Goodwill seal hunting
mike smith's uninformed rant about the World Wildlife Fund and supposed "animal rights radicals" (NOW, April 24-30) is a textbook example of a reporter writing a story without properly researching the topic. The public is criticizing the WWF because it has just endorsed the highest quota in Canadian history for harp seals, a quota that will allow close to a million seals to be slaughtered over the next three years.
The Canadian government has stated in internal documents that WWF's support is crucial for any increase in the quota for the commercial seal hunt. In other words, WWF had the power to make this quota increase very difficult but chose instead to let it happen.
The actual consequence of its action is that 75,000 more animals will be slaughtered each year. And not, by the way, to feed anyone. The only real market for the commercial seal hunt is for skins to provide fur coats for wealthy urbanites in Europe.
SARS fears no more
suspect, probable, confirmed. Three designations little differentiated in the minds of those reacting to SARS."Suspect" is not used by the World Health Organization but is by Health Canada and greatly inflates the figures.
"Probable" has little meaning, in that persons "completely recovered" from whatever was ailing them "remain counted on the list of probable cases because the lists are cumulative."
"Confirmed" cases have "been limited to specific transmission settings such as households, hospitals and specific community settings."
The current outbreak has been contained to the point where there's no need at present to be fearful.
Casualty of crass planning
re square to nowhere (now, april 24-30). To borrow from Al Capone, "I don't even know what street Yonge and Dundas is on." To people outside the GTA, this is most certainly the case.This "major intersection" is a complete non-starter, and no number of 12-storey-high billboard gantries, video billboards on every corner, tarted-up Hard Rock Cafés or rooftops of parkades done up à la abandoned East German railway platforms will change that.
As usual, the city moved quickly to placate a developer, allowing the demolition of a portion of its streetscape without any thought to the impact that might have on the street, the merchants or the city.
Not even a temporary green space or market area in the meantime.
Rent hikes legalized theft
re half-baked rent hogs (april 24-30). Adam Krehm's letter in defence of the Tenant Protection Act neglects to mention that tenants who receive rent increases based on capital repairs under this onerous legislation have to pay these increases forever (until their tenancies end) even though the repair is paid off by the rent increase after a few years. Rents go up when landlords repair buildings they have neglected for years, often in violation of municipal bylaws. Rents, however, do not go down once the repair is paid for!This legalized theft also applies to utilities-based increases, the basis for the largest portion of the rent increases applied to the buildings cited in the initial piece. Approximately 100,000 tenant households in the GTA suffered similar increases in 2002 (including 666 Ontario Street, where rents jumped 18 per cent in one year).
Priest's dim ramblings
here's an editorial suggestion: put the dim-witted ramblings of Robert Priest (NOW, April 24-30) in the back of the paper with the sex ads. He's as big a whore as any of the "sex workers" who advertise in your publication, so he'll fit right in. I smell a new contest. Funds could be used to help unfortunate audiences who've been subjected to his codswallop.
No war, no progressthe anti-war writers and contri- butors to your publication suffer from a frustration that stems from their failure to understand both the genetic nature of our species and the path of human history.Every major turning point in history has occurred as a result of war. To stop warfare is to stop human progress. Oppression and injustice would be the norm across the planet if not for past wars.
The impetus to win wars has advanced human development immeasurably. Rather than mindlessly jumping to the conclusion that all war is to be deplored, try to understand why they occur. War and conquest are a part of what we have been genetically programmed to do.
Leaps right-wingers make
i never cease to enjoy watching the stretches and leaps in logic conservatives will make to justify the horrors of American foreign policy. Somehow, Jan Burton has decided that "peaceniks" are hypocrites because worse atrocities are happening across the globe and all the left can do is pick on poor, battered, downtrodden, well-meaning America.
If you seriously believe there are worse horrors in the world than what is going on in Iraq, well, the left thinks so, too.
We don't see why thousands of lives need to be lost to oust a tyrant America put in there in the first place, particularly when worse tyrants threaten the world. If America truly wants us to believe it dislikes tyrants, it should stop installing and backing them.
Negative Jewish coverage
passover is a time to recall our ancestors' liberation and to work toward freedom for all peoples. Yet your reporting of this holiday was limited to a distasteful, obscure collection of toys used to familiarize children with the plagues (NOW, April 17-23). This and the story on B'nai Brith's horrible cartoon (NOW, April 17-23) was very negative Jewish coverage. You claim to be a progressive newspaper, so expose us to progressive Jewish people! We are not all right-wing conservatives. I hope your next issue reports on the large gatherings of Jews and Muslims that occurred this holiday to affirm solidarity, hope and peace.
What you don't know
glenn sumi has every right to pan Florence Gibson's play Home Is My Road (NOW, April 24-30). But he has no right to do so because the author is not poor and Roma like some of her characters. The old chestnut that Sumi drags out to support his lame argument - "Write what you know" - is true only if understood in the broadest sense.
Did Shakespeare know what it was like to be an Egyptian queen or a Danish prince?
I attended the screening of state Of Denial at Hot Docs on Saturday, April 26, and very much enjoyed the film. I object, however, to having been forced to sit through an offensive and unfunny advertising trailer before the film started.The "Will this all lead to dancing?" sketch presented a caricature of some religious minority (old-order Mennonite, I suppose it's meant to be, or perhaps Orthodox Jew).
It mocks traditional cultures and religions and makes light of their continued annihilation by the economic, technological and political forces of secular modernity. The writing and production values of the piece are in the style of Hollywood teen exploitation movies. Porky's comes to mind.
It astonishes me that a film festival that aspires to make the world a better place should force such a tasteless and stupid spectacle on its patrons.
Talk dirty to me
at the back of your publication you feature NOW Connections. As I browsed the ads I was intrigued by a female's "Friends" ad, but as I considered making the call I noticed the rate of $2.49 per minute (minimum 20 minutes). That's 50 big ones. At 50 bucks, one would hope the person would be guaranteed to talk dirty. As a publication that seems to take public interests to heart, how can you associate yourselves with such a scam. Don't you think at $50, men in particular will expect "something" from the people they contact?