Dopey thinking on marijuana laws
Enzo DiMatteo's Smoke Signals (NOW, April 25-May 1) highlights the need for reforming Canada's wasteful, counterproductive drug laws - as illustrated not least by the fact that individuals are still being arrested and charged with crimes such as simple possession of cannabis.
This issue takes up valuable policing and court resources that a consistently growing majority of Canadians realize should be focused on more effective public-health responses to drug use when it's harmful.. Even in the case of cannabis needed for therapeutic, not recreational, purposes, Canada's drug laws are impeding access to needed care.
For various reasons, too many seriously ill people face a challenge in getting the necessary document from an informed physician. Decriminalizing possession of cannabis for personal use would solve this.
We're falling short on our duty to heed the right of all people in our society to have access to effective health care.
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Sharpening "war on terror" focus
Matthew Behrens's Terror Trap (NOW, April 25-May 1) is a very sharp and good piece. I've read a few others along the same lines but not nearly enough. I wish our leaders would actually read and hear things like this. Thanks.
At home at Perram House
As someone who has experienced family members dying, I have to say that closing Perram House (NOW, April 25-May 1) seems a mistake, if not tragic. Nina Levitt's is also a timely story given that Quebec is trying to legalize doctor-assisted suicide.
I wonder, though, about the use of the word "dingy" to describe other hospital-based hospice care in her piece. That did not come off well.
I think the community needs to speak up on Perram's closing so we can keep an important health resource open.
No rent lament
My No Rent Lament in response to Ben Spurr's Counting On Housing (NOW, May 25-April 1).
What is the virtue in being a bum
I'm scolded and spat at while told that I'm scum
I don't deserve this perilous fate
I slipped through the cracks of our corporate state
Places exist that can placate my soul
And I'm not saying they're one ugly hole
But something to stop my incessant groan
Is simply to give me a room of my own
Not the Four Seasons or Sheraton please
One look at me and the guests would all wheeze
Just take some buildings of no use at all
And offer them freely
A homeless roll call
A room with four walls is all that I need
To protect my savings from others with greed
One key for me and one key for the boss
That doesn't sound like a tough bridge to cross.
Zach Paikin's unintentional comedy
Zach Paikin thinks that, being Jewish, he isn't white (NOW, April 25-May 1)? What delusion is this?
Sure, there are non-white Jews, such as those airlifted from Ethiopia to Israel some years back. In what bizarre alternate universe, however, would Ashkenazi Jews such as Barbra Streisand, Bar Rafaeli, Bette Midler - and Paikin, for that matter - not be considered "white"?
If he wants to go into historical precedents, there was also a time when Irish people weren't considered "white." Who could credibly make such a claim now?
Assuming that "white" is some sort of ethnic identifier, here's a news flash for him: Serb, German, Norman and Swede are the names of peoples. "White" is not. Likewise, Ashanti, Zulu and Tutsi are actual peoples. "Black" is not. Anishnabe and Lakota, yes. "Red," no. Yamato and Han, yes. "Yellow," definitely not.
Perhaps, amidst the cigars and the Scotch, Paikin will learn the difference between an ethnicity and a not too accurate descriptor of complexion. The world has enough unintentional comedy as it is.
Robert S. Walker
Right out of Oblivion
Wow. Norm Wilner nailed Oblivion perfectly (NOW, April 18-24). I stopped counting the movie references in the picture; looks like Wilner got 'em all, except for the design of the drones: refashioned ED 209s (Robocop).
Eco-war's misplaced optimism
No matter how emotionally satisfying your self-congratulatory cover of the Green Issue showing an Exxon executive being socked by a green boxing glove (NOW, April 18-24), the message is cartoonishly simplistic.
Exxon and the like do what they do not because they're innately evil and we're good, but because of our addiction to oil. Yours and mine.
I'd say your optimism is rather misplaced, if not complacent.
A socialist's read on NDP convention
Adam Giambrone's commentary on the NDP federal convention in Montreal (NOW April 18-24) is one-sided and misleading. Ninety-three per cent of the membership did not agree with removal of "social ownership" or with ending the goal of production for social needs, not profit.
Actually, 16 per cent voted against the constitution preamble change, and up to 28 per cent voted for socialist caucus candidates and policy initiatives.
The NDP policy slide has nothing to do with modernization. It is really about party officials trying to prove to the Canadian establishment that they can be trusted to preserve capitalism at a time of staggering economic and environmental crises.
NDP Socialist Caucus
Airport expansion against our nature
I am pretty upset about Porter's expansion plans for Billy Bishop City Centre Airport. (NOW, April 18-24). Is it just me? The fact that anybody would even think about filling in, in any way, part of the Great Lakes, the world's largest inland fresh water system... and for what? Stop mucking around with nature. Please.
Teachers' Pension Plan ethics gap
Re How Do We Get Investment Funds And Pensions Off Fossil Fuels? by Adria Vasil (NOW, April 11-17).
I attended the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan AGM in Toronto recently.
Over the years, questions have been asked about OTPP investments in companies that do business in Israel, in the defence industry and in the fossil fuel business. Another retiree and I did buttonhole Neil Petroff, chief investment officer, after the formal meeting, and his reply to our questions about "questionable investments" was that it is his sole fiduciary duty to gain the best return on investments for the OTPP, which his team has certainly done.
As Vasil points out, with the increase in freaky weather due to global warming, how long will it be before the carbon bubble bursts and destroys the long-term sustainability of "carbon-heavy" pension funds?
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