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A Canadian Forces technician secures a French military jeep on board a Canadian Forces C-17 at a base in France on Jan.19, 2013, en route to Bamako, Mali. (Sgt. Matthew McGregor/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A Canadian Forces technician secures a French military jeep on board a Canadian Forces C-17 at a base in France on Jan.19, 2013, en route to Bamako, Mali. (Sgt. Matthew McGregor/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Jan. 23: Canada in Mali, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

The grand prize

Re Canada To Extend Mali Mission (Jan. 22): As the Prime Minister dithers, for the members of the C-17 deployment, 1st prize is one week in Mali; 2nd prize is two weeks in Mali – and the grand prize is a photo op with Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper.

Alan Simmonds, Vancouver


Prince Harry’s words

Prince Harry refers to killing enemy combatants as “we’ll take them out of the game” (Prince Harry’s Afghan Tour Ends – Jan. 22). As if the Taliban needs another excuse to target British military personnel. Harry does not seem to grasp the fact that his words and actions can have wide-reaching, perhaps even fatal consequences. He acts as though life is a video game with an endless supply of credits.

Why do we stay tied to a family that owes its privileges and influence to an accident of birth? Any historical obligation that we may feel to the British Crown has surely been discharged.

Moses Shuldiner, Toronto


Oppose vs. obstruct

Americans preach democracy worldwide. In a democracy, the majority should rule. The second party should be the opposition – not the obstruction, in the manner of the Tea Party and southern Republicans (The Obama Presidency – Jan. 22). That defeats democracy.

Tony ten Kortenaar, Toronto


Something is wrong

News reports tell us that more than 1,000 Americans have been killed by guns since the Newtown tragedy (A Presidency Reboots With An Eye To The Sales Pitch – Jan. 21). Imagine the uproar if that many people had died in airplane crashes since Dec. 14. Immediate action would be taken to stop such loss of life. But airlines are “well regulated,” with particular attention given to the safe operation of their aircraft. Guns – not so much. Something is wrong here.

J.B. Ross, Orangeville, Ont.


Advice to CEOs

I have the perfect solution for the issue raised by Gwyn Morgan (Time To Fight Back Against Hollywood’s Misinformation – Report on Business, Jan. 21): If corporations would stop raising targets, Hollywood would stop firing.

My advice: Stop creating Love Canals and rivers that can be set on fire. Stop polluting. Stop strip mining and leaving the wounds to heal. Stop creating poisons that you would never allow your own children to smoke, drink or eat. Don’t build nuclear plants over fault lines, or new cities over fragile reservoirs of water. Don’t lie. Don’t believe that greed is good. Treat workers with respect. Don’t shoot miners digging for gold. Don’t shoot, period. Don’t demand higher and higher quarterly profits.

Do all this, and I can assure you that Norma Rae will retire and Erin Brockovich will go home to her children.

Norman Coutts, Toronto



I recoiled with horror at Naftali Bennett’s solution to peace in the West Bank (‘Naftali’ Takes Aim At Political Agenda – Jan. 21): Herd the Palestinians into 40 per cent of the West Bank and keep the rest. You would think an Israeli and a Jew would be aware of the irony of such an explicit ghetto-creation policy. At least he’s honest, I’ll give him that much. He calls Israel’s settlement policy for what it is: annexation and conquest.

Mark East, Tsawwassen, B.C.


Seconds do count

Re: How Firefighters Fan The Flames Of Fear (Jan. 17): Toronto already fails to meet National Fire Protection Association standards for urban fire department response; we should all be concerned about any proposal that would move the city even further from this standard.

We were only asking council to defer any decision on reducing fire department resources until the impact on response times, public safety and residential and commercial insurance rates is known. Council now will have that information before revisiting the question in six months. We’re proud of the role we played in standing up for public safety.

Today’s homes are built with lightweight construction materials that fail quicker, and are filled with plastics and materials that burn hotter and faster than ever before.

Margaret Wente’s argument that there were “only” nine fire deaths in Toronto last year compared to 19 in 2001 is a classic case of cherry-picking. Sadly, there were also 19 fire fatalities in 2002. The number spiked to 26 in 2003. Toronto had 21 fire fatalities in 2009, 18 in 2011.

There’s a benefit to firefighters with medical skills arriving at a medical emergency two minutes faster than EMS. Two minutes may not seem very long to someone at a desk writing a newspaper column, but hold your breath for two minutes to understand what it’s like being trapped in a house filled with toxic smoke.

We say seconds count because it is absolutely true.

Ed Kennedy, president, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association


Oh – that MP

You say it is okay for Jim Flaherty to write to the CRTC in support of a company in his riding: He can say he is the MP for Whitby-Oshawa, and that’s fine (A Few Extra Words – editorial, Jan. 19). But then he adds the “fatal words” that he is Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area.

Wow! Really? Don’t you think anyone working with the CRTC already knows, or should know, that Mr. Flaherty is Minister of Finance, in addition to being the MP for Whitby-Oshawa?

Robert Sullivan, Blenheim, Ont.


Not who I am

I have never played a game of hockey in my life and my kids don’t know how to play either. So we get a little shirty when you emblazon your front page with This Is Who We Are (Jan. 19).

For many Canadians, it’s insulting to be lumped in with the rabid fans of this pointless chase-the-rubber-disc pastime – fans who too often countenance violence throughout the sport, who are so credulous as to keep coming back, fervour renewed, when their millionaire idols and billionaire team owners show them nothing but scorn. Like very many others, I can only say, “This is not who I am.”

And I try to avoid going to Tim Hortons, too.

Peter Ferguson, Kimberley, Ont.

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