The phrase “modernizing the monarchy” (Prepare The Way For An Heiress Apparent – editorial, Dec. 5) is an oxymoron. A monarchy, which ultimately derives its legitimacy from the concept of rule by divine right, is thoroughly unmodern by nature. Sure, making the process less discriminatory to other royals is technically progress – but even if one puts a tailpipe on a donkey, it still ain’t a car.
Mark Slone, Toronto
Why not bury the required Canadian succession legislation in the omnibus budget bill? The Conservatives could then accuse the filibustering Opposition of being sexist and anti-monarchist.
Jim Reynolds, Niagara on the Lake, Ont.
I thought my three names would be in the running for a new king, but then it occurred to me that Charles I was executed for treason, Henry VIII married six times and probably died of syphilis, and George III was the Mad King who lost the American colonies. Let’s hope it’s a girl: Elizabeth would do well, with Diana a close second – and Camilla way down the list.
C.H.G. Cook, Toronto
In my Canada
In the Canada in which I grew up, CIDA was a vehicle for helping those in the world living in poverty, not a tool for business promotion (Fantino Under Fire To Explain CIDA Direction – Dec. 5). In my Canada, we played a role in trying to bring peace and stability to the Middle East, rather than taking the side of one party over the other (At One With Israel: Canada And ... Palau? – Dec. 5).
My Canada would never dream of voting down a bill that would have provided affordable, life-saving drugs to people in the developing world (Patent Protection Main Issue In Killing Drug Bill, Lewis Says – Nov. 30).
In my Canada, MPs did not stay up all night filibustering omnibus budget legislation (MPs Learn How To Survive A Filibuster – Dec. 5). Few Canadians even knew what “prorogue” meant in my Canada.
If the progressive voices in this country do not come together, the Canada that we came to love will be a thing of the past.
Mike Winward, Hamilton, Ont.
Keep the LCBO, but …
Why is this (Hudak’s ‘New Deal’ Targets The LCBO? – Dec. 5) so complicated in Ontario? Allow the sale of at least beer and wine in retail stores, collect the taxes, but keep the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. (Quebec allows such sales, but maintains its SAQ.)
Why would the province forgo $1.6-billion annually in profits from the LCBO? I recall when this industry was privatized in Alberta. Guess what? Prices went up, selection went down.
Michelle Guilmette, Toronto
Fixing the oil sands
Re We Could Fix The Oil Sands (Dec. 3): Before a project is approved, the proponent must file a Conservation and Reclamation Plan, with a financial bond. Government ensures proponents fulfill their legal obligation to restore the land to its natural state.
The Athabasca River Water Management Framework sets mandatory limits on withdrawals. Less than 1 per cent of the Athabasca River’s annual flow has been used by the oil sands. Withdrawals can not exceed 3 per cent per year.
GHG emissions in the oil sands, which account for only 6.9 per cent of Canada’s emissions and 0.1 per cent of global emissions, have been reduced by 26 per cent a barrel; government and industry are taking steps to reduce those emissions further.
Joe Oliver, federal Minister of Natural Resources
A Canadian monument
Reading about the new Deh Cho bridge over the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence, NWT (‘We’re Finally Connected To The Rest Of Canada’ – Dec. 4), brings back special memories. My boyfriend had a summer job on the Merv Hardie ferry. In late April of 1978, I went to Yellowknife to work for the summer. I hitched a ride to Fort Providence, where I was to be picked up and taken across the river to meet up with him. The only way to get across to Dory Point was by helicopter, unless I wanted to walk seven miles downriver where it was still possible to cross on foot.
Just when I was about to give up, the Sikorsky arrived; 20 minutes later, I was deposited at the ferry along with the weekly groceries. The culmination of this great adventure was that, in true northern fashion, my boyfriend proposed that evening. The next two summers, we worked at Arctic Red River, where the new Dempster Highway crossed the Mackenzie River, and then at the ferry crossing near Fort McPherson.
We congratulate those who have persevered and built a permanent bridge across this mighty river: It is a tremendous achievement and a remarkable Canadian monument.
Elizabeth McLenehan, North Vancouver
Degrees of stress
If a stressed-out student who is working, taking a full course load and is in debt can be called weak and dependent, please have Margaret Wente give me an example of the superhuman (University Isn’t Meant To Be Easy – Dec. 4).
Programs such as pet therapy and late night food tables are often signs of greater empathy and independence by students themselves. Dalhousie, which I attend, has both services (Dalhousie Lets The Dogs In – Life & Arts, Dec. 5). They are organized by students, not overprotective administrators.
Jake McCloskey, Halifax
When the University of Toronto’s law school, which I attend, enacted programs to help relieve student stress, the public and media response, by and large, was to consider it further evidence of entitlement. Mental health and wellness programs are not the realm of the entitled.
The sooner we let go of the outdated mindset that people should keep calm and carry on, the better-equipped we will be to prevent worrying rates of student suicide, stress and depression.
Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan, Toronto
The perception of braininess varies widely and has no meaning outside a specific context (Brains Aren’t Everything, But These PMs Had ’Em – Dec. 4). Every PM has to deal as best he/she can with situations not entirely of their making. They shouldn’t take all the credit or blame unless a very large ball was dropped (or they mumbled a lot in public, like that dunce, Socrates).
Of course, policy outcomes sometimes are not immediately evident. Asked what he thought of the French Revolution, Mao Zedong said it was too early to tell. He probably would have added: And it depends on your interpretation of success.
Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert, Alta.