Crisis of inattention
Having spent two challenging and rewarding years as a nurse in Attawapiskat First Nation, I am saddened and disheartened by the crisis situation in that community (Federal Help Headed For Troubled First-Nations Village – Nov. 26). They deserve better than to suffer the indignities and tragedies to which reserve communities are prone. It seems each remote First Nation must endure a crisis of suicide, substance use, lack of sanitation, flooding or other deplorable situation before anyone pays attention.
When will we stop viewing each occurrence as an isolated incident, to be managed and then forgotten? What is needed is wholesale change, brought about by recognizing the disgrace that is Canada's reserve system.
Ross A. Smith, Toronto
It appears that Finance Minister James Flaherty believes he is a better judge of foreign investing by Canadian banks than the banks themselves (Move To Have More Power Over Banks Is 'Prudential' Step, Flaherty Says – Report on Business, Nov. 26).
Admittedly, the Royal Bank of Canada has been burned by a foray into U.S. retail banking and, some years ago, Bank of Nova Scotia suffered from investment in Argentina. Neither venture jeopardized their Canadian operations. This hardly compares with the long record of the Government of Canada's investments in various Crown corporations.
Quite rightly, we are trying to expand our offshore interests. Another layer of red tape is not the best way to go.
Hector Wright, Elora, Ont.
Re CFL Legends Mosca, Kapp Fight At Grey Cup Luncheon (Nov. 26): Only long-in-the-tooth fans of the B.C. Lions can fully appreciate the short, but intense, confrontation Friday during the 2011 Grey Cup pregame festivities. I am, of course, referring to the scuffle between Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca, two football combatants who played against each other nearly half a century ago.
In 1963, the Lions were playing the Ticats for the Grey Cup in Vancouver's Empire stadium. Mr. Kapp was B.C.'s quarterback and Mr. Mosca was a Hamilton defensive tackle. Mr. Mosca's controversial late hit on Willie Fleming, B.C. star offensive player, resulted in a game-ending injury for Mr. Fleming. Hamilton went on to win the Grey Cup. B.C. fans were outraged.
Youngsters can learn a couple things from this memorable incident: first, participating in sports creates memories (even grudges) that can last a lifetime; second; don't mess with cantankerous old men.
Lloyd Atkins, Vernon, B.C.
On track with CP
Trouble On The Tracks ( Report On Business – Nov. 26) was fascinating reading; the photo of the red Canadian Pacific Railway engine against the snowy Rocky Mountain backdrop was very dramatic.
Beyond the economics, the politics, the new investor fears, the operating ratios, there remains a wonderful geography lesson on the railway's history. A keen high school geography teacher should save this story and inspire their students to take a trip one day to watch the long CP freights deal with the famous Kicking Horse Pass spiral tunnels.
May CP Rail, in the many challenges ahead of it, conquer the high mountains, the winter weather – and its impatient customers and shareholders.
Honor G. Nivin, Toronto
End of life
Thank you for highlighting the critical issue of end-of-life decisions (Mortal Choices – Focus, Nov. 26). As a physician in several long-term care facilities, I need to see my patients communicate their preference for end-of-life care to spare their families these difficult decisions, and to spare the patients futile procedures. We must encourage death with dignity.
Gerald Nemanishen, MD, Mission, B.C.
As somebody who grew up in the Middle East, I have long been bemused by Stephen Harper's determination to see that region as so starkly black and white (The Direct Approach Isn't Always The Most Effective – Nov. 26). Perhaps the most charitable interpretation to put on the Conservatives' approach is that it is one pursued by neophytes in foreign affairs, relatively unschooled in the art, importance and value of effective diplomacy, but well-versed in short-term political and economic expediency on the domestic front.
Here's a wish: Santa, please slip John Kay's Obliquity under the Harpers' Christmas tree. And may some good come of it.
Rita Orchard, Burnaby, B.C.
Interesting as the speculations are about the possible demise of the Liberal Party of Canada (Is A Liberal Comeback Mission Impossible? – Focus, Nov. 26), there is one political party that is dead, and that is the federal Progressive Conservative Party, and we know who killed it.
H. W. MacFadyen, Canmore, Alta.
Books and bricks
The introduction by Indigo of a policy to return most unsold books to publishers, after only 45 days, is a ridiculously low market exposure time that leaves Heather Reisman with a widening bricks-and-mortar book monopoly (Indigo Aims To Shake The Dust Out Of Its Book Bins – Report on Business, Nov. 24).
Being a bookseller is all about the long hours and huge effort of working to bring many books, not just faddy "bestsellers," to many publics, and this cannot work if volume sales of these bestsellers is put before the quality and variety of many other books. The result, if this is allowed to continue, will be the destruction of the bricks-and-mortar local bookstores that used to serve this nation so well.
It is time for the government to consider its role in such situations.
David Ellis, bookseller, Vancouver
Breathe in, hold
The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities expects the "new, long-term infrastructure plan" being developed in Ottawa will be "a step in exactly the right direction" (Budget Surprises – letters, Nov. 26).
Others may be holding their breath as to what a regime also promising lower taxes and less government involvement has in mind. The Champlain Bridge proposal may have initiated the indrawn breath.
George Burrett, Cambridge, Ont.
Re The Essentials of Dashing Departures (Travel, Nov. 26): Allow me to suggest that when you're "far away from home" and the "fresh and zesty fragrance with hints of orange and bergamott" of Acqua di Colona Russa fails to provide sufficient solace, there's that signature scent of so many Canadian men: Eau de Hockey Bag, an intense fragrance of socks, with a scintilla of barnyard and a whisper of Seagram's VO and pretzels around the edge.
Tim Jeffery, Toronto