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Feb. 20: The Iron Lady, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Marble or iron?

So local councillors in the English town of Grantham are considering erecting a statue of Margaret Thatcher in the main square, even though a vandal has already decapitated one such marble statue (In The Iron Lady’s Birthplace, A Wrestle Over Reputation – front page, Feb. 19). Build one of iron, I say, and give her a handbag to repel boarders.

Gerry Stephenson, Canmore, Alta.

A wheat-free life

How will we get scientific proof that eating wheat causes obesity (Is Wheat-Free The New Atkins? – Life & Arts, Feb. 19)? Do we conduct a double-blind study that’s done for drugs? Of course not.

The proof of going wheat free is provided by thousands of people with anecdotal evidence.

My visceral fat, for example, is depleting about one pound a week and, since October, I’ve dropped 20 pounds. I’m not on a low-carb diet, as I eat rice and potatoes. I simply eat wheat free: no bread, no wheat pasta, no pizza.

Stephen Ottridge, Vancouver


As Leslie Beck writes, it’s difficult to envision a life without bread. But here I am, three years later, mid-40s, 50 pounds lighter, back to my high-school weight.

When you break the habit, it really isn’t that hard.

Norm Ross, Kitchener, Ont.

Winners among us

Governor-General David Johnston and Howard Alper implore us to celebrate our scientists by increasing their nominations for prestigious prizes (We Need To Celebrate Our Scientists And Researchers – Feb. 18).

Visitors to Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital may view Tony Pawson’s recent Wolf Prize in the lobby, and I note that he and Charles Taylor were two Canadian laureates of the three 2008 international Kyoto Prizes.

Perhaps the problem is that we don’t recognize the outstanding Canadian winners in our midst.

Jim Woodgett, director of research, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

The real story

The article At Least 3,000 Children Died In Residential Schools (Feb. 19) rightly brings to a wider public the fact that sending first nations children to residential institutions did not protect them from the diseases sweeping their reserves, and that confined spaces such as dormitories enabled those diseases to spread widely among the children.

But important context is missing: During most of the years in which residential schools operated, communicable diseases were also a constant threat in the tents and cabins of their parents, shelters that were just as confining as any dormitory. Spanish flu, for example, took a terrible toll on entire aboriginal communities, not just on students in residence.

Lack of medical care for all first nations people, young and old, is the real story here.

Mark DeWolf, Halifax

Teachers’ equity

Although it may be an unpalatable reality for many people to accept, the Toronto District School Board’s hiring policy targeting “men” and “minorities” (School Board’s Hiring Policy Singles Out Men, Minorities – Feb. 19) is the only means to address a systemic issue in our secondary and elementary schools.

As a man and a graduate of the Ontario school system, I know how important it was for me to see male teachers exhibiting not only strength but also compassion and support.

Of all my teachers, two stand out: my Grade 3 teacher, who instilled his love of running in his students and to whom I credit my passion for marathoning, and my Grade 10 English teacher, who made me realize it was okay for a guy to love reading.

My life would be less dynamic without these two strong role models. And both were men.

Jean-Paul Bedard, teacher, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto


Excellence, intelligence and integrity – not one’s skin colour or gender – should determine who is hired to fill teaching positions. To do otherwise violates the definition of equity.

Elizabeth von Eppinghoven, Toronto

Doom and gloom

Re The Rail’s The Thing (editorial, Feb. 19): More than half a century ago, American environmentalist Aldo Leopold said: “To build a road is so much simpler than to think of what the country really needs.”

Today, it’s so much simpler to build a tar sands pipeline than to think of the climate our grandchildren will inherit if we fail to curb emissions.

Anthony Ketchum, Toronto

Information warfare

For those who think Target stores will be less invasive when it comes to personal information than, say, a Canadian Tire store (Point Of No Return – letter, Feb. 19), I have news: In Southern California, I had to present a driver’s licence to buy a bottle of wine – and I’m over 70!

Alan Armour, North Vancouver

A vital brand

Re 8 Problems Cirque Must Address … For The Show To Go On (Jan. 18): Over the past five years, we have had the opportunity to witness up close the phenomenal ascent of Cirque du Soleil throughout the world.

After gradually introducing a number of touring shows in Russia, we are now the largest live entertainment company in Russia and have sold more than 1.3 million tickets in four short years. Our partnership alone will bring four shows to Russia and Ukraine next year.

In this context, the measures taken by Cirque will help ensure its sustainability in the long term. We continue to be impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of founder Guy Laliberté and the determination of CEO Daniel Lamarre.

A company that conducts research and development in collaboration with a dozen Canadian universities does not take its success for granted.

We have very few Canadian brands on the global stage. This one will continue to be in the spotlight for decades to come.

Craig Cohon, London, and George Cohon, Toronto

Canter point

Letter writer Dick Scarth is worried that horsemeat might give his family the trots (That Old Chestnut – Feb. 19). I’d like to reassure him: We have family in the neighbourhood who had a roast of horse, and they’re all in stable condition.

David Reason, Toronto

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