RE John Harkness's review of Shake Hands With The Devil (NOW August 30-September 5). How dare you? How dare you attempt to stifle the retelling of a crucial story of corruption, Western asshole-ism and genocide with your smartass, ignorant "witticisms"? To review the film by asking "What's next? Dallaire: The Musical?" is humiliating to your magazine, to the people of Rwanda, to the general himself and to your readers. Very, very disappointing.
Right and Wong
If NOW Magazine is doing a "Reality Check" (NOW, August 30-September 5), you may at least want to get the most basic facts correct.
For instance, I represent the Don Valley East, Ward 34, not Don Valley West, as your article suggests.
Secondly, while I am a lawyer by profession, I have not practised law for many years.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong
Fight for right to milkweeds
RE Is your native garden safe? (NOW, September 6-12). One word describes the city's treatment of gardener Deborah Dale: unconstitutional.
Two precedent-setting court cases affirm the Charter rights of citizens to express their environmental beliefs through the planting of natural gardens on both private and public land.
Bell vs. Toronto (1997) was the first time in Canada that environmental beliefs were recognized as a Charter-protected form of expression. Ms. Bell's victory resulted in the city having to provide an exemption for natural gardens in its "grass and weeds" bylaw. Incredibly, that post-Bell amended bylaw was cited against Ms. Dale when her garden was being destroyed.
In Counter vs. Toronto (2002), my father, Victor, and I won the same right on the city-owned boulevard in front of our home a Canadian precedent.
Dale deserves full compensation and a public apology. Meaningful action on the judge's recommendations in my court decision that "the city can and ought to avoid problems of this sort by implementing coherent plans with specific guidelines to deal with the critical issue of natural gardens and their enormous environmental significance" is long overdue.
As a right, natural gardening cannot be subject to a registration process that allows that right to be denied.
Now a word from Active 18
RE Upside down triangle (NOW, August 30-September 5). It is totally clear that between an omnipotent provincial developer-friendly body (the OMB), inept city planners and a tax-hungry city council, developers have the road paved before them in Toronto.
Active 18, a group of artists/residents/business owners of Ward 18 dedicated to good urban design, is not opposed to density, not opposed to development or to people moving to the urban core.
We want the lives of people/neighbourhoods/communities affected by the development taken into consideration. We want to see the spaces between developed buildings taken into consideration, with areas devoted to parkland, walking, playgrounds, trees, sunlight.
We want to see developments in the triangle (and elsewhere) include mixed-use residential spaces, artist studios, small creative human-scale businesses, theatres, libraries, cafés, and encouragement to preserve older buildings where cheaper rents can be offered to individuals and creative businesses.
And for the record" poverty, addictions and shootings have existed in the Queen West neighbourhood inhabited by artists for the past 30 years. It is not getting worse.
It's just that now it's cool to notice the state of the neighbourhood.
Woof if you love Jesus
What's with James Watt's letter about Buddha Dogs (NOW, August 30-September 5)? He asks us to imagine the shit storm if they'd called it Jesus Christ Dog or Abraham Dog. How come he didn't include Muhammad Dog in his list? Is it because some followers of Muhammad are prone to violent expressions of indignation when they feel their prophet has been disrespected? How about a freedom of speech dog?
Don't say shit about Queen
RE Royal surprise (NOW, august 16-22). Has Alan Young been smoking too much of his favourite weed? Or didn't they teach him legal history in law school?
Criminal prosecutions are made in the Queen's name because she personifies the state, the point being that all real crimes are offences against society. That was firmly established by Her Majesty's distant ancestor King Henry II and was one of the most progressive reforms in our legal history.
Does Young really want things to go back to the way they were, where only a direct or indirect victim could prosecute a criminal?
Those who want to clear the homeless from the streets of Toronto might find that system very convenient.
As for the freedom to badmouth the Queen, nobody should have the "right- to hurl the nasty and hurtful word Young used at any woman without good reason. No gentleman would want that right.
For the love of punctuation
Please send Barrett Hooper back to remedial English. His article on Tom Cavanagh (NOW, August 30-September 5) - your cover story! - was so poorly written, it was almost indecipherable. Missing words, extra words and missing or incorrect punctuation were abundant problems throughout the article. It's bad enough that so many people for whom English is a first language are unable to use it properly and effectively. For a so-called writer to abuse it in this way is disappointing and aggravating, to say the least.
By the way, where was his editor?
Bombardier's the bomb
RE Getting on track (NOW, august 23-29). Thank you for your honest observations on both Bombardier's and Siemens's streetcars.
We as Canadians need to get on track to protect employment here. Providing Canadian-made products to our cities will do just that. Concerned citizens have realized we must safeguard Canadian jobs. If the TTC purchases vehicles from offshore suppliers, Canadian tax dollars will be spent to employ people in other countries.
Did you know that Bombardier invests millions every year in developing new technologies and delivering products to its customers? Innovation is a key factor in market leadership in the rail industry.
The Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was built in 1912. It has been and still is a major employer in this region. Many generations of local families have worked here, and we would like that tradition to continue.
Ken Boshcoff, M.P.
Thunder Bay/Rainy River
I had a dream...
It is interesting that none of the articles you printed on the Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting mentioned the words that caused people to go to Montebello in the first place: the "North American Union," aka the NAU.
I had a dream the other night that Bush was standing on a podium in front of an audience of NAU citizens. "We're going to attack Iran," was all he said.
Then the words "Security and Prosperity" were chanted by a small chorus of guards, followed immediately by a blue siren that silenced any response. Hopefully, this dystopian vision will not soon prove prophetic.
The Anne Coulter effect
Adam Madigan's hilariously over-the-top letter (NOW, August 16-22) ridiculing atheism is typical of a goofy right-wing trend of the last few years. The naive and gullible have increasingly adopted the form but not the content of sneering sceptics. Abusive, obscene sarcasm is flung at scientists and others who reject unquestioning superstition and maudlin sentiment.
Call it the Anne Coulter effect, where long-discredited 19th-century clichés are flogged as though they're daringly original.
It's as though Pollyanna put on badass hiphop gear and insisted that all you mo'fuckers out there see the sunny side of life or else.
Pook me, baby
Please bring back Ernie Pook's Comeek, one of my favourite features of NOW. It's a compassionate, insightful and humorous look at the difficult world of a child.