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Green Party leader Elizabeth May gives the victory sign as she speaks to supporters after being elected MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands in Sidney, B.C., on May 2, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Green Party leader Elizabeth May gives the victory sign as she speaks to supporters after being elected MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands in Sidney, B.C., on May 2, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

May 12: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Worth violating

Geoff Read invokes Edward Said to defend Pakistan's sovereignty and chastise the West for being "incapable of perceiving the complexity and diversity of 'Oriental' states such as Pakistan" (East, West, letters - May 11). Of course, it was precisely America's understanding of the "diversity" of opinion about Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda among Pakistan's security forces that led it to keep Islamabad in the dark until after the operation against him.

Given Mr. bin Laden's complicity in the murder of innocents in African embassy bombings in 1998 and New York on 9/11, the success of this mission was worth violating Pakistan's sovereignty, despite its importance to the international system. What is puzzling is that Mr. Read elevates sovereignty to a moral absolute, when his relativism suggests that it is a Western social construct.

David Beffert, Washington


Blame game

Re A Prime Minister In Denial (May 10): We take exception to the baseless criticism of Pakistan in your editorial. Pakistan has been an active and willing partner with the international community to reverse the tide of terrorism and extremism. Over the past few years, the democratically elected government has to a large extent been successful in this endeavour.

Pakistan is a victim of terrorism, and many of our security personnel as well as innocent civilians have been victims of terror attacks. It is inconceivable to believe that the government or any part of it knew of Osama bin Laden's clandestine stay.

The unilateral action on the part of the U.S. and violation of our territory has been a cause of deep hurt among the people. There is need for global co-operation in the war on terror, not a blame game.

Muhammad Saleem, deputy high commissioner, Ottawa


Hard questions

Margaret Wente suggests I said that environmentalists "don't understand the science and they don't understand the economics" (Hard Questions For Ms. May - May 10). I've said nothing of the kind.

She also claims that I am Elizabeth May's "biggest critic." If so, Ms. May has little to worry about. I am delighted that she is now a member of Parliament. I am sure that she will do an excellent job of holding the government to account, and will enrich the political life of the nation. Her "biggest critic" has never said a word against her.

Elizabeth and I could, if we tried, doubtless find issues on which we disagree, but that, I believe, is something to celebrate. Environmentalism is perhaps the most politically diverse movement in history, accommodating a wide range of views and perspectives. The fact that we are able to hold a wide range of views without excoriating each other suggests that the green movement is a haven of free and independent thought, all too rare in the current political climate of micro-management and control freakery.

George Monbiot, Machynlleth, United Kingdom


Margaret Wente concludes her latest dismissal of climate change action by telling Elizabeth May and the rest of the greens to rise to the challenge and confront their contradictions. There are no contradictions. Read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

George Monbiot is right - we need concrete and large-scale action across the planet to reduce carbon dioxide levels, and it is not going to be easy. But it is not up to the greens to solve. Ms. Wente should challenge those politicians with the power to take a serious stand on climate change with her "hard questions."

Neil Hutchinson, Bracebridge, Ont.


Acquiring language

I was pleased to read André Picard's article on Doctors' Orders For Developing Minds: Test The Hearing Of Newborns Across Canada (May 9). We at the Canadian Hearing Society wish to emphasize the importance of access to language and language acquisition at an early age.

It has been well documented that the ability to hear is not at the crux of a child's sociability, education and employability. It is language proficiency that provides the door to ongoing success. When a child arrives at school with age-appropriate language, whether signed or spoken, he or she already has one of the most important tools for success.

Publicly funded early intervention programs should not require families to choose between communication service options that may restrict children's access to the bilingual or multilingual learning of signed and a spoken language.

Chris Kenopic, president and CEO, The Canadian Hearing Society, Toronto


Not that many

Your article When A University Degree Just Isn't Enough (May 9) relies on a small number of first-year students at McMaster estimating their class sizes. Their guess was that 85 per cent of first-year classes had more than 100 students. In fact, only 32 per cent of McMaster's first-year classes have more than 100 students; 57 per cent have fewer than 60 students.

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, provost, McMaster University, Hamilton


Hybrid degrees

I'm glad to see growing recognition of the important role of colleges in the Canadian postsecondary landscape (Job-Seeking Grads Give It The Old College Try - May 10). However, your writer references hybrid college-university degrees as a possible wave of the future. This is not a new idea. In fact, Sheridan has five collaborative degree programs in place, the oldest being our art and art history degree offered jointly with the University of Toronto at Mississauga, and introduced 40 years ago.

Jeff Zabudsky, president and CEO, Sheridan College, Oakville, Ont.


Double standard?

Re 'The Man Who Wasn't There' In Lethbridge Heading To Ottawa (May 6): A quick scan of your website reveals more than 20 articles published since the federal election scrutinizing Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the NDP MP-elect for Berthier-Maskinongé who never expected to be elected and thus never set foot in the riding, yet only one on Jim Hillyer, the newly elected Conservative member for Lethbridge, who painstakingly avoided media contact and public appearances during his campaign, and has still not agreed to any interviews.

Why all the sneering and condescension for a 27-year-old woman, and virtually none for a 36-year-old man who arguably showed more blatant disrespect for voters and doesn't have the excuse of needing to work in his second language?

Ben Sichel, Halifax


Hellooo …

I do not understand why the media are going on and on about new MPs from the NDP that are just out of university and have never lived in their riding.

Wasn't that Michael Ignatieff?

Philip Day, Toronto

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