V for MMP
As the vote for MMP campaign manager, sitting smack in the centre of a frenzied, growing grassroots campaign to win the upcoming electoral reform referendum, I was surprised to read Glenn Wheeler's take on the prospects for victory (NOW, September 20-26). A new poll shows 54 per cent of decided voters support MMP.
We don't have a multi-million-dollar war chest, but we have raised more than five times the sum cited in the article, and donations are mounting rapidly. We also have a growing network of supporters across the province who know that democratic reforms throughout history have been powered by people more than by money.
We face a tough fight with the old guard who want to preserve the status quo. The October 10 electoral reform referendum is an extraordinary opportunity for citizens to change the political system for the better by voting for the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system. We intend to seize that opportunity, go full tilt in the remaining weeks and make that change happen.
Campaign Manager, Vote for MMP
Glenn Wheeler's Broken-down Ballot is just about the worst piece of propaganda I have seen since Radio Albania went out of business.
The poor Vote for MMP Committee. The government will not help it any more. As for the other side of the campaign, the NO MMP Committee, it has had to pay for whatever material it could produce.
If NO MMP's position prevails on October 10, it will be a credit to the good sense of the people of Ontario, not to the power of money.
I find it strange that Mike Smith assesses democracy by the fact that the candidates he's voted for have never won an election (NOW, September 20-26).
Democracy is about the process being able to talk about a variety of issues without being killed, and the majority of people making their choice.
There are countries where everyone has to vote for the one candidate on the ballot. Perhaps Smith would prefer that form of democracy.
Our voting system outdated
It's been insufficiently publicized in the press that the pure "first past the post" (FPTP) voting system we now have in Ontario is confined mainly to England, the U.S. and Canada.
MMP seems a more equitable and balanced voting system.
In Ontario, we have had minority governments with a plurality ruling as if they were majority governments for the past 50 years.
Mike Harris would have been unlikely to institute his unpopular policies in Ontario had we had MMP. The Walkerton disaster wouldn't have happened.
It's high time Ontario's 150-year-old voting system was brought into the 21st century.
K. Jean Cottam
Rebel prez no Che
Despite his efforts to avoid treating Jimmy Carter like a rock star, Michael Hollett did anyway, giving the former peanut farmer [a free ride] in a glowing NOW piece (NOW, September 20-26).
No mention here that the "rebel prez" has never apologized for wining, dining and providing military aid to some of the world's most brutal dictators: the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Indonesia's Suharto and Nicaragua's Somoza, among others. Neither has [he voiced] any public regret over bringing in the hated cruise missile.
Just two years ago, the "peace prez" presided over the commissioning of the most heavily armed submarine ever built, the USS Jimmy Carter. It boggles the mind how many of Carter's Habitat for Humanity homes could have been built with the $3.2 billion it cost to build the sub.
Meeting Carter is like watching Che walk off a T-shirt? Peanuts!
Homes Not Bombs
Michael Hollett has found a friend in Jimmy Carter? Well, so did Cambodia's Khmer Rouge.
Carter also fully supported the Vietnam War and then later as president refused reconstruction aid for that devastated country.
How about another article on this former president from a slightly more critical perspective?
I find it hard to believe that Alan Young could assert that the roadblock set up by police outside Hempfest had nothing to do with impaired driving (NOW, September 20-26).
I think it is a fair and safe assumption on the part of the police that the participants in Hempfest would be more likely than not to be driving under the influence.
Cops: can't trust 'em
Canada truly has reached the point where the default position is not to trust the police.
When interacting with police, we must now assume that we are dealing with rogue thugs who will probably use every opportunity to make things difficult. Why? Because the police have cultivated this reputation.
We didn't develop our mistrust of the police because of the media, the movies or popular culture. The cops did it to themselves! They are not the wardens of a prison state, but they sure act like it.
Patients Against Ignorance and Discrimination on Cannabis (PAIDOC) Ottawa
Sheila no friend of mine
After reading Sheila Gostick's No Friendship Floozy (NOW, September 13-19), I had two thoughts.
I first wondered what exactly she was trying to say. It seemed more like a personal gripe about people who use T-shirts to send social messages than a so called expert opinion on the psychology of friendship. Secondly, I couldn't help but wonder why she neglected to contact me for comment, considering that she focused her entire article on a T-shirt and a movement I created called Friendship Sluts.
I guess she skipped that class.
The Original Friendship Slut
Chalk it up to PJ
I'm not really sure why Tim Perlich continues to review the albums of PJ Harvey (NOW, September 20-26).
Of course, he's entitled to his opinion. But the point of album reviews, I thought, was to shed some light on the music, not try to come up with as many mean things to say as possible.
That's not criticism. That's mud-slinging. A one-N review is usually reserved for the crappiest of the crap, and I can hardly believe, with the glowing reviews White Chalk has been receiving across the pond and in North America, that Harvey's album is worthy of such indistinction.
I'd really like to read some smart criticism, not hateful bitterness.
V Fest test
I was thoroughly disappointed with your V Fest coverage (NOW, September 13-19). You reviewed only a handful of bands, most of which played the main stage.
I don't understand how so many bands played, yet so few were reviewed or mentioned in your festival recap.
And, yes, I was there both days and watched about 15 full sets, plus bits and pieces of others. It was possible.
RE Perish the plow (NOW, September 20-26). Wayne Roberts notes that because organic farming is so labour-intensive, farmers "plow between rows to dig up weeds." Environmentalists should admit that not all combustible engines are bad. After all, the tractor saved the family farm.
I am writing in response to your UpFront item that mentioned that our organization was asked to do a presentation at a Young Conservatives Leadership Retreat in Toronto (NOW, August 23-29).
Landmark Education, named one of the top training and development programs in the world, generally declines such invitations. The fact that the invitation was accepted by someone in our organization was contrary to our policy and has been corrected internally. While some of our programs are available to people under the age of 18, they cannot participate without written parental consent.
Our customers consistently give us top marks for both the value of our programs and the professionalism with which they are delivered.
San Francisco, California
Cry for Darfur
September 16 was the global day for Darfur. Tens of thousands gathered in city after city around the world. Here in Canada, I was fortunate enough to be part of a demonstration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa led by STAND Canada (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur). The rally was truly heart-stirring. It seems that every month the most recognized academics gather at some conference to once again go over the rapes, the torture, the killings.
At least on Rwanda we can muster up the poor excuse that it happened so quickly, over a mere hundred days. In Darfur, it has now been four years.
How much longer are we willing to watch?
Now is the time for you to get involved, to learn about the current genocide and how to act quickly to stop it. Canada must take a leading role when UN troops are deployed in the new year. You must be the one to urge Canada to do so.
Co-Director, Project Equity