Letters To The Editor: The PM is playing on our paranoia

Plus: Reaction to stories about the Bay-Bloor scramble and Toronto's heritage challenges


Harp’s fitting fight for religious freedoms 

Re Stephen Harper’s War On Women (NOW, March 12-18). So Stephen Harper has decided that Islam is anti-woman. What will that mean for Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, which his government set up? And what about the Roman Catholic church that won’t let women become priests? Or the many religions that won’t let women into holy places when they are “dirty,” and so on? 

Mr. Harper: convenient values in tough times.

Kyle Vale

From nowtoronto.com


Using the Holocaust to defend anti-terror bill

In defending Bill C-51, Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney notes that “the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chamber – it began with words” (NOW, March 12-18). He fails to say that the gas chambers were instituted by an elected Nazi government. 

The minister is not so subtly suggesting that if C-51 is not adopted ASAP, ISIS jihadists will somehow create a Canadian caliphate in downtown Toronto and then decapitate every infidel around. After all, everyone knows they hate our values, as the PM keeps telling us. As a thoughtful, reasoned defence of a supposedly vital government bill, Blaney’s position is beyond reprehensible.

Geoff Rytell

Toronto


FU to C-51?

Although I agree with the sentiments expressed by protesters at this past weekend’s C-51 rally (NOW, March 16), surely there are better ways to express opposition to the government than by holding up signs reading “Fuck you” and “Fuck Bill C-51.”

Karen Robertson

Toronto


PM plays on a nation’s paranoia 

There have been alarming incidents in Canada recently where individuals have killed soldiers in uniform. These individuals have left behind some record of their desire to avenge the military action taken by Canadian forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some take this as a sign that we are under attack from some organized force, and they seek an organized response. 

In my view these domestic issues have been more about mental health than about jihad. The lunatic fringe, whether it is nihilist, extremist or fascist, will always attract those who feel a desperate need for meaning in their lives. But the paranoia of these individuals must not be spread to our society by those who seek to inflame the electorate and cling to power. 

Dwight Friesen

Toronto


Canada sleepwalking to Armageddon

When I was young, Canada worked with the United Nations and was known for its peacekeeping. Lester Pearson won a Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. Pierre Elliott Trudeau kept us out of Vietnam, a horrific and bloody war that scarred a generation and accomplished nothing.

Then there was September 11, 2001, and now ISIS. 

Our current prime minister announced that we were going to war in Iraq not from Canada, not from Parliament, where important decisions should be made, but from a press conference in New York. We were told that our involvement was air strikes against ISIS targets. 

Several days ago a Canadian Special Forces soldier was shot by our supposed allies whom we are training, in what the feds are describing as a friendly fire incident. Special Forces are used for a ssaults and aggressive actions, not training.

Ukraine is a similar concocted nightmare. Canada is now supplying weapons and training to Ukrainian forces. This is tantamount to an act of war against Russia, a nuclear superpower that never did anything to us other than sending us amazing hockey teams.

Our government is out of control. This new anti-terror bill is simply an excuse to put in a security apparatus to ensure they stay in power forever.

J. Clark 

Toronto


Bay-Bloor scramble a matter of seconds

I agree with Frederick Emrich’s excellent critique of the city’s recommendation to do away with the Bay-Bloor scramble (NOW, March 13).

But what is also needed is evidence that the scramble is accomplishing anything valuable. I am a pedestrian who crosses frequently at Bay and Bloor. At the intersection, I don’t get to cross kitty-corner two-thirds of the time, and if I do I save 15 or 20 seconds. 

At the moment, though, a better service to pedestrians would be to lengthen the crossing times at intersections. I analyze survey data for a living, and the questions the city cited in its decision to remove the scramble are meaningless. 

John FitzGerald

From nowtoronto.com


Heritage lost: there’s no sustaining our folly

It’s all true! Catherine Nasmith’s article New Ideas Need Old Buildings (NOW, March 12-18) says it all about the problem with our heritage planning laws, and I thank her for spelling it out. When I survey the architecture and neighbourhoods lost to development, I wonder how we can sustain this folly. I have nightmares, too! 

The burning question is how do we get government to follow the guidelines it sets? 

If we followed the city planning guidelines instead of bending every rule, we wouldn’t be in as big a mess. 

Susan Stock

From nowtoronto.com


Food banks’ past due date

I have been a client of the Scott Mission on and off for the past nine years, and have been using their food bank since losing my job in corporate marketing. 

About six months ago, I noticed that many of the food items that Scott Mission was giving us were expired. I called and emailed them and never heard back.

The Scott Mission is the only food bank in my catchment area and has a limit of two visits per month. More than half the food I receive is expired (anything from meat, fish and eggs to canned vegetables and dry goods), meaning that I have to consume potentially hazardous goods in order to stay alive. 

Jordan A.

Toronto


Liv Ullmann definitely a Norwegian legend

Re Gem Of A Julie, by Norman Wilner (NOW, March 12-18). One does not have to be a dedicated scholar of Liv Ullmann’s early life – before she met the Swedish legend Ingmar Bergman – to know that she is thoroughly Norwegian.

David Reynolds

Toronto


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