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'Not good enough'

Your editorial Making The Right Call (July 21) equally could have been titled, "Drunk driver injures friends, endangers many more – gets off on a technicality."

Although the convictions for impaired driving may rightly have been thrown out by the Supreme Court, the injuries caused by Jamie Taylor's actions easily could have been much worse. As the court factum noted, Mr. Taylor was distraught at the scene, stating "I killed my sister. I think I killed my sister."

While your arguments for the legal principle at stake (the right to access counsel) are merited, you could at least have noted that they must stand even when protecting someone careless, reckless or stupid enough to drive while impaired. You say the officer's actions were "not good enough." Neither were Mr. Taylor's.

Larry Pardy, Amherst, N.S.


Made in Moscow?

Re Ukraine's Chaos Made In Moscow (editorial, July 21): Since most of the victims of Flight MH17 are Dutch, The Netherlands should break diplomatic ties with Moscow until Vladimir Putin admits responsibility, apologizes and agrees to reparations.

Danny Matenko, Toronto


Doug Saunders would have us believe that Russia is solely responsible for the chaos that has erupted in Ukraine ('The World Has Not Acted Fast Enough To Curtail Russia's Manufacture Of Chaos' – July 19). He goes so far as to suggest that had harsher sanctions been imposed on Russia, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner might not have happened.

He tells us there is "considerable empirical evidence" to demonstrate that the only villain in this conflict is Russian President Vladimir Putin. This surely is nonsense.

It was the United States that stoked the fires resulting in the carnage now taking place in Ukraine. Since the collapse of the USSR, the United States, using NATO as an instrument of its foreign policy, has showed nothing but aggression toward Russia and has encircled it with new NATO members. Mr. Saunders may assume that NATO is purely a defensive organization but the Serbs and several other countries might think differently.

James Bissett, Ottawa


Not feeling secure about flying over eastern Europe these days? Perhaps it's time to boycott Russia's hosting of the next World Cup. Why not go back to Brazil in four years? Anywhere but Russia.

Christine Mackiw, Toronto


Mideast casualties

Washington should think twice about giving advice on the topic of civilian casualties (Bloodiest Day So Far In Gaza Conflict – July 21): I don't recall the U.S. being terribly successful in Afghanistan, Iraq – or for that matter, Vietnam.

Ron Freedman, Toronto


Golda Meir once said peace will come "when Palestinians love their children more than they hate Israel." How about this then: "Peace will come when Israel's children are considered equal to Palestinian children"?

Balance of power, plus balance of humanity equals peace.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, Ottawa


Beware inflation

When the Governor of the Bank of Canada announces that historical assessments of "neutral" interest rates are no longer relevant, one is reminded of commentators proclaiming the "new normal" of virtually infinite price/earnings ratios before the tech stock bubble burst (Why Interest Rates Are Finding A 'New Normal' – Report on Business, July 18).

The unusually low interest rates and huge expansion of the monetary base after 2008 were initially needed to save the worldwide financial system from self-destruction, but a return to an equilibrium, a real interest rate in the 3 per cent range is much overdue.

In the meantime, the economy has been badly distorted by a housing bubble, excessive stock-market valuations, high-risk leverage, unsupportable consumer and government debt and an extra burden on pension funds.

What has not been achieved is an increase in productive business investment that would stimulate long-term growth, but central bankers are terrified to accept defeat on that front and to incur the wrath of mortgagees and investors by raising interest rates to the "old normal" levels.

This is all going to end badly when inflation finally arrives.

Martin Prachowny, Kingston


Hip to size creep

Re J. Crew Draws Ire For 'Scarily Skinny' Sizes (Life & Arts, July 16): Research in a former textbook (Simplicity Sewing Book, 1979 and 1985) gives the size with a 23-inch waist as – get ready – Size 6. The bust was 30.5 inches; the hips, 32.5 inches; the waist, 23 inches. This was for a standard Misses category, the most common when I taught sewing.

So, what J. Crew now calls size 000, we used to call Size 6 before the advent of vanity sizing.

To put it another way, I've always worn Size 12 – from my university days to now, except that now I'm 35 pounds heavier than I was then. Sad but true.

Edie Lewis, Brantford, Ont.


Been there, did that

Re How To Make City Mayors 'Responsible' (July 21: Preston Manning must have missed something. Toronto's city councillors voted to strip Rob Ford of most of the powers of the mayor's office because they thought he was irresponsible. Council voted to give those powers to the deputy mayor. Mr. Ford cannot be removed as mayor, except through an election, unless he is incarcerated, but that is a law of the province.

Council has, and has exercised, powers to preserve responsible government. In fact, the municipal level of government is relatively democratic. Citizens have more direct access to their political representatives than at other levels, and can speak directly to council and its committees. That access is unmediated by political party apparatus.

Municipal public services are very much subject to the influence of council and councillors, sometimes to a distracting extent. Municipal councils are probably closer to the Athenian model than federal and provincial parliaments.

Alan Broadbent, author, Urban Nation; Toronto


Preston Manning says Athens was "not a vast empire, not a federation, but a city." If Athens wasn't an empire, what was the Peloponnesian War all about?

Alan Mendelson, Hamilton


Lights out …

Re Masturbation Is The Last Taboo (Focus, July 19): One night at an English, all-boys boarding school, a master came into our dormitory to shut out the lights. He was relatively new and we were always giving him a hard time. I don't know what we did on this particular occasion, but he responded by saying, "There's far too much master baiting going on in this school." He was likely right on both accounts, but we erupted in howls of juvenile derision and he slunk away, defeated again.

One of very few highlights in an otherwise dismal four years.

Nigel Brachi, Edmonton