Teeing up Gildan
Adria Vasil's article on Gildan Activewear's (NOW, August 5-11) cutting and running from its responsibilities to its Honduran workers gives too much weight to the company's argument that it's closing its El Progreso factory for purely economic reasons. Worse yet, it gives the impression that nothing can be done for the workers now that the company has made this decision. There is no question that Gildan has been planning to shift some production from Honduras to Haiti, where labour costs are about one-third those in Honduras. But the timing of its decision to close this particular factory is extremely suspicious. The message to all Gildan workers is clear: try to organize to improve conditions and you will be fired.
On August 4, Gildan's new CEO, Glenn Chamandy, reported an "all-time record" 20 per cent increase over last year's profits and called the El Progreso closing a "non-event."
To its credit, the Fair Labor Association has placed Gildan's membership under review. Perhaps this is not enough for now, but it's unprecedented in FLA's history. To find out what you can do, check out our Web site: www.maquilasolidarity.org.
Maquila Solidarity Network
Deadbeat Labour Ministry
re Deadbeat boss patrol (NOW, August 5-11). Thanks for reminding us how toothless the Ministry of Labour really is. The "help" they usually provide consists of directing you to their pamphlets, whose advice usually terminates in "...then you should talk with a lawyer." Thanks, MOL. Are lawyers free for the asking? No? Thanks for nothing, then. Don't let me interrupt your next coffee break. I'll show myself to the door. Bye.
Georgia on my mind
Wendy Banks's generally unfavourable review of Since Otar Left (NOW, August 5-11) was remarkably misinformed and ethnocentric. First, she states that the film takes place in "poverty-stricken Russia." It's actually set in Georgia, which was part of the former Soviet Union but is an independent country today. Second, she writes that the film failed to hold her interest because of the "ever-shifting languages (French, Georgian, Russian)."
Did Banks really expect the director to misrepresent the linguistic reality of Georgia in order to cater to the unilingual tastes of an unenlightened Canadian film critic?
I was quite intrigued that iodine was listed as a radioactive element in Stephen Salaff's Bruce's Burning Secrets (NOW, August 5-11). I ask this question: would this not be a signal that Canada should pay attention and act in good faith before the U.S. complains about additional contaminants?
I would hate to think that Canada could be listed as an active eco-terrorist country.
Priest no queers
I find your description "queer metal meets thrash metal" in the August 18 listing for the Judas Priest and Slayer show inappropriate. Judas Priest are a heavy metal band with one gay member. Where does the idea of queer metal come from? And what exactly is queer metal anyway?
I realize that you probably don't have anyone on your staff who is knowledgeable about that genre, since you mainly cover alternative, hiphop and other mainstream music, but as a Judas Priest fan going on 24 years now, I certainly don't find it funny!
Racial stereotyping silly
I think it's silly to suggest that the increased police presence this year at Caribana was due to racial stereotyping (Cops Crash Caribana, NOW, August 5-11). Caribana has grown into a major event, one that attracts a large number of tourists who spend a significant amount of money in the city. I tend rather to view the increased funding as a sign that the city is quite rightly taking responsibility for insuring the security of the event.
This year, unlike many others in the past, I did not hear of any violence marring the celebration. That can only be a good thing for both the city and Caribana.
Cops on parade
re Cops crash caribana. It's good to know that I'm not the only person to notice the visibly excessive number of police officers stationed at every block on Yonge. But what thoroughly soured my mood was the almost brutal police takedown of two teenage girls that I observed on Saturday afternoon just north of Queen.
As the girls cried out in pain, I understood the message the police were sending through their large number s and this over-the-top demonstration of force: you are not welcome here.
Being a good citizen, I obeyed this message and headed straight home with a silent promise to myself that I will never attend this festival again.
Illegals don't deserve help
In response to Shadowy Survival (NOW, July 29-August 4). Canada is a joke when it comes to immigration. Why should illegal immigrants be given any benefits that this country offers? Norman Gadsby
In case there's any confusion
re Following the big bucks (NOW , July 29-August 4). The task force on election finances reform made a number of recommendations, and for your information I attach the final report. You will note that recommendations 1 to 5 deal with limitations on contributions and surpluses and limitations on expenditures. Other recommendations deal with transparency in the reports and oversight of the election process during the campaign period and for one year after polling day.
An information session was held on July 13 in the council chamber to inform the members of council of these recommendations. I attach the speech that I made at this information session together with the graphs.
Although these documents are self-explanatory to a point, you may wish to gain greater insight as to the reasons behind these recommendations. I am available to meet with your representative at your call.
B. G. Nayman
Chair, Election Finances Reform Task Force
Cruise's Collateral control
Ok, I'll say it: Tom Cruise is brilliant in Collateral (NOW, August 5-11). Pulled from the anonymity of his retired Special Forces cover overseas, the Cruise character, Vincent, is as deadly yet believable a character as has ever crossed the screen. He is Jason without a conscience and without a hint of love, but faster, more in control and more directed. Vincent isn't an assassin, he's the assassin, an oh-so-cool and proficient murderer. This isn't a pretty Cruise. It's the actor Cruise, grey and bearded.
Collateral is not a movie to be enjoyed, even though it succeeds in entertaining.
It's an experience: action, philosophy, adventure, tough drama. It sweeps the audience along, over, around, under and through, and when you think it must end, just when you think it can't go on, it takes off in another direction, snatching the audience by the shirt.
We stay in our seats (on the edge), speeding through this movie, knowing we're going "too fast for the road," but we ride because we have to know how it all comes out.
Graffiti goes A.W.O.L.
My name is Norman Yeung and I came across your Back-Alley Bumming Around article a few weeks ago (NOW, July 8-14). You mentioned a painting in the alley behind Queen Street of a couple having a spat. That's my painting, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
By the way, I'll be showing some paintings at A.W.O.L. Gallery (76 Ossington) as part of a group show until August 29. Lots of artists are participating, so I'm sure you'll see some interesting stuff.