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The CF-105 Avro Arrow, on a test flight over Toronto in 1958. (CP)
The CF-105 Avro Arrow, on a test flight over Toronto in 1958. (CP)

What readers think

Sept. 12: Aquiver at the Arrow, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Aquiver at the Arrow

As long as we’re prepared to consider spending $35-billion on a fighter jet that doesn’t exist yet, doesn’t work on paper and doesn’t suit our needs for wars we hope we never fight, we might as well spend that money making a jet that doesn’t work here in Canada (Ottawa Shoots Down New Arrow Plan – Sept. 11).

Revive the Avro Arrow.

John Gzowski, Toronto


As a young fighter pilot, I “knew” John Diefenbaker, initially because his secretary lived across the street from me in Ottawa and the Chief had liked a letter to the editor I wrote in those far off days. He got in touch and we had lunch several times on Parliament Hill.

Mr. Diefenbaker told me why he cancelled the Avro Arrow on the advice of his RCAF advisers, and the reasons are as valid today as they were in 1978, when we last spoke, or indeed in 1959, when he did the actual cancelling of the CF-105: It was far too expensive, militarily useless (extreme size, lack of manoeuvrability, lack of cockpit visibility, plus the fact that it had no weapons system; development of this had already been aborted).

I know the Arrow is a cherished Canadian myth, but the reality is it would cost 10 times as much to tool up for this F-35 replacement as it would to buy the very expensive, but also very capable F-35.

The difference between the Arrow and the Sopwith Camel and Spitfire is that they worked in their time! They would be as useless today as would the Arrow.

Jock Williams, Toronto


Keeping score

Extended time off in the summer. Overpaid compared to the average citizen. Holding the public to ransom. Ontario teachers?

Nope. NHL owners and players (Here’s What The Fans Can Do To Take Back Their Game – Sports, Sept. 11).

Here’s a question for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty: How about legislating against this pending strike/lockout? (Ontario Passes Bill To Freeze Wages, Ban Strikes For Teachers – Sept. 11).

John Ferguson, Ottawa


Big oil is right

Shell’s Lorraine Mitchelmore is reported as saying Canada “will need a carbon price” (President Of Royal Dutch Shell Canadian Division Urges Carbon Pricing – Report on Business, Sept. 11).

This is not the first time Shell has taken this position, nor is it the only oil giant to do so. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver immediately rejected the call for carbon pricing.

It is often claimed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet are in the pocket of the oil industry. If only.

Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada


They are slaves

Re How Unpaid North Korean Labour Helped Russia Welcome The World (Sept. 11): Babai and his co-workers are slaves; they are not paid, they cannot leave their jobs, and they are rented out by their owner, the government of North Korea.

There is little we can do about slavery inside North Korea, where 150,000 to 200,000 people are imprisoned in camps, producing raw materials and industrial goods for export to earn hard currency, without pay and on sub-starvation rations. But we can stop North Korean state slavers from renting out slaves to other countries.

Slavery is a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights, Wilfrid Laurier University


What’s my line?

When I go on vacation to Cuba, I will wait in the non-priority queue with the other travellers at Pearson International. This week, in Vancouver on business, I not only used the priority lane, but said a silent thank you for the service (Back Of The Line, Buddy – Sept. 10).

It is Jim Stanford’s opinion that we “high fliers” and “fat cats” feel we are a cut above the other travellers.

The priority lane is an express service, like the one offered at the grocery store.

Travellers who can remove their belt and shoes, have their laptop out of their briefcase and the change out of their pockets in 30 seconds flat can use this service.

It is not for those who have misplaced their boarding pass since entering the line, or who have pocket knives on their key chains, or who cannot pass the hour flight from Toronto to Montreal without a dozen bottles of lotions and potions.

The next time Mr. Stanford needs a bag of milk, he should pass by the express checkout and stand in a regular lane.

Victoria Thompson, Markham, Ont.


Indignation on Jim Stanford’s part, as opposed to understanding queue-jumping for what it really is: a minor reward for individuals with disposable income generated by hard work.

One-line thinking is assembly-line thinking that discourages healthy competitiveness. I, like many Canadians, wouldn’t want to be in that line.

Geoffrey Wilcox, Calgary


Gender and God

Re Muslim Men: Stop Blaming Women (Sept. 11): Sheema Khan writes that views about imposed subservience on women “must be challenged by Muslims, based on Islam and Islamic history.” It is not a good idea to initiate changes in societal behaviour from texts written hundreds of years ago.

One could equally find repressive ideologies from these eras, and within the texts written then, that are totally unacceptable today. It hasn’t been all that long that women in Western society have had the right to vote, to own and sell property, to open a bank account in their own name. None of these rights were won by citing ancient scriptural texts.

As Ms. Khan states at the end of her column, it is far more essential for the “Brotherhood” to “stop blaming women, take responsibility for your actions, and respect all women as human beings.”

Michael Brunet, Montreal


The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt wants us to believe that God made half of his creatures subservient to the other half.

Michele Bachmann wants us to believe that God is sending hurricanes and floods to send messages to the people of the U.S. and its government.

Mitt Romney is enlisting God to help his floundering campaign; when all is lost, you can always count on God to save the day.

God help save us from idiotic politicians and clergy of all sorts.

Elie Mihkael Nasrallah, Ottawa


Proud Merkins?

Methinks letter writer Sally Morrow (Merka Mysteries – Sept. 11) has succumbed to a simple mistake in etymology when she speculates on all those “proud Merkans” south of the border.

The Americans she refers to are talking about their proud merkins, spelled with an i, not an a.

This is confirmed by the fact that the noble president in the film Dr. Strangelove was named … Merkin Muffley.

Frank Foulkes, Toronto

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