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Girdles and liveries
Where Is The Liberal Plan To Tackle Job-Killing Automation? asks the headline on Lawrence Martin's column.
On behalf of the black-and-white TV repair industry, typewriter service technicians, crinoline- and girdle-makers, livery-stable owners and telegraph operators, I have a question: Where were Lawrence Martin and these anti-automation ideas when we needed them?
Instead of decrying the progress of technology, perhaps a column in favour of lifelong technical and skills training would be more helpful.
Now, excuse me while I get back to refilling my whale-oil lamps!
Eoin Kenny, Edmonton
I am following Robyn Doolittle's excellent investigation of Canadian police handling/mishandling of sexual assault complaints with great interest. As a retired RCMP officer who has served across Canada and in various northern communities in Labrador, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, Wednesday's article, The Challenges Of Handling Sex Assault In Canada's North, angered me enough to respond.
It is totally disheartening when the RCMP Whitehorse detachment commander states that he was "surprised" to learn that the city's sexual assault unfounded rate was so high. He should know first-hand what is happening in his detachment area.
Then he goes on to say that "What I found, when I looked, is there are cognitive things going on, mentally challenged people making claims, it's very clear that's not what happened." Unfortunately, those are exactly the type of victims who are preyed upon.
I believe that the RCMP is not applying proper training and awareness in this regard at a higher level within its own ranks. Their lack of awareness of what happened regarding sexual assaults on their own members, as well as not knowing what is happening within the communities that they police, seems to be one more nail in their own coffin.
Janet Lenover, Waterdown, Ont.
I was reading your excellent Unfounded series while preparing to teach W.B. Yeats's Leda and the Swan. Although I have taught that poem many times, I read it with new eyes. The way Yeats describes the rape is exactly the way a survivor of sexual assault describes rape – chaotic, impression-filled, colour and sound and flashing details but no logic, narrative, or big picture. I was imagining the police interview and suspect Leda's case would have been marked unfounded.
Kathy Cawsey, Halifax
Uncle Sam's clout
According to a letter writer, it's sad that Donald Trump is considering investing even more in the military power of the United States (Trump-Sponsored, March 1). Really?
If you think Vladimir Putin is not more emboldened now that he believes the United States is being run by his good friend and incompetent fool, Mr. Trump, imagine how he will feel when he believes the U.S. military is weaker than at any time in its recent history and may only be on a par with his own military.
Should that happen, do you believe the combined armies of Canada and the European Union will cause Mr. Putin 10 seconds of serious second thought about any actions he deems necessary to restore the former Soviet Union to its place in the world?
The fact is, the world is a much safer place when the United States has the military capability to defeat any government or radical terrorist group it sees fit.
Let's hope it stays ahead of the pack for generations to come.
Barry Johnston, Oshawa, Ont.
A letter writer says the "Standing Rock resisters will be remembered for their efforts to warn us of corporate insensitivity to the rivers, lakes and communities" (Standing in Solidarity, Feb. 27).
What they should be remembered for is the incredible mess they left when they finally departed or were removed.
As detailed in the Bismarck Tribune on Feb. 24, the huge mess at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, even after three weeks of cleanup by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is being handled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and subcontractors with the cleanup costs expected to top $1-million. Abandoned cars and motorhomes have been hauled out (how were they powered to get there?) and hundreds of rollout dumpsters filled with garbage and abandoned equipment have been removed. Crews were awaiting instructions from health officials on how to deal with the human waste left behind.
Once the snow is gone, the land has to be remediated back to its original state as grazing pasture. Because the camp was on a floodplain, it is urgent to get everything removed before the spring melt to prevent contamination of Lake Oahe, which the tribe uses for drinking water. And the ostensible purpose of the protest was what? To prevent potential damage to the water in the unlikely event of an oil spill from the pipeline!
Environmentalists? Give your head a shake if you believe that the protesters were concerned about the environment. Actions speak louder than words.
Mark Oliver, Calgary
Take two pills. Or not
Re Federal Drug Plan Could Save Billions, CMAJ Study Says (Feb. 27): Although our health-care system is referred to as "universal," the truth is that it is still strongly influenced by how income and wealth are distributed.
An estimated three million Canadians cannot afford prescribed medications, yet even after two royal commissions and countless recommendations by health policy experts, there is little movement in the direction of universal drug coverage.
The provision of pharmacare is indeed a tall task, one that will only be brought to fruition when significant public awareness and political will come together.
Anser Daud, Maple, Ont.
Pharmacare is just too bitter a pill to swallow without a fight for the private companies that profit from the "sky high" prices you condemn (Taking Baby Steps Toward Pharmacare, editorial, March 1). Big pharma, big connections, big clout and, if implemented despite all that big pushback, tax increases to pay for it. "What sane politician would want to open that can of worms?" you ask. Exactly – so it's no wonder our elected representatives prefer the placebo-that-is to the cure-that-could-be. Pols to the people: Take two pills, pay for them – and don't call us in the morning.
Meryl Campbell, St. John's
Re O'Leary Says He Can't Be Bought, Sets $50,000 Appearance Limit (Feb. 28): Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says he won't attend any high-roller fundraisers for less than $50,000 an appearance and that "you can't buy access to me." Well, certainly not without a thick wallet.
Larry Kazdan, Vancouver