurt.

Reg Harrill, Calgary

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The threat

Re Israel Commemorates Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 8): Shimon Peres is quoted as saying, “Those who ignore the threat of a Holocaust against one nation must know that the threat of a Holocaust against one nation is the threat of a Holocaust against all nations.”

Perhaps it’s worth saying that those who ignore the continuing occupation of the Palestinian lands must know that the continued occupation of the Palestinian nation is a threat of occupation against all nations.

Dirk Gerwin, Victoria

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Unwarranted criticism

Re Weak Process For Weighty Choices (editorial, April 4): Supreme Court Justice Andromache Karakatsanis has superb qualifications and accomplishments, including the SOAR medal for outstanding service to Ontario’s administrative justice system. As retired Ontario justices Patrick LeSage and Susan Lang noted in their letter to the editor, “a judge’s contribution should not be measured on the basis of the number of judgments written” (Both Merit Praise – April 5). Your criticism of Justice Karakatsanis is unwarranted.

Morris Chochla, president, Ontario Bar Association

.........

Iron Lady insights

Of the many hundreds of words in The Globe about Margaret Thatcher, 20 of Doug Saunders’s are the most telling: “What Mrs. Thatchers’s imitators lacked were the two secrets to her domestic success: a flood of North Sea oil money …” (All That Remains Is Her Image – April 9). Without the revenue and, equally important, the energy substitution of North Sea oil and natural gas, Mrs. Thatcher would not have been able to break the coal unions.

It was not Conservative policies that caused a resurgence of the U.K., but – as is so often the case around the world – the fortuitous discovery of petroleum resources. The U.K.’s current financial challenges are in no small part due to the decline of U.K. oil production by half since 1999.

Randy Park, Toronto

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Margaret Thatcher famously said, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” Like millions living in the U.K. at the time, I only wish she had been right.

Nigel Brachi, Edmonton

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Margaret Thatcher’s personality and many of her policies were undoubtedly what was needed at the time to break the stultifying hold of socialist policies on the British economy, just as labour-government policies were what was needed at the end of the Second World War, when Britain found itself broke and could no longer afford Imperial governance and the economic disparity of its class system. In both cases, however, what was appropriate for the time became ossified as an ideology sustained by a commentariat that permitted no deviation from dogma.

There’s a direct line between Clement Attlee and the economic crisis in which Britain found itself in the late 1970s and ’80s. There’s a direct line between Margaret Thatcher and the financial crisis of 2008.

What we need now are leaders of Mrs. Thatcher’s calibre who have the strength to take on issues such as the rot of casino capitalism and the challenge of the environment. Sadly, the current crop of neo-conservative commentators will use her passing to canonize her and her policies, which have become outmoded, if not toxic, in our current reality.

Mike Hutton, Ottawa

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Britain has lost its greatest prime minister since Churchill. Perhaps Margaret Thatcher’s biggest accomplishment was the Falklands: She sent a message to the world that the West was no longer going to stand idle in the face of aggression. Her staunch resolve resonated not only in Buenos Aires, but Moscow.

With Ronald Reagan, she helped lead the West to victory in the Cold War

David Morgan, Moncton

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The Iron Lady is gone. May she rust in peace.

Alladin Versi, Nanaimo, B.C.

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