Walk on the wacko side
What was Dylan Reid thinking when he decided it was a good idea to walk home from Canada's largest airport (NOW, May 24-30)?
He obviously wasn't thinking that airports are located far from city centres not to deter pedestrians but because they require a lot of space and produce a lot of noise.
He also failed to notice that most people going to and from the airport are carrying luggage, making walking more difficult and unreasonable.
I appreciate his taken on the challenge of walking from a pedestrian-unfriendly place like an airport. I imagine that a bridge to the Island Airport (like the one NOW objects to) would have made his walk much shorter.
On winged feet to airport
Dylan Reid's article my impossible Walk From The Airport is spot on. Every time I fly in or out of Pearson I have to bum rides to avoid the expensive cab fare or the long bus ride.
On a recent trip from St. John's, my flight to Toronto left at 5 am. To kill time and stay awake I decided to walk to the airport. A single road from downtown St. John's runs 8 kilometres to the airport, turning into a highway halfway out. It was a pleasant walk with some nice scenery.
Obviously, St. John's doesn't compare to Toronto in size, but it was great to have such easy access.
Pearson and Mississauga city council should come up with a solution so those of us who prefer walking or cycling can do so simply and safely.
Demolition by neglect
I am greatly saddened by last week's demolition of Walnut Hall (NOW, May 24-30), one of Toronto's few remaining examples of Georgian architecture. How ironic that it should happen the very week the city opens its doors to our architectural heritage.
I moved to the area seven years ago and often walked by the venerable but derelict building on my way to work. I always hoped it might eventually see better days.
But this is a city that seems indifferent to preserving its past. Clearly, Walnut Hall was deliberately neglected to the point that demolition was the only option. Toronto just got uglier.
I don't know what indie song writer Amy Millan did to you, but I would suggest that your "joking" Broken Social Sync feature (NOW, May 24-30) is defamatory.
Not too funny either.
Throw Joe to the chipmunks
RE Talking Toronto with Mendel Son Joe (NOW, May 24-30). Joe opines that he hates "humans" in Toronto (and by extension everywhere human low-lifes can be found).
His posturing suggests he has contempt for us all - the mere intellectual pantywaists that he, with his narcissistic Obi-Wan complex, depends on for attention.
Blowhard egomaniacs like Joe should really just stay in the woods. Perhaps chipmunks appreciate one-dimensional clowns.
Door prize for cyclists
Well, well, well. The staggeringly ineffectual Toronto Cycling Committee is being revamped (NOW, May 24-30). No surprise there, perhaps long overdue.
Don't blame the bored-to-tears volunteers sitting on the committee, myself included when I could stomach it. They actually cared, while the city parked in the bike lane with the motor running.
Really, what can one expect from the newly appointed chair, Councillor Adrian Heaps, when cyclists get to ride in the gutter at their own peril?
The city can show it really cares by sending a cycling audit to every household in Toronto to ask how we can make the city better for cyclists. Copenhagen does every year. We may find that many residents would love to ride if given half a chance.
RE Branching out (now, may 24-30). We, too, made a big fuss over a mature silver maple on our street getting the axe, but to no avail. The forestry department completely mishandled the whole affair.
Initially they said the tree was healthy. They changed their mind after an arborist hired by the applicant concluded the opposite.
To top it off, the permit was issued on a Friday and the was tree cut down the next day, even though the city was aware that a large number of residents were watching this unfold.
The tree may have had some issues, but with all the mixed messages being sent out, we will never know.
RE Songbirds Chirp For Help (now, May 17-23). The Ministry of Natural Resources questions the scientific validity of Sierra Legal's claim (verified by NAFTA'S environmental watchdog) that logging in Ontario's boreal forest is destroying some 45,000 migratory birds' nests annually.
Perhaps more important than squabbling over how many tens of thousands of nests are destroyed is noting that the figures are estimates due to a lack of migratory bird data. Wildlife population monitoring programs do not cover the entire province.
Instead of disputing the number of nests being destroyed, the MNR should focus on stopping the illegal destruction of these nests, starting with stronger provincial policies for protecting migratory birds.
The only thing accomplished by dithering over figures is raising the body count in Ontario's forests.
Sierra Legal Defense Fund
Fireworks' scary display
Victoria Day fireworks are nice, but what about the birds? Ashbridges Bay was completely covered with litter yesterday morning as I rode my bike with my sister, who lives in the area.
Weird, given all the attention that's placed on recycling. Toronto the green... ah!
That was shocking enough, but what broke our hearts were all the dead baby birds along the path, fresh feathers and all. It was a sad sight.
Were they frightened to death, literally, by the fireworks?
What about the fish?
Remind me, why are we celebrating Victoria again?
Black panther problem
RE Shabazz Shemozzle (NOW, May 17-23). Malik Zulu Shabazz's New Black Panther Party organization is not the Black Panther Party founded in 1966 by the late Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
By overlooking the significance of this fact, the media gave credibility to Shabazz's misrepresentation.
Instead of consulting the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith on Shabazz, you need only read what the original Black Panther Party thinks about him.
"Who are these people laying claim to the party's history and name? Are they reactionary provocateurs? Are they entertainers who would posture themselves before the media... to spin gold for themselves? Are they, given the history of their late leader, Khallid Muhammad, a group of anti-Semites like the very Ku Klux Klan they allegedly oppose?"
Anti-Semitism end game
In a letter to the editor condemning Jewish community reaction to the Malik Zulu Shabazz controversy (NOW, May 24-30), Naftali Lavie writes that "thanks to the real misconduct of Israel and of the pro-Israeli government lobby, ordinary rank-and-file Jewish people in Toronto are experiencing real anti-Semitism."
If the writer is genuinely concerned for the welfare of the ordinary Jewish person, I strongly recommend that Lavie review the current behaviour of Palestinians.
Currently Palestinians are showing the world how they behave among themselves when in a conflict, never forgetful of simultaneously attacking Israel from Gaza.
Barrick's tarnished gold
Fantastic to see NOW's articles on Barrick Gold (NOW, May 10-16).
Just to clarify, Barrick uses up to 17 megalitres of water (equivalent to 17 Olympic swimming pools) every day. The water is pumped out of a bore-field.
This borefield taps into the sacred underground Dreaming track, also known as the Bland palaeochannel. The region surrounding the mining site is enduring its eighth year of drought.
Thanks again for taking this issue on. We all hope to be back next year for Barrick's AGM.
National Liaison Officer Friends of the Earth Australia Melbourne
Gun to our heads
RE Guns the New Global Warming (NOW, April 26-May 2). Susan G. Cole writes, "Why not do for guns what the anti-smoking movement did for cigarettes - make them uncool and give right-thinking families and lovers of gun-holders societal backup for a campaign of disdain?"
Doesn't she realize that guns have already become uncool?
Back in the 1970s students routinely carried guns to school for rifle practice as part of cadet and scout group activities. School shootings were unheard of. But social engineers like Cole began their campaigns.
Now her opinion is very popular, which is exactly why schools are the safest place for lunatics to commit mass murder.
Harper strikes Afghan pose
As Stephen Harper posed for photos on the "front lines" in Afghanistan last week, the true war against freedom, human rights and women's rights continued unabated.
Afghan MP Malalai Joya, who has travelled and spoken extensively about the warlords, drug lords and corruption in the current Afghan government, was under full attack.
On May 21, the Afghan parliament dominated by warlords and drug lords suspended Joya for three years and ordered the High Court to file a case against her.
They also directed the interior ministry to restrict her movements to within the country.
Joya is one of the only members of parliament who is challenging the rule of former warlords and advocating for the rights of women and the poor.
But our government, led by Harper, finds nothing but praise for the criminality and corruption of the Karzai government in Kabul.