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(John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
(John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)


Feb. 28: Peculiar Canadiana, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Oh Canada

Let me make sure I understand: Justin Trudeau is an “experienced” leader because he grew up at 24 Sussex Dr. (Trudeau Inexperienced? Think Again – Feb. 26). The Ontario government wants to expand the lottery because it needs the money (Ontario’s Privatization Gamble – Feb. 25) but won’t call it a “tax.” And our senators can’t fill out simple residency forms (More Senators Face Scrutiny – Feb. 26).

Thankfully, the Leafs are on track to make the playoffs, so I know it’s all just a bad dream.

Joseph Shlesinger, Toronto


So Senator Mike Duffy says that he “may have been mistaken” when he filled out a form about his primary residence and that he will repay his housing allowance. Can I admit my mistake and take back my vote?

James Russell, Ottawa

Oh Quebec

Re Fix For Quebec Tuition Crisis Gets Poor Mark From Educators And Students (front page, Feb. 27): For more than a year, Quebec students have demanded a free university education. It seems they’ve now received their first free lesson in political science: Politicians lie.

David Pariser, Montreal

Case closed

At a sentencing hearing for an Alberta driver who killed four high-school football players, the judge said that “every death from drunk driving is 100 per cent preventable with a very simple act: Don’t pick up the keys.” Since we do pick up the keys, here’s the smarter alternative: Don’t pick up the drink.

Ted Brough, Elmira, Ont.

Heritage sensibility

Bravo for Michael Bliss (Turfing An Oasis Of Urban Heritage – Feb. 27)! As a University of Toronto alumnus, I invariably gravitate to the front and back campuses whenever in town; they preserve a stellar oasis that always seems to rinse off the outside world and leave me with a vibrant sense of youth, green space, and well-used continuity.

The administration’s decision, subsidized by organizers of the Pan Am Games, to put artificial turf on the back campus is a body blow to the spirit. Even my dogs are stunned; if and when the new turf is laid, they have instructed me to force-feed them for two days with beans and stew, then drive them to the back campus so they may deposit their official response.

Chris McNaught, Ottawa


Surely one of the ways in which what Michael Bliss calls “the lure of easy money” might become more resistible would be for all U of T alumni to cancel their present and future endowments. A major financial penalty consequent on this appalling decision is surely likely to concentrate the administrative mind in the only terms it apparently understands.

Keith Wilson, Department of English, University of Ottawa


U of T’s St. George campus has a serious shortage of field space for student recreation, intramural and intercollegiate practice, and competition. Unlike our front campus, which is a grassy haven, the back campus has been used for sport and recreation for years – but only during those rare months when it’s not a mud pit.

Recognizing this need, discussion of turf fields began more than a decade ago, long before talk of the Pan Am Games. We are fortunate that provincial and federal dollars are now available to meet our students’ pressing need for an increase in the number of days the field can be used.

So the back campus will continue to be available for kite-flying, Frisbee and pick-up soccer and softball games. Indeed, the enlarged non-sport areas on three sides of the artificial turf fields will remain grass, so picnickers and smoochers will have an experience that outshines anything that might be possible on the current muddy surface.

One final point: The university’s governing council decision taken in camera had to do with protecting our budget numbers from potential bidders. This information was made public as soon as the procurement process was complete.

Scott Mabury, vice-president, university operations, University of Toronto

God before church

Re Pope’s Emotional Final Address (online, Feb. 27): Let us pray that the coming conclave will bring forth a true and godly successor to Pope Benedict – one who realizes that working to build God’s kingdom on Earth may help to build the church, whereas working to build the church hasn’t necessarily helped to build the kingdom.

Thank God for the countless faithful Catholics who labour day after day, sometimes in appalling conditions, to serve God in the world.

Trevor Jones, Stoney Creek, Ont.

Pharma clarity

Rx&D president Russell Williams (Good Pharma – letter, Feb. 26) says the reviewer of my book glossed over my comments on the good that the pharmaceutical industry has done, and quotes my book: “Drug companies around the world have produced some of the most amazing innovations of the past 50 years, saving lives on an epic scale.”

Sadly, he fails to quote the sentence that follows: “But that does not allow them to hide data, mislead doctors, or harm patients.”

Ben Goldacre, London

Passage étroite

The French-language police are going to be very busy if they really want to follow through completely (‘Pastagate’ Leaves Bad Taste In Quebeckers’ Mouths – online, Feb. 25), especially since “Quebec” itself is the Algonquin word for “narrow passage.” Just think of all the signs and maps that will have to be changed to “Passage Étroite.”

Meantime, why is Nova Scotia translated as “Nouvelle Ecosse”? It’s set in Latin and doesn’t require a translation to either French or English. No one I know calls Nova Scotia “New Scotland.”

Perhaps if Quebec becomes “Passage Étroite” and Saskatchewan “Rivière Qui Coule Rapidement” and Manitoba “Détroit de l’Esprit,” I’ll let it go. In any case, the signs they are a-changin’.

Brad Conrad, Halifax


Emily Lewis’s letter Don’t Eat My Horse (Feb. 27) reminded me of the superb logic of the rebellious Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. While looking at a car, he says: “I’d rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”

Miles Tompkins, Antigonish, N.S.


Does Emily Lewis eat innocent cattle, pigs or chickens?

Vivienne Lawrie, vegetarian, Toronto

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