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U.S. President Barack Obama pauses and wipes his forehead as he speaks about his vision to reduce carbon pollution while preparing the country for the impacts of climate change, at Georgetown University in Washington on June 25, 2013. (REUTERS)
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses and wipes his forehead as he speaks about his vision to reduce carbon pollution while preparing the country for the impacts of climate change, at Georgetown University in Washington on June 25, 2013. (REUTERS)


June 27: Obama and climate, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Climate action

Re Obama Vows Action On Climate Change (June 26): You have to admire President Barack Obama, still passionate despite a hostile Congress. In the market, if you see a bandwagon, it’s too late. In climate control, Gaia’s tipping wagon rumbled through town a long time ago.

Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.


PMOs here, there

Re: PM To Change Direction? Don’t Bank On It (June 25): I’m less concerned about Stephen Harper’s “style” of governance than in keeping this country free, just, sovereign and solvent. If a “boot camp” and “billy-club” PMO keeps the ruinous Dippers and the fatuous Justin Trudeau from power, bring on the truncheons.

Speaking of “hyper-partisan overreach,” any media types come to mind?

Gary McGregor, Ladner, B.C.


Australian Prime Minister Gillard Ousted As Party Leader By Predecessor Kevin Rudd (online, June 26): Whatever the respective arguments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard to be prime minister of Australia, one thing is certain: The Australian media are not carrying stories about backbench MPs’ complaining about being under the thumb of their Prime Minister’s Office.

John Steeves, Sussex, N.B.


Too busy to vote

To be a senator and not vote in the last federal, provincial or municipal election can be seen as nothing short of contempt for the democratic process (Wallin Tells Senate She Lacks Health Card, Was Denied Coverage – June 26).

While we are aware the Senator spends a great deal of time and taxpayers’ money travelling, is it possible she has never heard of advance polls, absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots?

The honourable course of action for her is to resign. Sadly, I fear that is too much to hope for.

David Bird, Fernie, B.C.


Ein Berliner

Re 50th Anniversary Of ‘Ich Bin Ein Berliner’ Speech (Folio, June 26): I was there. I was 14, we had the day off school and we took the subway to see JFK at several locations. There was certainly Kennedy mania in Berlin. In an age of old and dour politicians, John F. Kennedy was a breath of fresh air. And we needed heroes in Berlin: There had been a brutally suppressed uprising in the east in 1953, we were too close for comfort to the Hungarian uprising in 1956, followed by the threats of unilateral actions if the allies would not turn Berlin into a “free” city – and then the wall in 1961, and no more visits to grandpa, who lived on the other side. He could visit once a year though, because, being over 65, he was considered expendable.

Growing up in Berlin was, in many ways, Kafkaesque. Whenever you went too far in one direction, you had to turn around, whether by car or sailboat on one of the many lakes.

By the way, Kennedy was assassinated around 8 p.m. Berlin time, the time of the evening news on TV. By 11 p.m., thousands, me included, were on a silent, spontaneous torch march through the streets of the city to say goodbye to the man who had inspired us. My father, who was in upper management at RIAS Berlin (Radio in the American Sector), a State Department-funded radio station broadcasting on every imaginable wavelength into eastern Europe and beyond, worked through the night to change all the music programming to classical. Everyone there showed up spontaneously too, about 600 employees.

Its director, Robert Lochner, was Kennedy’s official translator on the trip. He created the phonetic script of “Ish bin ein Bearleener.”

Manuel Mertin, Calgary


Refugee reservations

Re Stephen Lewis Explains Why New Jewish Group Is Challenging Ottawa’s Refugee Laws (June 25): Stephen Lewis mentions citizens’ “anxieties” – that means taxpayers’ anxieties – about funding still more people who manage to come to Canada from other democratic countries.

After dismissing reservations about handing out more money as “rancid political behaviour,” he wants yet wants more funding from us. If Stephen Lewis turned his energies and compassion toward championing aboriginals or destitute seniors in Canada, those anxieties would most certainly be allayed.

S. Makk-Lainevool, Richmond Hill, Ont.


Bravo to Stephen Lewis for challenging Canada’s oppressive laws of refugee exclusion and refugee denial, as well as the limitations on health care. Additionally, I resent the restrictive immigration policies that insist on educational and language requirements that would previously have prevented the very immigrants Canada needed to build the country, people like my parents, who lacked both, because they were unavailable to them.

The kind of Canada most people want is open to all persons in need, not simply those with money or higher education.

Mary Valentich, professor emerita, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary


Salt, sugar and size

Re ‘I’m Obese, Ergo I’m Sick’? (June 24): The youth of the 1950s and ’60s were the last to have a “normal” weight, according to medical guidelines. In 1955, the standard pop bottle was 6.5 ounces. Today, stores’ soda fountains can fill containers as large as 64 ounces.

It’s not unreasonable to ask that fast food companies cut down on fat, sugar and sodium. A single fast food meal may contain an entire day’s recommended sodium intake. Obesity, diabetes and heart problems are just a few of the results.

This is not complicated. It has nothing to do with “shaming” the obese. Food outlets can change their formulas back to what they were before the race for profits overtook their sense of responsibility.

N.L. Shearing, Kelowna, B.C.


I’ve lost more than 80 pounds in a year; I’m not only eating less, I’m eating better. And because I have so much more energy than a year ago, I’m using up more calories. Was I classified as sick? Not that I know of. Did I feel shame? Yes, always.

The answer to obesity is to put down the damn fork – or put a piece of lettuce on it. Get help if you can afford it. Big is not beautiful.

Daryl Elmslie, Fenelon Falls, Ont.


No-sit zone

It’s easy to agree with retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie about Canada’s demurring on joining a no-fly zone over Syria (Why This Strategy Won’t Fly In Syria – June 25). Yet, I wonder how easy that would be, had the Harper Conservatives taken delivery of some of those new F-35s they were lusting after: As has been said, “The one thing you can’t do with bayonets is sit on them.”

Ron Charach, Toronto

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