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Dec. 15: Vets to the government – How do we get your attention? Plus other letters to the editor

Vets: Don't ignore us

As veterans, we've watched with growing dismay a succession of reports about actions by Veterans Affairs that go against the government's repeated assurances that it is doing the right things for those who served their country.

These include: awarding bonuses for Veterans Affairs executives who propose and administer cutbacks; cutbacks in the wrong areas, such as closing veterans assistance offices; confusion about care for veterans with mental-health problems; allowing tens of millions of dollars in Veterans Affairs funding to lapse from vital programs, such as health care, disability and death benefits while exceeding the budget for internal services like communications; issuing misleading statements about how much funding has been applied over how many years – the list goes on.

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With a federal election looming, the situation naturally becomes embroiled in politics. While many veterans see the issues as being more than campaign fodder, increasingly they are asking what has to be done to catch the government's attention. Surely the Canadian public is beginning to ask the same question.

Gordon Jenkins, president, NATO Veterans Organization of Canada

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Humanity, M.I.A.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney stood in the House of Commons and defended the practice of "administrative segregation." A jailed child spent years of her life in solitary confinement and, at 19, killed herself. And this practice is called necessary for safety?

It seems as though every government action, no matter how wrong, must be defended because the government can't admit to making a mistake. What's happened to our sense of responsibility, our sense of humanity?

Laureen Marchand, Val Marie, Sask.

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A stolen Christmas

Like many others at this time of the year, because I live far from family scattered across this huge country, I try to fill the gap by sending packages.

I'm used to doing it for my grandson, who we have to share over Christmases with his other side of the family, but this is the first year my daughter also can't join us. So I made a special effort to gather and wrap presents and, as is our tradition, attach notes with hints about the gifts inside.

I carefully chose items to re-mind them of home – decorations from our tree, local treats and toys with northern themes like the Lego snowmobile. I was thrilled to find a few items for my daughter that I thought might show how much I care about what she's interested in. None of it was worth much. My best finds were used items from Sally Ann – a bunch of Knex, an old leather-bound notebook with one intriguing entry from its last owner.

Only stuff. But I wanted it to be there for them Christmas morning so they wouldn't feel so far away, so I wouldn't feel them so far away. That box held my desire to be close to them at Christmas – until it was stolen from a locked car's trunk in Montreal.

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I could hardly believe that all the good wishes and thousands of miles that went into the package were gone so completely. I hope the person who took it – who must be suffering in some way to have done that – sees it for what it is and doesn't just toss it in the bushes but perhaps finds a young woman and her little boy who might enjoy a few small surprises on Christmas Day.

Gillian McKee, Whitehorse

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Cartoon torture

Re Been There. Done That (editorial cartoon, Dec. 11): Your editorial cartoon by Brian Gable crossed the line. Comparing the torture tactics of the CIA post-9/11 with the calculated, purely evil acts of the Nazi regime is just plain unacceptable.

The times were different. The motivation was different. The anticipated results were totally in another realm. You missed the boat with this cartoon, folks.

What the CIA did wasn't right, but it is understandable in light of the fear brought on by the events of 9/11.

Blair Tullis, Stouffville, Ont.

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I never thought Brian Gable could top the madcap absurdity of his Wall Street-crash cartoon depicting the soaring profits of the downward-pointing arrow factory. The message of Friday's cartoon was clear and the parallels of course disturbing, but I've not appreciated so many subtle gags packed into a single panel since the last time Mr. Gable did it.

It's hard to laugh these days and it's especially hard after you've just woken up, so who could ever expect to be set off into a fit of giggles by a green-skinned, geriatric, cliché Nazi?

Geoff Moore, Edmonton

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Source of pride

The breakthrough discovery on stem cells by the team led by McEwen Centre scientist Andras Nagy should be a source of national pride for us all (Toronto-Led International Research Team Makes Stem-cell Breakthrough – Dec. 11). As a supporter of the research at the McEwan Centre, I am proud to be part of an effort to support investigators of Dr. Nagy's calibre. A key pillar of the McEwen Centre is the importance of global collaboration, sharing scientific knowledge so that our scientists can make discoveries and find cures for debilitating diseases that will benefit us all, no matter where we live.

Harry Rosen, Toronto

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About those ads

Re Study Decries Lawyers' Online Marketing (Dec. 12): Lawyers' online marketing to represent sexual offenders makes ambulance-chasing seem respectable. Send them (the lawyers) back to school.

Susan Lindenberger, White Rock, B.C.

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Eugenie Bouchard is not alone in pursuing superstar-celeb status through modelling and marketing which will earn her millions, thereby enabling her to "achieve my business goals and maximize the value of my brand" (Bouchard Holds Serve At WME-IMG – Sports, Dec. 11).

What is sad is the proposed transformation of an engaging young woman into a commodity primarily for purposes of advertising. As a role model for young female tennis players, Ms. Bouchard would be so much more impressive if she had just expressed her wish to be the best tennis player she could be.

Mary Valentich, Calgary

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Fiscal houses

Re Wynne Sends Funding Wish List To PM (Dec. 12): If nothing else, Ontario's Premier is an optimist to ask a Prime Minister who won't even meet with her to get out the country's cheque book. Financial realist? Not so much. Politician? Through and through.

What I can't figure out is where the PM sees the political mileage in shunning her, and in the process, such a vote-rich province.

Janice Saunders, Stratford, Ont.

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Is Stephen Harper now going to introduce a "Fairness in Dealing with Provinces Act" and refuse to speak to Jim Prentice until he gets Alberta's fiscal house in order?

Clifford Parfett, Ottawa

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