I used to be an idiot. And evil, too. Because I thought that it wasn't the police but rather the people being chased who were endangering the public (NOW, April 18-24).
I was a moron because I used to think that when someone steals a car he should go to jail. In my twisted little right-wing-extremist peanut brain, I concluded that a criminal with a car is even more dangerous.
But I'm getting smarter. Now I don't even think the police should respond to bank robberies. What if the robbers kill someone? It's just not worth the risk. And investigating murders and rapes? Forget it! It'll only piss the criminals off and they'll kill even more.
NOW has showed me the real truth. It's not the speeding scumbag that kills. It's those who make him kill by trying to catch him.
Timing was all wrong
NOW Magazine is notorious for reinterpreting remarks (NOW, April 18-24). Let me restate what I said for the sake of accuracy.
The film (The Accused) was not too controversial for the Jewish Film Festival. We stand behind our selection of the film four months ago. It remains a finely made film, and we are sorry to postpone it. We felt that, given the events in the Middle East, the timing of the screening was inappropriate.
The decision did not "split the festival organizers." It was not a "political" decision to postpone the screening. Our decision was made independently.
In Svend's Defence
It is pathetic to see the Canadian punditocracy line up to give a thrashing to their favourite target -- Svend Robinson.
Unlike most opinion-makers, who have at best a paralysis-inducing "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach to Ariel Sharon's policy of provocation, Robinson is at least willing to take a stand.
I just came back from the West Bank and have seen first-hand the dangers faced by journalists, NGO workers, foreign observers and volunteers.
The political risk is real, too. Not only does it allow armchair warriors against terrorism like the Globe's Margaret Wente and Marcus Gee to use their column inches for self-righteous castigation, but it also has echoes in Robinson's own party.
It seems we can't even count on the party of the Canadian left to take a clear stand on the deaths of innocent civilians, most of whom have nothing to do with suicide bombers. Is it any wonder the electorate tires of a party of endless ritualistic platitudes?
Richard Swift Co-Editor New Internationalist Magazine
Sniping from the sidelines
It's interesting that both Ha'Aretz and Kofi Annan are calling for an international peacekeeping force to intervene between the Israelis and Palestinians (NOW, April 18-24).
Even though Israel currently opposes the idea, it could be persuaded to accept it. However, peacekeeping promises to be a horrible assignment for any country that attempts it -- a costly and thankless task, perhaps more like the Somalia mission than that in Kosovo. As for Canada, the great peacekeeper, we are (sadly enough) having enough trouble in Afghanistan.
It is probably going to be up to the Israelis and Palestinians to work out their own problems, if indeed that's possible, or otherwise to just keep fighting. NOW and its loyal correspondents such as myself will continue to snipe (verbally, of course) from the sidelines.
Israelis can do little right
Ellie Kirzner lashes out at Canadian Jewish organizations for their defence of Israel (NOW, April 11-17). She is obviously frustrated with us, but we no less with her.
One stands in awe of her moral equivalency between deliberate terror and inadvertent casualties. For Kirzner, it would seem that Israelis can do little right and have few rights indeed.
Simon Rosenblum Director, Public Policy Canadian Jewish Congress
Tragedy by any other name
Why is it a "tragedy" when U.S. bombs kill Canadians, but not when they kill Afghans?
Eves's easy ride
Scott Anderson's tame portrait of Ontario premier Ernie Eves (Ernie Eves' Big Easy, NOW, March 21-27) never really asks the question that average Joes would pose.
The question? Eves kissed his loyal constituents goodbye in pursuit of big money. What's to prevent him from repeating that action when he encounters rough waters (another Walkerton) down the road?
Mike Harris, Ontario's most recent quitter, effectively dismantled the social, environmental and health infrastructures.
Eves served as Harris's loyal lieutenant, wielding the butcher's blade, and now he has the bold-faced nerve to return to test the stupidity of what amounted to a majority of suckers.
If ever there was a reason for voters to rise up from the passive coma that seems to grip Canadians, now is it.
Why we can't feed hungry
First, let me thank you for getting the message out about the worsening situation faced by food bank users (NOW, April 11-17).
Your recent coverage stated that "the kicker" is that people may only go to food banks once a month.
Daily Bread's policy is that no one is turned away who is in need of food. The frequency of visits is based on the amount of income left at the end of each month, which often necessitates that some food bank clients come on a weekly basis, not just monthly.
Food banks are not in a position to meet all the needs of hungry people. We long for the day when people will enjoy the dignity of having enough money to buy the food they choose to eat. Until then, we will do what we can.
Jim Russell Director, Public Involvement Daily Bread Food Bank
War on drugs keeps rolling
Keith Martin is right. We really must question the nature of democracy in Canada when 76 per cent of Canadians no longer believe it is the role of the state to criminalize their brothers and sisters for smoking pot, yet the Liberals wish to keep the Dante's Inferno called the war on drugs going full-throttle (NOW, April 18-24).
Maybe our new social reality requires a prime minister who's a little more able to deal with the fact that in a democracy you only have criminal law that is supported by the people.
Grim reminder for cyclists
Thanks for the upfront pic to remind us that a crash with long-lasting harm can happen in seconds, and that bikes don't usually have the right-of-weight that four-wheelers do (NOW, April 11-17).
The touted-by-some, toned-down-by-choice Cycling Master Plan doesn't get that "roadical" and thus shortchanges urban cyclists, especially those going east-west in the city core. It's likely getting time to sue the city for their persistent neglect.
Textbook "B" journalism
NOW's willingness to exploit a community's struggle with self-appreciation for the purpose of beefing up its editorial pages is loathsome.
Whiter Shade Of Black (NOW, April 11-17) is textbook "B" journalism. Any African-Canadian gentleman worth his salt has grappled with this "notion of preference" for lighter skin. Ryan Patrick's attempt was trite and lacked depth and expansion.
If you are base enough to make mammoth life choices contingent upon colour, what memo are you sending self-respecting African people?
I have to confess: I was starting to believe that NOW was devoted to supporting serious, mindful journalists.
Then, Patrick comes along highlighting his self-hatred.
View from Down East
I am from the Mi'kmaq nation of Cape Breton Island. I am a fisherman. I am writing to you today about the seismic testing being planned by oil companies off Cape Breton Island.
In my opinion, these oil companies are just looking to get rich fast. I remember the jobs that were promised from another oil project back in 97. I was interested, so I went off to Cuba on a training vessel, hoping I would get a job on my return.
What a fool.
I realized about a year or so later that all the promises were only meant for the short term. All they needed were a few token Indians, plastic medicine men to pave the pipeline.
Every time something good and positive happens to us, someone somewhere tries to destroy it. Take this latest seismic testing. I've been involved in fishing long enough to know that any time you start blasting air guns in the ocean, you're destroying millions of living species like lobster eggs and crab eggs.
Non-native and Mi'kmaq are just starting a positive relationship in our fishery, and to bring in the oil rigs for a few hundred jobs.... All our futures are at stake.
St. Peter's, Nova Scotia