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Cupid's secret

I'm 72 and I've learned a truth about Valentine's Day. Act as if every day is Valentine's Day and you'll be happily married forever.

Alistair Thomson, Oshawa


Talk, yes; cash, no

Re Buy North American And Save Ourselves (Feb. 13): Love to. Only, how? Just before Christmas, I needed new lights. All those I saw were "Made in China," so I did without. The mouse on one of my computers started acting up. Looking for a replacement, all I found were "Made in China." So I did without. I looked for a new memo-recorder, only to see they were all "Made in China." You can see where this is heading. Worse, sales staff seemed surprised when I inquired about Canadian-made versions.

I remember when Canada made everything from shoes to high-end camera lenses. Not any more. Canadians talk a lot about keeping jobs here, but aren't willing to put their money where their collective mouths are.

Jim Harris, Ottawa


Some baby

On a cold Sunday afternoon in February, l947, my dad packed the family into the car for a drive out to Leduc from Edmonton to see the "million dollar baby" (Re A Moment In Time: Feb. 13, 1947). Great excitement for me, age 7, and my brother, 4: We'd never seen a baby worth a million dollars. What a letdown to get there and see a dumb old geyser flaming into the sky.

I would love to have had a piece of that "million dollar baby" now.

Lynne Collins, Surrey, B.C.


A is for aboriginal

Re An Elite School, A Lesson On Aboriginal Life (Feb. 11): Since Pearson College began in 1974, we have had many aboriginal students who have been extremely successful and are making a positive impact in communities around the world. We provide support structures for all students and strive to improve this support every year.

In the pursuit of our mission to create a more peaceful and sustainable future, we work to address tensions in our world that result from socioeconomic division, marginalized individuals and populations and regions of conflict. No student pays to come to Pearson College and we are able to build such a diverse community that difference itself is an important part of the learning experience. Having aboriginal and non-aboriginal students alike, from around the world, is just one example of our efforts to promote knowing and understanding.

David Hawley, Director, Pearson College, Victoria


I am Cree and went to Pearson College in 2000-2002. I learned an incredible amount there about world cultures in a short period. At the same time I questioned my identity as an aboriginal and aboriginal peoples' place in this country. Afterward, I tried to make sense of the things I went through. From my time there, I realized 1) Canadians and international people really have no knowledge about the realities faced by aboriginals; 2) people do not really care about the history of aboriginals.

The supports aboriginal students need are not just an issue at Pearson, they are missing in Canada. Aboriginal history is barely taught at any school, even on reserve. Aboriginal languages are not officially recognized. These are just some of the supports needed to foster pride in the heritage of aboriginal people.

I nearly failed the academic program at Pearson. I don't know if my academic failures were so much related to my ability as they were to my personal struggles. For some reason, while I was there I was not proud of my heritage. Only after I left did I begin to explore my heritage. The more I got in touch with my heritage, the better I did. Now I am working on my PhD, with one of the leading aboriginal scholars as my supervisor.

Real Carriere, Toronto



Re Saudi Deported Home To Face Fallout Over Mohammed Tweets (Feb. 13): I hope this case will help spur those of us in more enlightened societies to publicly and relentlessly denounce any state that executes people for the "crime" of apostasy. Forget about "thoughtcrime" in 1984 – "tweetcrime" in 2012 must have George Orwell rolling in his grave.

Mark Bessoudo, Toronto


Thinking big

While we appreciate Neil Reynolds's recognition of charities' ability to lever dollars to bring about positive change (Give Heroic Charity Back To Heroic Charities – Feb. 13), we take exception to his characterization of the Stretch Tax Credit proposal as being about loose change and thinking small.

The Stretch credit would challenge Canadians to give more or to give for the first time. Every incremental dollar Stretch costs the federal government would lever $10 in donations. The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that within three years of introducing the credit, there would be up to 600,000 new donors.

Charities already take on heroic work. Much of this is done on the basis of thousands upon thousands of small donations. It does a disservice to the millions of Canadians who donate each year to characterize their commitment and generosity as small.

Marcel Lauzière, CEO, Imagine Canada



Thanks to Elizabeth Renzetti for her supportive article on the juggle/struggle of working mothers in Canada (From The House To Crèche, Women Are Still Juggling Bébé And Work – Feb. 11). And kudos to MP Sana Hassainia for bringing little Skander-Jack to her high-profile job, thus drawing media attention to the issue.

When my son was a nursing toddler, I brought him to an informal, department meeting out of necessity. Despite taking care to be courteous and a good colleague (leaving the room when he became a bit fussy toward the end, etc.), I was advised not to do it again. BTW, I work in academia – an ostensibly family-friendly work environment.

Meanwhile, every time my husband would bring our son to his office or lab at the same institution, he was praised for being an involved, loving father, while my same actions were perceived as disruptive and unprofessional.

Jeannie Bail, St. John's


A dark side, too

It is true that roundabouts (Rural Intersections – letters, Feb. 13) are efficient and relatively safe for vehicles. But in urban areas they have a dark side. They take up more land than a normal intersection. The side-on-side collisions that occur in multilane roundabouts are survivable in cars and trucks but easily fatal to bicyclists and motorcyclists. Roundabouts take us further away from high-density, walkable, livable cities.

Norm Henderson, Regina


21 down ...

My day usually unfolds with my favourite crossword. Monday morning's aptly named Challenge Crossword, however, was more brutal than usual: The number of spaces for the answers didn't agree with the clues.

My first twinge of discomfort came with the reading of 1 across, in which 11 spaces were provided for a 5-letter word for "humiliate." When I saw 21 down, though, I knew it was game over: "Unexpected defeat."

Jo Meingarten, Toronto

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