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The Bear necessities

The recently held nuclear security summit at The Hague became an impromptu G7 meeting for the purpose of excluding (at least temporarily) Russia from future G7 meetings (The End Of Our Illusions About Russia – March 26). Surely the nuclear summit's hope of eliminating nuclear weapons requires the attendance of Russia, the second-most-important nuclear power in the world.

The West should not confuse its displeasure of Russian actions in the Crimea with the goal of making the world safe from nuclear disaster.

Bill Holt, Toronto


Jeffrey Simpson's column provides a voice of reason and clarity. Please reprint it on the front page and send a copy to Stephen Harper. Perhaps it would give him a broader perspective.

We've had enough grandstanding from the Prime Minister.

Stella Watson, Toronto


Snakes and ladders

Re PQ Slips On Sovereignty (March 26): We've been playing a game of snakes and ladders for about 50 years. The game is driven by what historians ignore: chance. There is chance in every step. The movement has to form a majority government, pass a referendum law, find winning conditions and win the referendum. Then it has to survive various elections at various levels and somehow avoid partition and somehow duck countermeasures by the ROC.

Over an extended period of time, the process appears to work because the movement gets further up the board than one would normally expect.

Then it lands on a snake.

The game can be made to work if the movement settles with Quebec's minorities and creates a constitution that the minorities will vote for, then holds a referendum to ratify the constitution and sovereignty.

But that's not going to happen.

Tony Butler, Montreal


Undemocratic reform

Re In Fact, Unfair (letters, March 26): Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre concludes his opinion piece,Why The Fair Elections Act Is, In Fact, Fair (March 24) by stating "Canadians instinctively understand that these changes are reasonable and fair. That is why they have not shared the critics' hysteria."

The arrogance. Newspapers' letters to the editor pages, radio talk shows, periodicals and barbers' chairs are seething with this one-man's-opinion.

Robert A. Stapells, Halifax


A job for numbers

Re How Kijiji's Job Listings Drove Ottawa's Skills-Shortage Claims (March 26): Life under the Harper Conservatives. Kill reliable data like the long-form census. Rely on Kijiji and hocus-pocus. Nice work.

Dave Nonen, Victoria


Values: It's a choice

You state that "Doctors wearing a kippah, nurses who wear a hijab, a hospital administrator in a turban – all would have to quit their jobs, or their faith" (A Campaign Of Fears, Real And Imaginary – editorial, March 26). The debate over Quebec's values charter has often been framed in those terms, but quite falsely. Those individuals would simply have to leave their religious symbols off while on the job. If they choose to see that as a requirement to quit their jobs, that is just that, their choice.

Peter Newton, Hamilton


'Modest' proposal?

Re To All Those Jet Foes: The Sky Isn't Falling (March 26): Marcus Gee refers to the Toronto Island airport expansion proposal, which would in effect put a very large operation right inside the downtown core, as "modest." What would he consider to be an "immodest" proposal? If portions of the Gardiner Expressway were converted to a runway, perhaps?

And all this for the sake of "convenience," another misused word given the hazards (environmental and otherwise) involved. What will actually improve "convenience" is direct rail service to Pearson International Airport.

Attila Ataner, Toronto


Barbara's example

For anyone who loved or admired Barbara Frum, your marking of her death in 1992 was bittersweet: gratitude for the recognition of such a remarkable woman tempered by the sadness of her loss (A Moment in Time: March 26, 1992).

In a day when the rush to fill the 24-hour news cycle can make information seem incomplete, even facile, it is worth remembering her incisive and thoughtful questioning and the warmth of her personality.

Sally Reardon, Halifax


Non-profits' spending

Re Fall Of The Poverty Entrepreneurs (March 25): For the most part, the model of the non-profit registered society works well. The societies generally comprise community members, a volunteer board that meets monthly and paid staff who work to deliver benefits to the mentally ill, seniors, persons with disabilities, sports programs for kids, special needs housing etc. Funds come from grants, government sources, fund raising and private donations and are carefully spent with board oversight and annual audits by an outside firm.

The mess at the Portland Hotel Society is the exception and will remind those involved in non-profit and for-profit organizations of the need for good governance.

Gordon D. Gram, Vancouver


Kids who cook

Re Dinner's Not Going to Make Itself (life, March 26): It's ironic that the picture underneath the secondary headline, There's A Danger In Raising Kids Who Can't Cook, suggests some of the dangers of teaching kids to cook.

Since she was 3, my daughter has been using knives to cut vegetables and has been making her own scrambled eggs – but I would never allow her to do what the photo shows: hang over the stove from the countertop, where a hand might easily rest on a hot surface or she might fall while distracted by what's on the stove.

If it's so important to teach kids to cook, why aren't we urging that those skills be a mandatory part of the public school curriculum?

Elaine Power, Kingston


Our Scout troop has 30 kids, ages 11 to 15, and each age group does all its own cooking (and prep and cleanup) out in the bush. Our 11-year-olds make very good stews, as well as pancakes (with berries) and grilled cheese (with ham). They later progress to baked pork tenderloin and even four-inch-deep lasagna in a Dutch oven. The eldest do a nice job of a chicken baked in a cardboard box, Caesar salad and black forest cake. (Just because you are roughing it does not mean you have to rough it.)

Parents or former members have often commented – after the Scout has gone to college or university – that "they were the only ones who could cook …"

John Barker, 23rd St. Bartholomew's Scout Troop, Sarnia, Ont.

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