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I thee take as a judge
Re Chief Justice Urges Use Of Hearings For Appeal Court Nominees, Citing Transparency (Aug. 9): If the recent parliamentary hearing on the then-proposed appointment to the Supreme Court of Justice Nicholas Kasirer is any indication, transparency is not the result of nomination hearings.
These hearings are rather like attending a wedding: The questions and answers are easily anticipated; we learn nothing new, although we get to see the couple and the officials in all their finery and on their best behaviour.
We would be much better off democratically if we opened up and improved the selection procedure. Despite promises to the contrary, this part of the process is still mostly partisan and hidden from view.
Patrick Tighe, Petawawa, Ont.
Targeting handgun logic
Re Home Truths On Handguns (letters, Aug. 8): Handguns are purpose-built for killing people at close range, and they are doing so in our cities at unacceptable rates. It’s ludicrous to advance an argument that we shouldn’t restrict handguns because, on rare occasions in remote locations, they might be a handy defence against a bear at close quarters.
Meanwhile, handguns kill or maim scores of people annually in Canada’s urban areas.
If a few hundred wilderness adventurers require special handgun exemptions for bear defence, so be it. Otherwise, the risks from the ample supply of these killing machines cannot be justified in a peace-loving society.
Very few Canadians are killed by grenade launchers, mostly because we have successfully choked off the supply by limiting their manufacture and legal ownership. It is high time that we employed that same strategy to reduce the collateral damage from unjustifiable handgun ownership.
Geoffrey Milos, Toronto
As America tries to find a path out of the violent, gun-infested swamp that it is mired in, it is clear that the lunacy started with the Second Amendment, which guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Years ago, I read a quote that rings with truth: If you get on the wrong train, there is no point in running down the aisle in the opposite direction.
The Second Amendment was clearly the wrong train.
Paul Thiessen, Vancouver
‘A real threat to bees’
Re Relax! The Bee-Pocalypse Isn’t Upon Us (Aug. 3): Last Saturday, Margaret Wente quoted the Sierra Club (U.S.) as stating that “honeybees are at no risk of dying off.” The Sierra Magazine article she quoted goes on to point out that while domestic honeybees are not at risk of extinction because of protections from their human stewards, some wild pollinators are in deep, deep trouble.
Sierra Club recognizes neonicotinoid pesticides are in fact a real threat to bees, domestic and otherwise, which is why – after pressure from beekeepers and environmental groups – their use was severely restricted in Ontario. We’ll keep calling for more action to prevent the use of pollinator-killing pesticides, but it’s a start.
Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Nov. 3, 2020
Re The GOP, On The Road To Defeat (Aug. 7): Donald Trump has been underestimated ever since he declared his intention to run. He will never win the Republication presidential nomination, they said. He will never beat Hillary Clinton, they said. He will not last a year in the White House, they said. Now, he will never be re-elected, they say.
The Democrats are seriously divided between the moderates and the progressives. If the moderates (i.e. Joe Biden et al) win, the young progressives may not bother to vote. If the progressives (Elizabeth Warren et al) win, the moderates may not vote, or may even back Mr. Trump rather than support a “socialist.” We underestimate Donald Trump at our peril.
Phil Ford, Ottawa
While it may be true that “Americans are too smart a people” to put up with the growing list of outrages that are accumulating under the Trump administration, I fear that the will of the people may be effectively suppressed through astute gerrymandering, voter suppression and a compliant, Republican-dominated Supreme Court.
Joe Kotler, Toronto
On the Opinion page, Lawrence Martin suggested Donald Trump has finally gone too far, and is on course to lose in 2020.
On the opposite Editorial page, a letter writer complained that poor Donald Trump gets blamed for everything – earthquakes, tsunamis and the weather – but shouldn’t be blamed for what’s happening with mass shootings as well, noting that they had already started escalating sharply during the Obama years.
How many American voters have drunk that Kool-Aid?
How many more will at the end of the day? The world holds its breath, the stock market convulses, and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it.
Claudette Claereboudt, Regina
Timothy Winegard’s essay last Saturday on mosquitoes, Paramount Killer Of Humankind, was fascinating and frightening, with its information that since 2000 mosquitoes have accounted for the deaths of one to two million people annually, by far the largest killer of humans in the world.
He presented vivid accounts of the way mosquito-borne diseases (principally malaria) have shaped history, and warned that climate change will accelerate the destructiveness of the insect.
From the Second World War era until 1972, DDT virtually eradicated malaria from developed countries and drastically reduced deaths from the disease in the developing world.
DDT’s use was banned in many countries in 1972 as a result of a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that DDT was a carcinogenic hazard. Since then, an estimated 50 million-plus people – most of them young children – have died of malaria.
Recently, studies by the World Health Organization have questioned aspects of the DDT ban and recommended spraying it in epidemic areas. Surely this matter is of huge importance and humanity deserves a definitive resolution.
Norman Paterson, Collingwood, Ont.
Relax. I’m a dietitian
Re Hospital Food Should Be Part Of The Healing (Aug. 6): Some years ago, after skidding off the highway in a snowstorm in northern New York state, I ended up in hospital in Syracuse, was operated on, and came to find a man in hospital whites at my bedside, pen and pad in hand.
I immediately launched into a spiel of where I hurt, where I didn’t, how long would I be there, whatever. When I finally slowed down, it allowed him to say, “I’m not a doctor. I’m a dietitian. What do you want for dinner?”
Bill Boyd, Toronto
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