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What they're paid
Re Multiple Pan Am Executives Among Highest-Paid Ontario Government Workers (March 25): I suppose it was unintentional humour. Your article about the compensation revealed in the latest Sunshine List noted that the Pan Am Games cost $2.4-billion to stage and produced a return of only $175-million. We then heard from the province's deputy premier that you have to pay the big bucks to get the best people.
What a relief we didn't pick totally inept people to run the games – the loss might have been catastrophic.
Dave Ashby, Toronto
In the financial Wonderland that is Ontario, where it takes "top talent" to generate billion-dollar shortfalls, and paying teachers' unions millions of bucks to cover their pizza and negotiating costs makes sense, Alice is spoiled for choice in deciding which rabbit hole to tumble down. It is to despair.
Michelle Nichols, Calgary
Re Moore's Exit Is A Prayer Answered (Sports, March 23): Who should make more, Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber? No one calls for equal pay for the two as they sell their respective wares and succeed or not based on fan support.
Who should make more, Robert Downey Jr. or Jennifer Lawrence? There have been calls for equal pay in films, but each performer has agents working for them, and each extracted what they thought was maximum dollars from the film studios when they signed their respective contracts.
Who should make more at Grand Slam tennis tournaments, Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams? If female tennis players were bringing in substantially more revenue than male players, they would be asking for more money than the men get. There would be no speeches about egalitarianism or the long ago struggles of Billie Jean King.
Novak Djokovic has offered an apology for his comments about equal pay at the Grand Slams and other combined tournaments.
He did not, however, retract his assertion that men bring in more revenue at Grand Slam tournaments. People may not like the truth, but numbers do not lie.
Trevor Amon, Victoria
Aren't we all …
Jeffrey Simpson implies that environmentalists are enemies of progress when he writes about "environmentalists who do not want most resource developments, whether mines, dams and hydro lines, liquefied natural gas terminals, fossil-fuel exploitation or tanker traffic" (What Exactly Is A 'Nation-To-Nation' Relationship? – March 25). But are we not all "environmentalists"? No one wants resource developments if there are non-ecologically destructive alternatives available. Do we all not favour preserving as much nature as possible?
Not to torture definitions overly, but if progress implies technological improvement, are not the "non-environmentalists," who actually want these things without thoroughly investigating greener alternatives, the real enemies of progress?
Frank de Jong, Faro, Yukon
A trial's lessons
As the father of an 18-year-old who is just venturing out to live on her own on campus, I cannot express how frustrated I am about how the behaviour of the Jian Ghomeshi complainants within our judicial system – as opposed to their behaviour outside of it – sabotaged the opportunity for our courts to send an unequivocal message to all perpetrators of sexual assault that they no longer can get away with their crimes by simply calling into question the sexual mores of their victims.
Clearly, the biggest takeaway for sexual assault victims seeking justice in our courts is simply this: Tell the truth in all its messy and sometimes incomprehensible wonder and tell that truth consistently and transparently. Our courts require it and the effective deliberation of innocence or guilt demands it.
If these complainants had just done that, and done that alone, I am convinced we would be celebrating today just how far we have come as a society from blaming the victims of sexual assault – and the concomitant judgment of their behaviours – toward the universal condemnation and punishment of its vile perpetrators.
Paul Battista, Oakville, Ont.
Supportive attention should be directed to all persons, not just women, who report sexual assault. Memories of people who have been traumatized are not always readily accessed, nor are they clear-cut. In sensitive counselling of such persons, details emerge only as the individual is emotionally and socially ready to address them openly in a safe environment.
By the time people seek legal redress, much damage may already have occurred. We can learn from the Ghomeshi trial to better prepare people for the foreign territory of court. Or we can further develop alternative processes that still give the accused a fair hearing and that treat all parties with understanding and respect.
We can also redouble our efforts in preventive sex education designed to teach youth and adults how to effectively communicate their sexual interests, desires, needs and fantasies and how to negotiate consent of all parties concerned, not just once, but in an ongoing fashion, with opportunities to say "no" at any point. Exercising power to harm unwilling partners, that is, using coercion and abuse, has no place in positive sexual expression.
It wasn't easy to establish "rape crisis centres" in the 1970s. Clearly, we still have much work to do.
Mary Valentich, certified sex educator, Calgary
Re Report Diagnoses Poor Health In Prisons (March 15): This troubling report brings to light a reality that nurses in corrections have known for a long time: Canada's prison population is facing health challenges at much higher rates than the rest of the country. Issues with mental health, addictions and communicable disease are significantly more prevalent in this already marginalized population. These conditions are only exacerbated by overcrowding, limited mental health services, and overuse of segregation.
We must stop treating our prisoner population as if they are separate from society, and transition to a health-care delivery model governed by experts in health rather than security. It is imperative we ensure prisoners have access to a primary care practitioner during and after their time in jail, move away from practices like solitary confinement, and target resources to programs that treat hepatitis C, substance abuse disorder, and mental health.
We need to bring correctional health care back to the community, if we hope to successfully integrate incarcerated people back into our communities.
Ian Clarke, correctional nurse manager (retired), Burlington, Ont.
The streetcars clanging along Toronto's busy King Street are packed. The Toronto Transit Commission chief seeks a remedy. Sure enough, he is presented with a "really imaginative solution."
It is – wait for it – to add more streetcars to the busy stretch. Who'd a thunk it? (TTC To Add Streetcar Route To Relieve Congestion – March 24).
Helen Adams, Toronto