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March 30: Letters to the editor Add to ...

67 chill

With the Conservative budget moving the OAS qualifying age to 67, our social safety net becomes further compromised (Budget To Reset Retirement Age To 67 – March 29). Show us the costing study that compares this option to simply changing the OAS clawback level from $67,000 to something like $30,000 or $40,000.

The Conservatives have shown a gleeful aptitude for demonstrating that when your policies are driven by ideology you don’t need studies or numbers or projections. You just need power.

Bruce Henry, Brampton, Ont.


Put me down as one seriously ticked off 43-year-old (Tory Budget Slashes $5.2-Billion In Spending, Gives Boomers A Pass On OAS – online, March 29). First, we’re told we need to delay Old Age Security payments until age 67 because so many boomers are retiring. Then, in a staggering leap of illogic, the Harper Conservatives phase in the change so the boomers skate free.

Forget about following the White Rabbit down the hole. He’s clearly in charge on Parliament Hill.

Brendan Daniels, Winnipeg


CBCs, plural

John Doyle (Memo To The CBC: Suck It Up – Arts, March 29) makes some good points about the CBC’s failing to transcend mediocrity and making the case for what it does. But here’s the real issue: If we didn’t have the CBC today, in the multichannel universe, who among us would argue that Canada needed to spend another billion a year to create it?

Ron Freedman, Toronto


I don’t regard the CBC as a monolith. There are many CBCs. Mine consists of a number of bright, curious women: Anna Maria Tremonti, Carol Off and Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio; Amanda Lang, Nahlah Ayed and Adrienne Arsenault on CBC TV. And to prove I’m not sexist, my list includes Bob McDonald.

Morris Wolfe, Toronto


Keeping kids safe

Re It’s Better To Be Prepared Than Scared (March 27): My comments come from 31 years of police experience, 15 working on child molestation, abduction and homicide cases. I agree, overall, that violence to children is rare. However, comparing risk to probabilities of involvement in a car accident or drowning is harmful advice for parents. I’ve consulted on many child stranger abductions and murders, and no parent had to leave their child unattended outside for 750,000 years – the risk factor the article cited.

There are many people in our communities who, by virtue of sexually deviant needs or anti-social values, are interested in abducting and harming a child. They invariably do this when stress, substance abuse, availability of victims and other variables cause them to act on violent and/or sexual fantasies. You would be shocked at the number of people who have this potential but are resisting their urges, or fuelling them with child pornography. This is a reality.

Children don’t need to be locked up, but they do need to be effectively warned and street-proofed. The risk of stranger abduction exists. I think the impression this article left was incorrect, even dangerous.

Jim Van Allen, OPP Det. Sgt., Ret’d., Langley, B.C.


Nurse anesthetists

As a researcher who has studied and lectured internationally on nurse anesthesia practice, I welcome the news that B.C. is seriously considering the role (Province Eyeing ‘Nurse Anesthetists’ – March 29). In more than 142 countries, nurses have provided comprehensive anesthesia care and pain control – it is in Commonwealth countries that the role has not developed.

Nurse anesthesia practice can be documented as far back as the 1860s. As an initial doubting Thomas, I have been impressed with the immense knowledge, skill and professionalism of the many nurse anesthetists I have observed in their work. It would be a singularly intelligent move to fully embrace this role in Canada.

Rita Schreiber, Nurse Practitioner Program Co-ordinator, University of Victoria School of Nursing


Alberta vision

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she would revive the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA) to develop technology for both renewable and non-renewable energy concepts (Redford’s $3-Billion Pledge Fuels Clean-Energy Debate – March 29).

I worked as an adviser to the original AOSTRA when it had the vision to carry out the first commercial-scale test of steam-assisted gravity drainage, the method that now produces about half of Alberta’s bitumen. The first step was taken without involvement from industry, which only joined in when success was assured.

The new AOSTRA would try to find ways of improving the efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of development. Extending this research to other hydrocarbons, particularly coal, as well as to renewable forms of energy, can only be beneficial to both Alberta and Canada.

Gerry Stephenson, Canmore, Alta.


Worth a mention

Margaret Wente (All That Matters Is The Math – March 29) mentions that “the average family physician now makes upward of $300,000 a year.” What she doesn’t mention is that, out of that income, doctors are required to rent office space, purchase related office and medical equipment and pay staff salaries – unlike the police officers, teachers and university professors she mentions.

Ed Bodi, Oakville, Ont.



Tim Hudak dismisses the Ontario budget out of hand, scuttling any chance of negotiating items that might further a more conservative agenda (Digging In Dismissively – editorial, March 29). Instead, he wants to force an expensive election neither his party nor the electorate can afford. The Tories need a leadership review in the worst way.

David Chalmers, Toronto


Return Omar Khadr

Why is it the world recognizes that child soldiers should be treated first and foremost as victims of adult crimes, yet Canada has not only allowed Omar Khadr to languish in Guantanamo Bay prison since he was 15, but is stalling on the arrangements of his plea-bargain agreement (Panetta Calls For Khadr’s Long-Delayed Transfer To Canada – March 28).

Canada only had one child solider to save and his treatment by our government continues to be an international embarrassment.

Karen McCall, Toronto


An acquired taste

Re Urine Eggs A Delicacy In China (online, March 29): A new import? Some terribly sophisticated eatery (now that the dandelions are blooming) will be serving them with a salad of pissenlit.

Robert Frost was so right: “Nature’s first green is gold.”

William Emigh, Victoria

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