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Today’s topics: Flood warnings, eternal life, digital photography, Don Draper’s Oedipus complex? … and more (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Today’s topics: Flood warnings, eternal life, digital photography, Don Draper’s Oedipus complex? … and more (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)


June 25: Alberta’s deluge, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Flood warnings

In times of disaster, warning signs are put up, notices are given and barricades are erected in order to save people’s lives, to no avail for some (Elderly Woman Found Dead In Apartment After Flooding – online edition, June 24).

During one of the worst natural disasters to hit Southern Alberta in many years, massive flooding with warnings of all kinds are going out for people not involved with rescue operations to stay away and stay off. Give the professionals trained in rescue operations the space and ability to do their jobs so that lives are saved, even if it happens to be yours.

Rob Bernshaw, Edmonton


I read with incredulity the comment by Steve Kee, spokesman of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, that “Alberta homeowners hoping to make claims for flood damage won’t get help for water that poured through doors or basement windows” (Insurance Coverage Could Come Up Short – June 22).

How else would floodwater get into houses other than through doors and windows?

Will someone please explain this bureaucratic doublespeak for the benefit of the very unfortunate homeowners in Alberta, victimized through no fault of their own, and indeed for the rest of the country?

Then can Mr. Kee explain why there’s “no overland flooding coverage in Canada.” When flooding occurs, surely it will always be “overland” where people live.

John Raybould, West Kelowna, B.C.


However the bill for flood cleanup is shared, I sure hope the people of Alberta are not given the runaround by the three levels of government. In my view, the federal government should quickly compensate Albertans, who have lost so much, then promptly sue the provincial government for negligence.

A harm mitigation report was submitted to the provincial government in 2006 following the extensive flooding the year before. The provincial government buried the report (Alberta Shelved Major Flood Report For Six Years – June 24) then tried to sneak it out so no one would notice it. It did virtually none of the things recommended by the report. How is that not gross negligence?

David Richardson, Victoria


Malthus was right

Old dead bodies we can cremate and scatter the ashes o’er land and sea; 150-year-old live bodies will only take up space and consume exponentially diminishing resources (How To Live Forever – June 22).

Recent grads already feel like Charles waiting for the Queen; if mandatory retirement is moved back to 110 or 120, the kids might as well go back to school and build up another 20 or 30 years of student debt. Malthus was right; there are too many of us.

Rod Jamer, Toronto


To make such a thing feasible, there would have to be strict control on the number of births. Who wants to live in a world with very few children? What an unbearable loss of joy.

Even in rich Canada, we have hardly begun to care for the very old decently. Imagine how it would be with more of them and less of the young. Who would pay for expensive medical treatments? Taxpayers? The young people from poorer countries we would import to do the work?

Let’s think this over before wasting resources on this absurd idea rather than on our real problems.

Julie Beddoes, Toronto


Sky hasn’t fallen

Feminists in and out of women’s studies have always been divided about solutions to women’s vulnerability in prostitution (Legalize Prostitution? Are We Nuts? – June 22). While I think the majority would not in fact support legalization, all share the goal of empowering women in societies, including our own, that routinely make them especially vulnerable to violence and economic disadvantage.

Veronica Strong-Boag, professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice/Educational Studies, University of British Columbia


There is a big difference between “legalization” and “decriminalization.” The column relates stock horror stories from countries where sex work is partially legalized (Germany and Holland), then lauds the impact of criminalizing sex workers’ clients in Sweden and joins in the Swedish national game of pretending that sex work disappeared when a bunch of women got sewing machines.

New Zealand decriminalized sex work 10 years ago; it has been a public-health and public-order success story. The sky hasn’t fallen.

Michael Hendricks, Montreal


Well framed

Re Six Billion Photos And Nothing To See (June 22): Ian Brown’s piece on digital photography practices is not only a credit to the profession of journalistic commentary, but a sobering reminder as well of a disturbing cultural drift into the trivial and the superficial.

He argues convincingly that the current preoccupation with unreflective image production is yet another manifestation of the Twitter mentality in which the quest for mere glimpse and gratification works to displace the deeper values of structure, narrative and meaning; in which the impulses of subjectivity work to displace crafted representations of reality and its significance. His diagnosis is a timely and astute metaphysical insight into the current human condition.

What is just as alarming is the extent and magnitude of this depressing landscape. Hegel was right: A difference in quantity does indeed result in a difference of quality – in this case, a serious loss of vision.

Stanley Cunningham, Windsor, Ont.


Teens’ habits

Re The Illness Called ‘Growing Up’ (June 24): “Teenagers have always had ways to make themselves a little sick along their journey to independence, but then they right themselves,” The Globe’s editorial says.

Some right themselves. Some turn turtle and sink to the bottom. As the obesity statistics for Canada demonstrate, we are not suffering from an excessively healthy population.

As for not eating enough vegetables and being active: Let’s help all of our children develop habits to help them live long healthy lives, even teenagers.

Stephen Workman, MD, Halifax


Knee of greatness

So rarely do men open themselves up in such a forum (I Grew Up At The Knee Of Greatness – Life, June 24). It is abundantly clear that Abraham Morgentaler was the recipient of a special lesson at the knee of greatness. A lesson of kindness, gentleness and deep love. What a blessing.

Pauline Hopwood, Mississauga


It’s all relative

Your armchair analyst takes Don Draper to task for a possible Oedipus complex (Don Draper’s Personality Disorder – Arts, June 22).

Let’s leave the Mad Men lead alone. As my mom would have said, “Oedipus, shmoedipus. As long as he loves his mother.”

Farley Helfant, Toronto

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