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Military personal during a Remembrance Day ceremony in British Columbia. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Military personal during a Remembrance Day ceremony in British Columbia. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)


Nov. 12: Remember the beginnings, not endings, of wars – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Wars’ beginnings

Re Remember (Nov. 11): Perhaps we should remember not the end of wars, but the beginnings.

If Remembrance Day concentrated on the start of the First World War, people watching the ceremonies might think more about what gets us into these horrors, rather than the fact that they end at some point – regrettably, to be replaced by more of the same.

Dave Ashby, Toronto


Honour the sacrifice

Your editorial They Earned It (Nov. 11) reminds us to honour the sacrifice of all Canadian veterans. There’s a very practical way to honour the sacrifice of contemporary vets, and that is with the dignity of work.

Some 4,000 to 5,000 members leave Canada’s armed forces every year. Let’s challenge employers to bring veterans’ résumés to the top of the list, to learn about the skills and leadership abilities they have developed, often in the most extreme circumstances.

Make November “hire a veteran month.”

Martin Birt, Markham, Ont.


Re Two Minutes To Reconsider ‘Victims’ And ‘Heroes’ (Nov. 9): The vast majority of Canadians who took part overseas in the two world wars and Korea, and the vast majority who became casualties, were volunteers, not conscripts.

In the First World War, conscription only became law in August, 1917; just some 24,000 of those soldiers were at the Western Front by November, 1918, before the war ended. During the Second World War, conscription was introduced in 1942. However, those conscripted served at home (the “Zombies”) and were not ordered overseas until November, 1944. Of those, only some 2,500 were in the field before the conclusion of hostilities, with 69 killed in battle.

Korean War participants were all volunteers.

Mark Collins, research fellow, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute


Ford at the cenotaph

Re Ford Has No Place At Cenotaph (Nov. 11): I had hoped that we had put the vilification of Rob Ford behind us.

Mr. Ford was elected as Toronto’s mayor. As such, one of his official duties is to attend the cenotaph on Remembrance Day. It would have been cowardly and disrespectful to Toronto’s many surviving veterans and their families to have stayed away.

Vivian Brennan, Pickering, Ont.


Senate ethics rules

Re Strengthen Senate Ethics Rules, Former Watchdog Says (Nov. 11): The ethics rules in all 15 Canadian jurisdictions, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and France permit parliamentarians to engage in outside activities, provided they comply with the relevant ethics rules, codes and laws.

The general view, in Canada and elsewhere, is that outside activities enable legislators to become more knowledgeable in certain areas of public policy which, in turn, assists them in carrying out their duties as lawmakers.

During my seven years as Senate Ethics Officer, I did not hear from my colleagues across the country of any wrongdoing by parliamentarians attempting to use their positions of trust to get special treatment for the companies on whose boards they sat. Except for possible “housekeeping” changes, the Senate rules are generally consistent with the Canadian model of parliamentary ethics.

Jean T. Fournier, Qualicum Beach, B.C.


Re Wallin, Gerstein And Others Have Earned Millions Of Dollars Outside Of Senate (Nov. 9): After reading the article on senators with other jobs as members of company boards, I’m not sure which part of me was more upset – the taxpayer or the investor?

The taxpayer sees senators who take their role so casually, they can spend significant time on corporate pursuits. Looking at the background of some of these senators, the investor wonders what skill set these people bring that can make them so highly paid?

It is hard to believe there aren’t many individuals who could do the job better and more cheaply.

Joe Casey, Edmonton


Vitamin wisdom

Re Why I’m Leaving The Vitamin Church (Nov. 9): Margaret Wente is spot on. Vitamin D is the vitamin du jour. As a family doctor for some 30 years, I’ve seen so many fads, including vitamins A, C, E, and now D, the gluten-free nonsense (except for those with celiac disease) and many more.

There’s so much worthless information circulating. Dietary studies contradict each other all the time, as there are so many variables to consider.

Our bodies are smart. Whatever we feed ourselves, our metabolism makes the best of it. Vitamin deficiencies are rare in Canada.

And don’t get me started on the bottled-water craze.

Dennis C. Gardiner, MD, Ottawa


Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a host of health problems. Canadians who do not supplement with vitamin D are almost all deficient in it. The meta-analysis cited by Margaret Wente actually showed significant benefit for vitamin D supplementation on six different health outcomes. Vitamin D is so cheap and so widely consumed, manufacturers stand to gain nothing by sponsoring the expensive kinds of trials that would be required to prove its benefits. Hence the shortage of overwhelming evidence.

Eric Stutz, MD, Toronto


Wealth’s dangers

Re Mind The Gap (Nov. 9): No one seriously expects the top earners to voluntarily reduce their incomes (witness the outcry by that group about paying higher taxes). But I would suggest that those in the higher-paid, more influential brackets, and those able to take advantage of the present disproportionate economic situation consider the possible results of continuing on this path.

The days of ex- and would-be workers wearing cloth caps and mufflers and meekly lining up for a handout are over. We live in an age when protest can result in vigorous, even extreme actions. There is time to correct the present imbalance in apportioning the nation’s wealth; your article is a timely one.

Ken Peatling, Brampton, Ont.


Hockey smarts

Re PMO Offered Media Advice To Duffy (Nov. 9): Against the backdrop of the PMO/Senate saga, I wonder if hockey author/PM Stephen Harper has reflected sufficiently on the tips an understanding of the game offers:

1. A team cannot succeed with just right-wingers;

2. Stick-handling in circles doesn’t move you forward;

3. When skating backward, avoid fancy footwork;

4. If a power play fails, scapegoating the point man does more damage than good;

5. Taking foolish penalties like “freezing the puck” and “delay of game” simply gives the opposition a man advantage.

6. Chances to score increase greatly if you shoot straight.

Cec Race, North Vancouver

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