What CBC's worth
In the budget, federal departments were given less money and asked to find cost-cutting measures (The CBC's A Service, Not A Business (June 27). Why is the CBC any different?
The CBC has rendered a service for many years, but times have changed. Many media outlets are supplying the same service. To stay competitive and fund programs, the CBC has no other choice than to adapt.
Wade Rowland suggests funding to the CBC should be $3-billion, not the $1.34-billion it gets now. That increase would be something no government would dare to do in the wake of other departments' situation, such as health care, which is in greater need than the CBC.
Gregory Boudreau, Halifax
As someone who cares deeply about this country, I can't express my despair as the CBC – one of the few venues we have as Canadians to connect as citizens and reflect our culture and society – is systematically dismantled.
From the CBC to Canada Post, isn't it symbolic that, as we tear up the few remaining avenues we have as Canadians to connect and communicate with one another, the Conservatives are obsessively preoccupied with clearing the way for pipelines so our oil in Alberta can "connect" with buyers overseas.
A country is more than oil, pipelines and export agreements. It is its communities, its art and its stories. I hardly recognize Canada any longer. And it pains me to see what we've already lost in our misguided haste.
My only hope is that Canadians who still believe in this country make sure that the Conservatives' impoverished notion for what constitutes Canada is finally put to an end next year.
Kevin Caners, Brockville, Ont.
In Wade Rowland's column about CBC funding, one did not have to wait long to experience the expected patronizing attitude of CBC supporters.
He writes, "Its purpose is to create news, information and entertainment that's judged for its creative, intellectual and artistic integrity, rather than its ability to attract large audiences …"
Judged by whom, exactly?
It seems obvious to me that the answer is: judged by the loopy left of this country who want the nation to subsidize their lofty and grandiose expectations of, shall we say, "art."
Here's an idea. Let the public broadcaster get funding through taxed, subsidized donation, rather than by decree from the top. One-third from taxes, one- third from tax write-offs and one third from donations. That seems fair.
Robert Graham, Claremont, Ont.
Jets: Stop dithering
Re Ottawa Puts Hold On Jet Fighter Decision (June 26): That the government continues to dither on replacing the CF-18 is disgraceful. What possible need can there be for cabinet ministers – who would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a Dassault Rafale and a Eurofighter Typhoon – to further "deliberate and gather information"? The government must act, and act expeditiously, on the recommendations of the military, to whom it has entrusted the defence of the country and the capability to exercise military muscle overseas.
Thomas Frisch, Ottawa
Act on asbestos
My shock in learning of the still widespread use of asbestos in construction prompted a quick review of the new Ontario Building Code, which came into force this year (Despite Dangers, New Buildings In Canada Using Asbestos Pipes – June 27).
I was astounded to learn that in addition to the asbestos cement piping cited in your article, asbestos may still be used for a range of purposes, including asbestos-vinyl flooring, metal-clad asbestos insulation over cook-tops, and asbestos shingles. Such products can release asbestos fibres if disturbed during maintenance, renovation, demolition or fire.
There is an alternative to federal inaction on the asbestos file. It is time to amend the Ontario Building Code, and those of the other provinces, to prohibit the use of asbestos in construction.
A. Michael Andrews, Ottawa
How much formal training during apprenticeship do tradespeople get about asbestos and other hazardous material on the job site? Or summer students? I suspect very little. How well known is it that smokers are at far greater risk of asbestos-related diseases?
Steve Cameron, asbestos analyst, Nanaimo, B.C.
Re Historic Ruling Upholds Land Rights (June 27): This ruling could negate exploration, development, mining, pipelines and timbering on Crown lands. Natural resources are the economic backbone of the country. Without that business, we face a slide into deep financial trouble.
R.J. Bradshaw, geologist, Meaford, Ont.
A reasoned death
Re I Finally Know Where I Stand On The 'Right To Die' (June 27: When I was 11, by chance and unnoticed, I observed a very old woman on her knees in a barn in Bavaria praying to her Lord that He would let die because she was worn out and hurting badly.
At the time, none of my elders was able to explain to my satisfaction why her Lord was not answering her prayers. I had no difficulty making up my mind about many things after that.
Gary Mason's column illustrates the intractability of the problem. Here we have a journalist, who can influence public opinion, explaining that it took more than one very close, very tragic personal experience to convince him the right to die should be an individual's choice.
If all voters needed that kind of convincing, rather than reasoned deduction, a change in the law would never happen.
Hal C. Hartmann, West Vancouver
"Dying with dignity" are the watchwords for the living who cannot conjure the courage or ward off the dread to see loved ones in their mortal throes.
There is nothing dignifying or ennobling about death, or birth for that matter. Dignity is about the in-between.
Howard M. Greenfield, Montreal
Plug in to power
Konrad Yakabuski paints a pessimistic view of the outcomes of a greater integration between Quebec's and Ontario's electricity markets (Two Provinces That Can't Plug In – June 26). However, research shows that increased electricity co-operation between the two provinces would lead to improved global system reliability and cost-effectiveness.
There may have been political differences between Quebec and Ontario in the past, but ensuring both provinces benefit from safe, cost-effective, secure, sustainable and reliable electricity supplies is not a political issue, it's a necessity. Having both provinces work together toward a positive global outcome should be welcomed as a sign of strength, not weakness.
Johanne Whitmore, Chair in Energy Sector Management, HEC Montréal
Soccer's other pitch
Between the chants of "USA!, USA!" from fans of the American team, and ear-piercing whistles from others, I feel a certain nostalgia for the vuvuzelas.
Doug Paul, Toronto