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In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. Today’s topics: #stopkony; school systems as last-century creatures; Oxy addicts; Canadian filmmaking … and more (AP)
In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. Today’s topics: #stopkony; school systems as last-century creatures; Oxy addicts; Canadian filmmaking … and more (AP)

What readers think

March 9: Letters to the editor Add to ...

#stopkony

While countless tweets and Facebook updates of “Make Kony Famous” might spell herd mentality to critics, there is no denying that social networking platforms can spread information like wildfire (Invisible Children In The Spotlight – March 8). Globalization is clearly a force at work, with everyone from celebrities, high-school students and grandparents on every continent carrying the torch of the campaign to make the world aware of Joseph Kony and his gang, indicted as child-kidnapping killers.

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army is now famous; it is time for the next step.

Fadeke Adegbuyi, Edmonton

.........

With all the dialogue around the Kony video, which has gone viral, it’s important not to lose sight of the facts: Invisible Children is an NGO, a group of citizens trying to make a difference. I’m impressed by how they’ve managed to translate awareness into direct action. There needs to be a serious dialogue about child soldiers and their disarmament. There is more to the issue than arresting Joseph Kony and taking him to a fancy prison in The Hague. These children have been abused, leaving them with serious mental scar tissue. Their reintegration into their community will not be as simple as the video makes it out to be.

Charlotte Sachs, Montreal

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So this century

Margaret Wente’s analysis (Our School Systems Are So Last Century – March 8) has an architectural corollary in the crumbling cathedral in Christchurch, N.Z. Engineering and architectural opinion is that it must come down, it’s sure to crumble because of extensive earthquake damage. People are nervous.

These same people, however, are deeply divided on when it should come down, how it should come down, or whether it should come down at all; imagine for a moment, if you can, the civic trauma to Parisians if the Eiffel Tower were dismantled, or how the Americans would feel if they had to level the Washington Monument.

We cling to what we know long after we know we shouldn’t cling to it.

Adam de Pencier, Head of School, Trafalgar Castle School, Whitby, Ont.

.........

Margaret Wente states that education funding in Ontario has substantially increased and then avers “the results were negligible.” In fact, graduation rates have increased from 68 to 81 per cent. Ontario’s is among the best education systems in the world, according to the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment rankings. Canada, as a whole, performs about as well as any other country and has one of the smallest gaps between its best- and worst-achieving students.

Sachin Maharaj, assistant curriculum leader, Toronto District School Board

.........

The purpose of the public school system is to create an educated citizenry, not to offer parents whatever support they want in raising their own children. People with no children in the system pay taxes that support it so they can hire an educated employee, vote along with other people who have some understanding of what voting means, etc. The current system has problems, but Ms. Wente’s proposal is not the solution.

Herb Koplowitz, Toronto

.........

Fitting punishment?

So Osama bin Laden lived his last days in a poorly constructed compound with “no escape routes” along with eight children, five grandchildren, his couriers and their families and his three squabbling wives (Inside Abbottabad – Folio, March 8).

Why did we think it was a more fitting punishment to kill him?

Murray Pratt, Tsawwassen, B.C.

.........

The Quebec model

For decades, we’ve looked south for inspiration (A Manifesto For Our Movies – Arts, March 8). The result has been a variety of unsuccessful attempts to emulate the Hollywood model for making and marketing movies north of the border.

To generate a successful Canadian film industry, we don’t need U.S. “stars” or “big budgets.” We need a commitment from both the private and public sectors to focus on creating a truly indigenous, independent Canadian film industry, along with establishing viable alternative methods for making Canadian features and documentaries. Quebec, not the U.S., should be our model. The question to be answered is: How is it that the Quebec film industry has been so successful, artistically and commercially?

André Bennett, CEO, Cinema Esperança International Inc., Toronto

.........

Not the same thing

Re Taxpayers Group Laments Duceppe’s Lifetime Of Wasteful Service (online, March 7): By awarding the former Bloc leader a lifetime achievement award for wasteful service, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation not only insults every Quebecker who has voted for the Bloc, but has missed the whole point of the democratic process in Canada. Mr. Duceppe and his caucus were re-elected time and time again because the governments in power were not seen to be looking out for the interests of their province.

Mr. Duceppe, who served his constituents for almost two decades, is entitled to the same pension as any former MP. Agreeing with his views and respecting his public service are two different matters.

If the CTF is looking to give an award for waste, it need look no further than the office of the Prime Minister, whose government has pledged to throw away billions of dollars for fighter jets Canadians neither need nor want.

Hershl Berman, Toronto

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Oxy addicts

I spent 30 years prosecuting criminals and saw, over and over, the tragic waste of young lives because of narcotic addition, the predictable prescription source of narcotics for resale, the “popular” doctors … (The OxyContin Switch: A Lost Battle In Our War On Pain – March 6).

If physicians need training, it is about human nature: theirs, the drug reps’ and the patients’. Prescribing a narcotic will always be the path of least resistance. Sales reps are biased. Healthy people lie or exaggerate because it is the only legal way to obtain popular narcotics.

How did the doctors responsible for the 80-fold increase in OxyContin prescriptions remain so determinedly oblivious to their “unintended negative consequences”? Where were their colleges of physicians and surgeons when this problem was being created? Those obvious-to-everyone-else unintended consequences are now left to the government, communities and families to cope with.

Diana Henninger, Sudbury

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Quibble?

You credit (blame) Ralph Klein for saying “let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark” (The Oil Sands: It’s Personal – March 8). That was just a Calgary bumper sticker in the 1970s during the energy crisis.

Mr. Klein did, of course, have some controversial views on “Eastern bums and creeps” flocking to booming Calgary in the early 1980s (a reference to an increasing crime rate). So let the factual record show that he only called some Easterners bums, not bastards. Perhaps I quibble.

Don Martin, author, King Ralph , Kars, Ont.

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