John Allemang alludes to “hubris” (No Crash Can Kill The Cruise – Focus, Jan. 21) but there is another ancient Greek philosophical distinction between “appearance” and “reality.” In the 17th century, John Locke described colour and light in terms of secondary qualities, recognizing that invisible radiant energy is converted into something that we can see, by our visual system. There is a price to pay for this; reality is not necessarily as it seems.
A distinction can be made between the visible world, with which we are familiar, and the vast reality beyond, which requires great effort to interpret and fully comprehend. The phrase “pleasure cruise” is an indication that people on a cruise are subjectively focused, and wanting to shelve reality for a while. But for captains, this is not an option.
Gordon Watson, Rocky Mountain House, Alta.
A uniform standard
Earlier this week, The Globe and Mail reported on the plan by provincial premiers to innovate in health-care delivery, thus all but signalling the end of the federal government in health care delivery.
In Saturday’s edition, you reported on the failure of provincial ambulance services to meet the standard for response times to 911 calls (Edmonton’s Ambulances In Need Of Emergency Care – Jan. 21). The day before, you reported on investigations into deaths associated with Ontario’s air ambulance service.
Every month, there are stories of rural hospitals being forced to close ERs because of a lack of physicians. Daily reports of crowded ERs in city hospitals are commonplace.
We have no long-term human resources plan for emergency medicine, no national guidelines for emergency department staffing and operation, no real systems approach to getting the acutely ill and injured to the right hospital.
It is the right of every Canadian to be guaranteed timely access for emergency care; it is the responsibility of the federal government to guarantee a uniform standard of care, whatever the patient’s postal code.
Alan Drummond, chair, public affairs, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
First comes food
Doug Saunders argues that conservatives in Tunisia and Egypt are driven by the belief that “social influence can now only be won through politics” (It’s Not A Safe And Easy Path To Modernity – Jan. 21). But the success of movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah suggests that the reverse may be true.
Due to endemic corruption or cynical efforts to prolong “the struggle,” comparatively secular regimes have left Palestinians desperate for a better life. By providing a comprehensive network of social assistance, these two parties have earned enormous political dividends. Bertolt Brecht reminds us that “First comes food, then comes morals.”
Farley Helfant, Toronto
The Tories are eager to outsource more than ad work if PR consultants are, as your article states, “involved in the whole life cycle of a public program” (Tories Eager To Outsource More Ad Work – Jan. 20).
Programs are the expression of public policy and PR consultants should not be involved in developing public policy. If government-friendly profit-making PR companies develop programs, the programs will most certainly be more PR than policy. Machiavelli would be proud and Canadians concerned about democracy should be deeply troubled.
Sharon Sommerville, Waterloo, Ont.
Re Tiny Ad Agency Gains Tories’ Favour (Jan. 21): Forty years ago, I was working for Transport Canada and put out calls for proposals for the development of an education program on child occupant protection.
After reviewing the five proposals submitted, a small unknown firm by the name of Acart was selected for the project. They had the best proposal, the lowest bid and they came with a shrewd, intelligent manager named Al Albania. It is satisfying to observe that the federal government’s process for choosing the best still applies.
Grant Smith, Markham, Ont.
Mike McCormack, head of the Toronto police union, has vowed to block any attempt to have disciplinary charges laid against five police officers involved in the arrest of a protester in 2010 (Watchdog Accuses Officers Of Excessive Force At G20 – Jan. 21).
His stated position is that it took too long to investigate this particular incident. He made no apparent mention of the fact that the five officers involved refused to co-operate with the investigation or that other officers who might have shed light on this incident also refused to testify.
Malcolm Brown, Porter’s Lake, N.S.
Your editorial Getting High On Renewal (Jan. 19) characterizes the Liberal proposal to legalize marijuana as an “appeal to the political left.” But Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul also advocates legalization. So it seems only The Globe regards libertarians as left wing.
Perhaps it’s best to dispense altogether with this unhelpful division of the world into right and left. Ideology isn’t that simple. And most of us manage to occupy both poles at various times.
Why not just restate “appeal to the left” as “appeal to common sense”?
Dr. Brian Green, Thunder Bay
In our territory, all the commercially valuable land was taken and divided up among settlers and corporations a long time ago (Land In Common – Letters, Jan. 21).
At a time when it was illegal for first nations to hire lawyers and when government Indian agents pretended to be looking out for our interest, the final recommendation on our reserve land allotments was that the land was worthless, useless even for agriculture, so there was no harm in turning it into a reserve.
If the federal government wanted to use land as a basis for first nations to attain their lost independence, it’d best for our first nation to be offered land that is at the very least commercially viable.
Ellis Ross, Haisla Nation Chief Councillor, Kitimaat, B.C.
A Kodak moment
Kodak changed my life and I shall always be grateful to them (Say Cheese, Buzz – Jan. 20). As a high-school and university student in the 1960s, the company enabled me to pursue my dream of a postsecondary education, leading to an excellent career.
Student loans were rare and my parents struggled for every dollar, but Kodak hired me as a “summer student” from 1967 until 1971, paid me well and welcomed me back to work until I started teaching. Words cannot express my heartfelt thanks to T. Lang Moffat and the staff of the order-invoicing department at the Weston plant in Toronto.
Edie Linscott Lewis, Brantford, Ont.Report Typo/Error
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