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Fatal flight path
Re Blind Spots (Report on Business, Dec. 28): Let me see if I understand the situation correctly. Shortly after a Boeing 737 Max crashed off Indonesia in the fall of 2018, killing all 189 on board, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration conducted a study that statistically demonstrated the aircraft was unsafe. This U.S. regulatory authority did not make its findings public. However, in mid-November of 2018, it provided the results of the damning report to Transport Canada, which also kept this knowledge to itself.
The failure to disclose crucial public safety information by employees of these two regulatory agencies meant air travellers all over the world were deliberately prevented from knowing the risk involved in flying on a 737 Max and, some five months later, in mid-March, 2019, another one crashed, this time in Ethiopia. A further 157 people were killed, including 18 Canadians.
Not only should those responsible for this negligent or willful omission at the FAA and Transport Canada be fired, they should also be prosecuted.
David Marley West Vancouver, B.C.
With Transport Canada’s apathy, inaction and failure to exercise due diligence laid out for all to see, surely it is now incumbent on Transport Minister Marc Garneau to apologize for the conduct of his department on this file, and to specify the changes in its policies and procedures to ensure this never happens again.
Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.
As I became increasingly infuriated as your report’s details were revealed, it became obvious that, over time, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (whether through lobbying or other time-honoured means of persuasion) had been gamed by Boeing and that Transport Canada (whether through laziness, stinginess or the same time-honoured means) had in turn become a toady of the FAA.
For the FAA to do what amounts to a cost-benefit analysis of inevitable crashes shows just how low that institution has sunk, and for Transport Canada to be complicit in covering this up shows its own descent.
Gerrard Weedon Toronto
My late father, Terry Lyons, and my late uncle, Ken Lyons, were both pilots, with the Canadian Forces and Air Canada, respectively. They always told our family that Canadian safety standards were higher than U.S. standards. This clearly is not true anymore.
Was Transport Minister Marc Garneau afraid to ground the 737 Max? We bowed to the Americans on the Avro Arrow, which my dad was hoping to fly in the 1950s. We bowed to the Americans on taking nuclear warheads in our Bomarc missiles, and we helped train their pilots for service in Vietnam. Lately, it seems we’ve bowed to them on arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on their behalf, and on NAFTA 2.0 by agreeing to let their dairy products enter our stores, and on drug products and patent protections.
Should we ever bow to their lax and incestuous airline regulation regime again? I think this debacle proves we should use former U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s adage of trust but verify.
Sharon Lyons Regina
Re How Can Prisoners Be Rehabilitated Without Proper Access To Education? (Dec. 30): The complete ban on inmate access to the internet is understandable. Many prisoners are incarcerated precisely because they have used the internet to facilitate criminal behaviour, such as viewing and distributing child pornography, perpetrating financial fraud, hacking and so on.
Nevertheless, as it is unlikely that working in a prison cafeteria or laundry will lead to employment for a living wage upon a prisoner’s release, the Correctional Service of Canada should be doing everything in its power to ensure that the incarcerated are educated.
Would it not be fairly simple for it to devise a system whereby prisoners could access university courses on a type of “closed circuit” computer? The CSC could purchase the desired courses and, once reimbursed, make them, but nothing else, available to prisoners. Such a system would no doubt also be of use to those attempting to finish high school, as well as for educating prisoners about emotional and mental issues (effects of growing up in abusive homes, addictions and other maladaptive behaviours, neurological problems and so on). Many of them struggle with these issues for which we are hard-pressed to provide individual therapy.
Anita Dermer Toronto
The article highlights a disturbing reality about Canada’s justice system. It’s not wholly rehabilitative. In fact, effectively denying Canadian prisoners the right to education prevents them from becoming better people. That’s what education does. Learning not only enhances your understanding of the world but also develops moral character.
At the moment, Canada is making it clear, unfortunately, that it believes “bad” people, namely prisoners, are not entitled to that opportunity. What it fails to see is that everyone, in a democratic society, should be guaranteed that.
It doesn’t matter how much someone’s past actions bother you or causes you even to loathe them. Rights are about the dignity of persons, which no crime can ever erase.
Paul Salvatori Toronto
The Rhodes behind us
Re University of Cambridge’s Canadian Leader Seeks Justice For The Past – And Finds Controversy (Dec. 17): It has frequently surprised me that the contemporary cohort of university students, motivated as they are by virtue, have not consistently demonstrated against the continued awarding of the Rhodes Scholarship. As foreign correspondent Paul Waldie’s story illustrates, the cash to fund the scholarships, courtesy of Cecil Rhodes, came from the exploitation of Indigenous workers in Africa and should provoke the conscience of anyone receiving it. Is there not a university dean or president somewhere who is ashamed of one of their students accepting such accursed funds?
Ian Guthrie Ottawa
Re Infused Entertaining (Pursuits, Dec. 28): One important ingredient was missing from the discussion on cannabis-infused dining. The dinner invitation should inform guests that you will be using behaviour-altering ingredients. Some may choose not to attend.
Ab Dukacz Mississauga
Old Montreal obstacle course
Re Horse-drawn Carriage Tours In Montreal Banned On Jan. 1, But Industry Vows To Fight On (Dec. 30): Montreal’s town council is banning horse-drawn carriages from the cobble-stoned streets of Old Montreal, reportedly in part to protect horses from being hit by cars. When will Montreal’s councillors do the right thing for pedestrian safety and finally ban cars, too, from the historic district?
Eric Pelletier Chelsea, Que.
The phrase “hindsight is 2020” will undoubtedly be the catch phrase of the year, but it will not really be accurate, nor useful, until 2021. It will only be in a year from now, in 2021, that we be able to look back at all our mishaps and say that hindsight is (was) 2020!
Douglas Cornish Ottawa