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Dec. 21: World’s end? Tick-tock, tick-tock and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Tick-tock, tick-tock

Re The End of Time Or Just The Beginning? (Dec. 20): Will the world end on Dec. 21, 2012?

Your guess is as good as Mayan.

Martin Baker, Toronto


Even if the Mayan calendar had predicted the end of the world, I might be more concerned – had the Maya been able to predict the end of their own society at the hands of the Spanish.

Ted Crljenica, Tecumseh, Ont.


Deeds, eyes, niqabs

Whenever polarizing, angry conversations about the niqab occur, I remember my first encounter with a woman who wore one (Witness May Be Required To Remove Niqab When Testifying: Top Court – Dec. 20). I was on a hospital gurney, and had just learned my cancer was back. The news, and the “flat on your back” elevator ride from Emergency were both nauseating.

I arrived in my new room leaning over the side of the rails, ready to hurl. The porter was preoccupied, and a thoughtful lady, the daughter of my new roommate, rushed a basin and paper towels over to me, a perfect stranger. On the arrival of a man in the room, she had hastily donned the niqab. What I saw were kind eyes. So now, I think deeds and eyes are enough.

Cecilia Kennedy, Brampton, Ont.


Gun sales

Gun shows are advertised months, sometimes years, in advance, so they are no secret (Ottawa Should Have Enforced Gun Show Rules, Not Repealed Them – editorial, Dec. 20). Anyone can attend, but a firearms licence is required to possess any firearm, and buy firearms and ammunition.

The disputed gun show regulations were part of a larger legislative failure, the 1995 Liberal C-68 Firearms Act. Bill C-19 recently ended the failed long gun registry portion of that act. The goal of the C-68 gun show regulations was to make the operation of a gun show so onerous, the practice would end. Storage and display regulations, for example, went far beyond securing public safety.

The Canadian experience has shown that laws and regulations make poor memorials to murdered innocents. Canada’s firearms community knows the legitimate public safety concerns regarding firearms. In 1995, we were not invited to the table when legislation was crafted and today firearms are a political issue in Canada the way they are in the U.S. It’s a shame, really.

Blair Hagen, executive vice-president, Canada’s National Firearms Association


Section 22 of Canada’s Firearms Act was amended to remove the obligation for sellers of long guns to verify the validity of a potential buyer’s licence. So while buyers are still legally required to have a licence to purchase a long gun (a process that entails a comprehensive background check), the new law makes it almost impossible to penalize illegal sales to unlicensed individuals. A gun merchant or individual only has to “believe” the buyer had a valid licence. Legal experts have testified that proving otherwise will be practically impossible for Crown prosecutors. In other words, we still have a law, but the law has to teeth.

Individuals who have failed to legally obtain a licence and dishonest sellers who seek profits over public safety can rely on this outrageous loophole to facilitate illegal sales.

Heidi Rathjen, Montreal


I live in Sarnia, a border city with Michigan. This week, I received a flyer from an American sporting goods supplier. It contained an ad for a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle and boxes of ammo containing 2,000 rounds. The gun used in the Newtown massacre was a Bushmaster, similar to the one in the ad. At the top of the page was “Great Holiday Deals”! Why are U.S. gun suppliers targeting Canadian “customers”?

Allan McKeown, Sarnia, Ont.


Pass the buck/Cup

It’s about time we reclaimed the Stanley Cup (NHL Should Let Others Play For Stanley Cup, Lawyers Set To Argue – Dec. 20). It has become a symbol of American millionaires playing mainly for the gratification of millionaire owners. Fans, who are expected to pay big bucks to support what has become big business, are not considered. I hope the so-called lockout continues. Maybe then we will come to our senses and take back our national game.

J.A. McGrath, St. Johns


Prime Minister Stephen Harper need not worry about the players who don their skates in pursuit of the puck in Canada’s popular pastime (Harper Expresses Concerns Over NHL Lockout – Dec. 19). They have not been locked out. The NHL season has simply been prorogued.

Stan Kutcher, Herring Cove, N.S.


Touching as it is that our Prime Minister has seen fit to comment on the state of the NHL lockout, his efforts would be far better placed weighing in on the appalling state of mismanaged negotiations between Ontario’s teachers and its government.

The inability of either side to put students first is eroding the quality of Ontario’s education system. Methinks this takes priority over worrying about the petty quarrels of NHL megalomaniacs.

Barbara Macpherson, Oakville, Ont.


‘Bullied’ teachers?

So teachers are being bullied by their unions and are afraid of being “shunned or ratted out” for standing up to them (How The Unions Bully Teachers – Dec. 20). Are these the same teachers who are facilitating anti-bullying programs in our schools to teach our kids how to deal with bullies? How can we expect our kids to learn how to stand up to bullies in school when their educators cannot do it themselves?

Lucy Coyle, Toronto


This month, 92 per cent of teachers belonging to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario who cast a ballot voted in favour of a one-day political protest. Earlier in the fall, ETFO members voted to approve strike action by majorities of 92 per cent to 100 per cent. As a result of that vote, many ETFO members are withdrawing from extracurriculars. These were free votes. No one was bullied to vote one way or the other.

Terry Lahey, Ottawa


Phone smarts

Another day, another useful application for a smartphone: one that tells an exhausted person with a fever, aching body, cough and runny nose that he or she has – the flu! (Social Studies, Dec. 20). Next up, a device that can tell you at a glance whether your eyes are open or closed. I can hardly wait.

Bill Kummer, Newmarket, Ont.


So the Japanese company Lixil has invented a toilet that can be flushed, cleaned and adjusted by smartphone? Adds a whole new meaning to “download,” does it not?

Christopher Kelk, Toronto

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