In his defense of hot docs' acceptance of money from the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) (NOW, April 28-May 4), Paul Michaels of the group claims that "we're not a government organization" and that the CIC "supports the peace process."
A quick glance at the committee's official website, however, reveals that a recent CIC report supports Israeli settlement expansion, stating that Israelis should not feel "perplexed that Ariel Sharon feels unfettered on the question of expanding existing settlements."
Indeed, further reading reveals that the group has no hesitation about defending the crimes and torture against Palestinians, and that it works to pressure Canadian MPs to advance the "Canada-Israel relationship."
Canada's shameful chapter
Re The forgotten scandal (NOW, April 28-May 4). I just want to say that I am glad to see this article published in NOW Magazine. The legacy of the Indian residential school system is a subject that the general Canadian public is not aware of. It is an unfortunate, shameful chapter in Canadian history. I am hopeful that NOW can continue to follow the subject as it progresses.
Assembly of First Nations
Ain't Misbehavin' sure is
Why is it still ok to publicly mock those who are fat? And why do we still laugh? In CanStage's current production of Ain't Misbehavin' (NOW, April 14-20), the song Fat And Greasy, though a catchy tune, perpetuates the negative stereotypes of fat people as sweaty, smelly and stupid. I want to see theatre that challenges our assumptions and encourages compassion and understanding, not theatre that makes a minority group the brunt of its jokes. Maybe if we all stop clapping along, CanStage will reconsider and cut this number from the show.
Name withheld by request
Thanks for the excellent article on Tom Hayden's visit to Toronto (NOW, April 28-May 4).
Maybe you could let your readers know that the War Resisters Support Campaign, which organized the visit, is working hard to get the government to let U.S. Iraq War resisters stay in Canada. Those who would like to support the war resisters can visit our website, www.resisters.ca, for details on how they can help.
War Resisters Support Campaign
Re putting up a concrete curtain (NOW, April 28-May 4). Walking Yonge from Queen to Queens Quay on a Saturday, you have to pass through a business district full of closed shops, a tunnel under a swath of railroad tracks, six lanes of road called "Lakeshore," and parking lots being demolished for condos. Ripping down the Gardiner won't change that.
Maybe all these condos within walking distance of the business district will open things up on weekends. If commercial spaces are put in the bottoms of those condos, combined with the public spaces, the waterfront could become a new downtown.
Rather than spending the money on the Gardiner, how about putting money into sewage treatment or making our beaches swimmable?
I am absolutely aghast at the negative spin on the federal budget compromise agreed on by the NDP and the Liberal party, from constantly referring to investment in education, housing and the environment as "reckless spending" to criticism of the deal in general as an example of "caving in."
This agreement, increasing public investment rather than giving bloated capital-rich corporations additional tax breaks, is consistent with the general view of Canadians.
The public believes in and supports a progressive tax system and proper funding of social programs. We should all applaud Jack Layton's efforts to pry our tax dollars from the fingers of greedy corporations and put them back where they should go - back to us.
Credit equals character
Don't let Cliff Aguiar's first person account (NOW, April 28-May 4) make you think that University of Toronto doesn't have great numbers of failing, deadbeat students.
A credit report is a better indicator of an individual's ability to make good choices than whether he or she is a graduate. I doubt many would support a good credit report as a necessary condition for employment - especially all those homeless advocates I'm always reading about in NOW.
It does seem wrong to require good credit to work. Why, after crying to various agencies, does Aguiar decline to name the employer?
Let the readership and the market at large decide if they think this hiring policy is fair.
A greener T.O.
Thank you to Tim Tiner for in Praise Of Small Places (NOW, April 21-27). I do not understand the obsession with the perfect, weed-free, mowed and manicured lawn. How can it possibly contribute to anyone's welfare now or in centuries to come? Here's to a green, beautiful Toronto.
Detention for school board
Re Teachers union should get detention (NOW, April 21-27). CUPE 4400 deserves all the support it can get. It protects everyone from adult educators to lunchroom supervisors, bus drivers to secretaries, and caretakers to technicians.
These valuable workers have been without a contract for almost two years while the Toronto District School Board offers a paltry raise, tries to hack away at existing benefits and continues to attempt to contract out. Maybe the TDSB should get that detention.
Tabby's temper tantrum
Re Jazz.fm hits sour note, by Sigcino Moyo (NOW, April 21-27). Talk about a childish temper tantrum. Tabby Johnson takes the cake. It's all aimed at management.
Not a word about the folks at the station who tried to help her. She came into Jazz.fm like an accident looking for someplace to happen.
Costs going crazy
In Who are the real crazies here? (NOW, April 14-20), Chris Benjamin makes some fatuous statements.
First, this is indeed more than a reno. Second, he refers to his neighbours as "yahoos," "crazies," "yuppies," "NIMBYs," etc.
That may be true of his neighbours who live a block away, but certainly not those living near this property. There have been ongoing problems with the existing tenants, which Houselink and area Councillor Joe Pantalone, who has given his approval to the project, prefers to ignore. We all know there is a housing problem in Toronto, especially for people who may be referred to as disadvantaged. But look at what the costs are in relation to the benefits derived here.
In this instance, $918,400 of public funds have been allocated to a project that will, according to Houselink, provide housing for an additional nine people! Is this money well spent?
Marijuana mind games
The full-page article and Marijuana For All, by Alan Young (NOW, April 1-7), begins with some coherent and convincing arguments for the decriminalization of marijuana (puff). Then halfway through, Young begins to babble (puff) and his arguments begin to unravel (puff) when he cites studies showing that flush toilets injure more Americans than toking does. Young loses all perspective when he fails to realize that toilets are an absolute necessity and marijuana is not.
Toward the end of the article (puff), Young shows his paranoia when he says that "the criminal prohibition of marijuana is all about thought control." Suddenly, his rantings begin to make sense. The thoughts expressed were not really his. They were some mysterious government conspiracy.
Butt of bad joke
I have known Brent Butt for many years, and any statement of his alleged homophobia is false (NOW, April 7-13). Your characterization of Mr. Butt may well verge on criminal. You are so far off that I won't be surprised if he personally kicks your ass. Be sure to watch Corner Gas on CTV. This week Brent and the gang beat up the town's only queer. Peace.
Superhero TTC operators
I found your article TTC the ruder Way (NOW, March 31-April 6) incredibly annoying. When I use public transit, I do not expect a Wal-Mart greeter to massage my ego or suck up to my sense of entitlement or personhood. I merely expect to be conveyed from point A to B safely. Having used the TTC regularly for decades, I'm frequently impressed by the grace and cheerfulness with which the operators carry out a stressful and difficult job. I've been amazed by their seemingly superhuman patience with rude and obnoxious clients, and I'm grateful for the extraordinary efforts they make to help deal with passengers concerns.
Tease me TV
One can only assume that Steven Davey isn't actually a fan of television. If he were, he wouldn't so gleefully take the joy out of if for the rest of us by so casually tossing massive spoilers into his What To Watch This Week column (NOW, March 31-April 6). A teaser for the episode in question is one thing; a complete future storyline spoiler is another. Thanks for ruining my Sunday-morning Coronation Street ritual. Thanks a ton, mate.