What Mike Harris has done for our kids lately
While Colman Jones aptly described the "early years" debate (NOW, February 17-23), our government's commitment to a province-wide early years program was not clearly enunciated.
Premier Harris commissioned the ground-breaking Early Years study co-authored by child development expert Dr. Fraser Mustard and renowned child advocate the Honourable Margaret McCain. Our government is already acting on the study's recommendations.
Last October, I announced five demonstration projects that are testing different approaches to supporting early child development and parenting.
In the spring 1999 budget, we committed to a $30-million Early Years Challenge Fund that will match contributions to local programs from the private and voluntary sectors and help to establish early child development and parenting centres province-wide.
The fall 1999 throne speech states that we will extend early development opportunities to every child and parent in Ontario and remain the national leader in early child development.
Children of all ages - birth to age 18 - are a priority for this government. Our track record speaks for itself. As Ontario's first-ever Minister Responsible for Children, I am proud of our ongoing investment in the future of Ontario's children.
Minister Responsible for Children
Government of Ontario
Kids lose in parents' struggle to survive
I find it quite appalling that scientists, politicians and even parents still don't "get it" - that programs for toddlers and preschoolers are not the only answer to a well-adjusted child.
With social pressure for parents to be double-income earners, children have less time with parents and spend more time in daycare and extended-care facilities. Perhaps governments should offer more funding to new parents to stay home and consciously raise their own children, rather than daycares or specialty programs. (Daycare: an over crowded excuse for babysitting or a place to leave your child while you make more money to "survive.")
In Europe, children come first, and certain governments and businesses support this with extended maternity leave and tax breaks for stay-home parents.
Agnes Sandford Ladon
Don't attack a man who has done so much
The problem with Col-man Jones's article is it attacks Fraser Mustard because he is trying to provide scientific proof to support increasing services to preschool children. Jones has accepted the argument that if the room is too small, then don't let anyone else in. He takes a complex debate and reduces it to an attack on a person who has done more to promote awareness of the early years that anyone else in this country.
Admittedly, sewing kittens' eyes shut is ugly proof, but unfortunately experimentation on animals is currently the only way that most scientists investigate and develop analogies to human behaviour and development. Most parents know that how we treat babies and toddlers to promote their development is a critical factor in how they develop as children and adults. But governments and funders want more, they want proof, and Mustard has provided it in a way they understand.
The headline and the general tone of the article do a real disservice to the importance of supporting families.
Stop! They might both be right... or wrong
Fraser Mustard may be right with respect to the ultra-importance of the first three years of human life. Alternately, John Bruer may be correct. Unfortunately, only god will ever know who is correct.
A scientific statement is characterized by a lack of certainty and by not using such religious words as "cause" and "effect."
Toronto itself to blame for mess at moraine
I am pleased to hear of another group joining the fight to save the Oak Ridges Moraine (NOW, February 10-16). However, it strikes me as laughable that Toronto city council, whose own anti-development policies are pretty much wholly responsible for the rampant outer-edge suburbanization going on throughout 905, should be joining this chorus.
Toronto's low density is the problem. A simple look at per-square-foot real estate prices shows that the city centre is where people want to be - and more would live downtown if they could afford it. And more could afford it if there weren't one storey houses a stone's throw from Yonge street, if there weren't acres of parking lots sitting empty, if streets like Yonge, Bloor, Queen, College, etc, weren't lined with one- and two-storey shops.
When rare new downtown retail development does occur the city restricts it to one storey. Take the new HMV store on Queen West - HMV was forced to recreate the hideous little single family house that should have been torn down 50 years ago. We'll no doubt be stuck with it for at least another 50 years now. There goes another acre of farmland because the five storeys of offices the area should have supported were not built.
Colombia doesn't use paraquat for flowers
The Colombian association of flower exporters - Asocolflores - had the opportunity to read Poison Petals (NOW, December 9-15). It displays a deep ignorance.
In Colombia, the distribution, import and issuance of agricultural chemical products is managed by multinational companies. The ministry of health requires that the product being registered have the required permits from the country of origin before issuing any licence.
Products such as methyl bromide, parathion and paraquat are not used in Colombian floriculture. However, you indicate that these chemical products are used in flowers exported from Latin America. The statements in your article bring moral and economic damages to an activity that generates more than 150,000 jobs in Colombia.
The author chose not to mention Florverde, the social and environmental program of the Colombian floriculture industry. Florverde has managed to obtain a reduction in the use of agricultural chemical products. Consumption levels in Colombia are even lower than those of developed countries.
German Botero Arboleda
Asociacion Colombiana de Exportadores de Flores
Everyone has to work together on poverty
I have to tell you all the churches open their hearts and doors to our suffering loved ones (NOW, January 27-February 2). St. Michael's Cathedral, with deep inspiration and love from Fr. Sam Bianco and staff, give warm friendship and shelter every Friday night.
Please, I beg you, let us spend our love and energies with our beloved suffering ones. God bless, and let us continue together to give our lives for our suffering family here in Toronto and throughout the world.
Sister Susan Moran
Co-Foundress, Out of the Cold