Queen West drama queens
Much has been written about the plans of developers to take over the Queen West area currently favoured by artists (NOW, January 25-31). When artists first "discovered" this neighbourhood, they ignored the obvious, that there was already a neighbourhood there, composed of the poor, and the area reflected this in its tired stores, empty storefronts and cheap housing. [The poor] are being driven out by rising rents and a new demographic who don't want them there. Now, the same thing is happening with the developers, and the artistic masses don't like it one bit. Sorry, but you reap what you sow.
Johnny on the spot
RE Cabbagetown crackdown (now, January 25-31). Ah, John Clarke. It seems like few other people care about the poor in Toronto, so I try like hell to lighten up on him and simply appreciate his work at keeping poverty on the agenda, while decrying OCAP's excesses. Yuppie scum that I am, I envision the end goal here to be actually ending poverty and its inherent socially destructive vortex. Then I have John Clarke trying to keep the Cabbagetown Restaurant open in my neighbourhood. And why? Do you want to end poverty, John? Or do you simply fight for its inalienable right to existence in our midst? We need to have some minimum standard of acceptable public behaviour, and the ability to control it when our relatively tolerant social norms are transgressed. Is that too goddamned much to ask, John?
You alienate your natural allies with these inexplicably chosen battles. Would it not make more sense to be hammering away for a higher minimum wage at one of those fleeting moments it's on the public agenda?
Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that you don't really care about the poor so much as you care about being John Clarke.
Dumping on T.O.
Mike Smith's phrase the "infantilization of Toronto" in his piece about the Queen West debacle, is historic. We need to come up with a simple message to get across to voters that Toronto is being dumped on.
Committee for the Province of Toronto
Gas plant greenwash
How stupid do they think we are? Any Portlands Energy Centre green initiatives (NOW, January 25-31) are greenwashing trying to buy off opposition to the unnecessary polluting monster the McGuinty government has been hoodwinked into building. We can achieve 500 megawatts of conservation a lot cheaper and greener than by building an $8 million solar research centre.
It's not too late to stop the Portlands gas plant. Just ask the folks who opposed the Spadina Expressway.
Mary Ann Grainger
Death by public health
RE Cancer Society's cold turkey Shoot (NOW, January 25-31). You write that the Cancer Society promotes nicotine replacement therapy in their pamphlet Quit, You Have It In You, and that 30 per cent of the cost of the pamphlet is paid for by Pfizer.
There's more. The Cancer Society, Toronto Public Health and Johnson & Johnson (which has recently purchased Pfizer's nicotine replacement therapy operations) are offering their "generous support" to a quit-smoking-and-win-a-car contest.
One health risk for another!
So much for public health.
I am an ex-smoker who tried to go cold turkey and had thoughts that maybe walking in front of the College streetcar might be easier.
But then I tried nicotine replacement gum and, frankly, I don't care if it's made by Big Pharma or the KGB. It got me off smokes.
I found your article vitamin f for Fake (NOW, January 25-31) very good. I manage a health food store where we promote whole food supplements to our customers and know by their results and enthusiasm through the years that the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins is significant.
Studies from Tufts and Scranton Universities show that in many cases the bioavailability and bioactivity of natural supplements are exponentially higher. Thanks again for the good article.
Bonita Springs, Florida
NDP hoax missing detail
RE E-mail "hoax" a hex on ndp (NOW, January 25-31). Your unfounded attack on Jack Layton left out one key detail. When NOW received the hoax e-mail back in December, you were one of the few outlets to publish it. You got hoodwinked.
A better response would have been to decry the political dirty tricks behind the hoax e-mail, apologize to Layton and admit you fucked up.
It's about the economy, Jack
RE Jack walks the line (NOW, janu ary 11-17). Jack Layton says that if we're asked what things are most important, Canadians will say our social programs. I would say that since social programs must be paid for, the economy, or trade and commerce, are more important, and business is the goose that lays the golden egg, creating revenue, investment and jobs. A market-oriented capitalist enterprise system has proved to be superior. Otherwise, you get the old spend-tax-borrow philosophy we got under Bob Rae.
If Layton and the NDP want to be progressive, there are things they can recommend, such as harmonization of the sales tax, more P3 projects, a flat tax, the removal of provincial trade barriers and the lowering of corporate taxes to encourage investment. He could also support the Island Airport to send a signal that business and enterprise are welcome.
Big oil racks up big subsidies
RE Tories selling pipe dreams (NOW, January 18-24). Great article on the current climate change dilemmas, but the figure for taxpayers' subsidization of the oil industry between 1996 and 2002 should be $8.3 billion, and similarly the subsidy to the oil sands alone was $1.2 billion over the same period.
I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.
Following the money is a pretty good place to start when trying to understand why Canada's performance on climate has been so abysmal, and what we could do if we got our priorities right.
World Wildlife Fund -- Canada
Kyoto through the back door
That Canadians give Stephen Harper's "new" Conservatives a failing grade on the environment is hardly surprising. They have embarrassed us before the world, repeatedly, on Kyoto, climate change and the environment. It's too early to say whether the claims that "we've changed" are real or rhetoric, but we deserve to know that there will be no return to the days when then Canadian Alliance environment critic Bob Mills came to BC calling for a North American solution because George Bush wouldn't meet America's Kyoto commitments.
Brian D. Marlatt
White Rock, BC
Boles me over
Benjamin Boles says we shouldn't tolerate prankster DJ duo Famous Players (NOW, January 18-24), whose pre-recorded mixes signify some sort of Barthes-ish death of the DJ. Looks like Famous Players are just one step ahead of the game; and if it's a strike against the anti-fun, stock-still laptop sentinels who dominate modern DJing, all the better.
Maybe Boles is just jealous that he never thought of playing Whoomp! There It Is three times in one night.
Where's the love?
I have sorely missed the love & sex column in the last month or so. I know you had some negative feedback about a piece whose writer enjoyed being violently fucked. It sorta struck me as, oh, a little sadistic (this from a very open-minded, desensitized athiest). But I miss this column. That and Savage Love are the small amounts of entertainment I have each week when I'm bored out of my mind.
My god. Finance Minister Greg Sorbara doesn't know how to use a calculator. How else to explain his opposition to raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour?
People earning more are spending more means more GST/PST in government coffers and more merchandise turnover!
What's wrong with that? It means they can stay healthier, live longer! Is that really bothering him? Sorbara should resign!
Comedy of the excruciating
Why on earth are events in your comedy listings section presented alphabetically by event name? Have you ever tried using that section to answer the question "Is there an event this weekend that I would like to attend?" It's excruciating.
May I suggest that comedy events be listed by date, like your live music, dance club, readings and to some extent indie/rep cinema listings? I can't imagine who would find the current presentation convenient.