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Today’s topics: robo-tricked; the perils of tanker noise; skills training; cookbook-love ... and more
Today’s topics: robo-tricked; the perils of tanker noise; skills training; cookbook-love ... and more

What readers think

March 2: Letters to the editor Add to ...


I was so pleased to read your headline Tories Played No Tricks: Harper (March 1). Since the Prime Minister denies involvement in the robo-call deceit, I am reassured that he will put the full majesty of the government behind finding out who did.

Alan Ryan, Saskatoon


I am deeply troubled that the government is treating this simply as an attack from its political adversaries. Dirty tricks like these are an attack on every Canadian who cherishes democracy.

Robert Fontaine, Gatineau, Que.


Finding the culprit or culprits, while admirable, is not necessary to set right the wrong meted out to the Canadian democratic system, nor to establish in the eyes of the public that this type of activity will not be tolerated. Correcting this gross trespass is solved by calling by-elections in the offended ridings.

Daav Macnab, Winlaw, B.C.


I have been listening to the attacks on the Conservative Party, as well as the people who volunteered in the Conservative campaign in Guelph. The media have been talking to anyone who may have had anything to do with the party locally. For instance, I am a member of the party and keep fielding calls from newspapers and TV, yet I wasn’t part of the campaign. I didn’t even volunteer!

It is clear the media have become desperate. Well, here is some information: The 2011 vote total in Guelph was up from 2008. The Liberal incumbent’s vote total was up by over 11 per cent, while the Liberals across Canada were slaughtered. Their leader couldn’t even win his own seat. The media should ask: Who had nothing to lose with those robo-calls? Answer: the Liberals.

We have enough issues locally. We don’t need the national media making good people from Guelph out to be something they are not.

Allan Boynton, Guelph, Ont.


We need another election because the last one was fraudulent. Do we also need international observers to ensure transparency?

Erum Hasan, Toronto


Course: Spin 101. Course textbook, Chapter 1: DENY, DENY, DENY.

Andrew Milner, Peterborough, Ont.


Re: Pushing Back On Robo-Calls, Tories Blame Liberals For Electoral Mischief (online, March 1): Did I read correctly that the Conservatives are now suggesting that the Liberals sabotaged their own campaigns?! Right – and I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Thor Kuhlmann, Vancouver


Memo to Israel’s Prime Minister: On your arrival in Canada Friday, should you receive a phone call telling you that the location of your meeting with Stephen Harper has been moved to Moose Jaw, hang up!

Don Macpherson, Saskatoon


Sounding the alarm

More than 200 megatankers will transit tricky North Coast channels each year if the Northern Gateway project is approved, introducing noise pollution where recovering populations of humpback and fin whales are beginning to thrive in some of B.C.’s quietest waters (The Perilous Journey Of The Northern Gateway Pipeline – Feb. 29). For whales, dolphins and other cetaceans, sound is their survival tool to warn of predators, find food, communicate and locate mates.

Ocean noise can shrink the area over which whales in coastal waters can hear one another to only 10 to 20 per cent of its natural extent. For the 10 most-vulnerable cetacean species in these B.C. waters, the protection of key habitat from excessive noise is an urgent conservation priority. The perils are piling up.

Linda Nowlan, director, Pacific Conservation, WWF-Canada


Missing: skills

Your editorial about the concerns of youth unemployment (The Other Age Issue – March 1) praises the employer-sponsored apprenticeship programs in Germany. I participated in such a program many years ago before coming to Canada. Here, I was appalled at the lack of skills and abilities in the engineering trades and saw a direct relationship between poor manufacturing, product quality and export potential.

I now teach my trade, I connect with these students every day and I still despair. In 30 years, improvement has been minimal. This contributes to Canada’s being regarded as just a source of raw materials and prevents investment in manufacturing.

Employers need to step up and take ownership of continuing education in the trades they require.

Ross A. Crompton, Hamilton, Ont.


Leap of logic

The Feb. 29 Moment In Time pinpointed the anomaly of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s second resignation from politics on that day in 1984. Although Mr. Trudeau left office 28 years ago, Canadians are only able to commemorate the seventh anniversary of that event. He flaunts us still.

Lennard Sillanpää, Ottawa


Left behind

It was refreshing to read that the Ontario Securities Commission is questioning its effectiveness and relevance in upholding its mandate to protect investors under the Ontario Securities Act (OSC Releases Strategic Plan For A Standalone Future – Report on Business, March 1).

Ontario residents are faced with sky-high mutual fund fees and brokerage commissions. Too often, accounts are churned and stuffed by commission-driven brokers, desperate to achieve quotas. This has become more intense as the retail investment industry has grown more oligopolistic.

It is logical to suspect that any reformulation of the OSC by the OSC will be self-serving. That, combined with a Securities Act that is 22 years old, is grounds for an entire review of retail investing regulation. Online trading, high frequency trading and various instruments available have left both the commission and the act behind.

It would be better for Ontario investors if an enquiry were established to determine the necessity and relevance of the Ontario Securities Act and the OSC and bring about relevant models.

Alex Doulis, Toronto



Re Ditching Cookbooks And Developing An Appetite For Apps (Life, March 1): Cookbooks offer a mirror on the culture from which a particular cuisine arises. For many, to read a cookbook is to make a personal connection, to feel on a first-name basis with an author. When cooks hear the names Julia, Nigella, Marcella, Lidia, Mario or Anthony, they know exactly who that means.

There is no reason why the printed word and apps cannot co-exist since they do not serve exactly the same audience or purpose. Ultimately, it may be flour and oil that determine the fate of the cookbook. Books may stand up better than technology to the age-old problem of sloppy cooks.

Jennifer Grange, The Cookbook Store, Toronto



If the producers of the resuscitated Carrie are hoping that it will join the “cannon of great musicals”, I guess they're expecting it to be an explosive hit (Resurrecting Carrie: Less Horror, More Heart – Arts, March 1).

Celine Papizewska, Bloomfield, Ont.

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