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Stephen Harper is greeted by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrives at the Presidential Palace for the official welcoming ceremony in New Dehli on Nov. 6, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Stephen Harper is greeted by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrives at the Presidential Palace for the official welcoming ceremony in New Dehli on Nov. 6, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Nov. 7: The PM’s India adventure, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Opaque, you say

You report that International Trade Minister Ed Fast criticizes India for having a “relatively opaque” environment for foreign investors (Indian Trade Mission Hits Bump – Nov. 6).

It’s quite ironic that in the same edition, Morningstar analyst Kirk Paulus warns investors against betting on CNOOC’s bid for Nexen, because Canada’s foreign investment rules are “far too opaque” (Nexen Stock Risky Despite CNOOC Bid: Morningstar). So I guess we should ask Mr. Fast: Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Stephen Heard, Halifax


Getting the message

The delicious samosas on the Prime Minister’s plane, being accompanied by Indo-Canadian MPs and using armoured Cadillac limos notwithstanding (Armoured Cars Taken To India For Harper – Nov. 6), are Indians getting the message?

When I did a Google search, “Stephen Harper visit to India” earlier this week, there was not a single hit for Indian media in several pages! The only ones that showed up were Canadian ones.

When a few major Indian newspaper websites were checked, only one displayed a collection of photographs related to the Prime Minister’s visit – among many other themes – with no associated article.

To this reader, these are clear signs of Indian apathy toward government’s efforts to woo Indians. This is nothing new: Does the government check for the effectiveness of such efforts?

Sukumar Roy, Newmarket, Ont.


Aside from the issue of whether government vehicles should have been shipped over to India for Stephen Harper’s visit, why do they display Ontario licence plates? Diplomats here from foreign countries have special plates for their vehicles. Does our Prime Minister only represent the province of Ontario? Maybe that’s why he seems so oblivious to the concerns of British Columbians.

Ronald Appleton, Vancouver


Thanks, now go away

When the Conservative government, through Veterans Affairs, turns down two-thirds of requests for veteran funeral assistance because a deceased veteran’s income exceeded $12,000, we should all be outraged by such petty-mindedness toward those we claim to be indebted to (Veterans’ Burial Fund Rejects Most Applicants – Nov. 5).

All we hear from Conservative ministers are silly platitudes like “we hold our service people and veterans in the highest regard and will continue in our efforts to … blah, blah, blah.” We swallow it like pablum for babies. This government flaunts its budget priorities in front of us – such as shipping armour-plated vehicles to a friendly country so Stephen Harper can be comfortable, knowing full well the host country would provide comfortable, secure vehicles (Armoured Cars Taken To India For Harper – Nov. 6).

The insult to veterans and to their cash-strapped families to come up with funeral costs is so blatant, I have to wonder at our collective state of mind that we allow this without great outcry.

I grieve for the families of veterans who find themselves turned down because we cannot find a few dollars to help bury the front-line fighters of our country. We should all be ashamed at how Canada has turned its back on those we thank one day, and abandon at the moment of truth.

G.W. Hesketh, Wakefield, Que.


Now that’s dumb

Re Woman Ordered To Wear ‘Idiot’ Sign For Driving On Sidewalk To Pass School Bus (Nov. 6): The fine for failing to stop for a school bus is a hefty one, however, fines aren’t meaningful to everyone. Chances are, this woman would have paid the fine and let the incident – she drove on the sidewalk to avoid waiting for a bus that was letting off children – fade from memory.

Public shaming can be taken too far, but in this case it seems much more productive than a fine. Her memory will forever sting with the embarrassment. Dignity is internal, and much harder to replace than the superficiality that is money.

Emily Driedger, Guelph, Ont.


Irrefutable? No, but

You seem to have jumped the gun in your editorial No Moral Hazard (Nov. 6). In fact, there is currently no “irrefutable medical evidence that the HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer” – and this is so for very valid scientific reasons related to the onset of cervical cancer in adulthood, perhaps decades after the schoolgirls today are being immunized.

Only years from now will there be evidence about the actual impact of vaccinations on the rates of cervical cancer, and whether the programs’ results match the hopes that have been created. Even then, the complexity of sorting out the role of these vaccinations from other potential changes (e.g., in Pap- or perhaps direct HPV-testing rates) on cervical cancer rates will potentially make even future use of the term “irrefutable” to describe what is known inappropriate.

Abby Lippman, Montreal


Wait, wait, wait …

Re I’ve Been Waiting Three Years To See A Specialist. What Can I Do? (Life, Nov. 6): As a long-time family doctor, initially in Britain, and for the past 30 years in Alberta, I am familiar with agonizingly long waiting lists for specialist consultations. The reader seeking advice should be made aware, however, that three years falls well outside of what passes for the norm. After waiting a year and half, her husband was no longer on the waiting list. He is now on the forgotten-about list.

Edmond Charleton, MD, Edmonton


The eco wayside

It is rare that an article annoys me so much, I feel compelled to rouse myself out of my customary torpor to write to the editor, but the essay An Ecowarrior Retires (Facts & Arguments, Nov. 6) is just that piece.

Author Lynn Lau suggests that after devoting the past 21 years to a life of extreme abstemiousness and single-minded dedication to the environment, she has just now decided to retire from being an environmentalist. Ms. Lau cites “the world’s human population continu[ing] to reproduce on a J-curve” as evidence of the failure of her many, many personal sacrifices. She then goes on to describe her experiences of eating Korean BBQ beef, raising chickens and giving birth.

The reason the planet is in such a parlous condition is due to most people’s selfishness when faced with making lifestyle changes such as choosing to eat only organic, plant-based foods or, most important of all, not reproducing. People who choose to do otherwise should at least not have the gall to claim to be environmentalists.

Erica Maxwell, Toronto


About that gravy

Could you please let TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford know that I, too, would like to have a TTC bus (a.k.a. Fordmobile) on standby next Thursday at rush hour (Ford Denies Responsibility For Bus Fiasco – Nov. 6).

My team of Navy Seals is planning a tiddlywinks tournament in the park and forecasts indicate a slight drizzle.

An ordinary Citizen, a.k.a James McLandress, Toronto

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