Harper speaks for rest of us
Who is the fucking nova monkey that wrote The Devil In Stephen Harper (NOW, June 3-9)? Obviously someone who has never left the comfort of Toronto. I'm originally from out west and have lived in Toronto for the last couple of years. It blows my mind how much people in this city complain how bad they have it. They obviously haven't been anywhere but Ontario. The only thing Stephen Harper is trying to do is to give a voice to the rest of Canada. Canada is not just Ontario as so many of you seem to believe. Go anywhere in this great nation, but don't say you're from Ontario because they'll be laughing at you behind your back.
One promise he won't keep
Stephen Harper has told the Toronto Board of Trade that he's going to cut corporate subsidies and tax loopholes before he further reduces the business tax rate. Harper targeted Bombardier and regional development programs, primarily the Atlantic region, but conveniently made no reference to one of the biggest recipients of handouts/corporate welfare/taxpayers' money of any industry: the oil and gas industry from his own province, Alberta. The auditor general's report in 2000 stated that from 1971 to 1999 the oil and gas industry received direct subsidies of $40.4 billion. Subsidies to renewable energy were $0.2 billion. We do not know how much more was given away through the tax system because it is no longer calculated.
The oil industry literally founded the Reform party, forerunner of today's Conservative party, putting up millions in the first few years to get it off the ground.
Of our largest corporations with revenues of more than $250 million, 29 per cent to 41 per cent pay no tax at all in any given year.
Almost every government elected since the early 1970s has pledged to end corporate welfare, but - surprise, surprise - once in power they have a habit of listening to Bay Street, and the promise disappears. This one will, too.
Murray D. Lumley
Lefties soil their diapers
Although i'm not exactly a fan of Stephen Harper, I'm having so much fun watching the left-wing-nuts soil their diapers in infantile desperation that I kinda hope the Conservatives form our next government.
Preacher's no homophobe
Salaam, Jon Kaplan and Glenn Sumi. I read your review of our Toronto premiere of Allah Made Me Funny (NOW, June 3-9). I found some of your statements incomplete in accusing me of being anti-gay. I talked about a debate with a gay Jewish black male. In the joke I said, "Hey, dude, pick one." I also clearly stated that the point of debate with this person was about history, as he argued that the gay rights movement was just like the civil rights movement. I disagreed. It had nothing to do with homophobia, but historical perspective as an African American.
I've reviewed the tape of that show. What you left out of your article was my statement that "I had no problem with his lifestyle." What you missed was the homophobia I talked about in the Islamic community. I am probably one the few people who will acknowledge that there are gay Muslims. I actually gave it a forum. If there is a misunderstanding, that is natural, but you didn't ask for any type of clarification for your piece.
You also said that I ended my set with this material. I ended the night with a bit about West Indian police.
I wrote this letter because I believe in dialogue and clarity on issues. I am not satisfied with just accepting what is said or not said. I believe in asking questions. Stay Blessed.
Racism or just ignorance?
I try to distinguish between racism and less virulent forms of cultural ignorance. I am not sure what term to apply to D.B. Bremner's description- "garishly made-up señoritas" - of the women in the bar he visited in Corinto, Nicaragua (NOW, June 3-9). Were those his words? At very least I would term this stuff doltish. Is it considered too invasive for the editors to recommend against lousy stuff like this?
Spilling ink for Rancho
A friend of mine told me of the slander you foisted upon Rancho Relaxo recently (Gays Can't Dance, NOW, May 27-June 2). I don't want to flog a dead horse, but don't you know the impact your paper has on its readership? It's good of you to have printed owner Donnie Blais's letter and to have issued that (minuscule) retraction. But c'mon, 90 per cent of the people who were scandalized by your fuck-up don't read editorial content. They check out the juiciest news, the music listings, Savage Love and maybe whether if they were I-spied.
I'm gay, and I worked at Rancho Relaxo for almost two years. I was more comfortable with my sexuality there than I am with most of my blood relatives. I think I'm in a position to speak with some authority that it's a LGBT friendly space, and that Donnie is too good of a guy to be saddled with a bad reputation because you weren't careful. Take it on the chin and spill some ink about this that people will actually read. For fuck sakes, they serve the best margaritas in the city.
I write to congratulate the city of Toronto on its tobacco smoking ban in clubs (NOW, May 27-June 2). It only took 30 years of my life (and anti-smoking activism) to see a semblance of sanity begin to return to the city of my birth. Now how long will it take to install anti-idling laws and noise laws with teeth and dog shit laws? When will Toronto designate bicycles-only roads? I guess the best news is Toronto is free of Mel Lastman. There is hope!
Taking freedom over rent
RE Shantytown Shift (NOW, June 3- 9). The precipitous demolition by bulldozers of shanties underneath Bathurst Street bridge, home to some 25 squatters, mostly young people, was yet another example of knee-jerk compassion and good intentions gone awry. The homeless were offered clean, safe, if sterile, apartments. Only 10 accepted. Having been down-and-out, I empathize with their choice. Welfare officials may have presented them with a roof over their heads, for their own good, naturally. But they took away the most precious gift of all: individual liberty. Freedom.
But that is, of course, the quintessential Canadian solution to all human problems: if what is bad is made illegal, then surely what is good must be made mandatory.
"D" stands for doh
It has now been revealed that Veterans Affairs turned down an offer by Air Canada to fly 100 veterans to D-Day ceremonies in Normandy for free. The reason? "Privacy concerns." That's right. The department could not confirm for Air Canada whether someone was a D-Day veteran. Perhaps the minister, John McCallum, hasn't noticed that privacy is not a big concern for these men. They've been proudly marching in public every Remembrance Day for nearly six decades.
Weak and tedious
I used to look forward to Thursdays when a fresh issue of NOW could accompany a coffee from my local café. However, that kid-on-Christmas-morning feeling has diminished due to the constant and overwhelming bias NOW has toward supporting the NDP. I get it! You are pro-NDP! Enough with the Dennis Mills bashing! (NOW, June 3-9). To pick on a man because one of his signs says "elect" and not "re-elect" is weak and tedious. Dennis Mills has been a member for his riding for 16 years, therefore it's highly unlikely any voter will confuse him with David Miller. I suggest NOW wipe the brown from its nose and give its readers a choice, with relevant facts. Leave the playground name-calling and dunce hats to those who lack a valid point.
Perlich losing his cool
Maybe Tim Perlich should get his head out of his ass and listen to some decent music for a change instead of singing the praises of "hipster" Toronto bands that are considered cool just because a few "scenesters" show up at their shows (NOW, June 3-9). Perlich sits behind his computer with his beady little eyes writing about anything that pops into that small space between his ears (let's call it a brain until we can prove otherwise) and spouts his biased opinions about music he likes.
Forget about objectivity or the change to expose your readers to something that is actually genuinely new and interesting. He's more concerned with writing about his hipster friends' bands that couldn't fill a club that wasn't on the Queen Street strip.
This trail's not for the birds
I just read your story about the Don trails that mountain bikers are allegedly damaging (NOW, May 27-June 2). What are they doing, other than building some much needed "safe" bridges and fixing the trails? Your story is way off base and should be redone to explore the truth about what is going on in the Don! I am a free-ride mountain biker and know for a fact because I have done so myself, that stunts that have been taken down by a lot of the riders because they are unsafe.
The "birders," as you call them, have plenty of woods. You say Bring Back the Don is not pleased with what is going on, yet it has partnered with trail users clubs and mountain bikers to help restore the trails.
Why not talk about the people who take there dogs down into the Don valley and don't pick up after them? The dogs chase wildlife and disturb nature. One of the biggest rules all mountain bikers know and follow is "Do not go off the trail." And they don't go off the trail... ever!
The people who are complaining about the Don do not lift a finger to help keep it clean.
College tricky for cyclists
Although TTC improvements are a worthy cause, the climate for cyclists on College Street during streetcar reconstruction is intolerable. Recently while biking to work, I found myself boxed in on an ever-narrowing margin to the right of the streetcar track. With a cab up my ass and insufficient space to achieve the proper angle to cross the streetcar track, I crashed onto the pavement in front of the cab. Stupidly, I got up right away, rode off and didn't try to hold the driver accountable for following too closely.
Given that the construction is scheduled to continue into November, there's plenty of time for the city to install helpful signage like "Hazardous streetcar tracks: give clearance to cyclists," or something to that effect. Motorists need the message that cyclists need adequate space to perform tricky manoeuvres over the rails.
RE The malignant, laughably greasy and stunningly unfunny essay by Aaron Berg your editors saw fit to print (NOW, June 3-9). Berg is a shining example of everything that is wrong with stand-up comedy in this city. A conspicuously unfunny, hateful and self-important halfwit, he aggrandizes himself both physically and mentally by flaunting his ignorance and misogyny in his unfunny act and his unfunny writing.
The way this man regards women is disgusting and infantile. Not funny. Anyone who has seen him contaminate a space can tell you that. I encourage the comedy fans in this city to choose wisely whom they support, because people like this beefy, pathetic loser must be stopped from using good audiences to forward their toxic agendas in the name of their own ego. He'll probably call me a cunt for this - sorry, a fucking cunt.
I can't believe your review of Grease Too (NOW, May 20-26) didn't mention that Ken Finkleman (CBC "genius") wrote the movie's screenplay. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?