Scott Anderson left out two important statistics in the sidebar Mike Stays On Message (NOW, July 5-11).
Number of times Harris referred to provincial spending "skyrocketing" from $26 billion to $52 billion from 1985 to 1995: 2 (or more).
Number of times Harris mentioned that provincial spending is now at $62 billion: 0.
After cutting social assistance payments, eliminating government programs, laying off thousands of civil servants, cutting red tape, slashing per capita education and health-care spending, resulting in thousands of layoffs of nurses and support staff, and unbalanced downloading to the municipalities, government spending is higher than ever.
How can this be? What happened to the "savings"? Just follow the money. The private sector -- the very same forces who complained about government spending and the need for cutbacks throughout the late 80s and 90s -- are laughing all the way to the bank with lucrative government contracts.
Why do you think they've got nothing to say any more about skyrocketing government spending?
Gary Shaul, Toronto
Clarke should stay in jail
so john clarke was denied bail
And NOW and its friends are all upset about it (NOW, July 5-11). In your article Free John Clarke, Clarke's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, says, "To keep somebody in custody until trial should only be done if there are no conditions that can be imposed that would adequately protect the public."
Clarke has threatened the public peace in words, was under suspicion for attacking police at Queen's Park, has broken bail conditions (allegedly), and now is under suspicion for attacking Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's constituency office.
You know what?
As part of the general public, I applaud the courts for denying bail. This man has proven through speeches and actions that he will continue to break bail conditions and cause unrest that could have harmful effects on many.
Instead of urging your readers to complain to Attorney General David Young, maybe we should all phone and thank him.
Kenton Kruger, Newmarket
A lonely NDP staffer replies
It was with great amusement that I read your recent salvo re we "lonely lefties" here at Queen's Park (NOW, July 5-11). Granted, the House isn't sitting right now and staff are taking some well-deserved time off, so it's a bit quieter than usual here. An invite to reporters saying "We Want You To Visit" sounds less like a plea than an open invitation to see our recently spruced-up digs. Doesn't everyone want to hang out with the coolest staff here at the Park?
And while you're visiting, perhaps you could even drop by my desk and see how one "lonely" staffer "blew the budget" on creating that Weakest Link parody site in two days as part of his routine workday.
Crikey! And people think the NDP is humourless!
By the way, while you're on our site, check out our comprehensive Education Action Centre (www.ontariondp.on.ca/education). It easily blows away the Libs' site!
Ontario NDP Caucus Communications
ACT needs its beer buddies
further to your coverage regarding Labatt's sponsorship of the AIDS Committee of Toronto MSM campaign (NOW, June 28-July 4), I want to express my concern over the negative connotation NOW adopted.
While the subtext of NOW's point is well taken -- namely, that a lot more needs to be done to support and fund HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programming -- this kind of posturing that condemns a corporate donor that has stepped up in a leadership fashion will hardly encourage Labatt or any other prospective corporate sponsor to come forward to support the cause.
At a time when funding is increasingly scarce and private-sector sponsorships are critical to the successful implementation and maintenance of this type of programming, ACT is very pleased to have sponsorship partners like Labatt making contributions of this kind.
Charles M. Roy
AIDS Committee of Toronto
Money goes before Pride
Up until today, i had counted this year's Pride celebrations as being the best I've ever experienced. Never before have I felt so much synergy, empathy and goodwill from all involved -- gay or straight. That is, until I read Pride Fallout (NOW, July 5-11).
I don't think anyone is under any illusions regarding the cash cow that is Pride weekend. If people want to spend their money, let them spend. And if certain people, businesses and organizations profit, then so what? Big deal.
Well, it seems that profit is a big deal, as we now know that several establishments within the so-called "gay community" have consulted legal council to potentially bring action against the Pride Committee.
Why? Because the committee helped four establishments obtain extended licensing for Pride weekend.
I am shocked and saddened. And as a gay man, I am embarrassed that the rest of the city of Toronto has been exposed to such petty and greedy behaviour that makes the parade look like a sham.
Are we members of the gay "community" nothing more than economic units? Is this what Pride and having a place within the community means to these people?
I won't be patronizing these establishments any more now that I see what they are really all about. Shame on those who would attack the Pride Committee.
A house divided against itself cannot stand, and they are seeking to defame and besmirch a very important pillar of our community.
Glenn Curry, Toronto
Hormone therapy defended
In your article milk murkiness (NOW, July 5-11), reference is made to osteoporosis. To be sure, calcium is important.
But osteoporosis is largely due to estrogen deficiency after menopause and the fact that many doctors denied my (older) generation hormone replacement on the grounds that it may be a factor in breast cancer.
We were not informed of the facts, and that is why one in four older women now suffer from this scourge.
More recently, researchers at Mt. Sinai and elsewhere have admitted that hormone replacement, although there is a slight risk with respect to breast cancer, is by and large a good idea.
In any event, women now getting to menopause should be informed and, with the assistance of a reasonable doctor, make their own choice.
Miriam Abileah, Toronto
A waste challenge for T.O.
The Ontario Waste Management Association (NOW, June 28-July 4) pooh-poohs Toronto's goal of 100-per-cent waste diversion as unachievable and concludes that 60-to-70-per-cent diversion is "unlikely."
Perhaps the Association should read the June 15 edition of the Vancouver Courier (www.vancourier.com), which contains an article detailing the success of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's waste diversion program.
Landfill waste was reduced from 1.38 tonnes/capita in 1990 to 0.7 tonnes/capita in 1999 -- a 50-per-cent reduction, an impressive achievement considering the significant increase in Vancouver's population over the last decade and the fact that the program started from scratch.
Given that Toronto already has some waste diversion in place and that the cost of hauling to Michigan is unlikely to decrease, I'd suggest Toronto's diversion goals are entirely realistic.
What's needed is the political will to follow through and not listen to those with a vested interest in continued waste haulage.
Rick Jelfs, Toronto