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April 21: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Bottled sin

John Challinor, the corporate affairs director of Nestlé Waters Canada, makes the point that our tap water is not free, inasmuch as ratepayers carry the cost (Water Into Whine – letter, April 20). True enough, but ratepayers also carry the cost of disposing of plastic garbage, including empty bottles of water. If we deduct that cost from the cost of supply, my guess is the ratepayers save money on balance by diverting consumption from bottle to tap.

Making Jesus a defender of private enterprise on this issue is risky exegesis, and philosophy professor C.S. Morrissey admits he's “no great expert in biblical theology” in the article that Mr. Challinor cites. Yes, Jesus drank from a Samaritan woman's “private cup” against taboos of his time. But it wasn't a plastic one destined to fill up disposal sites.

Randal Marlin, Ottawa

Spin control

Contrary to Kenneth Morgan's suggestion (Spinning Khadr – letter, April 20) that Omar Khadr is a victim of “Canadian/American political spin,” isn't it more likely that he's a victim of his parents' traitorous brainwashing?

And where's the proof that hundreds of other combatants, at least on our side, acted similarly? It wasn't unusual in past wars for underage men to sign up – but for their countries, not against!

By all means, bring Mr. Khadr back to Canada if we must – to serve out his full sentence; anything less would demean what we owe those who have paid the ultimate price.

Beverley Murray, Burlington, Ont.

The new bullfight

Re Playoff Mayhem Stirs Concern, But The Fans Are Glued (April 19): It was said of bullfighting in Spain, but nowhere is it truer today than in the NHL: “The only beast in the arena is the crowd.”

Stu Woolley, Kingston, Ont.

Wanted: a future

Why aren't Canadians rushing to fill manual-labour jobs (Unemployed Canadians To Fill Shortages – April 20)? Because there's no future in them.

Most unemployed people assume that they'll soon be back at a job that offers advancement, maybe even benefits. What promotions are available for farm labourers? How's the pension plan? The government has admitted its own plan isn't enough to rely on.

Maybe, but unemployed Canadians would rather not have to chance it. There was a golden era when these concerns were minor, and a hard day's work was a good day's work. But those were also days when CPP alone qualified as a retirement plan.

Adam Thomlison, Ottawa

Argentine defence

Your editorial on the Argentine President's decision to nationalize her country's main energy company (Self-Inflicted Wound – April 19) says it will “only further isolate” Argentina. Yet, in Rome, Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Timerman received Italy's full support to Argentina's claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas.

The expropriation of 51 per cent of Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales, you say, “is a losing cause.” But much more was lost because the profits sent to Madrid by the Spanish company that owned YPF were never invested in the oil needs of the Argentine public.

This move, you say, “will make it more difficult to attract foreign investment.” Meantime, BP of Britain, Total of France and two other oil producers declared their willingness to associate with the new Argentine-owned YPF.

Enrique Tabak, Toronto

Thorny advice

Newspapers routinely endorse political parties at election time, so your advice to Alberta voters is unsurprising (Time For Big Alberta – editorial, April 20). But you shouldn't have taken the most recent Alberta budget at face value, especially the claim that the province's books will be balanced by 2014.

That forecast is based on $1.3-billion in transfers from Alberta's sustainability fund. The balanced budget claim is thus akin to a homeowner who continually withdraws money from her savings account to pay her bills. Fact is, Alberta's government won't spend less on operating and capital expenditures than it receives in revenues until 2015.

Even then, the government's revenue forecasts for the next three years are based on optimistic estimates. They include economic growth 14 per cent higher than private-sector forecasts. The province is also banking on personal income growth to be 37 per cent higher than estimates from private forecasters.

Regardless of what happens at the polls on Monday, the government will need to face reality.

Mark Milke, director, Alberta policy studies, Fraser Institute, Calgary


Two Globe and Mail commentaries on the same day may provide just the incentive that undecided Albertans need to vote the Wildrose Party into office on Monday.

When Toronto-based editorialists imply that Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is too small-minded to be premier and Ottawa-based columnist Jeffrey Simpson (Nothing's Rosy For Climate If Wildrose Wins – April 20) implies that, like William Aberhart before her, Ms. Smith is something of a flat-earther, Albertans are certain to feel insulted.

So how better to show their displeasure with the leading voices of Central Canada than by thumbing their noses at them.

Stuart Langford, Ottawa

Thorny science

Jeffrey Simpson (Nothing's Rosy For Climate If Wildrose Wins) continues to be mesmerized by the fact that “governments almost everywhere” have accepted the science of climate change. Governments are led by politicians, among the very last people qualified to understand science.

Thomas Frisch, Ottawa


If climate change is unproven science, perhaps Danielle Smith could enlighten us mere mortals as to where the Arctic ice is going? I used to be a member of the Flat Earth Society, but that was my sense of humour, not my understanding of science.

Doug James, Calgary

A matter of pride

Re Ford's Pride Refusal May Play To The Base, But It Lets Down The City (April 19): Pride may be a lucrative festival, but, as a gay man, I know many people who won't attend the parade with their kids because of public nudity. Many others feel unwelcome by groups misusing the parade with offensive political messages that have nothing to do with gay rights. The mantra of “full inclusion” rings hollow when thousands feel excluded from a publicly funded event.

Martin Gladstone, Toronto

Altared state

Your headline about marriage procrastination (I Will … Eventually – Life, April 20), where “alter-shy” should have been “altar-shy,” reminded me of the bride at her wedding thinking about her future with the words “aisle altar hymn.”

Eric Mendelsohn, Toronto

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