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Aug. 27: Layton's legacy, and other letters to the editor

Aug. 27: Layton's legacy, and other letters to the editor

Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Young people today

It's great that Todd Hirsch knows some young people who are energetic and enthusiastic, which apparently is his measure of productivity, but if he came down from his theoretical perch and talked to real business owners, the ones who sign the front of cheques, or if he himself had to sign those cheques, he might understand better what the actual problem is (Lazy Young People? Hardly – Aug. 24).

It's not a question of young people not being willing to work longer hours; it is about commitment and reliability: whether they will show up on any given day, or whether they will be on time. And, assuming they do show up, will they actually earn their pay or will they be constantly texting or Facebooking or sneaking a smoke or whining about delaying their lunch to deal with a situation? My clients are small business owners and I hear this from virtually all of them, all the time.

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Of course, not all young people are lazy, and not all older people are industrious. But all other things being equal, if Mr. Hirsch was signing those cheques, he might agree with one exasperated owner who declared: "No one under 30!"

Ken West, strategic planning adviser, peer board facilitator, Toronto

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Todd Hirsch writes that these days, "it's fashionable to call young people lazy and entitled." That exact sentiment has been a constant of human society since at least the advent of written history. As everyone since the Sumerians would add, the young are also radical troublemakers who have no respect for their elders.

Brian Lowry, Fredericton

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Held to be self-evident?

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Does no one in the U.S. Republican Party see a fundamental inconsistency between its position on the "right to bear arms" and its position on the "right to life" (Guns And The GOP: Florida Laws Leave Tampa On Edge – Aug. 23)?

Rod Taylor, Georgetown, Ont.

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Layton's legacy

Re The Legacy Of Mr. Layton (Aug. 23):

Are New Democratic policies "highly impractical"? Or is that simply what we've all been led to believe by those for whom neoliberalism now has no "practical" alternatives? Would an NDP government have produced "realities" any more "harsh" than those Stephen Harper has created for, say, thousands of refugee claimants from "safe" countries such as Hungary? Jack Layton and his NDP caucus were and are not children, and their thoughtful contrarianism should be respected and taken seriously.

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As for legacy, Mr. Layton's best work was ahead of him, and that is what makes his loss profoundly upsetting for those of us who believe Canada is infinitely better than the government we have now. How would this past year in Canadian politics have looked different for Mr. Layton's contributions? What kinds of valuable defences would he have mounted against bills like C-10 and C-31? Who might he have inspired to take up the struggle against Mr. Harper? These are the questions that will measure Mr. Layton's real legacy.

Kim Solga, London, England

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Points overhaul

I support Ottawa's proposed overhaul of immigration policy (Ottawa's Overhaul Of Immigration Points System Puts Premium On Young Workers – Aug. 22), but disagree with McMaster's Arthur Sweetman that it will lead to lower wages. Young, skilled workers raise opportunities for growth and productivity, a key determinant of wages. In the long run, the policy will tend to raise wages, not lower them.

NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims's argument, that it contradicts government plans to increase Old Age Security eligible age, is also flawed. That proposal is to help the financing of OAS, while the overhaul of the immigration point system is to improve the functioning of the labour market. In fact, by increasing the number of young people quickly through immigration, the point system overhaul could help render the OAS security finances more sustainable.

Ritha Khemani, Toronto

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Content is hard

Dave Morris's article on Network Awesome (NewTube – Arts, Aug. 22) sings the praises of a "Berlin-based electronic musician and a Québécois grad-student computer whiz" (Jason Forrest and Greg Sadetsky) for creating a web-based channel "run by humans, not algorithms, that would recommend and show videos culled from YouTube's vast archives."

All fine and well, but once again, the site creators admit that "the bulk of of the site's programming will likely remain hosted on YouTube; Network Awesome owns the architecture of its site but not the content it links to."

This reminds me of the current state of Canadian television, where a small group of owners own the distribution but actually create very little of the content – with one major difference, of course. Whereas most web-based content distributors are having difficulties monetizing their business models, the Canadian distributors have a licence to print money.

And while that is great for the stakeholders of the likes of Bell and Rogers, it still seems to me that distribution is easy – content is hard.

Christopher Greaves, content producer, Positive Productions Inc., Toronto

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Doubling down

I could not agree more with your editorial Doubling Down On Foreign Students (Aug. 20).

At our independent, day and boarding school for girls, we have been actively recruiting international boarding students for several decades. Our boarding program for girls in grades 7 to 12 houses students from more than 20 countries and infuses our entire population with perspectives, cultures, beliefs and ideas that represent the global community we share. What could better prepare students for the future than living and working side by side with counterparts from Nepal, South Korea, Africa or China?

A more co-ordinated and strategic approach, connecting recruitment efforts starting from secondary school through colleges and universities, would benefit all. The government's role in putting Canada on the radar would enhance our efforts considerably.

Universities should also be working together and with high schools that offer boarding as natural partners. The more we can attract talented students from around the world to experience the value of a Canadian education, the more we will up the ante for all students.

Deryn Lavell, head of school, The Bishop Strachan School, Toronto

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No solution

While I was happy to read that the rampant misuse of the phrase "begs the question" is to be addressed by your editors (Why We Should Stop Begging The Question – online, Aug. 17), I'm appalled that your solution to the problem is to stop using the phrase entirely.

"Begs the question" is a concise and useful phrase when used correctly, and as a purveyor of language-based information, I would have thought your interests and obligations lay in extending our collective ability to use language, not leading us down the path toward gestures and grunts.

Martin Hyde, Ottawa

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