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Oil sands north of Fort McMurray, Alta. (The Globe and Mail)
Oil sands north of Fort McMurray, Alta. (The Globe and Mail)

What readers think

May 7: False impressions and the oil sands – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

False impressions

Re Ottawa Strikes Back At Gore’s Remarks On Oil Sands As ‘Open Sewer’ (May 6): I’m sorry Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver felt offended by Al Gore’s recent critique of Canada’s tar sands.

Mr. Oliver says “using words like ‘open sewer’ [is] unfortunate and an attempt to create an impression which is false.”

I’ve had similar feelings whenever Mr. Oliver has labelled environmental activists as “radicals” and “extremists.”

Jim Sinclair, North Bay


Label it safe

Re Garment Factory Toll Tops 600 (May 6): We should demand that Parliament amend Canada’s customs laws. Our laws already require labels on imported garments (in both official languages and symbols) that show content and washing instructions. Customs legislation should also require one more line on the label: “This product was made in a certified ‘safe facility.’ ”

Canadian importers or distributors cannot make overseas facilities safe. But they can be made to buy only from suppliers whose facilities are inspected and certified by local authorities.

Peter Bartha, Aurora, Ont.


Gender privacy

While I don’t agree with Don Cherry’s remarks about women in the locker room, I also believe that a female sensibility should be left at the door (Room With A View – Focus, May 4). How can one report on a testosterone-driven sport, add nudity and then expect men, hired most often for their brawn, to suddenly become poster boys for GQ?

I don’t see the need for any reporter to be in a locker room. That said, there has always been a double standard. I have a female member of my condominium board who sees no issue with a female attendant accompanying a male in the locker room, but who takes offence at a male in the female locker room. It’s as if men have less of a right to gender privacy than women.

Globe Sports Editor Shawna Richer tells the story of a Buffalo Sabres player leaving the shower room who, when he saw her, “grabbed his genitals and began flapping them” in her direction. She should take solace and temper her indignation at the player’s “rattling the Sabre” with the knowledge that the pen is always mightier than the sword.

Blair Boudreau, Toronto


‘What I wrote’

Re Do People Have A Right To Be Forgotten? (Focus, May 4): Drew Nelles wrote that in my April 26 piece in the National Post, I “suggested” that Rehtaeh Parsons “had lied about being raped.” I did nothing of the sort.

Quoting unnamed sources close to the investigation (even Globe reporters use such sources), I said that evidence showed Rehtaeh had told her friends the day after the alleged attack that she’d had sex with two boys and made no mention of any assault. That is not akin to suggesting a rape didn’t occur. It is indicative that the story of what happened that night is more complex than the public narrative thus far suggested. And that’s what I wrote.

Christie Blatchford, Toronto


‘Real’ gun culture

Elizabeth Renzetti points to what she imagines is “gun culture” as the root cause for the tragic incident of the five-year-old who shot his two-year-old sister (It’s Just A Click Away In This Crazy World: ‘Options For Your Child’s First Firearm’ – May 4). It was instead an abject failure in judgment. To provide a five-year-old with unsupervised access to a loaded firearm is akin to handing an AK-47 to a chimpanzee.

A toy gun is very dangerous, insofar as it requires no discipline or responsibility and actually encourages the type of “bang, bang, you’re dead” play in the absence of any consequences.

Having taught many children how to safely handle real firearms (without incident), the first step is to ensure that the child is old enough to understand the consequences of an accident. It is only when a child is able to discern the difference between make-believe and reality that one can begin to build the skills and judgment required for responsible ownership. Until then, proper, direct one-on-one supervision is a fundamental prerequisite.

Firearms can be a valuable tool to teach life skills to a youngster. Regardless of whether a child, properly educated in firearm safety, chooses to continue in the sport, he or she has at least learned the rudiments of safety, responsibility and respect, which form the basis for the real gun culture.

Robert S. Sciuk, Oshawa, Ont.


The recent NRA convention could have afforded the incoming president a golden opportunity to again remind everyone that guns don’t kill people. Five-year-olds do.

Frank Abbott, Toronto


Rooted in thin skin?

Pollster Michael Adams has exposed a bit of thin skin and some oversensitivity to Stephen Harper’s comment about “committing sociology” (Confessions Of A Homegrown Sociologist – May 2).

Mr. Harper did not suggest that interactions between society and individuals should never be studied; he rightly declared that in the immediate aftermath of the arrests, the first job should be to move toward trying the accused individuals so the pursuit of justice on behalf of society becomes everyone’s top priority.

Early hand-wringing about “root causes” and socio-psychological impacts before the facts are known carries a strong implication that something was done to the accused that might actually justify the crimes, which provides oxygen to other potential wrongdoers who might be considering similar actions. Most violent acts involve some sort of grievance, but I suggest that Mr. Adams will have ample time to analyze and write about society’s contribution to this malaise once the trial is over.

Herb Schultz, Edmonton


What they deserve

Gen Y’er Eric Macfarlane is half right when he credits Ontario’s increasing debt to pandering to the NDP (Gen Y Will Pay – letters, May 6). The other half is the missing tax increase.

As a boomer, I have great sympathy for the generations that will pay, with interest, for what we refuse to pay for. Deficits should be called what they are: a tax on our children. This year, on Mother’s and Father’s days, instead of a gift, parents and grandparents should get what they truly deserve: a tax bill.

Stuart McRae, Toronto


When the time comes to create the annual list of “banished words and phrases,” look no further than the leaders of Ontario’s three political parties: Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and PC Leader Tim Hudak.

Indeed, the conversations espoused by Ms. Wynne about what last week’s budget means to Ontarians (Horwath) suggest that when the rubber hits the road (Horwath), the reality is (Wynne) that no matter how many discussions (Wynne) are had, at the end of the day (Hudak), we’re probably just beating a dead horse (me).

Julie Fleming, Toronto

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