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A family's courage

Re Rare Police Move, Help Of Community Yield Arrests In Brutal Attack (Nov. 13): Kudos to the Winnipeg police for acting so quickly to bring charges in the abhorrent attack on Rinelle Harper. As well, the courage of the family in deciding to co-operate with the police in allowing the name of their daughter to be released has to be admired.

Co-operation and action such as this will do more to protect aboriginal women than any national inquiry.

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Gary Lewis, Owen Sound, Ont.

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The quick results in the Rinelle Harper case show what can happen when all parties – the wider community, police and First Nations people – pull together (Family Urges Canadians Not To Forget What Assaulted Girl Endured – Nov. 13).

Imagine what this kind of co-operation could achieve if we answered the calls for a federal inquiry into the hundreds and hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

As Grand Chief David Harper said, "We have to go right down to the root."

Audrey Murray, Winnipeg

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Re Violent Attack On Aboriginal Teen Draws Parallel To Tina Fontaine (Nov. 12): It was encouraging to read the words spoken by Winnipeg police Superintendent Danny Smyth regarding the attack on Rinelle Harper: "Rinelle is a person in this community. She's a person that has a family… We're hopeful that this will resonate with the community and that the community will come forward and help us."

These words, emphasizing Rinelle's shared humanity and coming from a community leader, are exactly what is needed to overcome public indifference and institutional inadequacy as regards the protection and honouring of First Nations women and girls.

Mervyn Russell, Oakville, Ont.

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Our dismal standing

Re. U.S.-China Climate Deal Ramps Up Pressure on Harper (Nov. 13): A spokesman for Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq is quoted as saying Canada has taken "decisive action" on greenhouse gas emissions.

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As noted, however, Environment Canada already expects emissions to grow "to 20 per cent higher than the 2020 target without new action."

If the Harper government saw addressing climate change as a "war against terror," perhaps Canadians would see something akin to decisive action. But at the moment, when it comes to such emerging challenges – challenges that have no borders – our government's leadership on this file is deeply lamentable.

Leadership from our provinces is not much better. Passing the buck will not address what we and future generations are facing.

Leo J. Deveau, Halifax

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Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq's office says that our greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 were 5.1 per cent lower than the 2005 levels – a reported decrease that appears to be calculated on a per capita basis.

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In 2012, the Conference Board of Canada, echoing a similar per capita decrease, reported that between 1990 and 2010, our total GHG emissions grew by 17 per cent, ranking Canada 15th out of the 17 OECD countries and earning us a "D" grade.

In light of this and the U.S.-China deal, what does the government propose to do to remedy our dismal standing?

Tim Armstrong, Toronto

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Universe of priorities

Does The Globe and Mail really think that a large picture of a smug Joe Oliver sitting at a table is more important on the front page than a photograph of scientists' exuberant reaction to their historic success in landing a probe on a comet, or of the landing itself? (Ottawa's Bottom Line Slides On Oil – front page, Nov. 13; 'We Are On The Comet!' – Folio, Nov. 13).

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No wonder science gets short shrift from the government when such little front-page prominence – a small picture under the Inside label – is given by The Globe to such a great and historic "first."

As for the "what does it matter?" crowd, as one commentator said, "Asking why it matters is like asking why you should care about your DNA." This event is the "really really big deal" that should have been the biggest news on the front page.

Anne Spencer, Victoria

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What's the point of landing on a comet? This is pure navel-gazing scientific research for research's sake. We should be landing on other planets and seeing if we can make a go of it there, not sending up a robot box to investigate the universe's version of a suburb – a comet.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

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It's not bureaucrats

Re Mr. Oliver's Twist: Orphaned Surplus (Nov. 13): Konrad Yakabuski quotes Finance Minister Joe Oliver as saying, "There is still too much money in the hands of the bureaucracy" and "We trust Canadians to save and spend … better than all-knowing bureaucrats."

Has it somehow escaped Mr. Oliver's notice that it's not government bureaucrats to whom Canadians pay taxes, and that those bureaucrats don't make the decisions about how tax dollars are spent?

If that were the case, why would we have politicians at all?

Steve Soloman, Toronto

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Sex workers' safety

The hypocrisy in Justice Minister Peter MacKay's letter to the editor about his government's prostitution bill is sickening (Peter MacKay Replies – Nov. 12).

His letter cites the quote: "There is no way to make prostitution safe." Perhaps, but there are many ways to make it even more unsafe and this government has chosen to do just that.

Shame.

Stuart McRae, Toronto

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Married, with kids?

Re Book Says Jesus Was Married, Had Kids (Nov. 12): Simcha Jacobovici protests: "It's interesting that some academics don't hesitate to opine about a book they haven't read."

He has a distinguished ally. George Bernard Shaw (Roebuck Ramsden, in Man and Superman): "I have in my hand a copy of the most infamous, the most scandalous, the most mischievous, the most blackguardly book that ever escaped burning at the hands of the common hangman. I have not read it: I would not soil my mind with such filth; but I have read what the papers say of it …"

How delicious. How delightful!

Harry Greening, Oakville, Ont.

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It's reported that a new book claims to have found evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was married and had children. How ironic that many people should consider claims of such banality to be "controversial," yet endorse the claims that a solitary 1st-century carpenter and philosopher defied the laws of physics (by walking on water), chemistry (by turning water into wine) and biology (by being born of a virgin).

Mark Bessoudo, Toronto

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A new book says Jesus had a wife. Wow. That sounds like a marriage made in Heaven.

Terry Toll, Campbell's Bay, Que.

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