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Jan. 31: An evocative photo, and other letters to the editor (Don McCullin/Contact Press Images)
Jan. 31: An evocative photo, and other letters to the editor (Don McCullin/Contact Press Images)

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Jan. 31: An evocative photo, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Worth 1,000 words

Sometimes I wish artists would let their art speak for itself. Don McCullin’s evocative photo of a homeless man (front page, Jan. 30) is sullied by his appalling description of it. He disparages the “Hare Krishna types” for placing “an absurd kind of religious sign” on the man’s head, but at least they provided him with soup. All Mr. McCullin did was to take a photograph, then fantasize about it to distance himself from the “ugliness” it represents. I find that more disturbing than the photo itself.

Tom O’Neill, St. Catharines, Ont.


Don McCullin was a fine man in my life some 30 years ago.

I was an adman, creative director on Brooke Bond foods, and we had an idea to do Black Diamond Cheese in Cheddar, England, and Parma and Naples, Italy (the homes of cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella). Lo and behold, we sold it, and we wound up in Cheddar. Don was a photographer on the job.

Don was a quiet kind of guy, just shot great pictures, but occasionally we would talk with him. He didn’t do too much commercial stuff but he was between gigs. Mostly, he was a war photographer. He had just returned from Afghanistan and told us stuff about the Soviets taking over Kabul and Kandahar.

I’m delighted to find him on the front page of The Globe. I will be in Ottawa for sure to see his work – and maybe, if I’m lucky, him too.

John Burghardt, Toronto


Plurality legitimacy

No matter how one feels about the Clarity Act (Clarity, Please – Letters, Jan. 30), it does seem peculiar that a majority federal government elected by less than 40 per cent of voters – Jean Chrétien’s or Stephen Harper’s, pick one – would question the legitimacy of a decision made with the support of 50 per cent plus one.

Craig Sims, Kingston


Space cachet

Your editorial Astroprimates (Jan. 29) contains some jaw-dropping conceits. While the ayatollahs have been cruel despots, the Iranian people do not deserve such insulting condescension: “primitive,” “chest-thumping,” “medieval.” To have launched anything into space from within such a misused, oppressive and isolated country is praiseworthy for Iranian scientists (some of whom may be Jews, Zoroastrians, ethnic Armenians etc.). Canadarm and Dextre notwithstanding, Canada has never launched an astronaut or satellite from its own soil.

Adrian Ferris, Victoria


Nature of immigration

The nature of immigration has drastically changed since Canada introduced its multiculturalism policy (Immigrants’ Children Find Multiculturalism Obsolete – Jan. 26). Immigrants are not illiterate peasants from remote villages of the globe – they tend to be sophisticated, high-tech oriented and highly educated.

The old policy belittles them, segregates them and builds balkanized cantons in contrast to its intended purpose. It’s alive in the corridors of Ottawa, but dead in the minds and hearts of immigrants, where it really matters.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, immigration consultant, Ottawa


Taken seriously

Re Violations At Private Hydro Projects Going Unpunished (B.C. edition – Jan. 29):

Small hydro operators and developers, members of the Clean Energy Association of B.C., take their environmental responsibilities seriously. While many of the violations cited in The Globe’s story were minor or technical in nature, we treat all matters of the environment seriously.

To this end, the Clean Energy Association has commissioned an independent review of small hydro (including run-of-river) and their impact upon salmonids, which will be led by Canada’s premier wild salmon organization, the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The study is under way now.

Paul Kariya, executive director, Clean Energy Association of B.C.


Cookies crumble?

Toronto must indeed be careful about losing its employment lands to condos, but Jim Stanford’s all-or-nothing approach is much too simplistic (Don’t Turn Factories Into Cookie-Cutter Condos – Jan. 28). Of course, large employment areas should be protected, but there are also many smaller industrial sites that are currently “orphaned” adjacent to residential areas, located on arterial roads or adjacent to transit nodes. Rather than freezing this land and hoping that heavy manufacturing will some day miraculously return, a finer-grained and more proactive approach is required.

On specific sites, the planning department should encourage some residential uses “in addition to” not “instead of” the employment uses already there. Older warehousess could be upgraded for new affordable workspace and residential added as a buffer or transition to the neighbouring residential areas. The higher value of the residential uses could effectively subsidize construction of affordable space for all kinds of new employment uses – incubators, start-ups, high-tech, design, studios and workshops – and the requirement to provide this space could be a condition of the approval.

An urban environment thrives on this complexity, and most work spaces are far quieter and cleaner than the industrial uses of yore, so adjacency is no longer much of an issue.

Alex Speigel, Windmill Development Group, Toronto


Invasive species

It may come as a surprise to some that U.S. Cats Kill Up To 3.7 Billion Birds, 20.7 Billion Small Mammals Annually (online – Jan. 30). However, this is not a surprise to biologists. Cats are considered to be an invasive species – an animal, or any other organism introduced by humans into places out of their normal habitats, negatively impacting local species and environments.

According to the Global Invasive Species Database, cats are the 38th worst invasive species worldwide. Invasive species are among the most serious threats to biodiversity loss and have huge impacts on local species and also on human health and the economy. So unless you want the Great Lakes saturated with zebra mussels, or Canadian cows dying from poisonous invasive plants, I suggest we start managing the spread of invasive species.

Matea Kokorovic, Toronto


Do cats kill birds? Yes, they do. And so do people.

Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa


Att’n Britney Spears

If you think losing your virginity will affect your sex life (How Losing Your Virginity May Affect Your Sex Life Years Later – online, Jan. 28), you should see what not losing it does!

Marc Lafleur, Caledon, Ont.

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