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Today’s topics: Lunar destiny, Ontario’s finances, 1812 revisited, Vatican head gear … and more (Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)
Today’s topics: Lunar destiny, Ontario’s finances, 1812 revisited, Vatican head gear … and more (Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)


Feb. 21: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Lunar destiny

As the writer of numerous books, articles and television shows about our history and future in space, I have to compliment Neil Reynolds for such a thoughtful article on our eventual lunar destiny ( Newt Is Right To Shoot For The Moon – Feb. 20).

This dismissive attitude toward science in general and space research in particular has dismayed many of us for years, although like Mr. Reynolds, we recognize this to be a temporary condition. The earliest Antarctic explorers used all available resources just to get there, in what could justifiably be considered the moon shot of its day. Two generations later, we established permanent settlements.

In fact, as with George W. Bush’s 2004 lunar commitment, the real irony in Newt Gingrich’s far-reaching promise lies in the withering, campaign-wrecking mockery he endured for what history will likely regard as the one sensible thing he ever said.

Michael Lennick, Toronto


Woes of Ontario

John Ibbitson points out that Ontarians contribute 39 per cent of federal revenues but receive only 34 per cent of federal spending ( Other Provinces Have No Cause To Gloat Over Ontario’s Woes – Feb. 20).

The time has come to raise a protective firewall around Ontario and build a prosperous future, in spite of a misguided and increasingly hostile government in Ottawa. I know Stephen Harper would understand.

Mark Bisby, Ottawa


Re Rebuilding Ontario: A Plan For The Way Forward (Business – Feb. 18) states the obvious: Canadian corporate leaders are averse to risk. Why shouldn’t they be?

Most of what goes by the name of “business” in Canada is one of two activities. The first is extracting raw materials from the ground and selling them without producing any added value. The second is borrowing low and lending high: bankers, stock traders and insurance sellers do this quite profitably. Neither of these activities involves any risk whatsoever and reducing taxes is not going to change this situation.

Manuel Buchwald, Toronto


No ‘tax support’

In Drummond Report Gets Cool Reception From Ontario Businesses (Business – Feb. 17), The Globe repeats the common misconception that the province provides “tax support” for the Ontario horse racing industry.

In fact, the industry, through the Racetrack Slots Program, generates significant revenue for the government – more than $12-billion since its inception. In 1998, when the government wanted to expand gaming, they looked to the horse-racing industry because we were already well established and the government could utilize our buildings, land, parking lots and customer base. Racetracks have gone on to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to house the Racetrack Slots Program; the commission our industry earns is derived from customers spending on a product offered at our facilities.

Sue Leslie, president, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association


Pain or addiction

No one seriously questions the need to find safer opioid medications that will reduce the risk of addiction ( Provinces Tackle OxyContin Abuse – Feb. 18), but let’s be clear as to why these substances are drugs of abuse: the mental euphoria that comes with using an addictive substance.

The bigger problem for me and my geriatric patients is the enormous lack of alternatives to opioids in the management of chronic pain. Although the risk of addiction in this group remains small, the frequent side effects are often a deterrent to their use: sedation, nausea, constipation, dizziness and delirium. If the pharmaceutical industry really wants to do something that will impact the well-being of those suffering legitimate pain, they need to develop a range of non-opioid analgesics that are safe, inexpensive and effective, particularly in the older patient.

Dr. Bryan Cummings, Calgary


The new stringent regulations governing narcotic pain medication prescriptions mean that patients suffering acute cancer pain or intractable chronic pain will need first to endure ineffective treatment with Tylenol and Aspirin in order to qualify to have pain effectively treated.

Requiring practitioners to jump through ever more complicated hoops will result in doctors simply abandoning pain medicine (already underserviced) and suffering patients being denied effective and needed medicine.

Elizabeth Macrae, Toronto


Wrote the book on it

I agree with archeologist Patricia Sutherland that her findings in Baffin Island and Labrador indicate a significant and early European presence in Canada’s eastern Arctic. However, I am startled by her statement that this presence was “previously unsuspected” (Farley in Focus – Letters, Feb. 20).

Had she looked into my two books about early European exploration of the region – Westviking (1965) and The Farfarers (1998) – she would have found cogent and ample evidence of a Norse presence in the eastern Canadian Arctic from as early as 985; and for the presence there of an earlier seafaring people from northern Britain as early as 600.

Farley Mowat, Port Hope, Ont.


We hardly were we

In The War of 1812: Stupid? Maybe. Important? Yes (Feb. 20), Jeremy Diamond and Davida Aronovitch ask why “Americans place greater importance on teaching and commemorating” the war than Canadians do. Is it because it was a war between the United States – a sovereign country making its own decisions – and the British Empire?

Canada – it didn’t even have that name yet – was merely part of the battleground, a territory inhabited by indigenous nations and British and French settlers (the last themselves a recently conquered people).

Henry Srebrnik, political science department, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown


That dinky biretta

I know the Vatican is trying to simplify the investitures of its high officials and I approve. But I was sorry to see Thomas Collins receiving that dinky little biretta from the Pope ( Canadian Joins Elite Club Of Cardinals Who Elect Pope’s Successor – online, Feb. 18). A nothing hat.

In former years, a cardinal would receive a big round galero with acres of tassels attached. He hardly ever wore it, but when he died, it would be hung over the altar of his cathedral and left there until it disintegrated. In many cathedrals of Europe and even at St. Patrick’s in New York, where I grew up, the hats of the former cardinals are hung high up near the ceiling – almost invisible – but they’re there.

Sally Morrow, Ottawa


Hear me raor

Why do athletes always seem to look so painfully angry and belligerent upon winning? Milos Raonic ( Sports – Feb. 20) looks as if he is having his toenails pulled out. Where’s the joy?

Nan Blair, Toronto

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