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A conch shell pulled from the waters of Turks and Caicos. (NYT)
A conch shell pulled from the waters of Turks and Caicos. (NYT)

WHAT READERS THINK

May 28: Turks and Caicos? Puh-leeze, Mr. Baird – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Puh-leeze, Mr. Baird

Re Baird Says No To Annexing ‘Saskatchewarm’ (May 27): As the sickly pallor that winter left me with only now starts to fade – and I confess I may still be suffering a bit of hibernation haze – I have to ask: What the heck are John Baird and the gang thinking?

Has anyone even run the numbers on annexing the Turks and Caicos Islands? The cost of providing Canadian social services for some 30,000 islanders versus the money that would stay in “Canada” (not the southern U.S. or Mexico) during the winter?

Looks like this rare opportunity will once again fade as fast as my short-lived summer tan.

Peter Sutherland, Ottawa

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Frostbitten hand to winter-numbed heart, there is so much I’d forgive the Conservatives if they did this. Puh-leeze, Mr. Baird.

Janice Campbell, Halifax

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Assuming there is an informed wish on the part of Turks and Caicos to become part of our Confederation, it would have huge advantages for Canada. Having sunshine within our shores would likely keep a big chunk of vacation money in Canada. It would also open up opportunities for citizens in the “new” area and force us all to rethink, rationally, what it means to be Canadian.

We live in just about the best country anywhere; this could be a chance to show the world what it is to be Canadian. Go for it!

Mary Lazier-Corbett, Picton, Ont.

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Acts of rage

Re Mental Health Care: An Issue At The Heart Of This Tragedy (May 27): André Picard makes a valid point that “police are not psychiatrists … but the burden of judging the sanity/danger of individuals generally falls to them.”

However, psychiatrists would be the first to argue that it is often outside the bounds even of psychiatry to accurately predict who will perpetrate violent acts of rage based upon their erotic and aggressive instincts.

The problem is much deeper and goes to the heart of what we have become as a society.

I thought it ironic that the day the California rampage first made print, The Globe ran a column, How Pulp Fiction Flipped The Script (Arts, May 24). Written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, it quotes movie critic Roger Shattuck, who said at the time, “Pulp Fiction has a message: What a lark crime can be!… The consequences of that illusion will be very destructive [my italics].”

He goes to say, “responsible art deserves to be protected with all our powers from those who would borrow its mantle to protect and ennoble displays of unredeemed depravity and violence.”

Let’s not confuse mental illness with social isolation, personal estrangement and the alienation that has become a defining feature of modern Western society, for that is where we are most likely to find the roots of “unredeemed depravity and violence.”

Rev. David McInnis, Ancaster, Ont.

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André Picard is correct in identifying access to mental health care as an underlying problem in the California shootings. While previous history of violence, rather than mental illness, is a predictor of violent acts, most people living with mental illness are not violent. That said, people living with mental illness and their families encounter major problems accessing appropriate care.

For many, there are only two options, long waits in emergency or call the police. While mental illness accounts for 13 per cent of disease burden, other areas of health care have received much more investment. Unless this changes and we focus on early intervention, these kinds of tragedies, as well as death by self-harm, will continue to happen.

Steve Lurie, executive director, CMHA Toronto Branch

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Moral compass

Re The Pope, The Wall (letters, May 27): Alex Korn sure piles plenty of straw in constructing an argument against the Pope’s “moral compass” as he prayed at the separation wall in Bethlehem.

Maybe when the Pope was leaning against it, he was just trying to push it back to where the International Court said it should legally be constructed. How’s that for a moral compass?

Miles Tompkins, Antigonish, N.S.

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The Ukrainian state

The Globe and Mail is misguided in urging federalization as an answer to unrest in Ukraine (Move West – Slowly, editorial, May 27). Russia is lobbying hard for this federalization as a means of weakening Ukraine’s central government.

Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected Ukrainian president, is in a difficult position – he cannot allow the armed bands who have declared independent republics to continue to terrorize the east, and yet to use force against them is to alienate a significant segment of the population.

From the east to the west of the country, Ukrainians decry the corruption of those in power. To gain broad support, the government must have the means to establish the rule of law across the entire country. Federalization would create entrenched fiefdoms at the mercy of armed bands in the Donbas region, easily manipulated by money from those bent on undermining the Ukrainian state.

Marta Baziuk, Toronto

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‘Business subsidy’

Let’s call the temporary foreign worker program what it is – a business subsidy (Thousands Of Approvals Belie Labour Shortage Claims – May 26).

It would be one thing to provide such a subsidy to small businesses, but to multinationals? There are very few jobs that Canadians won’t do, but there are plenty of employers who won’t pay them enough to do them.

Patty Benjamin, Calgary

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Leave kids alone

Re The Solution Is Child’s Play (May 23): Though a nice alternative to “short bursts of regimented movement,” parent-directed play is no less prescribed and limiting for children.

Yes, the world has changed, but an important component of this change has been precisely the overstructuring and overregulation of children’s play by adults, a trend that may be contributing to increased obesity.

For children to be fully engaged in play, they need less parental guidance. This means allowing children their “precious free moments” by letting them out of one’s sight and allowing them to take risks (even occasionally hurt themselves!).

Solving the problem of inactivity by increased management of children’s leisure is simply the wrong direction.

Leave those kids alone.

Katherine L. Frohlich, Stephanie A. Alexander, School of Public Health, University of Montreal

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To be Canadian, eh

Based on the overtime goals in this Eastern Conference series, I think we’ll have to update Pierre Berton’s quote that “A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without tipping it” to a “A true Canadian is one who can make love and get a snack before overtime begins.”

M. Cutcher-Lee, Victoria

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