That's how cops keep copter complaints low
You mention that many Toronto residents are irritated by the helicopters (NOW, August 24-30), but only 11 valid complaints had been registered.
I am surprised. I, and most people with whom I have discussed this, are very irritated by the presence of the helicopters.
Part of the explanation for the low number of complaints registered may relate to the fact that the complaint phone line is seldom answered, and never answered after standard business hours when most people are likely to be at home and annoyed by the helicopter.
Although callers may leave voice mail messages, some may be reluctant to do so because the answer message states that no one is available to take helicopter complaints now. The names of about five different police officers are given for whom messages may be left. It is not clear which officer, if any, will act on helicopter noise complaints.
The noise complaint line should be answered live at all hours. If it is not possible to have a live answer, there should be one voice mail box identified as being specifically for helicopter noise complaints. Only then should the number of complaints registered at the complaint line be a valid estimation of the level of annoyance that the public is experiencing due to the helicopter presence.
If you can get through, write to Mel himself
you call it the heli- copter noise hotline. They call it the Toronto Police Helicopter Project. I dialed 808-0901, and guess what? There was nobody there. Only a recording -- "If you wish to leave a message for Constable A, press 1, for Constable B, press 2," and so on. You press 0 to reach a live person, but she won't take a complaint.
Isn't that perfect? There will be very few complaints, because they have tuned them out. Sounds like our great good premier, Mr. Harris.
I would suggest phoning your councillor, Mayor Mel's office and city auditor Jeffrey Griffiths.
Better yet, write a letter.
With cars and trucks, you can't hear chopper
I live right at Coxwell
and Dundas. I can tell you that the noise of large trucks, buses and thousands of cars daily obliterates any sound from the sky. I can also tell you I would hate to be a cop -- in the air or on the ground -- in this city in these times.
How many guns are disguised as pies?
Kevin Wilson's concern that if Chretien can get it for political reasons rather than personal ones (too pompous or powerful), then Canadian society might be standing on the brink of the slippery-pie slope, is a point well taken (NOW, August 24-30). However, let's stick to the security issue. The RCMP have been criticized by many for not paying closer attention to Chretien's movements.
Presumably, they are on the lookout for weapons. But not many guns can be disguised as pie plates, so what's a mountie to do? Besides, even if they knew the pie job was coming, would they have wanted to prevent it? Any cop worth his salt would naturally be prepared to take a slug in the leg for the boss, but a paper plate covered with Reddi-Whip? Not worth the chuckles in the guys' shower room afterwards, I suspect.
Shine a light on the killing of Otto Vass
On Wednesday, August 9, four police officers beat a man to death with clubs in a 7 Eleven parking lot. The dailies -- from which you are often keen to distance yourself -- greeted this incident with a notable lack of curiosity, but it seems that you number yourself among them.
No ongoing coverage, no articles calling for justice, nothing, nada, zip.
So what's up, NOW? Are you completely gutless, has Craig Bromell scared you off, or have you entirely abandoned your principles?
This is precisely the sort of incident where sufficient media pressure and attention can force the hand of those who would see this little embarrassment swept under the rug.
Muslims have a right to speak on public ed
as scholars of the Muslim community in Canada, in the strongest terms, we bring to your personal urgent attention our serious concerns regarding School Bullies (NOW, August 17-23) attacking Islam, denigrating Muslims and damaging our community in Canada.
We strongly object to the malicious claims that Muslims are "bullies," "meeting busters," etc simply because they are trying to defend their religious beliefs and value system through the proper channels as part of a truly democratic process.
Moreover, those so-called Muslims who wish to hanker after mischief (fitna) in the community and sell their souls for worldly gain have no legitimacy and cannot claim to represent Islam and the Muslim community, however much they pretend to.
Islam makes no pretense in its stance regarding all issues of what is halal (lawful) and haram (forbidden). There are no exceptions -- not for homosexual or any perverted form of sexual behaviour and moral corruption, nor illicit heterosexual indulgences.
Homosexual practice is wrong, sinful and forbidden in Islam (and other religions) and requires strong corrective measures.
It is against the laws of God and nature. This has nothing to do with hate, homophobia or all the politically convenient, trumped-up buzzwords such as "tolerance," "equity," etc. That is the authentic Islamic position based on the Shari'ah (Islamic law).
Youssef Chebli Maulana Kasim Ingar Jamea Abubakar Siddiq
Don't look for Jewish news in Jewish papers
though I despise Marxism and secular humanism, I respected the late Jewish radical Joe Flexer because he stuck up for his convictions (NOW, August 17-23). That is more than I can say for the Canadian Jewish leaders, organizations and newspapers Scott Anderson interviewed for his article on Stockwell Day and private school funding (NOW, August 10-16).
On July 27, both the Jewish Tribune, B'nai Brith Canada's organ, and the Canadian Jewish News, the weekly of the country's Jews and whose directors are pillars of the Jewish community, published advertising pages devoted to non-kosher restaurants. Imagine the outrage had Catholic newspapers advertised abortion and escort services.
Principles and fearlessness are not something one associates with Canadian Jewish newspapers.
We Jews know that there will never be any investigative reporting or mention of scandal regarding Canadian Jews, only wire service articles on Israel and Jews, and kowtowing to officials.
To be informed on Jewish affairs, we turn to the Globe and Mail or the Montreal Gazette.
Blue Rodeo could lead if they wanted to
To Jim Cuddy and Greg
Keelor of Blue Rodeo (NOW, August 24-30). No, there is no "unilateral boycott" of the Sydney Olympics. In politics, there is never unanimity. Waiting for a social movement to become "formalized," as your manager put it, is a cop-out, especially when you have the power to lead.
Aborigines have to live with Australia as it is, and it's not surprising that some take the path of reform rather than radicalism.
It's precisely your distance that allows you to take a principled stand, should you deign to, and thus lend international support to the contest between Australian aboriginals and the Australian state.
On September 11 in Melbourne, the World Economic Forum will be, um, "greeted" by protestors who I'm sure will be delighted to have you perform for them. Rage Against the Machine played the L.A. convention through the pepper spray and rubber bullets -- you're as committed as that, right?