Letters To The Editor – NOW Magazine https://nowtoronto.com Everything Toronto - NOW Magazine Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:52:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 https://nowtoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cropped-favicon-96x96-1-32x32.png Letters To The Editor – NOW Magazine https://nowtoronto.com 32 32 Letters to the editor: Soundcheck on anti-social behaviour in public places https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-private-speakers-dont-belong-in-public-places https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-private-speakers-dont-belong-in-public-places#respond Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:45:44 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=740629 Plus, Kristyn Wong-Tam's vaccine views, the NDP's bad rent control proposal and revisionist history on Black cowboys in reader mail this week

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Private speakers don’t belong in public spaces

Your article Shop local: The best holiday gifts under $250 notes that a benefit of the Sonos Roam Smart speaker is that it can be used in rinks and parks.

Please do not promote the use of private speakers in public places in your articles. It is incredibly anti-social and entitled behaviour that makes public spaces less enjoyable by adding unnecessary and distracting sound.

Torontonians are generally good about sharing physical space in public places, but it is important to share sonic space too.

Ryan Taylor Toronto

Vexing vaccine questions

Re Kristyn Wong-Tam to step down from Board of Health over COVID backlash (NOW Online, November 23).

I can’t understand why Councillor Wong-Tam needs to impose her views on everybody else. As a gay man who helped successfully fight for the rights of the entire Rainbow community in the early 1990s, I never had the temerity to think I spoke for everyone. Perhaps she could use her privilege and high intellect to create space for other marginalized people to speak for themselves.


Can young people save the planet?

Re Was the UN Climate Change conference just more “blah, blah, blah?” by David Suzuki (NOW Online, November 24).

As individual consumers, far too many of us still recklessly behave as though throwing non-biodegradable garbage down a dark chute, or flushing pollutants down the toilet will somehow be safely absorbed into the air, water, and land.

Admittedly, I notice every time I discard trash, the spring-cleaning-like sense of disposal satisfaction. Perhaps it’s due to Earth’s relatively large size, which seemingly enables a general obliviousness, if not carelessness, towards the natural environment.

If it were not for environmentally conscious and active young people who are just reaching voting age, matters would be even bleaker than they are.

Frank Sterle Jr.From NOWTORONTO.COM

NDP rent control proposal is poorly thought out

Re Op-ed: Vacancy decontrol has failed tenants and should be abolished (NOW Online, November 21).

The Ontario NDP recently tabled Bill 23, Rent Stabilization Act, 2021 which was scheduled to go to second reading on November 25. If passed, the Bill would amend the Residential Tenancies Act to require landlords to set the rent for a new renter equal to or less than the last rent charged to the previous renter.

Why would a landlord put a dime into fixing up the place if they can’t get any higher return? If there is not a decent return on investment, fewer people will choose property investments, resulting in fewer rental units on the market, which will only raise rents, not lower them. This is one poorly thought-out proposal. There is no regard for the law of unintended consequences.


Revisionist history on Black cowboys

Re A miscast Benedict Cumberbatch swaggers through the Power of the Dog (NOW Online, November 16).

According to Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, On the Stage, Behind the Badge, about one-quarter of the workforce in the cattle range industry were Black. So no, most cowboys were not Black. The author is guilty of the revisionist history he accuses the film of.


Illegal scooters forgotten in e-bikes debate

Re E-bikes on Toronto’s streets: It’s a love-hate thing (NOW November 18-24).

I spend a great deal of time in Toronto. I often see electric kick-scooters on the roads and sometimes being pushed onto the subway. I believe that owner-operated electric kick-scooters should be allowed for those 16 years of age and older on the same roads or lanes as bicycles. 

Rental scooters are a different matter. Depending on the system being used they can be parked on sidewalks and can be a hazard to pedestrians. They should be allowed only if they can be parked in designated places in an upright position.

It is foolish that such scooters are only allowed on private property in Toronto. There is no reason why the many current users should be made to feel guilty for using a product that is environmentally friendly and reduces congestion.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

City has the power to enforce e-bike rules

Thanks for your coverage on e-bikes. The responsibility of enforcement is not just with the police but also the city’s by-law enforcement officers. The city has the “tools to enforce rules as they relate to vehicles”, as its own bylaw states. Some bikes are just not obeying the rules, which gives great concern to other bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages and automobiles.

Joanne Smale TORONTO

Canada must stand up in the fight against global malnutrition

On December 7 and 8, the Nutrition for Growth Summit will be held in Tokyo. This summit signals a chance for Canada to make a huge difference in the lives of women and children suffering from malnutrition in middle- and low-income countries.

Every year, more than 2 million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related illness, and an estimated 149 million children are presently stunted in their growth due to chronic undernourishment. The lives of women and girls, who are 50 per cent more likely to face malnutrition than men and boys, are being put at risk. 

Gabriella AmesburyEdmonton


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Letter to the editor: E-bikes are here to stay, get used to it https://nowtoronto.com/news/letter-to-the-editor-e-bikes-are-here-to-stay-get-used-to-it https://nowtoronto.com/news/letter-to-the-editor-e-bikes-are-here-to-stay-get-used-to-it#comments Sun, 21 Nov 2021 14:18:44 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=739445 Plus, the argument against term limits for councillors, mask mandates on the TTC and one way to make mental health services more accessible in reader mail

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I’ve seen a lot of bad electric vehicle drivers

Re E-bikes on Toronto streets: It’s a love-hate thing (NOW, November 18-24).

The popularity of e-bikes is a change we all have to get used to. There will be more in the future. The city needs to plan accordingly.

I have an e-scooter and drive on a bike lane. I don’t go more than 20 kilometres an hour. The problem is some cars are deliberately pushing or pinning us to the side of the road onto bike lanes when we try to pass into vehicle traffic. Bike lanes are often full of parked cars.

I admit I’ve seen a lot of bad electric vehicle drivers and the community has been trying their best to educate everyone on proper use. But if you think about it, it’s the same with cars – there will always be bad drivers.


Size – and speed – matters with e-bikes

We require a license for motorbikes but not electric bikes. Size matters and being hit by an electric bike (which almost has the same footprint as a motorcycle) can be catastrophic. There is no “cycling” aspect to it (or very little of it) as the pedals on some bikes are for show. Newer e-bikes use throttle control which is very similar to a motorcycle.

People on e-bikes are gutsier than motorcyclists. They shoot down the centre dividing lane, ride against traffic, then jump on the sidewalk when they meet an obstacle. Some of them have zero regard for even the most basic rules of the road because they are nimble and can easily make a getaway. It’s chaotic. And it’s only going to get worse if we don’t get ahead of it.

I’m a cyclist and a driver, and I cringe when I see e-bikers do stupid things. They need to realize that they can only get away with this behaviour because we let them.


Car advertising still not geared up for global warming

One would think that car makers would have gotten the message by now that perhaps a little sensitivity should creep into their advertising. Yes, there are ads for hybrid and all-electric cars, and nods to the part these vehicles play in helping temper global warming. And then there’s Nissan Pathfinder burning rubber up a mountain track barely hanging on to the gravel surface, and speeding through a quiet forest road.

Geoff Rytell TORONTO

The argument against term limits for councillors

In regards to Carl Canmore’s letter on term limits for city politicians (NOW Online, November 14). It seems like a good idea. However, the problem with term limits is once a politician is elected to that second term, they can stop caring because they won’t be running for re-election anymore. A more practical solution would be three terms, then the person has to sit out one term before being allowed to run again.

Mitch KlingerWillowdale

Making health services more accessible

Re Op-ed: City needs its own mental health and addictions strategy (NOW Online, November 12).

One way the government could make mental health service more accessible would be to stop taxing psychotherapy.

Rachel FulfordFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Lack of COVID enforcement to blame for sinking TTC ridership

Re Can the TTC be saved from pandemic devastation? (NOW Online, November 19).

The lack of mask enforcement on the TTC is a huge issue and they have no one but themselves to blame for that. Before COVID, staff were rude and insulting, schedules were a joke and overcrowding was commonplace. Go to Berlin to see a functioning transit system.

Stephanie QuinlanFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: Raising the flag on Remembrance Day was right thing to do https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-raising-the-flag-on-remembrance-day-was-right-thing-to-do https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-raising-the-flag-on-remembrance-day-was-right-thing-to-do#respond Sun, 14 Nov 2021 17:04:16 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=738218 Plus, term limits for councillors, the elephant in the room on climate change and Scarborough's best BBQ secret in reader mail

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A reasonable compromise on Remembrance Day

Re Remembrance Day and reconciliation: Is it time to raise the flag? (NOW Online, November 4).

Raising the flag late on November 7 and lowering it again every Indigenous Veterans Day on November 8 and every National Truth and Reconciliation Day after that is a reasonable compromise.

When the flag was initially lowered, Trudeau should have announced that it would be for a specific period of time such as one month or until some important anniversary date related to Indigenous history. Lowering it indefinitely subject to negotiations was an unwise move.

By international standards, Trudeau has an unusual approach to the flag. Any country which has had colonies or slavery has enough anniversaries of injustices, killings and unnecessary deaths to keep its flag at half-mast more or less permanently. 

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

Albany not the oldest private club in Canada

Your articles on Hidden Toronto are great, but the second line in print on the Albany Club (NOW, November 7-14) should read that the club is “among” Canada’s oldest private clubs. The St. James Club in Montreal was established in 1857, pre-dating Confederation.

Richard HaskellToronto

Time to rename Jarvis Street?

Re Hidden Toronto: Graymar House (NOW Online, November 7). Maybe we should consider changing the name of Jarvis Street back to its original New Street?

Paul JamiesonFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Readers’ Choice questions

Re Readers’ Choice 2021 (NOW, November 11-17).

Your list for the best places to eat starts out OK, but the best Italian food is Terroni? And the best Japanese is Kinton Ramen? The Keg for best Steakhouse?


Scarborough the place for BBQ

Oh, horsefeathers! Art of BBQ Smokehouse in Scarborough is the darn best barbecue joint in the GTA.


Props for St. Stephen’s House

I’d like you to consider a “community” category for Readers’ Choice so the public can vote on the best respite centres and facilities offering social services in the city. This will help top shelters or drop-ins get support or bad ones improve meals, service or insensitive staff. I’ve great things to say about St. Stephen’s Community House!


The elephant in the room is a cow

Re Factory farming is Canada’s sacred cow on climate change (NOW Online, November 2).

Thank you for this informed and timely article about the literal cow in the room. We absolutely cannot meet climate targets with ongoing animal agriculture and the concomitant methane emissions, deforestation, and biodiversity loss.


Joe Cressy does the honourable thing

Councillor Joe Cressy has done the honourable thing to not run for re-election (NOW Online, October 30). It needs to be enshrined in law that councillors can only serve two terms, otherwise, the trend for councillors to be lifers will continue and stagnation will be the result


Dune’s climate change message

The core message from Dune (NOW Online, October 4) is that a planet can be the protagonist in a life or death drama.

Climate change is a disease that is infecting our biosphere and causing mortality at an increasing rate. The successes in controlling the spread of COVID-19 came from unprecedented global cooperation. Safe and effective vaccines were developed. Perhaps treating climate change as a global public health issue would enable us to successfully control climate change.

Moses ShuldinerToronto


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Letters to the editor: Where’s the beef on climate change? https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor#comments Sun, 07 Nov 2021 14:49:13 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=736941 Plus, a different kind of Bovine Sex Club, remembering Indigenous war vets and awesome Danforth Village in reader mail

The post Letters to the editor: Where’s the beef on climate change? appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Beef farming is preserving Canada’s grasslands

In his Op-Ed, Factory farming is Canada’s sacred cow on climate change, (NOW Online, November 2) Shane Moffatt of Greenpeace suggests targets to reduce meat production and consumption in Canada would be beneficial to climate and nature. As a local beef farmer, I’d like to suggest that could be harmful to climate targets and preserving natural spaces.

In Canada, 44 million acres of grasslands and pastures are cared for by beef farmers and ranchers. This includes 35 million acres of native temperate grasslands, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the entire world. It is also one of the most stable carbon sinks – carbon that would largely be released if these lands were cultivated or developed. In fact, protecting grasslands has been identified as one of the largest natural climate solution opportunities in Canada and the families that raise beef cattle are preserving the majority that remains intact.

Since grasslands evolved under grazing pressure, the ecosystem and wildlife that live there require a keystone herbivore to survive and thrive – a role now played by cattle. In fact, the farms and ranches where beef cattle are raised provide the majority of wildlife habitat on all food-producing lands. I see this in my own pasture where cattle share the land with the threatened Bobolink. A loss of land where cattle are raised means a loss of habitat, including homes for more than 60 species at risk.

With COP26, there will be a lot of discussion about the impact of animal agriculture on global emissions. Context in this conversation is imperative. There are large regional differences and impacts associated with raising cattle in different parts of the world. Canadian beef has one of the world’s lowest greenhouse gas footprints and farmers and ranchers are fully committed to continuous improvement.

Reducing our beef consumption is not the silver bullet. For Canada to be a climate leader on wildlife habitat we all hope it to be, an environmentally responsible and economically viable beef industry is a key partner, not a target.

Rob LipsettPresident, Beef Farmers of Ontario

Political parties too entrenched in the fossil fuel industry

Re Despite “code red,” governments continue to support fossil fuels (NOW Online, November 3).

If we want to see real, effective environmental change in Canada, Canadians will need to be bold and choose to elect neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives. They are far too entrenched with the fossil fuel industries to ever be truly willing to do what’s necessary.

Christopher KingFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Bovine Sex Club for frustrated Conservatives

I found it interesting that there were articles on both the Albany Club and the Bovine Sex Club in the most recent print issue. They were very informative.

I had thought the Bovine Sex Club was an association for lonely or adventurous cowboys. But it’s good that the two clubs were named the way they were. If the names had been reversed, there might have been some very confused or frustrated Victorian Conservatives.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

Recognizing Indigenous war veterans

Re Remembrance Day and reconciliation: Is it time to raise the flag? (NOW Online, November 4)

Excellent article. It’s a real change to read something well researched and thoughtful. I didn’t know about November 8 being Indigenous Veterans Day and will make an effort to join in special recognition of this day.

Brian GreenwayFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

An awesome look at Danforth Village

Re Last dash to Danforth Village (NOW, November 4-11).

Just wanted to say that this article is awesome. It’s thorough and does an incredible job of educating alongside its wariness on gentrification.

I moved into a place on Dentonia Park in July and have made a list of places to try now! Keep up the great work.

Meaghan AcklandFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: Conservative party is too afraid of its base https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-conservative-party-is-too-afraid-of-its-base https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-conservative-party-is-too-afraid-of-its-base#comments Sun, 31 Oct 2021 13:31:59 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=735778 Plus, COVID equals more global poverty, council covers up encampment shame and what Jesus really felt about homosexuality in reader mail

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It’s not Erin O’Toole’s fault his party is bonkers

Re Erin O’Toole Is Toast – It’s Only A Matter Of Time (NOW Online, October 26).

Of course, but it isn’t Erin’s fault. The base of the Cons is like the Republican base in the U.S. – it is too contaminated by the Christian Right and White Nationalists who are opposed to immigration (non-white, of course), abortion rights, gun control, climate science and individual rights – unless it involves harassing people outside mosques or clinics.

U.S. political writer George Will quipped that the Republican party is afraid of its own crazy base. The turfing of O’Toole will just confirm that the Cons in Canada are just as dangerous and equally incapable of compromise or change.


COVID fuelling an extreme rise in global poverty 

Re Trudeau Cabinet: Real Change, Or Same-Old, Same-Old? (NOW Online, October 27).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government swore in new Members of Parliament and cabinet members. 

One of the many portfolio switch-ups includes the new Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan.

It is crucial that Sajjan makes ending global poverty a top priority. About 120 million people are living in poverty around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This number is expected to rise with COVID-19 adding additional strains on the healthcare and education systems of low-income countries.

October 17 was International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Meanwhile, extreme global poverty rose for the first time in over 20 years in 2020.

Emma BiffiCambridge

Council’s moral failing on encampment clearings

Re John Tory’s Failure Of Leadership On Homelessness Is A Shame (NOW Online, October 8).

I was horrified to watch, in the most recent council meeting, as the chair made the false statement that a judicial enquiry into park encampment clearings would cost approximately $20 million. In fact, what council had heard was that an unrelated inquiry had cost this much, and that there was no estimate yet available of the cost of a judicial enquiry into encampment clearings.

Councillor Josh Matlow challenged the chair, which appeared to have no consequence, and those councillors who had not shamed themselves by leaving early voted based on a misapprehension insofar as they relied on what the chair said. 

Beyond the moral failing of the councillors who voted against an inquiry, the vote was not a function of voters’ interests and the facts, but a function of the chair’s confusion and a lie. 

Adam GoldingToronto

What Jesus really felt about homosexuality 

Re Why Are Conservative Christians So Obsessed With Homosexuality? (NOW Online, October 24).

As a gay male, my eyeballs nearly fell out of their sockets when I read Michael Coren’s risible assumption that “Some gay men may be soft… but the homosexual troops of the Hellenic armies were renowned for their courage and toughness.” What a condescending, cheap and churlish utterance from a so-called progressive. 

Also, the claim that Jesus didn’t mention same-sex relations is a cute sleight of hand that self-interested casuists frequently employ. In fact, the Mosaic Law of the Jews, both before and after Christ, condemned homosexuality. Jesus was a Jew and entered this world not to put away the law, but to fulfil it. Honestly, with friends like Coren to support the gay community, who needs enemies?


PCs’ mild case of white privilege

Re PCs Becoming A Garbage Dump For The Narrow Minded (NOW Online, October 24). 

Whatever criticisms we may direct of the PC party we should remember that there are other jurisdictions and parties which exercise far more extreme forms of dominant group privilege against minority groups.

In China the Communist Party exercises Han privilege against some groups and in India the BJP expresses Hindu privilege. White privilege within the PC party is quite mild when compared with the dominant group privilege in a number of other countries. I am reluctant to refer to the party as a “garbage dump” of white privilege. At most it is a receptacle for white privilege. We need to save the stronger language for more abusive parties and regimes.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

Terrorists are the new communists 

Canadian governments, including the present one, have often declared eternal friendship with Israel, saying that Canada and Israel share common values. 

Israel has criminalized six of its civil-rights organizations, saying that they are terrorists.

They would like to destroy any organization, and any person, who defends the civil and human rights of Palestinians – indeed, of anyone living in territory controlled by Israel who is not Jewish.

I am old enough to remember the time when if you wanted to destroy someone you called them a communist. Today you call them a terrorist.

Elizabeth BlockIndependent Jewish Voices


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Letters to the editor: PCs becoming a garbage dump for the narrow minded https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-pcs-a-garbage-dump-for-the-narrow-minded https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-pcs-a-garbage-dump-for-the-narrow-minded#comments Sun, 24 Oct 2021 15:14:20 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=734490 Plus, Chrystia Freeland's family values, Dave Chappelle's trans-gression and The Drake goes big box in reader mail

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Seeing only white privilege

Re On Immigration, Doug Ford Is Full Of Baloney (NOW Online, October 20).

Doug Ford went on a similar rant in 2019 against unemployed and disabled people when he infamously remarked: “The fastest way out of poverty is something called a job.” 

To an egomaniac like Doug, poor people are a nuisance and a disgrace, never mind that society doesn’t exactly favour the marginalized – or for that matter, that some people suffer from medical problems that may make holding a job impossible.

The Ontario PC Party has become a garbage dump for the narrow-minded who can only see white privilege. The PCs always disguise their prejudices under the pretense of cost-cutting and economic streamlining. No, Dougie and his Ford cult of ego are not what we need in Ontario.

Christopher Mansour Toronto 

Time to call out the old boy’s club

Re On Immigration, Doug Ford Is Full Of Baloney (NOW Online, October 20).

Most eloquently stated. This was the experience of my father and myself also. It’s still playing out today. Time to call the old boy’s club out on their entitlement.


Should Freeland be blamed for grandfather’s past?

Re Freeland Emerges As Media’s Foil On Trudeau Leadership Questions (NOW Online, October 16).

Please note that in 2014 Chrystia Freeland tweeted her pride in her grandfather. As HuffPost and others noted, her grandfather’s newspaper office occupied the apartment of Jews who had “disappeared” and most likely murdered, as most Kyiv Jews were. I doubt he was secretly in the resistance. Should she be blamed? I am proud of my Holocaust-involved family, but that is a different story.


A letter about letters

I understand the concept of including eye-friendly pictures with text in print, but does it really need to take up an entire third of the total allotted space?

In the case of NOW’s letters section, reducing the size of the photo could allow for another letter, albeit not long. Furthermore, the enlarged text of the leading letter only exacerbates an already tight situation. 

Frank Sterle Jr.From NOWTORONTO.COM

Tollkeeper’s cottage a wonderful treasure

Great article on the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, a wonderful, almost-hidden treasure in the city (NOW Online, October 17). A correction is needed though. It was the Community History Project that rescued and restored the cottage to its original state.

Jeannette MazzocattoFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Real comedians like Chappelle are free to say what they please

Re Dave Chappelle Special The Closer Is A Big FU (NOW Online, October 15).

The only reason why Eddie Murphy apologizes just like many of the other comics is that he has something to lose.

Also, if you know anything about the Black community there’s not one “all-time greatest” that has ended on top. The white, feminist, LGBTQ+ community and more has made sure every single one of the greatest fell before or after they died.

You can’t take something away from someone that doesn’t care like DC. That’s why real comedians are talking about how he’s free.


The Drake goes big box

Re Toronto’s Drake Hotel Doubles In Size With New Expansion (NOW Online, October 19).

Just as the ROM was ruined by the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, The Drake will go from a beautiful heritage site to something resembling a big-box furniture store. Perhaps they could paint it blue and yellow.

David RussellFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Re Chippewar’s Massive Installation Reflects On Indigenous Genocide In Canada (NOW Online, October 7).

How Ottawa can help remember residential schools tragedy

Our family is Mohawk. We live on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

My daughter was reading about the peace tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It has a book for each war Canada was involved in. Each book lists the names of the soldiers that died in those wars. She asked why the government doesn’t include a book for the war on Canada’s Indigenous people. They could include the names of all the children who died in residential schools. This recognition would be a step in the healing process.

Colleen GreenFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: Give me Liberty Village or give me death https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-give-me-liberty-village-or-give-me-death https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-give-me-liberty-village-or-give-me-death#comments Sun, 17 Oct 2021 13:35:08 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=733438 Plus, mandatory vaccines for the self-righteous, Dune paints over Islamic influences and a leaky piece of Toronto history in reader mail

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Corporate greed is messing up our urban environment

Re Toronto Walk: Liberty Village Is A Hellscape by Glenn Sumi (NOW Online, October 9).

Mega-congratulations on exposing the culprits that are paving over and molesting our urban landscape. We need a lot more strong opposition against the corporate greed that is defacing our beautiful environment. Thank you for your article. Hope it has some effect out there. 

Efthimia (Mia) EfamtisToronto

Missing the mark on Liberty Village

I am a 70-year-old woman living in a stacked townhouses in Liberty Village. I love the neighborhood and quite frankly your article was offensive. It is a lively and friendly place. You really missed the mark on this one. 

Shelley LevitzToronto

How to save Liberty Village

The problem with Liberty Village is its east-west zoning split.

East of Hanna there are residences. West of Hanna is employment uses. Result: apart from retail and food and beverage that gives the core of the eastern zone some semblance of a “village”, there is no greenspace and hectares of parking lot for workers who are not able to live near where they work.

How about dissolving that zoning, allowing employment and residences to mingle throughout Liberty Village, along with much needed green space? 

De-zoning – coupled with heritage conservation and regulating the scale of new buildings – was the solution that saved King-Spadina and King-Parliament after 1995. Might it save Liberty Village?

Richard LongleyFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Mandatory vaccinations for the self-righteous

Re Fear And Shame Won’t Convince Vaccine Hesitant To Get Their Shot (NOW Online, October 13).

I am disappointed in NOW. I’ve loved your courage in speaking to the unspeakable. Where has that gone in the matter of COVID information? 

For a long time I have waited for you to investigate COVID in a balanced way and not present the usual one-sided news and contemptuous attitude towards those of us who have different points of view on COVID strategies and care.

I read recently about a Black woman’s pain at how for most of her life, representations of her and her people only pointed to those who were troubled, challenged and viewed as inferior. She listed how finally, the beautiful one’s are being represented.

It has been the same for many minorities and marginalized people now branded as anti-vaxxers. How insulting! Now we need to be convinced by those close to us to get vaccinated? This attitude is superior and self-righteous.

Sage WalkerToronto

Dune paints over Islamic influences 

Re Denis Villeneuve On Engaging In Dune’s Colonization Narrative (NOW Online, October 13).

I’m excited to see this movie but still feel conflicted about the Arab/bedouin erasure that many fans of Frank Herbert casually slip by. 

Herbert uses many Arab and yes, as “scary” as it might be to the uninformed, Islamic influences. Articles that point out that he paints these influences as blandly “North African”, are disappointing. 

But there is also an argument to be made for how the mischaracterizing, even full out denial, of these influences distorts attention away from the very real world effect that colonialism has had on the Arab world. 

It is culturally appropriative to take a history, culture and religion to tell the story of a boy-come-prophet, centre his rise and fall and then sell this package back to us while being ignorant of the foundations of that culture.

Maybe the filmmakers should’ve hired one Arab or Islamic person for plausibility – if only so that someone on the set can pronounce words  properly.


Touching Toronto history 

Re Hidden Toronto: John Cox Cottage (NOW Online, October 10).

Hey, I lived there in the 1990s! Lovely place but we had brownouts all the time – and flooding in the basement. Still, I feel privileged to have touched a bit of Toronto history.

Brian CartwrightFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Toronto’s real estate market is clearly broken

Re Detached Homes In Toronto Reach Record-high Selling Prices (NOW Online, October 9).

These stories have really started to make me sick. I just read one explaining how a couple was able to buy a “starter home” for $1 million, at 40 years old. The article tries to pitch it as “there’s still hope for young people to get in this market if they are willing to sacrifice”. Obviously the place was a dilapidated shack. 

We really need to ask ourselves “how did we get here”? If you have be in the highest income bracket to even afford the most basic home, the system is clearly broken.

Keith LeblancFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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What matters is real action on Indigenous issues

Re Trudeau’s Tofino Trip And The Age Of Manufactured Outrage (NOW Online, October 5).

I met Trudeau once and can’t say I liked him much, but the Libs got my vote because they earned it with their pandemic response. Action matters. And on the Indigenous file, there are many issues.

Yes, it was dumb and insulting to some Indigenous leaders that he wasn’t in Kamloops to take part in reconciliation ceremonies – the AFN leader being a dissenting voice. But it won’t matter if his cabinet takes real action on the Indigenous issues.

This was an excellent piece. I agree that journalism has become all about chasing anger, and that’s just not healthy for the country. More analysis like this would be great, and maybe we can stop calling people who disagree with us “psychos”.


His highness falls on his face

It’s so hard to root for his highness. He swaggers and smirks and doesn’t appear to care about Canadians as much as the world order.

Liberals are infamous for jumping all over their opponents. So, most people are happy to jeer when his highness falls on his face.


Rehashing Conservative grievances

Justin Trudeau wanted a mandate on managing the COVID crisis, which made sense given the divergent views on lockdowns, vaccine mandates, etc. When you look at Canada from a global perspective, the pandemic has been remarkably well managed, despite the media’s determined focus on small groups of screaming anti-vaxxers (witness the constant reprinting of pictures of protests that happened days or weeks ago, even in more “liberal” papers such as the Toronto Star).

The Liberals did not do enough during the election to tout their achievements. Instead, they fell into the trap of rehashing old Conservative grievances. But they have their mandate, so let’s move forward.

Louise Koepler From NOWTORONTO.COM

Poisonous personal attacks taking hold in Canada’s politics

It is quite scary how easy it is for some people to fall into the manufactured outrage of headlines and the Canadian Conservative party’s willingness to follow the American playbook.

I remember the fabricated outrage over Obama’s tan suit and Michele’s bare arms. Trump escalated hatred with an unending stream of poisonous personal attacks and this kind of politics is taking hold in our country. 

Are we at the stage that an opposition party has to become better at outrage building in order to win?

Brigit BallantyneFrom NOWTORONTO.COM 

As You Like It, or not

Re Cliff Cardinal Delivers A Radical Take On As You Like It (NOW Online, October 2).

I support what Cliff Cardinal said on stage. His Land Acknowledgment/Monologue is full of anger and emotion and comes from a place of truth. I wish the show lots of success. That being said, I take issue with the marketing of the play.

For those who didn’t comprehend Glenn Sumi’s review, this is not William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. This is Cliff Cardinal’s Radical Land Acknowledgment. Zero Shakespeare. I don’t understand why Crow’s didn’t just call it what it was, or some other radical title.

Imagine you bought tickets to a Kanye West concert. The lights go down. Kanye appears on stage and delivers a 90-minute monologue about Black History and slavery. And that’s the show.


The divine Lesley Hampton

Re Lesley Hampton Makes Indigenous Fashion That Anyone Can Wear (NOW, October 7-13).

I love both of the designs on your cover, but the blue dress Ms. Hampton is wearing is absolutely divine.

Christopher King From NOWTORONTO.COM

The best Netflix list yet

Re The 50 Best Movies In Canada On Netflix Right Now (NOW Online, October 1).

This is the best, clear-cut selection of movies I’ve ever come across. Well done.



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Opposition MPs can table motion to remove Vuong

Re Opportunistic Kevin Vuong Gives Politics A Bad Name (NOW Online, September 27). 

The House of Commons has a right to expel any member for wrongdoing, even alleged wrongdoing.

The House could vote to expel Kevin Vuong. I would expect that an opposition MP would propose the resolution, which would put the Liberals in a corner to decide whether to vote in favour or against him.

Only a handful of MPs have ever been expelled by the House since 1867, including Louis Riel twice. MPs could also point to Section 2 of the MPs Code as a reason to expel Vuong.

But Vuong could challenge an expulsion as a violation of his right to run for a seat in the House. Everyone has a right to sit as an MP unless they are convicted of an indictable or hybrid offense and sentenced to prison for two years or more, or convicted of an illegal or corrupt practice under the Canada Elections Act.

Duff Conacher Democracy Watch

Trudeau trip undermines reconciliation

The Prime Minister using the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation for vacation completely undermines the solemnity of the day (NOW Online, October 1).

The government’s atrocious treatment of Canada’s Indigenous peoples is what the day is supposed to commemorate. The fact that federal employees are the only ones benefiting from a day off is compounding the national shame.

What is becoming clear to me is why Indigenous communities mistrust the government. I can think of 5,296 reasons and counting.

Nadine ArmstrongToronto

Canadians descend into Trump-style sniping

Why shouldn’t any extremely busy person, even the Prime Minister, be allowed a few moments respite with their spouse and family on a beach regardless of what day it is? Have we Canadians descended to petty Trump-style sniping? What his party does with the First Nations’ issues in the next four years is more important to me and First Nations peoples. 


Putting Indigenous issues front and centre

The federal election and pandemic variants have knocked our shocked attention from Indigenous issues brought to the fore by the discovery of unmarked graves of residential school students. Here is a modest proposal that could keep Indigenous matters in the minds and hearts of our future leaders: move commemorations of Indigenous history from June to October.

With Orange Shirt Day (Every Child Matters) and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coming at the end of September, National Indigenous History Month would naturally follow.

Gordon Wetmore – Deux-Montagnes, Quebec 

The case for an NDP-Green party alliance

Regarding what one commentator aptly described as the “costliest cabinet shuffle in Canadian history” (NOW Online, September 22). I would like readers to consider the next logical step – an NDP and Green Party alliance.

I live in Vancouver-Granville, and the token number of votes our Green party candidate received deprived us all of a truly progressive and committed environmentalist, the NDP’s Anjali Appadurai, as our MP. We will only see climate issues addressed seriously if more environmentally conscious MPs are elected.

For this to happen, a  Green-NDP Party must be formed to counter the cynicism generated by our current major parties. A number of my friends voted “strategically” in order to prevent a Conservative victory. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see Canadians vote “strategically” for a Green-NDP party in numbers that would see the resulting popular vote generate a true opportunity for concrete progress on so many long-ignored issues?

Kevin O’Neill Vancouver

No masks, no social distancing, lots of hugs

Re Time For Cops To Crack Down On Anti-Vaxxers Before It Gets Dangerous (NOW Online, September 30).

I have been attending the Toronto Freedom rally/protest/march since April 2020. I am not a member of any of the groups mentioned in this article. Nor have I ever met anyone from the groups you say are there.

For 18 months, I have been at the weekly Toronto rally with thousands of other ordinary people with no masks, no social distancing, lots of hugs, and (big surprise!) no virus! I am an ex-vaxxer. I am not vaccine hesitate, I am vaccine informed. If there is a risk (heart issues, etc.) there must always be a choice.

I have children and grandchildren. I value my rights and freedoms because once these are gone they will never come back. I am shocked (and very sad) at how few people are critical thinkers. The big question is why the mainstream media and government are giving Canadians the relentless and bullying message that only vaccines will save us.

At 72, I take responsibility for my personal health and for maintaining a strong immune system through my lifestyle choices. Intelligence isn’t knowing everything. It’s the ability to challenge everything you know.

S. Hill-JacksonFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Message to anti-vaxxers: stay home

It cannot escape anyone’s notice of the stark difference between the police response to peaceful people literally sitting down at the G20 and the response to anti-vaxxers obstructing health care workers and ambulances as they try to go about their daily and stressful jobs.

Whatever you believe, there is no justification for blocking healthcare workers from saving lives. Hill-Jackson has a right to their beliefs, but no right to interfere with others’ health care, or my right and the rights of other Canadians to not have to interact with those relying on a “strong immune system”. Stay home, cultivate like-minded friends in your own space, do not invade mine.

Louise KoepflerFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Why should anti-vaxxers be given triage priority?

Yes, this is a loaded statement, but why should patients (like those suffering from cancer or needing an organ transplant) who were scheduled for medical interventions be told to wait in order to treat anti-vaxxers who defied medical advice and then contracted COVID and ended up in ICU? Why should those anti-vaxxers be given priority over those who followed medical advice? Most of the patients-in-waiting will have their conditions worsen. Some may not survive the delay. Isn’t it time to rethink the triage system that politicians have instituted? Shouldn’t anti-vaxxers be informed that they certainly have the legitimate right to deny vaccinations, but with it comes the possibility of delayed medical services?

Dennis ChoptianyMarkham

Tell us what you think. Email your letters to letters[at]nowtoronto.com.


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Party of angry white males

Re Canada Election 2021: Trudeau Humbled, O’Toole The Big Loser In #Elxn44 (NOW Online, September 21).

The Cons keep putting up right-wing and Islamophobic candidates (ie: Steven Cotter in Nova Scotia and Linda Robinson in Beaches-East York). Then wonder why they don’t win Ontario and the GTA in particular. They are the party of the old, angry white Christian males – or new atheists, which is even worse!


Trudeau win may come back to bite

The “Fiberals” got their boy in again but this time it might bite them in the ass!


Trump “truthism” has infiltrated Canadian politics

Unfortunately, Rick Stacey’s response to the outcome of the federal election is sadly an example of the poisonous, preposterous and petty partisan politics radiating from the Republicans and right-wingers right-next-door in the United States.

The Conservative party in Canada started copying Republican dirty tricks to the point of importing Republican strategists to teach them how to do it. Social media and close cross-border ties have allowed U.S. right-wing propaganda and “truthism”, misinformation and disinformation to proliferate in Canada.

Trump empowered radicalism, right-wing irrationality and racism, which opened the door for conspiracy theory cults. We need to take a look at what toxic partisanship and propaganda have done to the U.S. They are imploding, so self-absorbed and wrapped up in their culture war they have become a dysfunctional society and have lost their position in the world. We do not want to go down that road.

Alberta’s Jason Kenney did go down that road. Now ICUs are dangerously overcrowded and understaffed. All because Conservatives didn’t want help from the Liberal government to do its job. Kenney endangered and sacrificed the health and well-being of Albertans and it didn’t help put Erin O’Toole in power.


Everything voters need to know about Kevin Vuong

Re Former Liberal Candidate In Spadina-Fort York Says He Will Not Step Down (NOW Online, September 22).

Kevin Vuong has made it abundantly clear that he is incapable of taking no for an answer. That tells me everything I need to know about him. This voter in Spadina-Fort York wants a by-election as soon as possible. 

Celeste Sansregret – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Rethinking Rechie Valdez’s historic win

Re Rechie Valdez Becomes First Filipino Woman Elected Mp In Canada (NOW Online, September 21) .

Valdez was parachuted into the riding after the previous MP more-or-less abandoned his post for months, never told anyone where he was going and left the Liberals in the lurch for more than a year. They brought in a candidate who rode in on an already-established Liberal regional stronghold, one that’s full of female MPs and has a long history of electing female mayors. And this is somehow evidence of “breaking the glass ceiling”?


On Meng’s release, Ottawa was a tool of U.S. foreign policy

Re Meng Wanzhou’s Admission Of Wrongdoing Not Noted In Major Chinese Outlets (NOW Online, September 25).

Sadly, no mainstream media is asking Canadian government officials to explain why they believed it was necessary to act as stooges for Washington’s policy to punish China for having commercial relations with Iran.

The first blow struck in the recent conflict between Ottawa and Beijing was Ottawa’s decision to arrest Meng Wanzhou. Her alleged crime: having dealings with an overseas bank in order to bypass illegal American sanctions on Iran, which Washington is trying to starve and crush. Outrageously, former U.S. President Donald Trump publicly mused about a plea bargain for Meng in exchange for a trade deal with China to his liking. 

Ottawa became a tool in a power play by the U.S., which led the People’s Republic of China to arrest two Canadians. China over-reacted with the arbitrary detention of the two Michaels, but the initial provocation was the totally unjustified arrest of Meng at the Vancouver airport by Canadian officials over two years ago.

The lesson here should be clear: Canada should stop being a lap dog of U.S. policy, from China to Venezuela to Eastern Europe and Israel.

Barry WeislederTORONTO

Sabre rattling will only make China more obstinate

The whole multi-year ordeal with the two Michaels with China has made it more clear that military threats from abroad likely won’t intimidate Chinese officials. If anything, foreign sabre rattling will only make China more obstinate.

Perhaps allied nations combining their resources to break their trade and investment with China would be more effective. Maybe such an alliance has already been covertly discussed but rejected due to the Chinese government’s economic and political leverage.

Frank Sterle Jr.From NOWTORONTO.COM

Bilal Baig makes big bang with Sort Of

Re Bilal Baig Is Ready For Their Close Up (NOW, September 23-30).

I know Bilal Baig is a gifted and courageous writer and have enjoyed great conversations with them around social issues and creativity. Bilal has come up with a great premise for a TV show, which is timely. The team around them is also top-class. Grey Powell is one of our best, too. I’m already a fan.


Love and Little India

I look forward to watching Sort Of. I finally paid a visit to Toronto’s Little India neighbourhood this summer after living in Toronto for a long time (I know, I know). I loved the “bustling, brightly lit urban street” that is Gerrard.

George Perry From NOWTORONTO.COM

Park encampment “debris” cleared by city was people’s homes

Re City Spent $2 Million Clearing Homeless Encampments (NOW Online, September 18).

It’s rather callous for the city to describe the removal of “30 metric tonnes of debris” from park encampments. Much of that must have been people’s tents, beds, cooking utensils etc, that they were using until they were evicted.


Silver Dollar memories worth of a novel

Re A First Look Inside The Rebuilt Silver Dollar (NOW Online, September 18).

I hung out at the Silver Dollar in the 1960s when the music was whatever the strippers wanted and whatever the drunk jazz band could play. The room was an exceptionally seedy version of a classy 50s nightclub. So glad they saved the murals and the bar area. We used to sit next to the stage. The raised platform and the iron railings would provide a little extra cover if we tilted our table up when a fight broke out. It would take a novelist to describe the characters who were the regulars there and the poor dancers who finished their careers in that bar.



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Party’s conversion therapy platform divides families

Re The Conservatives Want to Abandon Trans Children (NOW Online, September 13)

Kudos to Florence Ashley. They have accurately portrayed an important distinction in party platforms that would serve to divide communities, tear apart families and, most importantly, put trans and non-binary youth at significantly higher risk.

These youth are already at extreme risk for depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide because of the constant transphobia and exclusion they face in the broader society. This is exacerbated by the lack of understanding and support many experience from their families. Ontario’s TransPulse study found that trans youth who did not have highly supportive families were 14 times more likely to attempt suicide within a year.

Family support and access to gender transition support programs are the most critical protective factors that lead to healthy outcomes for trans and non-binary youth. Communities must rally to say no to all conversion therapy aimed at sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression. Young lives are on the line.

Lorraine GaleFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

People’s party libertarianism a cover for extremists

Re O’Toole’s Dog Whistles Are No Match For Bernier’s Alpo (NOW Online, September 8)

Maxime Bernier calls himself a libertarian while surrounding himself with White Nationalists, Christian fascists, Hindu extremists and other wackos who would deny abortion rights or a woman’s right to wear a niqab. The PPC voter is the one who finds the Conservative party too moderate. Now that is crazy and pathetic!


Green party’s questionable politics

Re 10 Toronto Ridings To Watch (NOW Online, September 15) You write that Green party leader Annamie Paul “failed to condemn charges of anti-Semitism made by her senior advisor against Green MPs Jenica Atwin and Paul Manly.” Even more important is that she failed to repudiate the advisor’s pledge to work to defeat those MPs — then two-thirds of the Green party’s caucus. This demonstrates a lack of judgment, as well as questionable politics.


O’Toole’s cuddly theatrics a new low

Letter-writer Helen Griffin pinpoints Erin O’Toole’s hypocrisy when she says a vote for the Conservative party would end the Liberals’ “woke” agenda (NOW Online, September 12). Griffin reveals the nature of the Conservative base. It’s not what the party actually “says” but the dog whistle that she is obviously registering. O’Toole’s animal-cuddling message is a new low in theatrical politics, beyond kissing babies.

John Constantino From NOWTORONTO.COM

City ignoring danger of cars in bike lanes

Re Cyclist’s Death Exposes Hazards Of “Pinch Points” In Bike Network (NOW Online, September 14) I have taken more than 500 photos in the last year alone of vehicles parked in bike lanes especially on major roads in the downtown core. Several times I have seen parking enforcement officers in the vicinity, only ignoring the hazard while cyclists were dodging cars parked in bike lanes.


Coliseum’s wartime past remembered

Re Hidden Toronto: CNE Coliseum (NOW Online, September 12) I’m enjoying your Hidden Toronto columns and their historical content. Perhaps this subject would make a good book? Your mention of the RCAF using the CNE Coliseum during the Second World War reminded me that my father told us that he had stayed at the CNE for a short period between signing up and being sent to CFB Clinton for training in radar. He said that he slept in the Horse Palace. He found it quite amusing.


Elvis Costello and The Jam part of CNE musical history

Besides the acts mentioned in your Hidden Toronto feature on the CNE Coliseum, I saw The Jam and Elvis Costello there in separate shows in the 1980s. Talk Talk was the opening act at one of the shows.

Frederick HarrisonFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Congrats, NOW

Re NOW Turns 40: Our Cover Story Hits And Misses (NOW Online, September 17) Congratulations on 40 to everyone at NOW. I incorporated the company for Michael Hollett and Alice Klein back in 1981. There is no way that is 40 years ago.

John WardToronto


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Nowhere left to turn for the disabled

Re Five Takeaways From One Hot Mess Of A Leaders Debate (NOW Online, September 10).

Not once have I heard any of the candidates speak about the disabled. What are we expected to live on monthly when rents in Toronto start at $1500 a month? There is no such thing as “affordable” rental but I guess our vote doesn’t count since actually owning or buying a home is completely out of reach.

Social housing, which is usually terribly rundown, has a 10-year waiting list. So what are the rest of us supposed to do in the meantime? The only stimulus we were ever given was $400 and that was a month after the beginning of the pandemic.

I would like to challenge all the federal leaders to live for one month and get an apartment and pay all the bills that come with it. It is impossible.

I worked my entire life and became disabled in 2005 through no fault of my own. Since then my life has been a nightmare trying to budget on what the government gives me. We are the forgotten voices. I don’t know where else to turn.

Lesley WarnockFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Anti-mask rallies silencing the majority

Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and seems to have negotiated the pandemic much better than many countries. The Canadian government went into huge debt in order to prevent the economy from collapsing and to help businesses and individuals survive. These actions seem to have been successful. Almost all countries face similar situations. The accusations of overspending and debt by the Conservatives are misplaced, and one wonders what disasters other parties might have wrought, faced with the same crisis.

While there was an increase in unemployment, it was perhaps not as bad as might have been, and with lots of successful adaptation taking place.

Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives have positions on privatization of the CBC, climate issues, abortion, the right to die, immigration, LGBQ, women’s rights, privatizing health care that makes voters uncomfortable.

The recent anti-vaccination and anti-mask demonstrations are unusual for Canada. A silent majority can become the silent oppressed. It is important to pay attention, and to make our voices heard, and to vote.


Election polls out of touch

Re Just How Believable Are Election Polls? (NOW Online, September 7).

I don’t trust the polls as they are usually pushed by big business and have a definite pro-Conservative (read anti-environment, anti-union and anti-benefits) bias. As someone who has travelled extensively, I can tell you that I have not seen the Conservative surge that the polls are pushing. Most people are disgusted with them and the crazy anti-vaxx fanatics attacking Justin Trudeau. They will vote strategically to keep the Cons out as a good voter should.

Of course, rural whites and Christian fanatics will vote for the right but most others will steer clear. Just look at the anti-Muslim, anti-woman and anti-environment politics booming with conservatism in the US. No thanks! The polls are out of touch!


Canadians unsure of Trudeau alternatives

The negative ratings of the PM are a critical factor not being explored fully enough. It seems the public wants him replaced but is unsure if the alternatives are trustworthy and worth the risk, and quite frankly there is no way of knowing. Since this risk is high, a change is not usually made until the public reaches a point of absolute disgust. Are we there yet?

It’s unlikely this PM will give up power if another party wins a few more seats than his. He will likely make a deal with another party and stay on. The next election will not be at a time of his choosing.


Castle Frank revisited

I didn’t understand Enzo DiMatteo’s issue with the naming of Castle Frank station (NOW Online, August 8). It’s one of our very few subway stations which actually has an interesting name and which encourages people to dig into our city’s history. His attempts to tie the wooden cabin (built and sweetly named for a child) to the slave trade were considerably more tenuous than the reasons for the station’s name! I think he was clutching for a grievance on this occasion.

Peter FranklinFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Lighting up Toronto’s hidden past

I always enjoy the glimpses into Toronto’s past offered by your Hidden Toronto series. Thank you for the interesting and enlightening articles!


Serving Elizabeth highlight of the Stratford season

Re Stratford Review: Serving Elizabeth (NOW Online, September 8). This production is the highlight of the season thus far for me.



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The trashing of “fringe” views

Re Has Erin O’Toole Got Canadians Hoodwinked? (NOW Online, August 30)

I deplore violent protest and stand for prosecuting criminal behaviour. However, I see in this country the slow erosion of debate and the quashing of alternative views by labelling them fringe.

I’m not an anti-vaxxer, an Islamaphobe or a climate change denier. Yet, I’m going to vote Conservative because I object to the quality of leadership and the diminished credibility of this government. I’m a situational voter and while no leader’s platform is perfectly aligned to my hopes for this country, I am hopeful that a change will moderate the “woke” forces that have driven this PM’s agenda.

Helen Griffin From NOWTORONTO.COM

Canadians see through Liberal fear-mongering

This article is a classic example of fear-mongering. Fortunately, most Canadians are smart enough to see through these games. As for the party leaders, they are all bad, but in the spirit of not rewarding bad governance, it’s time to vote Mr. Trudeau out. He had six years to make a difference and has failed on most fronts.


Peace through military strength

Re Toronto’s Waterfront Shouldn’t Serve As a Stage For Warplanes (NOW Online, August 28)

I don’t think the writer of this article fully understands peace through strength. If you love peace then you should love and support a strong military that can defend our values abroad and provide a significant deterrent to rogue nations that don’t operate according to global norms and laws.


Canada must be able to defend itself

Canada has a huge territory to defend and we have to keep on guard because of powerful countries like Russia and China. I ask the author, when Russia comes with the latest Sukhoi fighters, what’s the plan, to defend ourselves with stones and sticks? Good luck with that.

I am not an advocate of the expensive F-35 but a country must be able to defend itself. We are not living in a world of unicorns and flowers. While we enjoy a beautiful and peaceful country we all have to understand we cannot take it for granted.


Majority rules when it comes to COVID

Re NDP Leader Andrea Horwath On Ending Restaurant Harassment (NOW Online, September 3). I have not gone inside a restaurant since the pandemic started and will not until I see a sign in the window of the restaurant which clearly states that only vaccinated people can enter. I’m betting that I am in the majority.


Has Trudeau lost pandemic plot?

Re 10 Toronto Ridings To Watch (And Other Notables) In #Elxn44 (NOW Online, August 26)

Although I’m definitely voting for Nathaniel Erskine-Smith in Beaches-East York, I can’t forget the carelessness of Trudeau in calling this election just now during a pandemic. I’m thinking that he’ll be lucky to maintain his minority. Don’t misunderstand me. I worked in Mr. Trudeau’s downtown office telephoning to help him, but now I think that he’s lost the plot.

Carrie HancockFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Ragdoll Vintage should be on everyone’s must-visit list

Re Creepy Funhouse Meets Circus At Toronto’s Ragdoll Vintage (NOW Online, September 4).

This store looks absolutely fascinating. I’ve added it to my “must visit” list.

Christopher KingFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Hot Docs should refund cash for last year’s fest

Re Hot Docs Cinema To Reopen On September 10 (NOW Online, August 31).

Good news, I suppose, but Hot Docs’ rip-off of about $200 last year still leaves a sour taste.

When the pandemic pushed the annual festival online, regular attendees who valued viewing films in an audience and having filmmakers in person, instead had to watch online. But while airlines and other organizations have refunded cash for cancelled services, Hot Docs refused even a credit for unused vouchers, let alone a refund. Not good audience relations, or fair, the way I see it.



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Letters to the editor: Chaos in Kabul https://nowtoronto.com/letters-to-the-editor-chaos-in-kabul https://nowtoronto.com/letters-to-the-editor-chaos-in-kabul#respond Sun, 29 Aug 2021 15:39:27 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=725583 Plus, "freedom-loving Canadians" on private health care, the anti-vaxx crowd at Bar Vendetta and Ontario's AstraZeneca catch-22 in reader mail this week

The post Letters to the editor: Chaos in Kabul appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Writing was on the wall in Afghanistan

Today, 28 August 2021, our friends stood knee-deep in a ditch of sewage-infested water and watched as their last hope for a safe return to Canada took off from Kabul airport.

First, they were told to apply in-country at Canadian consulates and the embassy. But we closed them.

Then they were told to apply online, on long, complex English-only forms. But email and the Internet became intermittent.

Then they were told to leave their houses and run the Taliban gauntlet of checkpoints to the Kabul airport where they were to wear red and jump up and down and yell “Canada” and maybe someone would hear them. They were ignored. They might as well have rolled up to the nearest Taliban checkpoint and said, “Hey there, I worked for the infidels.”

Some of those we left behind are Canadian citizens with papers to prove it.

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Justin Trudeau and Erin O’Toole were squabbling over whether O’Toole did or didn’t say he would let the private sector into health care. (FYI, it’s already here.)

That we abandoned those who served with us is beyond unprofessional. It’s beyond incompetent. It’s criminal. It’s a reputation-shattering deed.

There was plenty of time to act. When Donald Trump struck his deal with the Taliban a year and a half ago, the writing was on the wall. Afghans have defeated three empires – the British in the 1800s, the Russians in the 1970s and now, the Americans.

For that matter, back in 2001, Jean Chretien could have told George Bush ‘Hell no, we won’t go.’ And Stephen Harper could have returned us to our old and honourable role as peacekeepers instead of pretending we were a nation of warriors.

We spent two decades making war on a nation of shepherds and farmers. And then we left behind our friends. We deserve whatever level of hell awaits us.

David McLarenNeyaashiinigmiing

Hell no we won’t vote

Political editor Enzo DiMatteo’s observation of the zombie-like lethargy of the Liberal party (NOW Online, August 23) is made apparent by a phone call I received from LPC headquarters.

When asked if I would vote for Trudeau and whether they could count on my support, I laughed and enthusiastically declared, “Hell no!”

The woman’s response, uttered in a sort of tragic resignation and defeatist monotone, was merely, “How can we solve the problem for you?” How indeed! 

Christopher MansourToronto

“Freedom-loving Canadians” want private health care

Re Erin O’Toole Flips The Script On Private Health Care (NOW Online, August 24). What a blatant partisan twist to a simple story of deception. This is the first and last time I’ll be reading articles from this obviously biased source of news. It’s simple to see that the media is bought and paid for. It’s shocking! Where are the freedom-loving Canadians?


Anti-vaxx crowd are a menace to society

Bar Vendetta owner Jen Agg was my boss 20 years ago, and without getting into my experiences, I can say her memoir is aptly titled.

That said, I absolutely defend her and her staff and customers in the face of the proto-fascist anti-mask/anti-vaxx crowd (NOW Online, August 24) that has congregated around Bar Vendetta since Agg publicly demanded the Doug Ford government institute a policy of vaccine passports. 

All over the world but especially in structurally white supremacist countries like the US, Canada, and Australia, the anti-vaxx crowd has become a growing menace to public health and safety. 

These authoritarians who decry the “tyranny” of wearing a mask are increasingly emboldened not only by adhoc government policy that values corporate profits over public health but also inaction on the part of the police, many of whom share the anti-vaxx ideology.     

Toronto police seem unwilling to deal with the violent and disruptive protesters in front of Bar Vendetta. Would a protest be policed the same way if social justice groups picketed Ford’s label-making business or his daughter’s questionable cookie company?

Ultimately, the local community will have to defend itself, and herein lies the rub.  

David Julian WightmanOttawa

Drake Commissary was a bit out there

Re The Closing Of The Drake Commissary (NOW Online, August 26). The Commissary had good coffee but was a bit out of the way.


Free Guy in touch with younger audiences

Watched Free Guy yesterday (NOW Online, August 12). I found the movie amazing and ended up providing a great review on Rotten Tomatoes. Noticing there was an abundance of bad reviews I decided to take a look. Lo and behold – the author of your review from my home city of Toronto gave the film 2 out of 5. I can only say that everyone I know who watched the movie loved it. I suspect your reviewer is no longer in touch with audiences under 45.


Ontario’s AstraZeneca catch-22

I am happy that our Government has decided to give the third vaccine to those in a vulnerable position (NOW Online, August 17). In the past, our government strongly recommended people take the first vaccine available. Now our government is not saying this, they are ignoring any discussion or even the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. In fact, such vaccines are now not available in Ontario. Is it because the effectiveness is this vaccine is sub-standard compared to the mRNA vaccines? If so, perhaps those that have had two doses of the sub-standard AstraZeneca should then be on the eligibility list for a third vaccine.



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Letters to the editor: Stories from the front lines of restaurant work https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-stories-from-the-front-lines-of-restaurant-work https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-stories-from-the-front-lines-of-restaurant-work#respond Sun, 22 Aug 2021 16:31:15 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=724230 NOW readers have a lot to say about this week's cover story on the labour shortage in the restaurant sector

The post Letters to the editor: Stories from the front lines of restaurant work appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Restaurant owners are not monsters

Re: Restaurants having a hiring problem – and it goes way beyond CERB. CERB didn’t cause a worker shortage, it provided abused workers just enough time to breathe and think and enough rest to let them realize they live in a system of abuse. So they’re leaving the relationship. Does this make it impossible for restaurant owners? Maybe. Small business owners are not monsters or slave drivers. They are working through the system just like the people they hire. They can’t just pay a decent salary. Where does it come from? They are not rich. They’re mostly losing money already, chasing their dream of owning a successful place. They’re wrapped up in the whole thing too and also deserve our empathy. We need a complete overhaul of how things work, and [universal basic income] is good start.

Mike MacDougall – from NOWTORONTO.COM

A lifetime of labour

I dream of a day when cooks get the job/life security that they deserve. I understand that it is transient work to many, but it is also the culmination of a lifetime of learning and labour for so many others who get berated, overworked and underpaid to the tune of a meager 30 grand a year or less.


A system of social pressure

The hiring and work culture for that type of work on this continent is fundamentally broken. If it took a pandemic to make people realize that and finally start to think about initiating some sort of change then so be it. When you have a system whereby social pressure is placed on the customer to prop up employees wages with gratuity so an employer can legally bypass the local minimum wage, that cannot ever be right.


You may say I’m a dreamer

Imagine a world in which this situation never existed, and then someone comes along and says: “Hey, I have a great idea for a business venture. However, in order to make it succeed, I will pay employees a wage so low that they can’t live off of it, and we will have extremely high turnover rates.” How many people would say: “Yeah, that’s a great idea. You should run with that”?


Closing time

I did 28 years in the industry in Toronto and Montreal. I was always paid far less than minimum wage and was expected to give a portion of my tips to the the runners, kitchen, bar and even sometimes front of house – essentially the owners. Most people were scheduled under full-time hours. We were expected to perform opening and closing duties, which often included janitorial work. One pub I worked in, in Montreal, would close at 2 am and the “closing duties” took another 2.5 hours! We were cleaning washrooms, mopping floors, polishing brass, the list goes on. This change was a long time coming. Restaurant workers need to be paid for the work they really do, not paid little enough to keep the owners flush. Although I am no longer in the industry I am happy to see this shift happening even if I have to pay more as a customer.


The workforce will come back

This article neglects so much: 1. Restaurant workers have moved on or went back to school for a better job/career, moved to a different city, literally got a new job, or got training in a new job. 2. Students that would typically occupy universities are not here, and they would also work part-time in the restaurant industry to cover expenses or make a bit while getting an education. 3. International students are not allowed in the country, and these students would also be working in the restaurant industry 4. Visa workers are not here either, and they also occupy a large percentage of a transitory workforce by working in the restaurant. So say what you will, but your workforce is gone and it won’t come back until we are back to normal.


Health benefits for restaurant workers

For low-wage or service-type workers/employers, this should be an inflection point. Instead of talks of worker unions and such and fighting that battle, employers maybe have the key to obtaining a competitive hiring advantage: start a health benefits program for employees. I’ll guarantee the ones that start first will have no issues hiring now.


Brunch was a bust

In my short stint in restaurant work, I was “employed” but my hours were cut arbitrarily from one week to another, and the spotty distribution of hours didn’t make it possible for me to get another part-time job on the side. Also, I would be asked to do “a couple of hours” for weekend brunch, so couldn’t work or do another thing on the weekend because of that “couple of hours,” which left me about $60 in my pocket. So, when people go to a restaurant and pay an exorbitant price for some chow that doesn’t even cover half the plate, but costs an arm and a leg, don’t think that the server or kitchen staff will see a whole lot of that money.

Gabriela Nina Cordero – from FACEBOOK.COM/NOWMAGAZINE

Pay them and they will stay

This is happening everywhere. Too many people being under paid and made to feel that they can be replaced at any time. Pay your people what they are worth, value them and they will stay!

Amber Hannon-Dizep – from FACEBOOK.COM/NOWMAGAZINE

Mask up music fans

Re: Arkells play Toronto’s biggest pandemic concert yet. People have to remember that the vaccine isn’t a cure, it just lessens the symptoms to the point where it isn’t deadly and you need to be hospitalized. You can still get COVID, you can still get the Delta variant and you can still transmit it. People not wearing masks is just asking for another wave. No one is saying live your life in fear – just understand the risks when you’re out there.

Edward Bliss – from NOWTORONTO.COM

NOW welcomes reader mail. Email us at letters [at] nowtoronto [dot] com.


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Letters to the editor: Canadian voters should turf polluter-friendly governments https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-canadian-voters-should-turf-polluter-friendly-governments https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-canadian-voters-should-turf-polluter-friendly-governments#respond Sun, 15 Aug 2021 18:00:00 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=723050 Plus: Readers sound off on our local history series Hidden Toronto

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Of dinosaurs and climate change

Re: Climate change impacts are irreversible for centuries. To date, there clearly has been discouragingly insufficient political courage and will to properly act upon the cause-and-effect of man-made global warming. Neoliberals and conservatives are overly preoccupied with vociferously criticizing one another for their relatively trivial politics and diverting attention away from the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused – although it seems to be conservatives who especially don’t mind liberally polluting our planet.

But I believe there’s still hope, mostly due to environmentally conscious and active young people, especially those who are approaching/reaching voting age. In contrast, the dinosaur electorate who have been voting into high office consecutive mass-pollution promoting or complicit/complacent governments for decades are gradually dying and making way for voters who fully support a healthy earth thus populace.

Frank Sterle Jr. – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Hidden and often forgotten

Re: Hidden Tkaronto: 10 places connected to the city’s Indigenous history. The Broadview and Withrow site – 6,000 years old and often forgotten. The Davenport trail crosses the Don and then heads up the hill at Riverdale towards that site. If you stand on the unused rail bridge (where Winchester use to cross the river and head up to Pizza Pizza) you are standing at a very old and important site in Toronto’s history. Just further to the south, the first surveyors argued whether the Toronto Purchase of 1787 included the east bank of the Don or not. All that wasn’t cleared up until 2010 with the settlement with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Chris Williams – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Love for Hidden Toronto

Re: Hidden Toronto: Castle Frank Cabin. I love the Hidden Toronto series and in this one I especially appreciate Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary entry and the story of Francis’s death in the Napoleonic Wars – I can’t remember ever seeing [the city] Badajoz named in NOW. It’s a popular shopping day-trip for my Portuguese relatives (like Buffalo for Torontonians).

Aida Jordao – From NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: Taxpayers stuck with the bill for bad nuclear decisions https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor#respond Sun, 08 Aug 2021 15:59:11 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=721852 Plus, Toronto's housing hellscape, reduced workweek pipe dream and Doug Ford's bad back-to-school plan in reader mail this week

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Nuclear’s dwindling power

Nuclear energy should not be expanded in any way. (NOW Online, July 28) How is it that governments can choose nuclear over wind and solar with no input from taxpayers who are forced to foot the cost of bad ideas – not to mention the destruction of habitat and water?

The dangers of nuclear energy far outweigh the idiotic idea it’s better than renewable natural energy. Who’s in charge here? Taxpayers need a voice in this choice.

Richard Sutherland – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Toronto’s housing hellscape

Re The Condo Market Is Bouncing Back (NOW Online, August 7). This article is based on zero fact. Toronto is currently a housing hellscape. If lessons were properly learned, rent control would still regulate foreign investment which continues to pump the cost of housing up. Young people will never be able to buy property in the city.


World would be more expensive without 40-hour workweek

A 40-hour workweek? (NOW Online, August 4) I’m on day three of 16-hour days. I don’t think those who want to do away with a 40-hour workweek understand how the rest of the economy works.

Reducing the hours people work would be more expensive causing tax increases. Look at construction and ask yourself how much that $1 billion project would cost if workers only worked 40 hours a week? Our world would be a lot different if it wasn’t for the blue-collar workers putting in the labour.

Marshall I. – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Can live music save the restaurant industry?

Re Strumbellas Side Project Takes Up Residency In Struggling Parkdale Bar (NOW Online, August 7) I am a local DJ who does live events at restaurants, clubs, events and weddings across the GTA. I love this article. I really think live music will help the restaurant industry in Toronto recover from the pandemic.


Back-to-school plan another bad decision by Ford

Re Doug Ford’s Back-To-School Plan Is Sizing Up To Be A Shell Game (NOW Online, August 3).

Children under 12 are not vaccinated and therefore should not be interacting. They can contact and spread the virus to vulnerable adults who apparently are not immune even when they’re fully vaccinated. Another bad decision by Ford.


Why not vaccinate kids at school?

I’m not as well versed on the issues these days but I was an elementary school teacher in the 1980s. Anybody remember getting vaccine shots at school?

Adrian Macfarlane – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Bringing back Much Music

I wish that Bell Media would just bring back Much Music in its original format (NOW Online, July 24) on basic cable as has been done in the United States.

I also wish that Steven Kerzner could have his own channel on cable, or at least be able to broadcast and give people something else that’s independently local to watch.


Pickering casino not what Ontario needs right now

Wow. I can’t believe it – a huge new Pickering Casino (NOW Online, July 31) just down the 401 from the huge new Ajax Casino. Just what the Toronto area and Ontario doesn’t need: more casinos expedited by the Ford government.

Dale Taylor – From NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: John Tory can’t blame the unhoused for fighting for their survival https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-john-tory-cant-blame-the-unhoused-for-fighting-for-their-survival https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-john-tory-cant-blame-the-unhoused-for-fighting-for-their-survival#respond Sun, 01 Aug 2021 15:56:56 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=720915 Plus, vaccine passports, sock puppets hijack the National Post and why it's time to add Funkadelic to Toronto street names in reader mail this week

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Toronto expelling unhoused people from sight

If cities like Toronto are “committed to ending homelessness,” we must ask ourselves why Mayor John Tory dispatched a cavalry of police officers on horseback (NOW Online, July 25) to clear the encampments. This rough way of handling vulnerable people plays out even in smaller cities like Barrie, as unhoused people are expelled from public sight.

We cannot blame jails and hospitals for releasing people when their time has been served any more than we can blame the unhoused for fighting for their own survival. They need income support and affordable, if not transitional, housing.

Christopher MansourToronto

Handling of encampments reveals Tory’s true colours

Politicians are basically the same. Their interest is usually the bottom line. Whenever a real issue arises, you can see their true colours.

In the case of Mayor John Tory, there is no surprise when it comes to his handling of people experiencing homelessness and sleeping in parks. It’s phony and very hypocritical. We need a different Mayor if this city is to move forward.


If Doug Ford won’t protect the public, businesses will

Re Proof Of Vaccination Becoming A Reality For Anti-Vaxxers (NOW Online, July 27) The fact is that Doug Ford and governments at all levels are not willing to take the action necessary to protect its citizens from those who are not vaccinated.

The easiest way for the public to cause this to change is to not patronize any event or business which does not take steps to admit only vaccinated people. The public has the power to influence change with their spending decisions.


Vaccine passports = coercion

Those pushing Doug Ford to introduce vaccine passports are encouraging the government to use coercive measures to force citizens to undertake a health care measure they are not comfortable with.

It’s easy to criticize individuals by classifying them as “anti-vaxxers,” but every person should be allowed to make their choice. Moral responsibility has nothing to do with it. Next, you’ll be saying it’s our patriotic duty to get vaccinated.


Sock puppets have hijacked the National Post

Re Of Charlatans, Conrad Black And Canada’s Genocide Denial (NOW Online, July 5) I highly suspect (but cannot prove) that the National Post comment board consists in large part of sock puppets who post 24/7. There are hundreds of these sock puppets. Any bonafide commenter who is in disagreement with this fake crowd is summarily drummed off the board, with odious insults, and misogynistic slurs (if female). I am unclear if the sock puppet creators are paid or if a particularly exuberant right-wing group has simply hijacked the board.

Teresa FlanaganFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Time to add Funkadelic to Toronto street names

Re Toronto Moves To Rename Dundas Over Slavery Ties (NOW Online, July 7) Toronto has a George Street, a Clinton Street and a Parliament Street. Toronto clearly needs to complete the set and add a Funkadelic Street. Now is the time.



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Letters to the editor: The Governor-General’s French-language kiss-off https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-blowing-off-french-language-concerns https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-blowing-off-french-language-concerns#respond Sun, 25 Jul 2021 14:09:14 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=719641 Plus, crying foul on park encampments, acts of kindness against anti-Muslim hate and advice to pandemic pet owners in reader mail

The post Letters to the editor: The Governor-General’s French-language kiss-off appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Other than language, Mary Simon has exceptional credentials

Re Quebec Language Stir Opens Investigation Into Mary Simon Appointment (NOW Online, July 19) As a result of some 40 years of often painful confrontation, those Anglophone Canadians who weren’t complete anti-Quebec bigots generally conceded the outrageous principle that holders of high office in Canada would have the capacity to address French-speaking Canadians, who number some 25 per cent of the population, in their language. At the time and since, Quebec nationalists derided this principle as meaningless expediency, something to be jettisoned when the opportunity arose. And now, it would seem, that opportunity has arisen. The new Governor-General cannot speak to a quarter of the population and, despite best intentions, probably never will.

This situation is already difficult enough without Enzo DiMatteo’s misleading and disingenuous article. He blows off any concerns that francophones might have as a “brouhaha” and reflecting “colonialism”. He tries to balance these howlers off with the phrase “in both official languages” as though there was some equivalency here. But there isn’t. Realistically, a unilingual francophone will never occupy this position or any other key position at the federal level in Canada. English-speaking Canadians can always remain comfortably addressed in their language of choice. DiMatteo must know this.

Maybe Mary Simon will exceed expectations and perhaps even come to embrace the poetry of Emile Nelligan. Who knows? Other than language, she has exceptional qualifications and, better, understands “the way things work”. After his “women in space” initiative blew up in his face Justin Trudeau can’t afford another misstep.

Patrick Delaney – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Should Toronto simply accept people living in parks?

Re 26 People Arrested As Toronto Clears Lamport Stadium Encampment (NOW, Online, July 21) I know the first response is to criticize the cops but let me ask – what are they supposed to do when people are warned several times to leave and they won’t? Should the police (and citizens of Toronto) simply accept people living, sleeping, cooking, defecating etc… in their public spaces?


Crying foul on park encampments

Re Toronto Fences Off Alexandra Park To Clear Encampments (NOW Online, July 20)

Definitely a difficult situation for everyone involved. Hopefully, the people who lived there are getting proper help. As for those crying foul, I’ll say the park(s) really didn’t feel safe — or for the public — anymore. My partner was harassed this week while sketching in broad daylight. A construction worker had to pull the guy off her. Luckily she’s okay, but letting encampments go on indefinitely was never going to be the solution. Surprised the city turned a blind eye as long as they did TBH. So it goes


Advice to pandemic pet owners

Re How The Pandemic Pet Boom Went Bust For Some Dog Owners (NOW June 17-23). My advice to those people who spent 24/7 with their pandemic dogs and now have to go back to work: invest in doggy day care or buy another dog to keep your dog company.

Augusta LeighFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Acts of kindness as an antedote to anti-Muslim hate

Re Hamilton Attack On Hijab-Wearing Women Reminiscent Of London Rampage, Muslim Group Says (NOW Online, July 13) Following the June 6 killings of four members of a family for being Muslim, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested to Canadians that “the next time you see a woman in a hijab or a [Muslim] family out for a stroll, give them a smile.” With more anti-Muslim attacks in the news, it seems his thoughtful request may be applicable indefinitely.

Offering a sincere smile can be a healthy and powerful, yet relatively effortless, potential response by caring individuals to acts of hate. One might also wear anti-hate symbolism, e.g. a coloured ribbon or shirt. In the current climate of heated emotions and even violent intolerance, we need to display kindness,

Frank Sterle Jr.From NOWTORONTO.COM

Renaming Dundas after a freedom fighter

Re Toronto Moves To Rename Dundas Over Slavery Ties (NOW Online, July 7) My suggestion would be to rededicate Dundas Street to Hugh Dundas a Scottish freedom fighter who lived about five centuries before Henry Dundas. Toronto already has a location named after a European imperialist, Alexander The Great Parkette, so it would be appropriate to name a street after a European freedom fighter.

The one exception should be Yonge-Dundas Square. When Henry Dundas was in his 30s he won the most important anti-slavery case in Scottish history, Knight v. Wedderburn, which held that slavery could not exist on Scottish soil. If Dundas had died at the age of 40 he would be remembered as one of the most important anti-slavery lawyers in Scottish and British history. Therefore, I suggest that Yonge-Dundas Square should be renamed Young-Dundas Square. It would be a reminder that not everyone improves with age.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

Pandemic makes new case for Universal Basic Income

The world is changing. Too many people live off minimum wage in an economy that won’t buy a decent future. Jobs are disappearing every day as workers are replaced by machines and A.I. technology. A global pandemic has altered the technological prerequisites for accessing work, and the careers of the future will require a significant investment in education. 

Yet, at this very moment, the people who built our economy are hemorrhaging the work they need to secure basic shelter. If we want them to transition out of this moment, then the government must act. The people of our nation need support to weather the storm and make the transition into a new future where humanity’s grasp reaches to the stars. 

Basic Income could provide everyone with the foundation they need to launch into the next phase of human civilization. We need UBI.

Tyler BeaulacFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: Remembering the Hogg’s Hollow disaster https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-remembering-the-hoggs-hollow-disaster https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-remembering-the-hoggs-hollow-disaster#respond Sun, 18 Jul 2021 15:46:31 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=718366 Plus, another solution for renaming Dundas, fond memories of C'est What and MuchMusic's Millennials mistake in reader mail

The post Letters to the editor: Remembering the Hogg’s Hollow disaster appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Reminder of a difficult journey for immigrants

Thank you for the article on the men that lost their lives at Hogg’s Hollow (NOW Online, July 11).
It’s a reminder of the difficult journey of our forefathers in Canada. It’s not all wine and singing. Lots of hard work.
Vanda Argenide OrsiniFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Another solution to renaming Dundas

Being from the town of Dundas, I’m completely against renaming the street (NOW Online, July 7). Heck, I still think of what they now call “The Rogers Centre” as Skydome! Rebrand as much as you want, but to me, it’s still Skydome, it’s still Dundas. Racism by anyone is intolerable, long-dead people or otherwise. But money doesn’t grow on trees, and renaming will cost this country, which doesn’t have as much money as we apparently think we have. Why don’t we start by getting all Indigenous people access to clean water, and go from there?

Jennifer Plank From NOWTORONTO.COM

Other trails to walk in Toronto

Re Looking Back At My Year of Pandemic Walks (NOW Online, July 3). In addition to the walks you listed, there are lovely trails in Earl Bales Park and in G. Ross Lord Park, especially its “hidden trail” route. And I would highly recommend the Highland Creek Trail in Scarborough – beautiful scenery from Morningside Park all the way down to Lake Ontario and glimpses of wildlife, too. There were deer on two of our outings this spring. Also, don’t forget the Rouge National Park.


Fond memories of C’est What

Re Toronto Pillars: C’est What Is “The Grandaddy of Craft Beer Bars” (NOW Online, July 11) My late husband and a few of his close friends started going to C’est What almost the minute it opened. His first child was born that year and that’s where he went to celebrate. It became his and his friends’ “go-to bar”. They each bought their own bar stool/chair with their names on them in the days when C’est What was selling them. They are many stories and fond memories of that place and it’s wonderful to see C’est What is still here 33 years later. Congratulations! By the way, whatever happened to those chairs and stools?


Will Millennials stick with MuchMusic?

Re MuchMusic Is Coming Back – On TikTok (NOW Online, June 10) I think it’s a mistake to only target younger Millennials and Gen Z as they don’t tend to stick with anything. It would be surprising if Much is a success with that market. You’d be better off trying to grab the curiosity and nostalgia of the later Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and anyone else older than 30. It’s a much bigger market that still likes new and old music and tends to be more loyal followers. I miss the original MuchMusic when it was fun and had great music videos.


Canada is burning

For years, the fossil fuel industry and its political allies have sowed doubt about climate change and convinced the public that it’s an abstract, far away problem. This summer, many Canadians are realizing that was a dangerous lie. The BC heatwave was so intense that it killed hundreds of people and, right now, thousands of people are living in fear of wildfires raging across the country. The climate emergency is here and now. It’s time for our political leaders to take real action.

Prime Minister Trudeau talks like a climate leader, but he doesn’t act like one. Canada is still building pipelines and planning to expand fossil fuel production for decades to come.

Matthew Freedlander From NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: The case against renaming Dundas https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-the-case-against-renaming-dundas https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-the-case-against-renaming-dundas#comments Sun, 11 Jul 2021 14:29:27 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=717664 Plus, calling out white conservative supremacy, falling off the climate cliff in BC and my AstraZeneca catch-22 in reader mail this week

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Will cost of renaming Dundas come out of police budget?

Re Toronto Moves To Rename Dundas Street Over Slavery Ties (NOW Online, July 7) How about not renaming Dundas? But white, male politicians will feel good about themselves. And isn’t that what’s really important?

Until recently how many people even knew about Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville? You ever look up at a street sign at Yonge and Dundas, give a thumbs up and a wink and say, “Thanks Henry”? Toronto has some 9,500 streets. Are we now going to investigate every street, road and avenue to make sure they are named after only good people? Who gets to judge? What would the criteria even be?

Just renaming Dundas is an expensive process involving some 730 street signs, two subway stations, three parks, a public library, 625 Bike Share stations, 60 businesses and more, not to mention Dundas Square.

Where do you think that money comes from? The police budget? Puhlease. And what about all the business owners on Dundas? What happens to their investments and all the printed flyers and takeout menus and websites and neon signs and stationery and envelopes and cheques.

Spend the money on education. Start programs on the history of racism. Instead of the sterilized version of Canadian history, let kids know exactly what was done to the Indigenous peoples of Canada and what we still do.

Yes, racism exists. Changing the name of a street ain’t gonna fix it.

Cliff GoldsteinFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

White supremacy plays out in Toronto’s public places

Re Bylaw Officers Racially Profiled Black People In Toronto Parks: Ombudsman (NOW Online, July 9).

It’s regrettable that such flagrant white supremacy still exists in Toronto’s by-law enforcement, policing, and administrative departments. The indignity and sorrow felt by the two women told by the by-law officer that they should “be shot for trespassing” is a level of scum and villainy that warrants criminal prosecution. The two women need to know that they can privately prosecute this person by laying an information against him before a justice of the peace and requesting a peace bond to ensure he never harasses them further. If the JP finds enough to warrant a criminal investigation, the matter will be heard before a Criminal Court Judge who can order the police and Crown to put the individual on trial.

It is not an unfair statement to say that Toronto is a racially segregated city. That racial hatred plays out in our museums, subway stations, art galleries and even classical music halls just as it does in our universities and libraries. There is the perception of some individuals that certain cultural spaces are meant only for white citizens; even outdoor spaces are presumed to be the purview of white people. The City of Toronto must commit to doing better just as our cultural venues must commit to eliminating the racial bias leading to such toxic outbursts.

Christopher MansourToronto

Conrad Black spews hate

Re Of Charlatans, Conrad Black And Canada’s Genocide Denial (NOW Online, July 5).

I am disappointed that your paper would give a platform to Conrad Black who is a convicted criminal, guilty of defrauding his own shareholders. The fact that he is even allowed to spew his radical conservative hate in Canada is a disgrace. Most informed Canadians know that the National Post is no more than a Conservative Party mouthpiece.

After renouncing his Canadian citizenship and ultimately being forced out of the UK in disgrace after being convicted and jailed in the U.S., he managed to ass-kiss Harper to be allowed back into Canada. It’s unbelievable that he is given even a shred of credibility.

George MalcolmFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Time to call out white conservative madness

Re An Open Letter To Canadians On Canada’s Residential Schools Shame (NOW, July 1-7) Excellent article. But why are Canadians so dishonest about what the problem is?

Whether it’s the attacks on Muslim women in Alberta, the terrorist attack on a Muslim family in London, the stealing, abuse and killing of Aboriginal children, protests against BLM and Indigenous activists, the perpetrators are always white conservatives – and often Christians!

Canadians of all races and religions are upset at all these crimes but the perpetrators are always the same. Let’s call them out. As we see churches burn across Canada and blame Indigenous people, let us remember who started this madness.


Adamsons Barbecue’s anti-lockdown lawsuit part of personal agenda

Re Adamsons Barbecue’s Anti-Lockdown Lawsuit Turns Out To Be More Sizzle Than Steak (NOW Online, July 2).

Adam Skelly has no respect for the law, or any authority other than his own. Why he has not been shut down solely on the fact that he has operated several businesses without a license astounds me. I guess he sees any kind of infringement on his own personal agenda as unconstitutional. He should face the full force of the law.

Patrick DaltonFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

COVID’s cruel cycle just beginning for poor countries

Several years ago, before the pandemic, I travelled to Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, and something I was told has never quite left my mind: be careful not to get hurt here because the hospitals are not as good as in Canada.

It is terrible that people in low-income countries all around the world have to face health issues because of inadequate facilities, but COVID-19 is not only harmful to health but to the economy, creating a cruel cycle.

Beyond the deficiency in intensive care for COVID-19 patients, the vaccine rollout in low-income countries means COVID-19 is far from over. In Africa, less than 2 per cent of the population has received a first dose, a dramatic gap between our high-income countries.

As Canada begins to give out second doses, we need to start thinking about how we are going to achieve worldwide vaccination to open borders, travel freely and trade safely.

Sajjad JessaToronto

Stuck in AstraZeneca catch-22

I now live in St. Catharines. Here, I was unable to get an AstraZeneca first dose, because they ran out before I could get an appointment. I had a reaction to the stuff that you drink before a colonoscopy, so I can’t take Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. I was told by a pharmacist that I could actually die if I got one of those. I have phoned everywhere that I could think of – Niagara Health, my local MPP, various walk-in clinics about how there is now no way to get a first dose of AstraZeneca. Nobody has been able to help me to get a vaccination, and it looks like Johnson & Johnson will never get accepted by any province. To make it all more painful was the response that I got from Doug Ford’s office. They bragged about how well they had done vaccinating everyone else.


Falling off the climate cliff

The climate cliff is now in full view. The heatwave in BC shows us the cliff we are driving off at full speed.

The COVID crisis has elicited the correct government response, with income support and vaccine provision. Meanwhile, the climate crisis is almost devoid of appropriate action. In BC, 700 died from the climate crisis heat wave.

There is a disconnect between consequences and action. Instead of wasting $16 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline, we should invest in things we actually need, like clean energy and affordable housing.



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The post Letters to the editor: Time to rethink Canada’s colonial past appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Toronto sign an example of how to celebrate Canada

Re An Open Letter To Canadians On Canada’s Residential School Shame (NOW, July 1-7). “Canada Day” must be reinvented. Perhaps something that conveys inclusivity could signal a new tone.

I remember looking at my Canada Day decal in 2017 that had the number “150” on it and thinking, “What about the thousands of years of Indigenous lives that preceded confederation?” The number “150” seemed so insignificant, (even considering colonialism went back a lot further). The Toronto sign at City Hall should be an example of how we should think of Canada. The sign has the Medicine Wheel on the left (first) and the maple leaf symbol on the right (second). We can never just think of the colonial period. “Canada Day” can never be the same again.


Good medicine for Canada

Canada’s residential schools were run not only by the Roman Catholic Church but by other churches as well and most, if not all, were authorized by the Canadian government. This was systematic genocide to keep these brutal institutions going – in some cases, for more than a century. Surely, many people working at the schools and living nearby would have known about these deaths over decades. These crimes have been covered over, literally buried, to maintain Canada’s illusions of an innocent peaceable kingdom with no history of colonialism. It’s well past time to take the rosy blinders off and look at our real history. And then do whatever we can to help set things right. The author of this open letter has given us good medicine.


Reparations needed for residential schools tragedy

Canadians have benefitted from colonization and are, de facto, on the hook. We should be calling on the government in a united voice to make reparations – where they are needed.

Gail VanstoneFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Memories of Whitney Block

Re Hidden Toronto: The Abandoned Whitney Block Tower (NOW Online, June 20)

My dad had the best office for years in the Whitney Block. He was a cartographer, and later supervising cartographer overseeing the maps produced for Ontario. He spoke of the tower having offices left as is when it was closed. We would often have lunch in the amazing cafeteria. I used to use the tunnel that went from the subway to the building. In the ’70s, the Whitney Block still had a bellhop. I later worked there two summers in my early 20s as a media researcher, working with Lloyd Walton, the filmmaker responsible for many of nature films that would play in provincial parks on Wednesday nights.

Brigitte RabazoFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Supporters of park residents are misrepresenting the issues

Re Toronto Uses Doublespeak To Remove Encampment Residents From Parks (NOW Online, June 28).

The protesters/occupiers/residents of Trinity Bellwoods Park and their various spokespeople are misrepresenting the issues here. This really isn’t about “affordable housing”. That is the problem for many Torontonians with low to modest income, looking to live and work in the city. Like many, I can’t afford to live in the prime real estate of the city, so I live in the suburbs. Others live outside the city. The park occupiers prefer to live on the street rather than accept shelter housing provided by the city. Sadly, that decision is because many have addiction or related issues. Those are the real social issues of concern.


Housing has become a luxury in Toronto

I have two friends who have been living in a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto for the past decade. Their apartment has been a constant for me throughout our friendship. It has been a living room to laugh in, to cry in, and a place to rest. This past year, following a breakup, I moved into their third bedroom. However, I arrived just in time to experience the apartment’s last breaths of life as my friends both found themselves ready to leave the past decade behind. This May, they decided the time had come to give up their lease.

The landlord said that I could take over the lease if I wanted to stay but he would have to raise the rent “of course.” He would get back to me in a few days and let me know his price. In the meantime I could sit, wait and think. So sit, wait and think I did, while online window shopping. I filled up a cart at a home decor store with a thousand dollars worth of lavish items. I fantasized what my life would be like if this whole apartment was mine and I could decorate it as decadently as I pleased.

On May 19, I watched as a violent clearing of a housing encampment took place at Lamport Stadium Park. For many individuals living in Canada, encampments have become the safest and often only housing option available, increasingly so, during the pandemic. The clearing was carried out by mounted police and excavators on behalf of the City of Toronto. The following day I saw an article online that stated “Toronto is now less affordable for housing than both New York and Los Angeles.” I turned down the offer to keep the apartment; resentful of the increased cost, outdated appliances and unable to take on the financial burden of a three-bedroom apartment on my own.

Some people told me I would be crazy to give the apartment up. After all, a $400 increase on 10-year-old rent in Toronto is still pretty great, right? My $500 worth of wallpaper arrived in the mail in the days following my decision and I couldn’t help but wonder, why is finding housing in Toronto a game of luck? Why is finding a place to live comparable to finding a 99.9% off coupon online? A $60 tiger bath mat or $500 worth of floral wallpaper can be a luxury, but housing should not be.

Teagan JohnstonTORONTO


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The post Letters to the editor: A Canada Day to forget appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Paying more attention to Canada’s colonial past

Maybe this year July 1 will be the day we all wake up after news reports of the gruesome discovery of mass graves at residential schools in Kamloops and now Saskatchewan.

Various Canada Day celebrations are being cancelled out of respect for Indigenous peoples and the horrors they suffered under colonialism.

Now that the tearing down of statues of key residential school figures has started, maybe we should stop paying so much attention to the royals. But then people like Macdonald and Ryerson are much easier to dismiss when they’re not Hollywood tabloid fare.

At a time when we seem to genuinely feel for the plight of our Indigenous peoples, perhaps it’s time we asked some of them how they feel about Harry and Meghan.

Andrew BaranofskiTORONTO

Will humans ever evolve out of their fear of the other?

The fact that 12 per cent of Canadians in an Angus Reid poll indicated they felt “Some races are superior to others” proves that Canada is a racist country.

There is an allegorical undercurrent to all of this that reaches back to long before European colonialism to our deepest primordial history and may suggest why some people are determined to attack anyone that doesn’t look like them.

But a better inquiry into racist attitudes would be to attempt to plot the shift in our history from the fear of the “other” to the ideology of hatred and extermination. I am reminded of a Nature Of Things episode in which evolutionary biologists noted our innate similarity to chimpanzees because we share the unfortunate tendency to attack anyone outside our “family troop.” One scientist believed that humans, like our primate kin, are likely never going to evolve in that regard.

Christopher MansourTORONTO

Acknowledging Islamophobia in Canada

On June 7 in London, Ontario, a family just like yours and mine was killed by a driver filled with hatred. Three generations. Gone.

Every member of that family except for the 9-year-old boy was killed. Their lives, taken away within a second – including their memories, dreams, love and happiness.

“Muslims are the most likely faith group to report facing religious discrimination, at about 60 per cent over the past five years”, says researcher Erum Ikramullah. In fact, Islamophobic attacks have spiked by over 300 per cent in Canada over the period of the last four years alone. No matter how much we try to ignore these problems, they exist and will continue to exist. Racism exists, Islamophobia exists, hate exists. We cannot move on and eliminate these issues until we, as Canadians, stand up and acknowledge them.

We may have our differences, but at the end of the day, we are all Canadians. That’s what makes this country so special – the diverse set of religions, ethnicities and beliefs. Our differences don’t represent our divide, they represent our unity. We failed that family in London, and we failed that 9-year-old boy who will live his life without those he loved the most.

Yameen KhurshidRICHMOND HILL

The last of Canada’s ancient forests are threatened

Where else in the world do you see trees as old as 2,000 years and 20 storeys tall? Trees older than Notre-Dame in Paris, Machu Picchu in Peru and Tiananmen Square in China are in Canada.

Some of the world’s largest Douglas firs, Sitka spruces and ancient cedars exist here.

But you better hurry if you want to see them. The BC NDP government (which promised to protect them) and the forest company Teal Jones are currently cutting them down near Fairy Creek by Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island.

It will take more than 30 human generations to see trees this old again. We are the generation that is allowing this to happen! Take your kids and grandkids when you come but be prepared to ask yourself “Why?”

Maureen FitzmauriceVICTORIA, BC

The day I met Craig Russell

I met Craig Russell in a Montreal bar, Le Mystique, a basement club on Stanley that was reputed to be the oldest gay bar in Montreal and perhaps Canada. It was some time in the 80s. It was a cold, mid-week winter night, and I was nursing a drink by a table in the very back of the bar. There were very few patrons. In walked a person in a long mink coat on the arm of a limo driver. She ordered a drink at the bar, then cast her gaze and came walking in my direction asking if she could sit and chat.

We talked about this and that then she took her leave, saying she had to be at Place des Arts for a performance. After she’d left, I noticed people staring at me, including George the bartender, a lovely Greek fellow, who teased me about not knowing that I’d been speaking with Craig Russell. I’m sure Craig enjoyed getting away with the impersonation, which afforded him anonymity. It’s a nice memory.


Notwithstanding our Charter rights

Take the recent recognition of Quebec as a French-speaking nation and add to it Doug Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause and we see a common thread here (NOW Online, June 20).

The Meech Lake Accord would’ve enshrined the rights of the provinces to nominate Supreme Court judges and would have allowed for an elected senate. Instead, we are stuck with the nomination of senators, judges and Governor General. Legault and Ford are just asserting their provincial rights.

James Pruszynski CHEEKTOWAGA, NY

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Letters to the editor: Leaked video, 911 calls raise more questions on Nova Scotia mass shooting https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-leaked-video-911-calls-raise-more-questions-on-nova-scotia-mass-shooting https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-leaked-video-911-calls-raise-more-questions-on-nova-scotia-mass-shooting#comments Sun, 20 Jun 2021 14:44:44 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=714460 Plus, Zionism versus white supremacy, a summer list to make you love Toronto even more and making sense of cannabis edibles in reader mail

The post Letters to the editor: Leaked video, 911 calls raise more questions on Nova Scotia mass shooting appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Deadliest shooting in Canadian history getting no traction

Re Why Isn’t The Nova Scotia Mass Shooting A National Scandal? (NOW Online, June 15) Hard to believe this story isn’t gaining traction with any of the major mainstream Canadian media outlets. Journalist Paul Palango deserves a lot of respect for hammering away at this story for the last 14 months. Appreciate NOW amplifying it.


Will Nova Scotia mass shooting be an election issue?

What’s the hold-up on the inquiry? Are local Jehovah’s Witnesses or other secret societies compounding RCMP corruption? Will voting the Liberals out of office make any difference? Have Conservatives stepped up to make a Nova Scotia inquiry a provincial or federal election issue?


Glossing over Palestinian extremism

Re Canadian Artists Fear Backlash For Speaking On Israel-Palestine (NOW Online, June 9). The problem with this article is that Palestinian and Arab extremism is glossed over so that your readers have a slanted understanding of what is happening in Israel and the Palestinian Territories and Gaza.

When will we read in NOW Magazine that Hamas is recognized by the West as a terrorist organization? When will we read that since 2001, Hamas has rained thousands missiles into Israel, an act recognized by Human Rights Watch as a war crime. When will we read that the European Union has recently criticized the use of hate in Gaza UNRWA schools toward Israel?


Conflating Zionism with white supremacy is absurd

NOW Magazine and its interviewees seem to think that Zionism, a political movement striving to return national sovereignty to the long-exiled Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, should be filed away in the same drawer of evil as an ideology intent on harming and destroying the Jewish people.   

This absurd stance is not too surprising from a historical perspective. Hatred towards Jewish people has always been dressed up in the current taboos of society. Now the Jewish people’s desire for self-determination marks them as the bugaboos of colonizers and oppressors.

Your article mentions celebrities and artists who have experienced pushback because of their antagonism towards Israel.  Aside from the obvious fact that the political Left itself birthed and engages in the techniques of cancel culture, the lived experiences of Israeli actors like Gal Gadot should illustrate that it is not always so peachy being pro-Israel. Weeks back, she published a post on social media that displayed her support for the IDF and her desire for peace between Israel and its neighbours.  Her punishment for this affront was to be vilified across the internet by the anti-Israel camp, with calls for her to be fired from the role of Wonder Woman.

David MiadovnikFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Canada supporting made-in-Israel atrocities

“How many people in the arts community, for example, are speaking up about the atrocities in Tigray, Ethiopia?”
Perhaps we are guilty of this, but for Canadians isn’t Israel a different kettle of fish?

Our government explicitly backs Israel and claims “Israeli values are Canadian values.” Canada sells and buys arms with Israel, gets police training and even insists that product truth-in-label rules are trumped by a trade agreement that allows wine made in the Occupied Territories to be labelled as “Made in Israel”.

In addition, governments and educational institutions across Canada repeatedly suppress criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, and this week we learned that the Green Party leader won’t defend her caucus when slandered by her own adviser for opposing Israel’s bombing of civilians.

If Canadian governments and institutions are similarly supporting atrocities in Tigray, I haven’t heard of it.


This summer list will make you love Toronto even more

Re The Best Things To Do This Summer In Toronto (NOW Online, June 10) This creative and diverse list encourages me to love my city of Toronto even more!

Leslie Forge – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Cannabis edibles ins and outs

Re High Park: Three Edibles Perfect For Summer Hangouts (NOW Online, June 12). The reason edibles with 20 milligrams of THC or more exist is because a lot of people use edibles to medicate, not just to attend social functions. If you should suffer from chronic pain and can’t get comfortable enough to sleep most nights, then a dose well in excess of 20 milligrams makes a lot of sense.

Jason WilliamsFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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Letters to the editor: A modest proposal for Ryerson name change https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-a-modest-proposal-for-ryerson-name-change https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-a-modest-proposal-for-ryerson-name-change#respond Sun, 13 Jun 2021 14:33:17 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=713525 Plus, the 12 best bike trails in the city, misplaced fears of Zionism and a letter-writer who needs to lighten up in reader mail this week

The post Letters to the editor: A modest proposal for Ryerson name change appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Egerton Ryerson’s nephew was a prominent Marxist

Re Why A Name Change For Ryerson University Is The Only Path To Reconciliation (NOW Online, June 9)

I believe that Ryerson University should be rededicated to other members of the Ryerson family who made a positive contribution to Canadian society. There are several Ryersons in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and at least one more will likely be added to a future volume. My personal suggestion is that Ryerson should be rededicated in honour of Egerton’s older brother Reverend William Ryerson, a prominent Methodist clergyman and volunteer in the War of 1812 (Egerton was too young to participate) and Stanley Ryerson a prominent Marxist intellectual and the descendant of one of Egerton’s brothers. Neither of those individuals had the stature to have a major public university named after them but taken together they are worthy of such an honour.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

You can take the GO train to Bike Share

Re Times Up For Bike Share Toronto Riders (NOW, June 3-9).

Glenn Sumi missed making the connection between bikes and trains when he wrote “with the current 30-minute limit, it’s impossible to get from the regular system’s easternmost dock at Blantyre Park to Guildwood.”

Bike Share Toronto’s Guildwood-Rouge Park pilot program aims to encourage us to take the GO train to Guildwood station. There you can pick up a bike for a wonderfully natural ride down the nearby Highland Creek Trail to the Waterfront Trail, then along the lake to the Rouge Hill GO station to dock the bike and catch the train home.

The easy 12-kilometre ride is spectacular, spring, summer and fall (when the salmon run). Be sure to start from the top of the trail near Guildwood. It’s a cool 90-metre drop in elevation along the mostly paved trail down to the lakefront.

Donald WiedmanToronto

These bike trails need a map to navigate

Thanks so much for The 12 Best Bike Trails in Toronto (NOW, June 3-9). But you could have included map coordinates. It really helps people who aren’t from Toronto or who want to travel to the trails.

Gianne Willett From NOWTORONTO.COM

Letter-writer needs to lighten up

Letter-writer Robin Lake is distressed that NOW Magazine printed an ad for one of Toronto college’s long-time law enforcement programs during the trial of George Floyd’s murderer and then an ad for Toronto’s Jewish Film Festival during the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter-writer writes that NOW Magazine is failing to uphold its own values such as publication for “provocative reporting, diverse perspectives and a commitment to social and environmental justice.” With all due respect to letter-writer – huh?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m still trying to figure out whether NOW’s letters editor published Lake’s missive just to lighten things up during this pandemic time and/or to confirm what that Jewish guy Albert Einstein once said: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” 

David HonigsbergToronto

Fearing “the really powerful arms of Zionism”

Re Canadian Artists Fear Backlash For Speaking On Israel-Palestine (NOW Online, June 9)

What inspires a writer to do a piece on the backlash against artists who express support for the Palestinian cause when there is none?  

That’s not to say that examples aren’t put forward in this article. The author does refer to the two times that Hollywood stars walked back their criticisms of Israel – a celebrity couple in 2014 and The Incredible Hulk in 2021.

Then there’s the CBC which we are told felt it better not to have its Israel-Palestine coverage provided by journalists who openly accused Israel of indiscriminate killing and ethnic cleansing. You see this too, right guys? Of course, fearing the reach of the Jewish tentacles of power (sorry, “the really powerful arms of Zionism”) is nothing new. But it sure is disappointing to read an article working so hard to justify that phobia in a Toronto weekly. 

Daniel FogelToronto

G-7 leaders need to tackle girls’ education

For the vast majority of children in Canada, school-related disruptions have been temporary. But for an estimated 20 million girls in the world’s lowest-income countries, they could be permanent.

This week, G7 leaders have the opportunity to get girls’ education on track as they endorse two new targets: to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low and lower-middle-income countries by 2026.

There is already enough evidence about how girls’ education is one of the best investments to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in line with our longstanding legacy in education, Canada must commit to removing roadblocks to girls’ education by making a strong financial pledge to the Global Partnership for Education at the G7 Summit.   

Hanna BelaynehOttawa

Trudeau’s climate change-up

In mid-April, the federal government released new data showing that, during the six years of Justin Trudeau’s leadership, Canada’s emissions from the fossil fuel sector have continued to rise.

If we’re serious about tackling the climate crisis, this needs to change.

We have less than a decade to be well on our way to tackling the climate emergency. We need a game-changing plan.

Barbara RotschildToronto


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Catholic church’s tax exemption should be revoked

Re Canada Lowers Flags For Mass Grave Discovered At Residential School (NOW Online, May 31). What is so extremely outrageous and insulting is that religious organizations to this day still have tax-exempt status. If you donate a dime to any of the religious orders that were in any way responsible for these massacres, you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If the Cancer Society, United Way, MADD, WE or any other popular charity were found to have unexplained deaths literally in their backyards, someone would have revoked their charitable status by now.


Mare of Easttown’s superb finale

I agree with Glenn Sumi on all points in his review of Mare of Easttown (NOW Online, May 30). The Undoing and Mare of Easttown are both great shows. The acting is fantastic, too. This is the kind of TV I schedule. I want intelligent, superbly filmed, suspenseful programming. Well panned out by Glenn. Can’t wait till the next one!


Public art an important part of future cityscape

Re The Future Cityscape: 11 Buildings That Will Change Toronto (NOW, May 27-June 2). Great article but what about public art? There should be lots of calls for entries but I don’t see many at all in these projects.

Alex AnagnostouFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

What’s the long-term plan for development in Toronto?

Expansion in Toronto is happening too fast to deal with traffic. We’re also not dealing with homelessness and housing affordability. What is the big plan for the next 10-20 years?


Etobicoke to get new mini downtown

The Future Cityscape: 11 Buildings That Will Change Toronto offers a significant selection of projects, but adding a 12th example would have acknowledged that Toronto doesn’t end with downtown. Etobicoke, for example, is to get a whole new Civic Centre on land that used to be an interchange, kicking off the redevelopment of the Six Points area into what could be a new west end mini-downtown. That’s significant.


Baking with beer is fantastic, too

Great article on cooking with beer (NOW Online, June 5). My favourite thing for BBQ is beer. In winter, it is a blend of beer and red wine Bourguignon in my slow cooker. Recently, I learned that baking with beer is fantastic. It adds moisture and depth to quick bread and white wine sauces for a sumptuous fish dish. I do not drink alcohol but I would not be without beer and wine for cooking creations. I could go on, but your informative article says it all. Thanks very much.


Making housing speculation illegal

Yay to Radheyan Simonpillai, for this very clear and important article on the need for a real estate land speculation tax (NOW Online, June 5). If we can’t actually summon up the political fortitude to make housing speculation, flipping, and buildings left unoccupied by absentee owners illegal, at least we ought to seriously tax those engaged in these practices. Otherwise, the province and the city will continue to be in the pockets of developers and housing will continue to be unaffordable for thousands of people in Toronto.


Raising the red flag on Nova Scotia mass shooting

Re Was Nova Scotia Mass Shooter’s Replica RCMP Vehicle Intended For An Undercover Sting? (NOW Online, May 17). There has never been a mass murder where the suspect successfully avoided the police and the police refused to issue a warning to the general public. Journalism shouldn’t be tasked with holding the police accountable, but thank heaven they have chosen to raise the flag. That is democracy at work.


Conflating Zionism with anti-Semitism

Christopher Mansour has been spending the last few weeks sending in letters to the editor. It’s really impressive, actually. I would like to refute some of his ideas. First of all, if any historian has traced anything back to Abraham, that historian is a quack, as Abraham’s historicity has been all but disproven. He says that Jews have the right to the land because of some ancient prophecy and yet I assume he has no issue living on Indigenous land. Yes, anti-Semitic hate crimes must be condemned, but replacing that with Islamophobia, does not make things any better. Anyone who wants to conflate Zionism with Judaism is the real anti-Semite as far as I’m concerned.


Doug Ford to blame for not heeding pandemic advice

Re Doug Ford’s UsefuI Idiot Becomes Political Scapegoat (NOW Online, June 1). I will miss David Williams. It was Doug Ford who twisted the doctor’s advice. We would not have had this third wave if Ford listened to Williams.



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Letters to the editor: Wilful blindness on Israel from its critics https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-wilful-blindness-on-israel https://nowtoronto.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-wilful-blindness-on-israel#comments Sun, 30 May 2021 13:18:03 +0000 https://nowtoronto.com/?p=710614 Plus, psychedelics for your pet, mapping Canada's Indigenous art and another cycling death in reader mail this week

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Petition exposes double standard on Israel-Palestinian question

Re Toronto Artists Call On Koffler Centre To Divest From United Jewish Appeal (NOW Online, May 26).

I am always amazed by the variety of groups who support initiatives to isolate Israel. 

For example, the Chinatown Biennial organization is a signatory to the petition calling on the Koffler Centre to cut ties with United Jewish Appeal. Yet, I see no mention of their support for their fellow Chinese Uyghur’s who are dying in “re-education camps.” The South Asian Visual Arts Centre is also a signatory, yet I see no mention of their distress with India’s own apartheid (i.e., its caste system) which continues to economically and socially separate the lower castes. The Xspace Cultural Centre, which is committed to maintaining a queer positive environment, is also a signatory, yet they seemingly have nothing to say about the oppression and criminalization of LGBTQ communities in Gaza and the West Bank. Nor do any of these groups concern themselves with the Turks killing the Kurds, or the Taliban killing in Afghanistan. The list is endless. Why does this blindness exist?


Anti-Semites being portrayed as “martyrs”

Re: Photo Essay: March And Rally Calls For An End To Violence In The Middle East (NOW Online, May 23).

According to a recent Toronto Police report, hate crimes rose by 51 per cent in the city this past year. Global media has reported a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. The Israel Advocacy Movement tweeted about Islamic lobbyists rallying and chanting “Death to Jews” across European capitols. In North America, Jewish people rallying for their nation were attacked, threatened, and verbally abused.

The obscene and fatuous way the Palestinian lobby and other anti-Semitic racists portray Islamic extremists and Jew haters as “martyrs” is truly diabolical. 

Christopher Mansour – Toronto

Tone-deaf advertising choices

Amid the trial of George Floyd’s murderer, you ran an ad for a law enforcement program at one of our local colleges. Amid the bombing of people in Palestine, you featured the Jewish Film Festival. For a media outlet that prides itself on provocative reporting, diverse perspectives and a commitment to social and environmental justice, you have failed to uphold the values you claim. Your insensitive and tone-deaf choices show a severe lack of moral judgment. Please do better.  

Robin Lake – Toronto

Mapping Canada’s Indigenous art

Enzo DiMatteo’s interesting article on the Spadina subway station totems (NOW, May 27-June 2) makes an odd reference to the “Pacific Northwest” when describing Indigenous art of Canada’s West Coast Gitxsan. The last time I looked at a map, Canada’s northwest would be in the Yukon. 

John D. Stanley – Toronto

A best-selling concentrate missed on our list

Re 10 Canadian Concentrates That Kick (NOW Online, May 27). You missed out on one of the best concentrate producers – the Kolab Project. They offer some of the best selling concentrates on the market.

Nick Sincennes – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Psilocybin for all that ails your pet

Re Is It Okay To Get Your Pet High? (NOW Online, May 18) Love this! Great read. I work for a cannabis company that is researching psilocybin and cannabis and pets are a great candidate for CBD. Relief from arthritis and epilepsy come to mind when thinking of possible benefits for pets using CBD.


Trucks continue to cause unnecessary cycling deaths

A turning truck is a death trap for cyclists. Nearly 50 per cent of all pedestrian and cycling deaths involve turning trucks. The EU introduced a technically very simple solution – a continuous bar between the front and the rear wheels – 40 years ago. The sidebars were suggested for Canada at about the time. The trucking industry screamed that the sidebars were too expensive. So, we still have unnecessary deaths for lack of a bit of hardware. When is the right time to make our streets and roads safer?

Bengt Lindvall – Toronto


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The post Letters to the editor: The trouble with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Israel’s claim to Palestine  

What is troubling about Yves Engler’s column, The Push To Stop Israeli Military Recruitment In Canada (NOW Online, May 17), is that he completely ignores the modern scholarship proving the Jewish people’s ancient claim to the land dating back to the prophet Abraham. Palestine never existed. The term refers to what is now southern Jordan. In fact, the Romans used “Palestinian” to refer to a previous people known as “Philistines.” Palestinians are Arabs whose ancient origins include Saudi Arabia.

Israel’s claim to the land is legal, their defense of their Kingdom legitimate. The IDF should have full right to recruit wheresoever they please. 

Christopher Mansour – Toronto

Why are Canadian charities supporting Israeli military?

As Israel’s forces escalate their violence against Palestinians, Canada must apply its laws concerning support for foreign militaries.

The Foreign Enlistment Act makes it illegal to induce or recruit for a foreign military. The Canada Revenue Agency guidelines state that supporting the armed forces of another country is not a charitable activity, but some do anyway. This entirely disingenuous to Canada’s commitment to a two-state solution and lasting peace in the Middle East. Do you think Canadians should get a tax receipt for donating to the government of Myanmar to repress the Rohingya? The world is watching.

 Elizabeth Block – Jewish Voices For Peace

Social media not helping untangle the truth in the Middle East

Re How Social Media Is Complicating The Israeli-Palestine Conflict (NOW Online, May 18). The larger problem not captured in this story is how so much social media commentary is ill-informed and prejudicial. It’s hard to untangle fact from personal bias, ignorance or plain propaganda. News media have a role to play but most have been corrupted on this issue.

Frank Vetere – From NOWTORONTO.COM 

Will the real Doug Ford please stand up

Re COVID Mask Falls Off Ford (NOW Online, May 11) I have a belief – or delusion – that most senior politicians are more honest and less mean-spirited than the people who write their talking points.  If the person who occasionally complimented Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland was the real Doug Ford, I hope we will continue to catch glimpses of him despite the new PC party’s campaign manager.

Bruce Couchman – Ottawa

Ford government acting in its own interests

Re Hidden Toronto: The Foundry Buildings (NOW Online, May 16) It appears that Mr. Ford and his government are aspiring to become an oligarchy, and are well on their way. There are too many of us who want to live in a democracy to allow that to happen. How is the Ontario provincial government with Mr. Ford at the helm getting away with implementing some of these self-vested decisions? They must be stopped before more irreversible damage is done.

Liz Dobrzanski – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Quite possibly the best movies list ever

Re The 50 Best Movies On Netflix Canada Right Now (NOW Online, May 15) This is the best, clear-cut selection of movies I’ve ever come across. Well done.

Terry Brown – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Celebrating the CNE post-COVID

Re Toronto Cancels All Major Summer Events, Including The CNE (NOW Online, May 15). Let’s keep our fingers crossed that, with the government of Ontario and the government of Canada coming up with a total of $11 million, the CNE will return to an in-person event in 2022. The annual fair is a major contributor to the local economy and an important part of Canada’s heritage. By that time, the pandemic would most likely be behind us. We’ve suffered enough from lockdowns, restrictions, lives lost and isolation. 

Elizabeth Holloway – From NOWTORONTO.COM


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One minute he’s buddies with Trudeau, the next…

We badly need the media to continue to uncover what a mess Doug Ford is making in his handling of the pandemic in Ontario (NOW Online, May 11). One day he’s trying to be buddies with Trudeau, the next he’s ranting about how badly Trudeau is handling things. He is clearly out of his depth and unable to provide the leadership that this situation so desperately requires. Democracy is a wonderful thing; it’s letting us down badly at the moment. The solution is in our hands. I hope my fellow Canadians recognize that and vote accordingly in the next provincial election. It’s terrifying that someone with such a limited intellect can make it to the top of the most populous province in Canada.

Brian PearmanFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Doug Ford’s litany of offenses

Premier Doug Ford should not expect to be re-elected (NOW Online, May 4). Where to begin and which group has not been offended by Doug Ford? He has allowed developers to begin destroying the Greenbelt for another superhighway; he cut the budgets for women’s shelters triggering closures and service reductions; he fought Ontario’s midwives leading to their collective human rights action; he berated teachers who sought a pay increase and a return to manageable classrooms sizes; he failed to distribute COVID vaccines to badly affected regions like Peel to curb community spread; and he foolishly reopened schools assuring subsequent virus waves.

Christopher MansourToronto

Will we ever eat in restaurants again?

Re Why Some Toronto Restaurants Are Shutting Down Takeout During The Third Wave (NOW Online, May 4). Patios can be winterized for October and November, according to this article, to save restaurants. So, does this assume no indoor dining even after everyone is vaccinated? I’m not sure if this is what the writer meant but this sentiment is everywhere in this city. People seem to think the anti-vax crowd is getting support for their ideology from fringe groups. But it’s stuff like this, too. It is just confounding to me. Other countries can open and we can point to them, we just for some reason can never replicate their success. It’s safer for John Tory and Doug Ford to say that even with majority vaccinated with one dose by June it’s way too early to even discuss businesses even taking steps towards opening. Only lockdowns work in this city.


Vaccine rollout not fast enough for cancer patients

The phase two vaccine rollout (NOW Online, May 11) is just terrible for people in the higher-risk categories that are required to have their second dose within 26 days, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. There is still no way for exceptions to change their second dose appointment date. I contacted Toronto Public Health late last week and was told that the only way to get your second vaccine dose earlier is to just walk up to the location where you had your first shot and present your medical note and situation and “hope” that they are able to fit us in. Apparently, they are aware of this at the vaccination clinics so I guess I will see. If anyone knows of anything different or how to change the second date please let me know.

Michael Falconi From NOWTORONTO.COM

Health Canada bends to Big Tobacco on vapes

Re The Dos And Don’ts Of Vaping (NOW Online, May 11). Health Canada was established to act in the interests of Canadians yet seems to readily bend to corporate manipulation. It allowed flavoured vaping products to be fully marketed without conclusive independent scientific proof that the product, as claimed by the tobacco industry, would not seriously harm consumers but rather help nicotine addicts wean themselves off of the more carcinogenic cigarettes.

Frank Sterle Jr.From NOWTORONTO.COM

Illicit cannabis sales online the real problem

Re The Second Coming Of Legalization (NOW Online, April 5). The problem is not with the quality of legal cannabis products. LPs grow better cannabis these days. But the cost to retailers is high and governments are not doing enough to reduce illicit market delivery and online sales.

Chris SkinnerFrom NOWTORONTO.COM


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The post Playing politics with the pandemic appeared first on NOW Magazine.

Mudslinging becomes status quo during COVID crisis

Re Doug Ford Swings Into Re-election Mode (NOW Online, May 4). It boggles my mind that anyone can play the shock and awe card when any sort of scandal happens in politics. If there is one thing we can always be sure of, it is that regardless of political affiliation, mudslinging is the acceptable status quo. Why do we keep lapping it up like pap? Is it too much to ask politicians to go to work on time, treat employees, colleagues and superiors with respect and not embarrass themselves? Stop telling me what other parties are doing wrong and start telling me how your party will work with others to make our democracy more representative while solving problems by working together. All politicians and parties should be ashamed of themselves, especially those on the Left. The NDP slags the Libs and the Cons run away with the loot.

Roberta Miggiani – From NOWTORONTO.COM

For downtowners it’s Etobicoke or bust for COVID vaccine

Re COVID-19: Ontario Reports 3,434 New Cases, 16 Deaths (NOW Online, May 3). I’m annoyed that so many people in downtown hot spots have to go all the way to Etobicoke to get vaccinated. Cloverdale Mall? Dixon Road? Really? Why haven’t we opened up more mass vaccination clinics downtown – Skydome/Scotiabank Arena/Direct Energy Centre – all possible locations that people can walk to? Now those who are trying their best to stay close to home have to figure out how they are going to get themselves safely to Etobicoke and back – not to mention the extra time they will need to take off work to do so. And then do it all over again for the second shot. Ridiculous.

Chris ArmstrongFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Longer grass isn’t always greener

The No Mow May movement (NOW Online, May 5) has some very sound reasoning behind it, but it will need the support of local municipalities. Bylaw officers will need to differentiate between those who are neglecting their property versus those who are keeping their grass long for ecological reasons.


Let your dandelions grow

The taller you let your grass grow the less it costs to maintain. I don’t water, fertilize or aerate at all. Much higher grass (seven inches) shades out weeds, does not require watering or fertilizing or expensive lawn maintenance. It seems people cut their grass really short in the spring to get rid of the sight of dandelion flowers. Really bad idea. That just weakens the grass and encourages more weeds to grow and it leaves most of the dandelion plant behind. People who spent thousands on sod now have a lawn that is bare or mostly weeds after only a couple of years.

Nathan Cole – From NOWTORONTO.COM

Help wanted: cannabis-loving hippies

We Have Sommeliers For Wine – Why Not Concierges For Cannabis At Retail Shops? (NOW, May 4.) Lotsa senior hippies still kicking could supplement their income doin’ this work from valid experience.


Stuck in cellphone limbo during lockdown

I do not have a landline, only my mobile phone. Today, the battery died, which compelled me to sift through what is open and what is not during this latest lockdown to discern whether I could get out of this predicament. Well, I’m stuck in cellphone limbo. How is it that people can buy liquor, but a high risk, 79-year-old person, who uses a walker, can’t get a new battery because computer/cellphone stores are not considered essential? This is idiocy.

P. CitronToronto

Canada selfish not to support vaccine waiver at WTO

I was born in India and raised in Canada. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influence of both countries. As India teeters on the edge of collapse, I am disappointed and saddened at Canada’s lack of commitment to help.

India continues to fight a devastating COVID-19 crisis, seeing more than 400,000 new cases daily. The surge has overwhelmed hospitals and resulted in a shortage of ICU beds and medical supplies.

Canada has pledged $10 million in direct aid but is not supporting India’s proposal at the WTO to waive intellectual property rights on vaccines, despite being the only G7 nation to have ordered doses through the internationally funded COVAX initiative.

In this pandemic and otherwise, Canada continues to rely on the benevolence and charity of countries like India, not only for exports of vaccines but also for future healthcare professionals, like myself. By supporting India’s waiver proposal, Canada can demonstrate that the time of being selfish is over.

Ishita AggarwalVaughan


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