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Advantage … fakery

Re Why Everyone Should Watch The World Cup (June 2): Please forward my regrets to Dan Hughes regarding his plea for everyone to watch World Cup soccer. Thanks, but no thanks.

In game after game, this much ballyhooed competition offers the spectacle of grown men, gently bumped on the pitch, howling while falling to the turf, where they lie grasping a knee, leg or ankle, apparently in agony. A free kick or penalty kick is ordered, often accompanied by a red or yellow card for the offending player. The downed man then leaps to his feet, his grievous injury miraculously healed, ready to resume the game.

I think a tall gin and tonic and a good book, enjoyed under a patio umbrella, will be a far more pleasant pastime for this former fan.

Charles McGregor, Oshawa, Ont.


Stupid vs. stupid

Re Canadians 'Stupid' On Privacy, Senate Committee Hears (May 29): John Adams, the former head of Communications Security Establishment Canada, says he can confirm that when it comes to Canadians' online habits, "one half is stupid, and the other half is stupid." I'd like to ask the illustrious Mr. Adams which half he thinks he belongs to: the stupid half, or the stupid half?

He may be a bit off on the 50:50 split: We need to reserve at least some room in the calculation for the arrogant ones, the group to which he apparently belongs.

Christine Reissmann, Ottawa


Abortions' toll

Your editorial Don't Evade Abortion (June 2) is correct about the high death rate of mothers undergoing unsafe abortions.

While you chastise the government for being hypocritical about protecting maternal health by not discussing the underfunding of "safe" abortions, The Globe itself is being hypocritical by omitting the obvious: Any abortion results in at least one death – that of the unborn child. In many developing countries, family planning means the aborted children are predominantly girls.

Leo Lowe, Toronto


You state that, unlike the situation in many developing countries, "women in Canada have access to safe abortion." The women of New Brunswick and PEI might want to differ.

The Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton, which performs more than half of the abortions in the province, faces imminent closure, while PEI has no facility at all where abortions are performed.

The picture is hardly better in many other parts of the country, particularly remote areas, and a host of both administrative and attitudinal barriers frequently restrict access. So yes, there is no question that we should be pressing the government to expand its international initiative to include funding for safe abortions, but in doing so let's not forget the needs of women here at home.

Peter Maitland, Lindsay, Ont.


Start of the end?

You describe D-Day as "an operation that turned the tide of the Second World War against the Nazis, marking the beginning of the end of the conflict" (D-Day – Folio, June 2).

This is a dubious assertion, particularly in stating that D-Day marked the beginning of the end. The turning point occurred 16 months earlier when Soviet forces defeated the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad. By the spring of 1944, the die was already cast and German defeat almost a certainty. Russian forces were pushing toward the borders of Poland and fighting westward in Ukraine.

While D-Day caused the German high command to transfer to Normandy a few divisions, it was not enough to argue it weakened the Wehrmacht. By late June, the Soviets had launched Operation Bagration, considered the most calamitous defeat experienced by the German armed forces during the Second World War.

While D-Day was important, its main impact was shortening the war and determining the postwar organization of Europe. The Russians were responsible for both turning the tide and marking the beginning of the end of the war.

Robert Milan, Winnipeg


Why the difference?

Re After The Gold Rush (Focus, May 31): Why the differences between Detroit, Pittsburgh and Windsor, Ont.?

Pittsburgh's population has dropped by half since 1979; as you noted, it has developed as a high-tech and medical centre, with Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh as catalysts. Detroit's population and infrastructure has collapsed since the 1967 riots, while many of its suburbs have continued to prosper. Windsor has seen its population remain steady during these turbulent times, despite the hollowing out of its industrial core.

While Pittsburgh's population and industrial properties declined, leading to a loss of local tax revenues, Pittsburgh had old money, now going to philanthropy and good universities. In the U.S., school funding and control is largely at the local level. If local property taxes collapse, the quality of schooling declines drastically. People will move, if they can, to districts with better schools.

Detroit and Pittsburgh suffered this. But in Windsor, with less reliance on local funding, the quality of education did not collapse. People without a job could maintain hope of finding one while their children could still get a proper education.

Windsor and Essex County have been adapting to the new situation, as noted by Prof. Anthony Faria. At least one Windsor mould maker sells to South Korea's auto industry. Heinz may be leaving Leamington, but greenhouses there are moving into higher margin, quality vegetable and fruit production that is shipped even to my own small university town in Indiana. Windsor will survive.

Bradley Lucier, West Lafayette, Ind.


Ontario has been nothing but a branch-plant economy for so many years, it has forgotten how to run its own businesses.

We put our destiny into the hands of others and the process no longer works. Time to focus on research and development of our own products, and nurture the small businesses that will be required to manufacture them.

Unfortunately, small businesses aren't multinationals that have a lot of largesse to pass on to politicians.

Leslie Martel, Mississauga


Murder, terror

Re Militant Takes Responsibility For Jewish Museum Raid (June 2): Your description of the cold-blooded murder of four innocents at the Jewish museum in Brussels as a "raid" and the terrorist perpetrator as a "militant" leaves me perplexed. Surely, you can call a spade a spade.

Robert Yufe, Toronto


Fender checking

Re You Can't Drive A Google Car Off A Cliff. Other Than That, They're Fantastic (May 31): Interesting that Elizabeth Renzetti characterizes driving as "a dance between you and the other drivers." In the Greater Toronto Area, I see it more as a hockey game.

Irwin Silverman, Toronto

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