Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Syria and IS
Re Bombing Islamic State Is The Best Of The Bad Options (Feb. 10): Jeffrey Simpson argues that bombing is the only method the West can use, militarily, to stop the spread of IS. On the contrary, the best option is to bomb the military, communications and intelligence installations of the Assad regime, leading to the fall of a ruthless dictator who has committed crimes against humanity against his own population.
This should be followed by providing weapons, intelligence and logistical support to those opponents of the Assad regime willing to make common cause to take back their country from the scourge of Islamic State. It would also be the right thing to do.
Rod Yellon, Winnipeg
Re West Must Accept Some Painful Realities (Feb. 11): Although Michael Bell presents some realistic and "painful realities" in his thoughtful opinion piece about the Syrian conflict, together with the acceptance of "painful truths," it did create for me a faint echo of Neville Chamberlain once speaking about the "… quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing."
John Thompson, Fredericton
The decision to pull our CF-18s from the fight against Islamic State is deplorable. It seems that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the sunny disposition would just love everyone to sit in a circle and hold hands until all the nastiness of IS goes away. Unfortunately, these are not errant naughty school boys. These are evil murderers whose mission is to destroy the West and its values.
Our brave fighter pilots were willing to sacrifice all, because that is their job, and that is what they are trained to do. This decision is disrespectful to our men and women in uniform, and to the people of Canada.
Val Stephanson, Calgary
Build and sell
The best way for governments to get pension plans involved in any infrastructure project is to build the project itself, prove that it is a money generator, then sell it to pension plans (Ottawa Seeks Support From Pension Funds, Report on Business, Feb. 11).
Then the government can redeploy the proceeds into further infrastructure projects. This is similar to a private startup company building itself to a point where it can be sold or go public so that the original investors can take their profits.
As the Union-Pearson Express train in Toronto shows, however, not all government-inspired infrastructure may be profitable, and pension plans should not be gambling their members' money on unproven projects.
Andrew Chong, Toronto
Toronto's airport express train is not only a failure, it is also a huge embarrassment to a city that is obsessed with promoting itself as "world-class" (Toronto's 'World-Class' Empty Train, editorial; Metrolinx Appears Likely to Soften Stand On UPX Price, Feb. 11).
True world-class cities do not need to describe themselves as such, of course, and all have convenient, inexpensive public transportation systems from airport to downtown. By comparison, Toronto remains very bush league.
There is an obvious short-term revenue solution, however: Reduce the one-way fare to a world-class $8. Magically, ridership will triple.
Robert Scott, Toronto
Re Not A Great Model, editorial (Feb. 9): The editorial misses the point on B.C.'s innovative model to address the gap between the health of First Nations people and the general population.
To improve First Nations' health outcomes, we need to work with First Nations. The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is an example of this collaboration. Placing health planning and decision making into the hands of First Nations is creating more culturally appropriate health services, tailored to the communities they serve.
The federal Auditor-General acknowledges the tremendous work that went into creating the FNHA, and points out that the authority is addressing the issues on governance and accountability. Every year, the FNHA and I sign a mutual accountability document to define our roles and responsibilities in providing health services to First Nations.
We are proud to be part of this historic partnership to better serve the health-care needs of First Nations people in B.C.
Terry Lake, B.C. Minister of Health, Victoria
"A good example of how well-intended ideas can go astray ... the FNHA shouldn't be applied elsewhere in Canada." Really? The editorial cites anonymous complaints made about the FNHA, with no regard for the significant progress reported by the Auditor-General. Why not acknowledge service improvements, strong partnerships with communities and governments, the staggering pace of change of this initiative supported by 203 First Nations in British Columbia?
Continuous improvement is standard operating procedure for the FNHA; as an FNHA board member, I know this is true. I am proud to be a member and supporter of the FNHA, and I strongly recommend this model for consideration as other regions grapple in communities with real problems of inequitable health and health services.
Elizabeth Whynot, MD, Vancouver
Re The Great Bears Aren't Really Saved (Feb. 9): Globally, no one wants to support the logging of old growth forests, but the people negotiating the Great Bear Rainforest deal did what they did more than 20 years ago in Clayoquot Sound, promising to help market the old growth forest and get it certified without objections.
It's 2016 and we are still trying to protect the last few vestiges of the important ancient forests and the life they contain. There is nothing environmentally friendly about the "scientific logging," despite the media campaign to the public that Clayoquot was "saved." These groups are negotiating away people's livelihoods, fishing, tourism, wildlife habitat and more, while Vancouver Island and the coast is still being ravaged and no one is objecting.
Everyone is lauding the GBR agreement, while the logging of old growth forests – a finite and irreplaceable ecosystem – goes on and on.
Steve and Susanne Lawson, Tofino, B.C.
The CBC's new head of strategy and public affairs, Alex Johnston, will be responsible for including more outsourced programming (CBC Hires Key Executive, Report on Business, Feb. 10). May I suggest that a couple of hours, mid-afternoon Monday to Friday, of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi et al. would be magnificent, and much appreciated, outsourcing.
Colin Proudman, Toronto