Given that most of us don't often need the services of a lawyer, the negative public perception of them generally doesn't come from personal experience (Tired Of Rolling With Punchlines, Lawyers Plan Image Overhaul – Feb. 7).
It's hard to get one's head around the fact that a defence lawyer is trying to ensure that an accused gets a fair trial, even though she may really feel the client is guilty. No doubt, it will take a long time to get the desired "shift" in public attitudes, despite the good works many lawyers do behind the scenes.
Defence lawyers are in the same boat as teachers. Although many people "speak well of their individual lawyer" (substitute "teacher" for "lawyer"), badmouthing them as a group has turned into a cottage industry.
Ann Sullivan, Peterborough, Ont.
The Ontario Bar Association complains that Google returns 2.8 million results for lawyer jokes – but searches on carpenter jokes yield 3.4 million results; politician jokes, 5.9 million; doctor jokes, more than 29 million. Lawyers have a lot of work to do to catch up.
Andrew Croll, Victoria
You had to know this was going to happen.
Lawyer: How was your first marriage terminated?
Witness: By death.
Lawyer: And by whose death was it terminated?
Witness: Take a guess.
Catherine Orion, Caledon, Ont.
You report that a school board official says his board "sent a teacher, acting as a mole, to sit in on an open house at a competing Catholic high school" (Competition For Students Growing Fierce – Feb. 6).
I thought the teacher unions didn't want their members engaging in extracurricular activities.
Peter Woolstencroft, Waterloo, Ont.
I am disappointed that a scholar such as Charles Taylor believes it's proper to break up a successful country such as Canada after a single vote of 50 per cent plus one (With A Clear Question, 50 Per Cent Plus One Is Enough – Feb. 6). The international norm for partitioning any country, successful or not, is 60 per cent.
If we are to allow a Yes vote in Quebec to have any merit, it should come with a caveat. We are a hockey nation and, as such, in the event of a Yes vote, we should realize that we are looking at a seven-game series. In that case, United Canada would still have a 2-1 lead in the series. Go UC.
Howard Richler, Montreal
Her last choice
The letter that follows was written by my mother the day before she died. She had been a member of the Death with Dignity movement for many years and, following her beliefs, she committed suicide last Saturday. It was one of her last wishes that we try to have this letter published in The Globe and Mail.
Dean Goodman, Toronto
I am a 91-year-old woman who has decided to end my life in the very near future. I do not have a terminal illness; I am simply old, tired and becoming dependent, after a wonderful life of independence. People are allowed to choose the right time to terminate their animals' lives and to be with them and provide assistance and comfort, right to the end. Surely, the least we can do is allow people the same right to choose how and when to end their lives. By the time people read this, I will have died. I am writing this letter to advocate for a change in the law so that all will be able to make this choice.
Ruth Goodman, Vancouver
What is it with journalists appointed to the public trough? George Radwanski, and now Mike Duffy, both trying to squeeze every penny out of the public purse (Duffy Sidesteps PEI Residency Questions – Feb. 7). I guess they honour the Dingwall Doctrine and feel they are "entitled to my entitlements."
Michael Farrell, Oakville, Ont.
Killed by the cure
Janice MacKinnon, a former NDP finance minister in Saskatchewan, suggests the income tax system be changed, so some health-care costs are borne by those who use the system (Saskatchewan Knows What Tommy Douglas Would Do – Feb. 7). Medicare came about because Tommy Douglas could not bear the idea of people who lacked the means going without medical attention.
Trust those with the means to think of cake as a substitute for bread.
George Burrett, Cambridge, Ont.
While we would prefer to shop in Canada exclusively, we shop about once a month in the U.S. The price differences are just too much to ignore, particularly if you gas up south of the border (Senate Report Cites Barriers At Border For Price Gaps – Feb. 7). I can relate to the man who bought "made in Canada" floor mats much cheaper in the U.S. I like Brunswick sardines: Perhaps someone can tell me why I can buy cans of them much cheaper in the U.S.
Better to try to reduce the disparity than chastise "southern shoppers" – many of us retirees – for trying to stretch our dollars in these trying times.
John Hunter, North Vancouver
Quod erat …
Author Josephine Tey suggested Henry VII (Tudor) was a much likelier murderer of the two princes in the Tower, as they represented an inconvenient challenge to his legitimacy once he had bested Richard and seized the throne (Not The Ideal Uncle – editorial, Feb. 5).
In the 1970s, while I was sitting in the Edmonton courthouse library, former colleague Justice David McDonald walked in with a distinguished-looking gentleman whom he introduced as Lord Haldane, the famed British jurist. Instead of asking him something predictably lawyerish, such as Lord Denning's latest dissent or the Rule in Foss v. Harbottle, and having just read Ms. Tey's persuasive book, Daughter of Time, I asked if he thought Richard had really been the one to have killed the little princes. "Of course!" he replied.
He explained that when Henry Tudor (soon to be Henry VII ) was advancing on London in August of 1485, Richard knew he needed all the supporters he could muster. If the princes had been alive, he would undoubtedly have paraded them as proof of his entitlement to the throne through their father, his brother, the recently deceased Edward IV. That he did no such thing shows he knew they were already dead and not available to be paraded as justification for his claim. Otherwise, he would have played this card. QED. Still seems like good reasoning to me.
Philip G. Lister, Edmonton