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Feb. 3: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Internet billing

Re Second-Guessing The CRTC Comes At A Price - Feb. 2: Richard French cautions against excessive political review of CRTC decisions on the basis that regulators are established to be independent, expertly knowledgeable, and free of partisan pressures. While true in theory, there is also the practical concern of the regulator being taken over by the regulated. Perhaps it is worth having a discussion about the rules surrounding how CRTC commissioners are chosen and the movement of personnel between industry and the CRTC.

Mark Faassen, Ottawa


While I am no fan of BCE, I must defend, to a certain extent, their support of usage-based billing. Network infrastructure is expensive to build and maintain and it is reasonable for companies that do so to expect some return on that investment.

ISPs that offer their customers unlimited download plans but that do not have the costs of building or maintaining the infrastructure they use are making unreasonable demands on the companies whose networks they use. Internet networks have finite capacity and usage needs to be managed. One way to manage usage is by charging for it. The CRTC's decision is the right one and the government should not interfere.

Gordon Morton, Palgrave, Ont.


The elephant in the room with regard to the CRTC's questionable decision to force second-tier Internet resellers to comply with usage caps, is that the major players, both Rogers and Bell are not just Internet "pipe providers," but both have flourishing businesses providing consumer content.

Robert S. Sciuk, Oshawa, Ont.


Saving children

Accountability and transparency are a priority at Unicef. As such, it is necessary to point out some missing information in Ms. Wente's recent column (Africa's Stolen Medicine - Jan. 27).

The $27-million Unicef-funded study cited was an independent assessment by Johns Hopkins. It showed that the Accelerated Child Survival and Development Program did save children's lives (a 5-6 per cent annual decline in deaths in Ghana and Mali) and that we could save even more by expanding the programs.

The government funding that was announced last week to support community health worker training in Ethiopia builds on these lessons. Unicef will continue to conduct independent evaluations of its work, particularly for programs that are in their infancy, as part of its commitment to continuously improve its practice and maintain its leadership on maternal and child health.

Kimberly Moran, interim president and chief executive officer, Unicef Canada, Toronto


Hope dashed

I read your article Kent Calls For Tougher Rules To Meet Emissions Goal (Jan. 29) with some hope. He has always seemed an honest sort, and although I had heard this from the last number of environment ministers I thought perhaps this time. But my hopes were dashed again! After stating the obvious - that many of us resist harmonizing or aligning with the United States when they aren't acting sensibly - he goes on to say "But however much we may growl about it, when it comes to meaningful work on the environment - and climate change in particular - there is no practical alternative" to waiting to see what the U.S. decides.

Yes there is, Mr. Kent. It is called leadership.

Bill Stewart, Parksville, B.C.


Egyptian turmoil

Bravo to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for publicly declaring that he will step down in September (Mubarak's Long Goodbye - Feb. 2). He must be congratulated for acknowledging that the game is over and the vast majority of Egyptian citizenry simply do not want the continuation of his autocratic rule.

But in order to be fair to Mr. Mubarak, it must be registered that he was definitely responsible for maintaining stability not only in Egypt but in the region, by a well-displayed desire to foster peaceful and harmonious political relations with Israel throughout his presidency.

Kris Sahay, Winnipeg


Re Ottawa Fears 'Extremists' Will Rise From Egypt's Protest Movement (Feb. 1): We cannot eat the cake and have it too! If an overwhelming majority of Egyptians choose Muslim Brotherhood candidates in a free and fair election, then so be it.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain, Brossard, Que.


Kids body checking

I applaud arguments that a ban on body checking would allow 11- and 12-year-old players to focus on skill development and avoid concussions (U.S. Moves To Protect Its Peewees - Feb. 2).

However, the article implied that body checking would be okay and concussions are less serious for those 13 and older. The Canadian study referred to made no such comparisons. Thirteen to 16-year olds are at similar risk.

What has been shown unequivocally is that the brain is still developing its connective pathways right through to the late teens, that concussions can disrupt this connective "white matter," and that the regions most susceptible to damage from sports concussions involve tissue critical to emotional and cognitive self-control.

Sidney J. Segalowitz, director, Centre for Lifespan Development Research, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ont.


To all those hockey families out there. May I remind you that sport is commonly defined as an organized, competitive, and skillful physical activity requiring commitment and fair play. If you consider allowing your child to engage in body checking that has the potential to intentionally harm an opposition player, your child is not engaging in fair play.

Peter Blunt, Richmond Hill, Ont.


Test fisheries

Re Funding for Test Fisheries to Expire (Feb 1): The Federal Court ruling that "test fishing" can no longer be financed by the sale of fish is to be applauded.

For too long, the scanty evidence available from test fisheries has been used to justify the continuation of destructive fishing for salmon in British Columbia. Ocean fishing for salmon is now outlawed on the East Coast.

Why burn fossil fuels to catch fish that return to rivers by themselves? Test fisheries, like all ocean fisheries for salmon, also jeopardize weaker stocks.

The place to catch salmon, and the only place where it can be scientifically determined with certainty that there is a true surplus for commercial harvest, is at their stream of origin.

David Ellis, former head, marine fishes, Pacific Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada


Harper's reading

Re Martel Chooses Incendies As 100th And Final Book for Harper (Feb. 2): I'm pretty sure that Stephen Harper has not only read Yann Martel's third selection, Animal Farm, but is using it as a blueprint for governing.

Jean Hayley, North Vancouver

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