B'nai Brith stifling debate
In Classroom Monitor (NOW, March 29-April 4), Anita Bromberg of B'nai Brith invokes the anti-Semitic (self-hating?) Jew in order to stifle debate and criticism of Israel's policies.
From CanStage's refusal to stage My Name Is Rachel Corrie to the controversy over the children's book Three Wishes to the frenetic lobbying effort against District 12's resolution, the intent is clear.
No public censure of Israel's brutal occupation is permitted or tolerated. Such harassment denies freedom of speech and also de-legitimizes the Palestinian struggle, which is one of its purposes.
Easy on anti-Semitism
RE Heady Hate Stats (NOW, march 29-April 4). Recently, my two-year-old son spent the day in an alternate room at his Chabad of Midtown daycare centre to avoid the broken window shards strewn across the floor of his playroom, a result of the previous night's attack by a swastika-clad thug.
On the heels of this event, NOW Magazine deems it newsworthy to tell readers that the incidence of anti-Semitic hate crimes may not be as clear as B'nai Brith would have us believe.
Thank you, NOW. My family and I can finally rest easy.
Kosher wine anything but
As a merlot drinker and support er of human rights and truth in advertising, I take issue with your promotion of Yarden Mount Hermon 2005 wine (NOW, March 22-28), which you say is from Golan Heights, Israel.
You should know that the Golan Heights were captured by Israel from Syria in the June 1967 Six Days War, temporarily liberated by Syria at the start of the October 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan War and then re-occupied by Israel.
Since 1967, Israel has moved many of its own citizens into the occupied Golan, established kibbutzim and other settler colonies there and exploited the fertile Golan land and water for economic profit.
In your wine column you write: "Passover's just around the corner, so make sure you've got something kosher to quaff." Thanks for the religious admonition, but there's nothing kosher about products that are tainted by occupation and oppression. The Passover festival of freedom is as good a time as any to show some solidarity.
Maxing out minimum rage
RE Slaves To The Wage (now, march 29-April 4). Since I tabled the $10 minimum wage bill, followed closely by Peggy Nash's federal minimum wage bill, thousands of the working poor have been inundating Queen's Park with e-mails. I have spoken to standing-room-only gatherings of youth, immigrants, women and people of colour. Two-thirds of all those making minimum wage are women, many newly Canadian. This is truly a grassroots movement.
Sadly, the Liberals' "fudge-it" not only hasn't acted [on this], but also hasn't ended the child support clawback or put a penny of provincial money into housing. Instead, they prefer to make the poor wait.
The $250 the poorest Ontario children will receive this year from Finance Minister Greg Sorbara's budget wouldn't even pay for the shoes he was wearing while chirping with glee about the budget's great strides toward winning the war on poverty!
I agree with Wayne Roberts, of course. There is so much more to do. NOW has always been a voice we've turned to in our city. I urge all your readers to see this for what it is, an ethical issue that needs to be won now.
Cheri DiNovo, MPP
McConnell's cop mix-up
I'd like to clarify my position on the current police complaint system (NOW, March 22-28). This system requires a major overhaul. The process can only be truly independent when all investigations of police complaints are done by an independent body. In addition, third-party complaints should be permitted.
Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee and I have pushed for these sweeping changes.
I apologize if I miscommunicated or was misunderstood, but the point was lost in Cops Bust Up Brutality.
I acknowledge that there is a public perception that the present system of police investigating themselves is seriously flawed.
City Councillor, Ward 28
Ethos proof is in the bottle
I was very disappointed to read NOW's coverage of Ethos Water and Starbucks' activities on World Water Day (NOW, March 22-28)
Paul Terefenko's article unfairly depicted our efforts on World Water Day as somehow diminishing those of other organizations. There are more than 1 billion people without access to safe water globally, and more than 2 billion without adequate sanitation services.
Given the overwhelming scale of this issue, individuals and companies should be encouraged to do what they can to help alleviate the world water crisis. This crisis deserves the attention of many rather than few.
Second, the mission of Ethos Water is to help children around the world get clean water and to raise awareness of the world water crisis.
We have created a model to pursue this mission through mass collaboration among people who will buy bottled water anyway. This model is self-funding and creates incremental funds and awareness for the world water crisis in a new and unique way.
More must be done. In fact, I would invite you to contribute funds from your ad revenues to any NGO working to solve this problem.
Founder, Ethos Water
RE Miller's Landfill Backfill (NOW, March 29-April 4). How would you like to live six blocks from a major dump whose odour and pollution are already overwhelming for miles around? We don't either, but it's here. Toronto, spend your money on neighbourhood recycling and composting depots and leave us alone, please. Write Mayor David Miller and tell him to take care of your waste in your own backyard.
I teach at the small elementary school in Oneida, and we have our own recycling, composting and gardening program.
We hope you can do the same.
Oneida Nation of the Thames
I was pleased to see your article on Wal-Mart (NOW, March 22-28). The Wal-Mart effect is a modern-day black death to neighbourhoods and any area or economy that supports the small-town main-street business concept.
There is nothing sadder than driving or walking through a downtown area and seeing buildings boarded up that just a couple of years earlier held businesses that were doing well.
As for the promise of more job opportunities, not enough will be created to counter losses at stores that fall victim to the Wal-Mart effect. Wal-Mart is well known for its minimum-wage, minimum-benefits practices.
Is it right that I can buy 24 pairs of socks for $2? Who really pays for that in the end, and who really profits from it?
Time to rethink King car
RE Mike Smith's losing our train Of Thought (NOW, March 22-28). We already have an extensive system of LRT lines in place - our streetcars. The problem, as Councillor Adam Giambrone points out, is traffic. Streetcars full of transit-using citizens can't get through!
On-street parking (on streetcar routes) is one thing that has to go, and then give streetcars the right of way. With our new City Charter, some bold move from city council might at least allow one streetcar route to have complete right of way through downtown. It was tried on King back in the early 90s but was deemed unenforceable. Time to try it again.
Making Yanks underdog
I wholeheartedly agree with Gwynne Dyer's assessment of the relationship between Hollywood and propaganda (NOW, March 22-28). I would like to cite something I read, ironically, just minutes before seeing 300 myself. General William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, testified as follows before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
"We face, maximum, 26 million Iraqis.... 61 per cent are for attacking us... so the potential [number of Iraqis against the U.S. occupation] is several million against our 150,000.... We could be facing several [sympathetic Arab] states... scores of millions against us. That's just not a good situation to be in."
Of course, I'm assuming Odom is testifying in favour of ending the occupation of Iraq before it turns completely hopeless, but it weighs on my mind as exactly the kind of rhetoric that gets twisted around in favour of intensifying the war effort. Everyone likes an underdog, after all!
ADQ's Quebec surprise
Contrary to feeling a sense of relief at the rise of the Action Démocratique party in Quebec's recent election, I actually have a sense of unease.
I shudder to think what the 40-plus "autonomists" elected under the ADQ banner to the Quebec National Assembly will think once they've gotten a translation of Prime Minister Harper's "firewall" letter, which called for a separate police force and pension plan for Alberta. My sense is that they've had one for quite a while and used it to formulate their own policies.
Jason Daniel Baker