Headlines and hysteria
editors of our daily newspapers have had much time to create eye-catching headlines about SARS. Investigative journalism seems to have gone out the window. In the last week rats, cockroaches and human feces have been linked to SARS.
Our politicians' and media's lack of responsible leadership is comforting neither to those who live here nor to those who watch us from afar.
Douglas Helliker, Toronto
Enough bad press for T.O.
on behalf of the many thousands of us in the entertainment industry suffering job losses due to the way the media has hyped the SARS outbreak, I'd like to say thanks, guys, but we don't need that sort of help to bolster Toronto as a place to visit.Enough bad press for Toronto.
And take note - you're still more likely to die of flu or in a car accident than of either SARS or West Nile, both of which are preventable with the proper very simple precautions.
The 15,000 people who work in the film industry in Toronto generate hundreds of millions of dollars.
One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to see what the effect of losing all that is.
Nicholas Brooks, Toronto
leave it up to canada's three political stooges, Mel Lastman (Curly), Ernie Eves (Larry) and Jean Chretien (Moe), to take vacations during a world health crisis. How can these three men think about their selfish recreational needs while people in our kind and compassionate city are dying, our hospitals are being shut down, workers are losing their jobs and the world sees us as mismanaged and in chaos?
If it wasn't for the W.H.O.'s travel advisory, our so-called leaders would have continued to bask in the sun. It's doubtful they even care since they're all leaving political office very soon.
Enza Anderson, Toronto
Embarrassment for all to see
is it worse for toronto to be labelled the city with SARS or the city that voted for a know-nothing prattler who besmirched the name of the city world-wide in his CNN interview (NOW, May 1-7)?I nearly choked on my bowl of pho as I sat here in Vietnam watching his lack of coherence and knowledge. Totally unbelievable. J Houston, Buon Me Thuot, Vietnam
Sadder story behind SARS
with the news media so intently focused on SARS, it's made it easy to let other events slip by that potentially have a more devastating impact on the well-being of our citizens.Recently, the provincially appointed supervisor of the Toronto district school board announced that the board will eradicate all general interest and seniors' programs after the 2003 spring session.
That means that the 30,000 adults will no longer have access to community-based continuing educational opportunities in Toronto.
Seniors, who make up 30 per cent of the participants in these programs, will have less opportunity to take part in educational and recreational activities vital to their social and mental health. Women, who make up 75 per cent of the enrolment, will have less means to take affordable, accessible part-time educational training.
The estimated savings of these cuts is a mere $330,000. Yet the dramatic social, emotional, spiritual costs far exceed these immediate savings.
Helen Wong, Access Alliance Multicultural
Community Health Centre
WWF's protection racket
mike smith fell for the hunting apologists' line that animal rights is a cultural conflict of urbanites vs. native and rural communities (NOW, April 24-30). Unlike the WWF's Monte Hummel, however, we don't think that coming from a rural background makes us superior to people who have been city-dwellers all their lives. Perhaps Hummel's contempt for urban Canadians explains his willingness to mislead by posing as an animal protection charity, then using donations to advocate killing animals.
Smith also alleges that animal rights activists don't care about environmental issues. Clearly, one of the most important ways we can help animals is to ensure that they have safe, unpolluted environments to live in.
However, unlike groups such as World Wildlife Fund, we believe that wild animals and wild spaces have inherent value and should not be treated as mere resources to be used and abused by humans.
Rosemary Amey, Freedom for Animals, Toronto
Animal rights not our game
world wildlife fund canada certainly recognizes the important work done by legitimate animal welfare groups. But that's not us. You just can't do everything and make an impact. WWF tries to conserve entire species and ecosystems. By specializing, we have helped (among many other accomplishments during almost 25 years working in Canada and over 40 internationally): establish over 1,000 new parks and protected areas in Canada alone; take 28 species off the species-at-risk list; protect over 10 million hectares of land from development in the NWT; stick-handle an international process to move shipping lanes that threatened the endangered population of North Atlantic right whales.
That kind of work inspired over 4,000 people to climb the CN Tower on April 26 to raise money for our work. A coalition of animal rights groups campaigned against participation in this event. We only wish these groups would spend more of their time and their supporters' dollars targeting their efforts at protecting animals and let us get on with our work.
Monte Hummel, President,
World Wildlife Fund Canada
Denying racial profiling
re state of denial (now, april 24-30). Since the police are yapping about how racial profiling doesn't exists, I would recommend they (or anybody else who wants to know about it) ask any immigrant to this country - and I mean any - whether he or she has experienced racial profiling. I'm pretty sure that almost anyone will tell you about how racist some members of this police force can be. Those who claim racial profiling doesn't exist are either blind to police racism or fucking jerks!Benito Camelo, Toronto
i want to thank you for including my apartment, 20 Shallmar Boulevard, in your list of worst rent hogs in the city (NOW, April 17-23). But you missed the half of it.We are owned by Greenwin, the biggest pack of money-mad pirates in the city, and the tenants here have been waging a major battle to try and get some reasonable treatment.
A couple of years ago, Greenwin jacked up the rent 15 per cent in one shot. We tenants banded together to fight in court.
But since Greenwin is such a large contributor to the PC party, and since the Rental Housing Tribunal is nothing more than the Greenwin Protection Agency because of it, we never stood a chance. We have been treated harshly ever since.
So now people are just giving up and moving, anything to get away from those who control our fate.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
Peace trumps war
though a case can be made for war as a mechanism by which social organizations increase in complexity and ultimately benefit as a society, the actual "progress" part of the equation doesn't occur until after the warfare has stopped. Peaceful mutual trade trumps war in the dissemination of ideas and growth of complex political entities. War is at best a pause in progress, not even taking into account nuclear weapons and their capacity to reverse or end the process altogether.
Evolutionary science teaches us that the success of a species is contingent on its ability to create win-win situations. Society is full of constructs that defy our genetic impulses because we have deemed them unacceptable.
Much of the frustration that Randall Young alludes to (NOW, May 1-7) actually stems from a good understanding of this, and the deep disappointment we experience when "the greatest democracy in the world" fails to comprehend it.
Ken Dirschl, Toronto
Giving Jews a bad rap
thank you for your interesting article regarding the offensive cartoon published in B'nai Brith's Jewish Tribune and the report of the apology that followed (NOW, April 17-23).However, for accuracy's sake, I would point out that the only reason the Jewish Tribune has such a large circulation is because it's distributed free of charge in virtually every grocery store along the Bathurst strip from Eglinton north past Steeles.
For NOW to give the impression that this paper is in any way an official voice of the Jewish community is simply improper. In fact, the generally accepted mainstream newspaper voice of Canadian Jewry is the well-respected Canadian Jewish News.
Mordechai B. Coopersmith, Thornhill
i must respond to nick lenskyj's letter about Hot Docs' supposed mocking of "traditional cultures and religions" (NOW, May 1-7). The trailer that offended you so much is for a documentary that follows Amish teens who are given a year to experiment with values outside their culture. When the year ends, they must choose between remaining Amish or entering into our world of "economic, technological and political forces of secular modernity." You should have your knee checked because your jerk reaction is a little hyperactive. Ursula Buck, Toronto
Theatre of the elitists
i have to commend glenn sumi for writing about Andrew Moodie and Stratford (NOW, April 17-23). Very informative and ballsy. Stratford's elitest and disproportionately white contingent has been killing me for years. I want to thank him for having the balls to be a real journalist. Bobby Del Rio, Toronto
Stratford full of diversity
i read with interest the article about the AfriCanadian Playwrights conference and Andrew Moodie's suggestion that there have been no actors of colour doing significant work at the Stratford Festival of Canada since he was part of the company in 1995.There have indeed been people of black, Asian and aboriginal origin on the stages and in major roles at Stratford. Consider the past two years.
Karen Robinson is portraying the classic role of Clytemnestra in three plays. Joining her in those three plays are Dion Johnstone as well as veteran Halifax actor Walter Borden.
Karen Ancheta plays the role of Thaisa in this year's production of Shakespeare's Pericles and Nazneen Contractor plays Marina. Jamie Robinson plays Alexas in Antony And Cleopatra and Achilles in Troilus And Cressida.
Seun Olagunju returns for his second year in the cast of The Swanne.
Thom Allison and Charles Azulay have had major roles in our musicals for the past two years and both are in the 2003 production of Pericles.
Of course, our major 2003 musical, The King And I, features actors of varying Asian backgrounds, including Helen Yu, Anne-Marie Ramos and more than a dozen supporting players (not including the 15 young actors playing the royal children).
The Stratford Festival is committed to diversity. We would invite the readers of NOW to see for themselves.
Andrey Tarasiuk, Associate Director and Head of New Play Development, Stratford Festival of Canada
it's unfortunate that your con-tact, Photo listings failed to include a remarkable exhibit that is indeed part of Contact 2003. World Class City is a retrospective collection of photos of Toronto's street people by Ivaan Kotulsky. This exhibit is at the Artword Gallery. The photographs in this collection are spectacular. Eya Donald Greenland , Toronto