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Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House on March 27, 2013. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House on March 27, 2013. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

What readers think

March 29: Mr. Harper’s word, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Mr. Harper’s word

Stephen Harper keeps his Conservative MPs in line because “he said he’s determined to keep his word to the people of Canada” and will not be moved from the agenda that got the Conservatives elected (Harper Puts Backbench On Notice – March 28).

He seems to forget that he also stated he would have a more open government, yet we find scientists muzzled, auditors criticized for doing their job, and access to information more difficult to obtain.

Garry DeGeer, Toronto


The Conservative MPs who, after their caucus meeting, changed their critical attitude  toward the PMO’s control of “their rights to speak for their constituents” bring to mind the refrain of Kipling’s poem Gentlemen Rankers:

We’re poor little lambs who’ve lost our way,

Baa! Baa! Baa!

We’re little black sheep who’ve gone astray,


Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,

Damned from here to Eternity,

God ha’ mercy on such as we,

Baa! Yah! Bah!

Derek Massey, Stratford, Ont.


In-hock irony

We have our federal Minister of Finance telling banks that they should not lower mortgage rates. At the same time, we have Ontario’s new Premier backing an NDP motion to tell insurance companies they should lower their automobile insurance rates (Wynne Backs Motion To Cut Car Insurance Rates – March 28).

The banks and the insurers, generally speaking, are running highly successful, profitable organizations. The governments involved are not. Both are running massive deficits and are in hock up to their eyeballs. If they were businesses, they would be bankrupt. Curious that they see fit to instruct private businesses on how to run their businesses. They have no business doing this.

John Morrison, Burlington, Ont.


He was our Frank Lloyd Wright

One evening in 1988, I took a walk through the beautiful streets of Point Grey, where I had just purchased a tiny but adorable house (In Vancouver, A Big Deal Over A Tiny House – March 28). I was stopped dead in my tracks by a din I had never heard in the city. I traced it to a high wood fence and realized I was listening to a massive chorus of tree frogs. I discovered I had bought a house half a block from the Arthur Erickson “bunker” and garden. Just knowing it was there over the years has given me immense joy.

What Vancouver does not need is yet another monster home. They are a dime a dozen. Mr. Erickson was our Frank Lloyd Wright. This place was his Taliesen. Why must we destroy everything of historical and artistic value in this city? Enough money is being made in every corner of Vancouver by developers and people who need 7,000 square feet to live in.

Enough is enough.

Annabel Kershaw, Vancouver


Hit delete

Re Ruling Upholds Privacy Of E-mail, Texts (March 28): While applauding the decision of the Supreme Court on the privacy of e-mails and texts, it raises the question of why our Internet providers are storing them at all. If privacy is to be real, they should be deleted immediately.

Geoff Williams, Stratford, Ont.


Win friends. Not.

The Harper government is taking flight from the UN’s convention on droughts and deserts (Canada Quits UN Drought Convention – March 28). This is yet another example of this government’s “how not to win friends and influence people” philosophy. Another black mark for Canada.

Cam Fraser, Mississauga


The Harper government’s decision to pull out of a UN anti-drought convention is perfectly reasonable, perhaps even brave. Why should Canada be party to an agreement that counts among its supporters Iran, North Korea, and Syria?

Joel MacDonald, Saskatoon


Human tragedy

Re Verdict Spurs Call For Action On Crime Bill (March 28): While I can shed tears with Christine Russell over the tragic death of her husband, what purpose will be served by throwing Richard Kachkar in jail? (A jury found that Mr. Kackkar couldn’t understand what he was doing when he drove a snowplow into Sgt. Ryan Russell.)

We know full well that jails are places where no hope and very little rehabilitation takes place. To incarcerate a mentally ill person in such a setting is to sentence him to death, if not physically, then certainly in spirit. Such a heartless response to human tragedy is becoming all too much the norm in our “tough on crime” government agenda. Better that we pour money into finding ways to ease or cure mental illness than to pour millions into building more warehouses of despair that we call prisons.

Rev. Linda C. Hunter, Calgary


EV sales

The Road To Electric Cars Is Strewn With Potholes (March 28) was too critical of the budding electric vehicle (EV) sector. All new business sectors have growing pains.

Worldwide, almost all car makers are introducing ever-improving EV models. EVs have the potential to save drivers money over the long haul. They represent one of the most painless solutions to weaning our world from its addiction to dirty, non-renewable oil and gas, especially in Canada where most of our electricity comes from non-polluting hydro and nuclear power.

Yes, EV sales are increasing slowly here, but this is typical for the adoption of non-combustion transportation of any type. A recent survey by OraclePoll Research of 1,000 Canadians across the country found that 38 per cent are very or somewhat likely to purchase an EV in the next five to 10 years.

Chris Hill, CEO, Electric Mobility Canada


Something old

In a 1931 shortwave radio broadcast, Bernard Shaw addressed the American people as “you dear old boobs.” I’ve used this telling phrase in the title of a book I’m writing: “You Dear Old Boobs”: Bernard Shaw and America. Friends and colleagues tell me there’s no way a publisher will touch that title, so it was encouraging to see Margaret Wente invoke the “boob” word in her column on Toronto’s mayor (Toronto Needs an Intervention – March 28). Ms Wente is using the word, as Shaw did, in its original 17th-century sense, “stupid person,” rather than its more recent popular meaning.

So maybe my title has a chance after all.

Leonard Conolly, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


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