No Olympic boycott in Sydney so we're going
The barrage of fact-
less, inaccurate accusations (NOW, August 17-23) must be just for entertainment, right? Well, we hope this doesn't spoil the party.
Fact 1 -- There is no unilateral aboriginal boycott of the Olympics as far as we can determine from sources in Australia. If there was, we wouldn't be going. Simple.
Fact 2 -- The only way to truly understand a situation is from the inside. This has been our experience in Kanesatake, Stein Valley, Uganda, Redsucker Lake, James Bay, Guelph correctional centre, etc.
Fact 3 -- Being a sports fan means it matters not a bit if George Bush attends the opening game three-fifths of Blue Rodeo sing at, as long as George Bell plays in it. Bush's attendance, by the way, was a very secondary issue that day compared to GST protests and English-only sentiment.
Lastly, the incredible accusation concerning the Leonard Peltier project -- all those involved gave their time and talents freely to the record and the concert.
of Blue Rodeo
Maybe Blue Rodeo just trying to do right thing
Regarding the letter from S. Pollie. The suggestion that Blue Rodeo made a record to help Leonard Peltier so they could "look good with Indians" while "exploiting aboriginal struggles for Warner Brothers" is so far off the mark I'd need a telescope to find the target. The band's (and Warner Brothers') effort should not only make them look good with Indians, but anyone else who has a social conscience.
It probably never occurred to a bug-up-the-ass reactionary like S. Pollie, out there tilting at windmills, that people like Blue Rodeo may get involved in trying to right some wrongs for no other reason than it is the decent thing to do.
Cover subject objects to sexualized words
I am writing out of my great displeasure at the objectionable cover caption (NOW, August 10-16). While I appreciate NOW's commitment to covering the dance festival, I am highly annoyed by the sexualized statement attached to the photo of myself, a choreographer and dancer in the festival. I did not pose for photos to be presented citywide as the festival's "wet dream."
The caption bears no relevance whatsoever to the fringe Festival Of Independent Dance Artists, nor any aspect of my work. I am disappointed that NOW should feel the need to resort to such trivial and unnecessarily sexualized double-entendre. I feel it is a manipulation of my agreement to pose for the photos.
Sara Porter and 15 others
What does age have to do with Cowboys?
Movie critic Kim Linekin should keep the gender philosophies out of the otherwise articulate reviews. One N for Space Cowboys (NOW, August 3-9), that "geriatric male fantasy about being... indispensable"? I don't care if you don't like the movie, but are you saying you don't want to be important when you are a senior citizen?
What's good for Mel good for the north, too
Mel Lastman wants Toronto to be a city state. It's a great idea because then he can't object if other towns, cities or parts of the province want to declare themselves semi-independent also.
For years there has been a movement afoot in Northern Ontario to separate and become the 11th province. If that were to happen, then Mel would have to negotiate before he sent garbage up there. He couldn't arbitrarily use the moose as the symbol of Toronto, when everyone knows T.O.'s reputation as hogtown. Surely the mayor knows that moose come from Moose Factory and that Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, has first call on the front end.
Oh yes, and the mayor should remember that much of the city's newsprint, wood and paper for election signs and bathroom tissue comes from the north. If he didn't negotiate in good faith, then he really would be on the antlers of a dilemma. Maybe he should go to Edmonton to see their waste disposal system. He may need it.
Too much ink spilled on victim's personality
Re Baton Beating Death Has Cops In Spin Mode (NOW, August 17-23). Four Toronto police beat Vass to death with their batons so that his face was virtually unrecognizable at autopsy.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) refuses to release the autopsy report it received from deputy coroner James Cairns on August 11. The SIU refuses to lay any charges against the four "subject officers." Another police-SIU cover-up is happening.
As a psychiatric survivor/anti-psychiatry activist, I'm damn angry at the mainstream press for demonizing Vass (as they routinely do to other citizens with a psychiatric history) by focusing on his personal problems and personality quirks as excuses for the cops who killed him! In a caring and compassionate society, we don't kill people for being argumentative, feisty or not nice, as Vass has sometimes been described.
Defending a wrongly maligned building
Thank you for an hon- est portrayal on some of Toronto's ugliest buildings (NOW, July 27-August 2). Since the author presented both his and the respective architects' view of the various buildings, I feel a response is warranted to Peter Glennie's letter about the Architecture Building at 325 Church (NOW, August 10-16).
Following a fire that temporarily offset the Ryerson architecture department's housing, the institute realized that the department was in need of its own building.
Although the original plans were altered and the building was built on an extremely tight budget, the final design was gracefully executed by the late Ron Thom, who was a master at creating harmonious and ingenious spaces.
Respectful in scale with its surrounding neighbours, the exterior's use of ungainly materials is absolved in its interior's clarity.
Two soaring atria (four storeys and three storeys) provide well-lit workspaces for students and faculty. The four-storey atrium is encompassed by a central staircase that links each floor level and creates a continually welcoming meeting area.
This openness generates a spirit of community amongst the students and faculty rather than a state of seclusion and a case for potential hierarchies. The spaces throughout the floors are excellent for exhibits and the display of students' projects.
Stripped down to the necessities, this building serves as an example for the students of current design and construction techniques.
Generating pride and respect among its users, this well-executed, proficient space proves that you can't always judge a building by its cover.
Religious views must be respected in school
In the article School Bullies by Nicholas Garrison (NOW, August 17-23), my comments were slightly misrepresented.
Please allow me to clarify the statement vis-a-vis the Islamic position on the Toronto District School Board's policy on teaching sexual orientation in schools.
While the policy is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, it is not consistent with Islam, and Muslims have every reason to oppose it. However, religious accommodation is also guaranteed in the human rights code.
The Toronto District School Board has also prepared and will implement an important document on faith accommodation, through which Muslims and other faith communities can seek exemption from such instructions.
If the contents of the textbooks are going to be revised, then revisions should not be limited to one particular group. In a pluralistic society, textbooks should reflect the current reality of diversity of race, religion and creed of the Canadian population mosaic.
Abdul Hai Patel
Coordinator Islamic Council of Imams Canada