Jack's crass calculus
Re "Layton's willingness to sell out NDP policies for Tory favours" (NOW, January 26-February 1). Your statement raises some valid points. I think the recently concluded election served merely to show the desperation and willingness of Jack Layton to obtain and preserve power at the expense of the party's core values. His narcissism and over-stretched ego led him to bring down the Liberal government in November, and with it important legislation that would have benefited the city of Toronto. Now, Toronto is back to square one and hard-fought battles for transit funding, housing and waterfront redevelopment will have to be renegotiated with the Harper government.
The best course of action would have been to continue working with the Liberal government and to try to make Parliament work. I see no reason why the Tories would want to alienate their constituency in the West to placate the NDP and fat cities such as Toronto. Rather, Harper is more likely to work with the Bloc or right-of-centre Liberals to pass a progressive conservative, neoliberal agenda.
Thanks, Jack. Thanks a lot.
Harper Valley, USA
Upon considering Glenn Wheeler's Can Jack Deal With The Devil? I am concerned that Stephen Harper will be able too often to amass the 30 or so extra votes he'll need from the Bloc and Liberals to build parliamentary majorities, and thereby enact too much of his inflexible "vision" for Canada.
Harper's call to militarize the Arctic territories, his inclination toward unduly demonizing cannabis and his apparent sense of fellowship with our current president does not bode well, in my view, for what's to come under his leadership.
Hopefully, the Liberals will take extra-special care to present a number of new leaders over the coming months whom Canadians can reliably trust to be of unquestionable character, but I also say that the sponsorship scandal pales in comparison to the seemingly endless criminality, immorality and fiscal irresponsibility of our Republicans and Democrats.
I would be saddened to see Canada head at all in our increasingly hyper-criminalized, intolerant and anxiety-laden direction.
Santa Monica, California
Captain Canada no homer
What a coincidence! The Ambassador from the U.S. picks the first days after a Harper victory to pick a fight.
Harper couldn't have gotten a better way to define himself as Captain Canada, nor a better issue to do it with.
Boy, those Americans sure have a great sense of timing, eh?
Churley has herself to blame
Re Marilyn Churlish (NOW, January 26-February 1), I had not heard of Churley's tirade about [Mayor David] Miller's failure to endorse her costing her the win in Beaches-East York, and I must say I'm very surprised. I live in a part of the Beach that is primarily pro-NDP. Churley signs, including mine, outnumbered all others. But Churley herself and her workers were nowhere to be seen.
We were visited by Minna workers on more than one occasion. One [felt] that Minna didn't win so much as Churley lost.
We welcomed Churley when she was parachuted in, but she needed to make herself known to the residents here. I got the impression that she was told running here would be a walk in the park. As far as we could see, hers was a lacklustre campaign.
She simply missed the opportunity and can blame no one but herself and her team.
Gender split, then mix-up
Upon reading Karla's Violence Divide (NOW, January 26-February 1), I was disturbed, angered and saddened. Janis Cole's attempt to discuss the gender split could have been better stated if she'd taken into consideration that Brandon Teena, whom she mentions in her piece, was a transsexual man, not a woman.
Using Brandon's name in a female context to legitimize an argument of violence against women is beyond irresponsible. Please don't discount that Brandon was raped because he was a transsexual man.
I am a transgendered man, and scenarios such as these make me, and my community, feel invisible. It takes away our legitimacy as people who deserve equal rights and to be respected for who we are.
Why not polyandry?
I was interested to read Alan Young's article urging the legalization of polygamy (NOW, January 26-February 1), while also noting that this practice tends to be harmful to the women involved. Freedom of choice is very valuable with regard to marriage and other personal issues, even though the cost of such freedom is that we may make bad choices. At least they are our own choices.
But it's interesting that the debate is only about polygamy, not polyandry. Why should some men need multiple wives, while women apparently never need multiple husbands?
This is, of course, a significant clue to the social ills that accompany polygamy. The practice really does place women in an inferior role to men. Women should not stand for such treatment.
In addition, we could speculate about multiple same-sex relationships. Maybe some men want to marry more than one husband.
The entire brou-haha over the so-called fictions in James Frey's A Million Little Pieces (NOW, January 26-February 1) is bringing me dangerously close to a non-stop tidal wave of barf. Are these people kidding, or do people just like drama and love to jump on a bandwagon of hate? People love to see someone hounded and caught, whether they want to admit it or not. Frey is just the most recent and one of the juicier victims.
This entire debacle reminds me of the people who took their Milli Vanilli records back to the store when it turned out the singers were lip-synching. I remember thinking at the time: "But isn't it the music these people enjoyed? The music remains the same." And so, people, I tell you: the words remain the same.
Dems a stroke of genius
It baffles me how letter-writer Martin Gagne can criticize [Chris Earle's] Democrats Abroad (NOW, January 19-25). He so obviously misses the point of the play. From the lack of insightful comment, one can only think Gagne is American, or more likely a Canadian who typically loves to put down anything homegrown.
Democrats Abroad is one of the best plays I've seen in a very long time. Earle not only acts more than 16 characters with unbelievable distinctness, but the writing is funny, clever, insightful and mesmerizing.
The play is simple in the way it tells a cross-border love story, but its political meaning and informative depth are profound.
No doubt it will be made into an amazing film, most likely by an American. Then, of course, we'll all jump on the Canadian bandwagon.
Tokyo transit T.O.'s dream
"We're not going to be like Tokyo, where they hire people to push people into the subway cars" (NOW, January 26-February 1). TTC chair Howard Moscoe's suggestion is laughable!
The only reason people need to be "pushed into the subway cars" in Tokyo is because so many people actually take the trains.
Japan has one of the best systems of trains worldwide: there is seamless integration of urban subways, regional trains and longer-distance bullet trains.
While public transit in Japan has some issues, the extent of infrastructure is amazing and is something Toronto can only dream of achieving, even partially!
Gobo, Wakayama, Japan
Property rights and wrongs
Andrew Athanasiu tells us that "Canadian governments must compensate individuals if their property is taken away from them..." (NOW, January 19-25). But this is not entirely true. The Supreme Court of Canada in Authorson v. Canada (2003) held that "Parliament has the right to expropriate property, even without compensation, if it has made its intention clear...."
Property rights are correctly included in the International Declaration of Human Rights.
Given the apparent fact that the power of Parliament is limited only by the laws of physics, perhaps it's time to recognize that ownership of property is a basic human right.
Many thanks, Steve Banks
I just heard Steve Banks died. Steve and I played together in Trans Love Airways from 1994 to 96, and it was the best musical experience of my life.
We were both born on March 14, 1959, so I always thought we shared a bit of a psychic connection. Certainly, when we plugged in and started playing together, it jelled in a way I've never felt in any other group.
The Beautiful Garage album we made together still sounds great, but now I hear it just a little bit differently. Everyone I've spoken to about Steve has a great - and usually bizarre - story to tell of their time with him.
All I have to say is that his talent was great, his songs were brilliant and he will be very much missed.
Godspeed, Steve Banks, wherever you are.