HAVE YOUR SAY
What's ahead for 2014?
If 2013 was a who-smoked-what, who-spent-what, who knew-what roller-coaster, what will the coming year look like?
Tell us who, what or where will define the next 12 months and why you think so. We'll publish a section of responses in the Focus section.
firstname.lastname@example.org or go here
If there's a letter …
Re Canada Post Phasing Out Home Mail Delivery, Raising Rates (online, Dec. 11): Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!
Canada Post will no longer have home mail delivery in urban areas? It's a bad day for mail carriers and a sad day for the old and housebound. It's also very disheartening to learn individual stamps will now cost one dollar.
Who will get the contracts for the new community mail boxes that will be sprouting up? Who will profit by this radical change to our country's services?
George Rooney, Hamilton
New outrageous postal charges and scrapping home delivery will herald the end of the greeting-card industry. Am I to pay a dollar to mail a birthday card to dear old Auntie Edna in the knowledge she'll have to totter along an icy road to a "community mail box" that, in Halifax anyway, will be set in the middle of a skating rink?
Jean Cameron, Halifax
Re E-Snooping Battle (letters, Dec. 11): Kudos to Greg Michalenko (a.k.a. Lord Gorgonzola) for the best letter in eons. It was so amusing and, like the best comedy, so rooted in truth, I gave up caring if Michalenko was his real name.
Janet Ingram-Johnson, Aldergrove, B.C.
An excess of excesses
Re Audit Hits Liberals With Revelations Of Overspending At Utility (Dec. 11): Are the governments of Canada and Ontario acting in concert to turn Canadians against agencies by allowing obscene financial excesses (Ontario Power Generation, Ornge, the Senate, to name a few)?
Or impoverishing them (CBC, National Archives) and cutting core services (Canada Post), so they can eventually announce their elimination or relinquish them to the private sector?
Not to mention generously disbursing the savings from staff cuts as management bonuses.
François Pépin, Toronto
Re Baffling Excesses At Hydro Utility (Dec. 11): There is nothing more certain to induce first-thing-in-the-morning outrage than holding one's utility bill in one hand, and The Globe's article on OPG overspending in the other.
Adam Radwanski charitably says the directors at Ontario Power Generation were "asleep at the switch." This inept board of directors permitted this culture of excess. Replace them all. A group of OPG ratepayers selected at random would do a better job.
Robert Cairns, Cobourg, Ont.
True North, negotiated
Re Canadian Claim Prompts Russia To Step Up Presence (Dec. 11): Whatever might be said about Vladimir Putin's reassertion of Russian military presence in the Arctic, it is not a "tough and quick response" to Canada's move to include the North Pole in its Arctic seabed claim.
The Arctic has loomed large for Mr. Putin and his military planners since before his return to the presidency. While there are worrying aspects to current militarizing trends in the Arctic, much of Russia's increased capacity is focused on things such as monitoring sea ice, aiding civilian management of increasing traffic on the northern sea route and search and rescue.
Neither Russian nor Canadian territorial claims in the Arctic represent military challenges. In 2008, in Ilulissat, Greenland, the five Arctic Ocean states insisted, in a joint declaration, that the outer limits of the continental shelf would be delineated through negotiation on the basis of the Law of the Sea, not military competition.
Ernie Regehr, senior fellow in Arctic security, Simons Foundation
Re Our Polar Claim (editorial, Dec. 9): You say "it is not easy to see why" I am objecting to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's seeking more of the Arctic for Canada, specifically the North Pole.
Here is why.
The unilateral decision flies in the face of our commitment to other Arctic countries with the Ilulissat Declaration to follow a legal, scientific course to establish maritime seabed jurisdiction. Allowing the decision to appear at first to be driven by politics is a slap in the face to our international partners. The Conservatives have since said they need more studies, but the horse has bolted.
Secondly, many aspects of protecting the opening of the Arctic Ocean require a great measure of international co-operation. The Prime Minister's handling of this particular file will undoubtedly set back these efforts.
Dennis Bevington, MP for Western Arctic
A selfie, 'the look'
Re Obama Takes Selfie, Gets Friendly With Danish Prime Minister At Mandela Memorial (Dec. 10): As I watch the twitterverse run riot with images of Michelle Obama supposedly giving Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt "the look" for laughing with President Barack Obama, and the now famous selfie that he took with Ms. Thorning-Schmidt and British PM David Cameron while at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, I can't help wonder when women will experience the global equality Mr. Mandela and others fought so hard to achieve.
I am not commenting about whether the three leaders should have taken a selfie in that environment. I am bothered with how Ms. Thorning-Schmidt has been reduced to some blond bimbo. I have read everything from Mr. Obama's now being in the doghouse, to having to sleep on the couch because of laughing with the Danish PM.
Maybe Michelle Obama was giving "the look" to Mr. Cameron.
Or maybe she was thinking about (shocking revelation) Nelson Mandela and his family.
At a time when we should be recognizing struggles between races, genders, sexual orientation and economic status, as a society we still reduce events to the lowest common denominator. To be a woman with a brain is irrelevant to those who wish to continue to reinforce stereotypes – even if she is a Prime Minister.
Corrine Cash, Kitchener, Ont.
NDP on reform
Re Roll Call On Reform (letters, Dec. 11): What NDP provincial government has ever backed a serious effort to introduce some form of proportional representation?
The NDP is all talk and no action on this topic.
Don Haynes, Toronto
Re 'Orderly Transition' Seen For Lululemon (Report on Business, Dec. 11): Chip Wilson, the recently departed chairman of Lululemon, attacked the very source of his company's bread and butter by suggesting it was the size of the client, not the size of the pant, which was at fault for Lululemon's recent spurt of wardrobe malfunctions.
Stretchy material aside, if Lululemon can't figure out how to keep their pants on their customers' bottoms, regardless of their size, Lululemon's shares will continue to slide, leaving bare the cardinal rule of retail: The customer is always right.
Catherine Brennan, Toronto