A politician's spouse
Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay knew she was marrying a) a politician; b) a Conservative politician; c) a Conservative politician who is a cabinet minister; d) a Conservative politician who is a cabinet minister in the government of one of the most controlling prime ministers this country has known.
As such, she must have known she was off-script and either a) was aware of the consequences or b) should have been aware of the consequences. Either way, her husband has a track record for shooting himself in the foot. He hardly needs help loading the weapon.
Ms. Afshin-Jam Mackay thinks it's time to bring Omar Khadr back to Canada. I think it's time to bring her back to Earth if she thinks disagreeing publicly with a high-profile political partner's views isn't going to land her in the news.
And speaking of coming back to Earth, your headline, The Politician's Wife: Is She Allowed Her Own Voice? (July 27), is circling the 1950s. This is about a politician's spouse. Gender has nothing to do with it.
Moira Ann Murphy, St. John's
IOC's fast lane
Most members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have other things on their mind in London than holding up traffic and savouring luxury and privilege (Limos, Luxury And Limelight: A Taste Of Life In The IOC Fast Lane – July 25).
IOC members are volunteers; many are former athletes. As the official representatives of the worldwide Olympic movement, they supervise and support the local organizing committee to see to it that the Olympic Games are run smoothly, and that the Olympic ideals are upheld.
The system of dedicated Olympic lanes was introduced by the IOC after widely reported traffic problems in Atlanta, causing athletes to be late for competition. As during Vancouver 2010, the Olympic lanes in London will cause inconvenience. More importantly, they will ensure that thousands of athletes and sports officials can reach their venues in time.
Bas Brusche, former chief of protocol, Vancouver 2010
Pause for Munich
The IOC's refusal to refuse to set aside one minute in the opening ceremonies to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre of members of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich betrays the Olympic spirit (The Olympic Moment They Can't Forget – July 27).
This lapse in moral leadership undercuts the otherwise positive message of the Games and is one more in a string of shameful decisions connected to the tragedy, which has still not been appropriately acknowledged.
Noah Sarna, Vancouver
Our intense public debates on compensation options for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline bring back memories of a great analogy former U.S. vice-president Al Gore drew several years ago, when he was training some of us on the topic of climate change: He compared our anxious search for increasingly unconventional sources of oil to the behaviour of advanced heroine addicts who, as they run out of easy options, start to search desperately for veins in their toes (Payoffs Do Not Protect The Environment – editorial, July 27).
We all know it's not a trivial challenge, but we must face up to our spiralling addiction and start to invest at least some of our collective ingenuity in finding cleaner energy solutions for humanity. If we're at a point where one jurisdiction asks another for compensation for the risks of allowing an oil pipeline through its territory, then we have definitely reached that toe-vein stage.
Andreas Souvaliotis, Toronto
The politics of the Nexen project are going to test Prime Minister Stephen Harper's "net benefit" provisions in more ways than one. On the domestic front, B.C.'s Premier has put the net benefits discussion front and centre by making it clear the province would have to get lots of money to accept the risk of allowing all those tankers to ply the treacherous Douglas Channel.
How much money would anyone be risking by betting that, if the pipeline proceeds, there will be a major spill? B.C. is totally justified in saying no to any pipeline through its territory unless it gets plenty of remuneration for the risk.
Assessing the net benefit and the cost of those risks will require some very difficult negotiations between Canada and China, and between provinces with different views about what is good for Mr. Harper's beloved economy and jobs agenda. I dread to contemplate how the Prime Minister will control this conflict.
Douglas MacLeod, London, Ont.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark's feisty stance on the Northern Gateway Pipeline is rooted in the wrong cause. The right cause? Block the future destruction, environmental degradation and blight to the landscape guaranteed by the pipeline's construction.
There is no amount of money that would ever cover the unfair share of sorrow and ugliness that the pipeline would inevitably bring to this province.
Maribeth Adams, Kamloops, B.C.
Eggs in condo baskets
Despite the assurances provided by the latest RBC report that Toronto is not in danger of experiencing a condo housing bubble, the study fails to address an underlying vulnerability in the market (No Toronto Condo Bubble, RBC Says – July 23).
Toronto's condo construction boom has been largely fuelled by overseas investors seeking safe havens for their capital. While economists protest the lack of hard data to support this claim, any knowledgeable realtor or developer will verify that such investors typically comprise a third, and in some cases substantially more, of the buyers of new condo units. When the buyer side of a commodity is dominated by one segment, risks are significantly increased.
Whatever happened to the simple caution associated with having too many eggs in one basket?
Jeff Goldman, Toronto
I returned in May from visiting European battlefields where Canadians of previous generations served and died. Unlike letter writer Mike Simmons (Canadians Abroad – July 24), I proudly wore the Maple Leaf and identified myself as Canadian to anyone who asked.
Visiting Canadian war graves reminded me of just how much Canada and its young sacrificed for Europe's freedom. Europeans who raise concerns over the seal hunt, oil (not tar) sands or asbestos do so because they have the freedom to speak about such issues. A freedom earned, in part, by Canadians on the North Atlantic convoys, in the air over Germany, at Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Passchendaele, Dieppe and Juno and numerous other places where Canadians died.
The next time Mr. Simmons visits Europe, he should wear the Maple Leaf and proudly declare that he is Canadian. The sacrifice of these Canadians earned him that privilege.
Curt Shalapata, Oshawa
Re Corner Stores Want Right To Sell Alcohol (July 26): Alcohol in corner stores in Ontario! What next? Lotteries? Casinos? Pool halls? Movie theatres open on Sundays? Dancing in public? We got trouble here in River City.
Tim Jeffery, Toronto