Purple swings and giraffes
I am a homeless person in the city . I live under a pine tree and have the opportunity to hear and see a lot of things most people don't. A paranoia has gripped the city. I'm sick of looking at zombies walking around with their heads in the clouds. I'm so sad for the predicament of some women. I demand an uprising! I demand daycare centres and public parks with purple swings.
And I demand mandatory picnics and snow men and toboggans. I demand a mandatory viewing of The Wizard Of Oz for every citizen in our country. I also demand helium balloons and popcorn wagons (with real melted butter). I demand that everyone who wants a skateboard should have one.
I demand laughter and that it be mandatory for everyone to learn how to do a wolf howl. My final demand would be that everyone take a good look at giraffes. I mean, just look at them. Watch how nice they are, how they communicate with each other. I'm not advocating zoos or locking giraffes in a cage. I'm saying we can all learn something from giraffes. Of course, there's more. But for now, that's enough.
Patrick Joseph Larkin, Toronto
many canadians, especially some Liberals, have high, almost astronomical expectations for Prime Minister Paul Martin. The same kind of euphoric optimism possessed Canadian sailors in 1981 when a 43-year-old Paul Martin Jr. bought Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL). Martin built a new state-of-the-art, self-loading ship and called it the Hon. Paul Martin after his dad. Many Canadian Sailors believed they had long-term employment, but reality was a dark cloud on the horizon.
Paul Martin began re-flagging his ships in countries with little or no corporate taxes and very low employment standards.
Canada has in its 136-year history devised a system of taxation and environmental and labour standards that it wants its citizens and corporations to maintain. By re-flagging his ships, Martin is opting out of a system that as prime minister he is expected to promote.
His actions with CSL show a man who works hard to avoid playing by the rules.
Paul Martin began using the same tactics in the Liberal party during his quest to become leader and ultimately prime minister. Some have commented that he is a right-wing conservative who is not a true Liberal but is using the Liberal Party as a flag of convenience to assure his position as prime minister.
Garfield John Marks, Red Deer, Alberta
Martin mystique a myth
I cannot understand what makes the media love Paul Martin so much. Martin did not eliminate the deficit by reducing the size of government. The federal government is larger today than it has ever been. In fact, I would argue that he did not eliminate the deficit at all.
By reducing transfers to the provinces, he forced premiers and provincial finance ministers to make painful cuts to services and raise taxes. These actions taken by the provinces contributed to eliminating the deficit.
Also contributing was the era of relative prosperity we've had for the last eight or 10 years. This was because of NAFTA, an agreement, I would like to add, that the Liberals promised to re-negotiate.
Jason Inness, Toronto
Contest rules don't add up
I like to enter contests and find it annoying that many ask a complex mathematical question, requiring a calculator, in order to win, despite that fact you already have gone through numerous hoops to apply. I appreciate that your contests always ask the same questions, "What is 2 plus 2?" How about going a step further and eliminating the question altogether? What have you got to fear? Do you think you will get in trouble? Why don't you leave the silly question out and see what happens? It's a stupid law and I don't think it helps to perpetuate it. Karen Newton, Toronto
Globe right to spike review
It was brilliant of NOW to include Martin Levin's response as an accompaniment to Jason Sherman's piece on Alexander Cockburn's and Jeffrey St. Clair's The Politics Of Anti-Semitism and Phyllis Chesler's The New Anti-Semitism (NOW, December 11-17). By doing so, NOW added some interest to a piece that, on its own, any editor would have sent back to the writer's desk. Sherman may normally be an able writer, but in this case his political agenda got in the way of writing a competent review. Those who use the Globe and Mail's choice to not print Sherman's review as an example of censorship do a disservice to the cause of true freedom of speech. Susan De Rosa, Toronto
Whole lotta love
I'm single, and it sucks - sort of. i tried LavaLife, but it freaked me out. So, I quit that. The reason I'm writing is because I was recently shopping at the horrifically expensive but unbelievably chic and nice Whole Foods in Yorkville and I swear to god I got two guys' telephone numbers while I was there, one by the salad bar and one by the soup cans. Not sure if it's a Wednesday thing, a salad bar or a canned soup thing, but whatever it is, Whole Foods on Wednesdays - singles unite! I feel like a NOW reader who shops at Whole Foods would be the right guy for me, don't you? Oh, and for the love of god, please don't print my name with this. You can call me the Grocery Lover or something lame like that. Name withheld by request, Toronto
Saving scrawny trees
as i prepared to tie my bike up to a small tree recently, a woman caught my eye, hesitated, then came over. Would I mind, she said, being careful not to scar the tree? I must admit that at first I found her solicitude for what was, after all, just a scrawny tree, slightly (and secretly) amusing. On reflection, however, I saw she had a larger point about consideration. Not that we need to go around hugging scrawny trees; that would prove unrewarding in the long run. It probably wouldn't hurt, however, to let that elderly pedestrian get safely to the other side of the street without pressure from a 2-tonne car. And it would cost nothing to yield to the other guy, even though, legally, the right of way is ours. So I thanked her and tied my bike up to a bike ring. Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Saddam gets no protection
there have been a number of letters recently about the treatment of Saddam as a "prisoner of war." Whilst these letters have been accurate about the rights of said prisoners, it is my understanding that to be held as a "prisoner of war" one must be captured as a combatant and in uniform. The circumstances of his capture clearly remove Saddam from this group and the protection it recieves under the Geneva Convention. Nicholas Brooks, Toronto
A case for perjury
In august of this year, city of Toronto auditor Jeffrey Griffiths (CA) submitted to the city a much-needed performance audit for the Public Complaints Process of the Toronto police services. This 46-page report listed 27 recommendations that interested groups and individuals have been trying to have implemented ever since civilian oversight of police services was obliterated when the cops decided to police their own. The report notes, among other things, that of the hundreds of complaints filed last year, only 12 were considered "substantiated." In two of these cases, police management never imposed the discipline that was ordered. The review of complaints is not independent but entirely in the control of the police hierarchy. We are back to the fox-guarding-the-hen-house scenario.
I have spent several hours at Old City Hall listening to trials, especially those resulting from police encounters with protestors. I noted a couple of examples where cases were dismissed because the police evidence was lacking, there were inconsistencies in the police statement or the cop contradicted his own testimony when cross-examined.
Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not cases got dismissed, individuals were forced to pay defence fees and subjected to emotional stress while awaiting their trials.
What if the courts and Crown prosecutors started laying perjury charges against officers who, shall we say, embellish their testimony?
Greg LeBelle, Toronto
Hateful items for sale
I have noticed that a lot of stores in Toronto, especially on Queen, sell articles such as belt buckles and wrist bands with the Confederate flag on them. This symbol, as hateful as a Nazi swastika, represents slavery and racism to those of African origin. I was told by one store manager that they won't get rid of these items because they "sell well." I would like to say, people, please don't buy these hateful items. Camilla Anguspants, Toronto