All hail Healey
The late Jeff Healey deserved much more space than you offered (NOW, March 6-12).
I was at CIUT at the same time he ran his show My Kinda Of Jazz, before he moved to CBC. Jeff had a touch of genius. He was a giant. He was for real, righteous. He epitomized cool. His accomplishments were great, but just as great was his devotion to and love of music.
May the Creator continue to be with Jeff. To his wife children and the other members of his family, he has left his mark.
Paint by numbers
RE Rinkside Sellout (NOW, February 28-March 5). Your news about a public-private partnership deal for a skating rink and commercial adver-tising is interesting, informative and certainly disturbing. But maybe there’s a silver lining.
If this is how the city does business, maybe we could ask a nice paint company to help with striping some bike lanes or exclusive curb lanes for buses. They could show their company logo on pavement every kilometre or two.
As well, the city could find some volunteer labour for the job.
Enter the Dark Ages
RE Hey Harper, what the bleep? (NOW, March 6-12.) How did this bill get this far? Parliamentarians are not art or film critics. Are we moving back into the Dark Ages?
An arm’s-length policy is fundamental when it comes to government grants to the arts. No amount of “family values” can justify its erosion. Ironically, this measure is coming just as the film industry in Canada is garnering respect internationally.
Decline of Canuck empire
I certainly applaud your efforts to make ecological issues part of the national discourse in the next federal election (NOW, February 28-March 5).
However, I remain skeptical about ecology as a major issue. Canada is one of the biggest eco criminals in the world.
All our federal parties are falling behind the life curve when it comes to eco-holistic thinking. I have begun to think of us in terms of that Quebec movie title The Decline Of The American Empire, in which Canada is a complicit partner.
But ultimately I have the most contempt for voters who decry the environmental disaster on the horizon but won’t vote for the Green party.
RE Growing Labour (NOW, March 6-12). It’s not surprising that Wayne Roberts doesn’t have a clue about the economic reality of farming. After all, he is an academic and activist rather than a credible commentator from the agricultural sector.
His assertion that somehow government policy is causing labour shortages in the agricultural sector is bizarre. He also says the increased amount of manual labour in organic farming could be the solution to the youth unemployment crisis.
This argument is so riddled with fallacies that I wonder what orifice he stuck his big PhD head in. I can imagine the legions of HR workers in Toronto laughing at Roberts’s labour market assertions if they bothered to read his column.
Hate to burst your balloon...
The heritage lost on Queen West deserves the focus you gave it (NOW, February 28-March 5).
But calling the balloon frame construction of the National Sound building where the fire started “special” is akin to calling an open can of gasoline or a staircase without handrails special.
Nobody was killed; that’s good. Balloon framing, however, should be entirely removed from the urban environment, through modifications, not demolitions.
Harper’s death wish
RE Riding High on Scandal (NOW, March 6-12). Was Stephen Harper showing leadership when he allowed representatives of the party to make what he judged to be a futile approach to a dying man?
You wanna know debt?
If letter-writer David Palter (and the Tories) think Canada is swimming in debt, he hasn’t done his homework (NOW, February 28-March 5).
First, Canada has the lowest debt among all developed nations. Second, this baseless notion that the government is “spending too much” on social programs is completely and utterly false.
Since the 50s, there have been successive cutbacks to social programs in each and every budget, and that’s just sad.
Isn’t it in the Conservatives’ interest to provide public housing when the combined cost of shelters, jails, drop-in centres, welfare and EI is higher than that of providing affordable housing to everyone so they can work and contribute to society?
Isn’t it in the Conservatives’ interest to provide national child care programs so parents can be free to work and get off the welfare system?
Karen Jia-Yun Cao
Stop bugging pigeons
I volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre and have never seen bedbugs on pigeons. However, since letter writer Daryll T. Craig brought it up (NOW, February 28-March 5), the species of bedbug that enjoys a good gnaw on human flesh is usually different from the kind that prefers to feast on the blood of birds and bats.
The rise in bedbugs can be attributed to changes in pest control practices (like the banning of DDT) and international travel. These, combined with their resilience, minute size and ability to hide and escape detection, make their rise in numbers hard to control. Pigeon poop is irrelevant, since the bugs feast on animal blood.
Instead of perpetuating myths about pigeons, Craig should seek some compassion therapy.
Bollywood or bust
I was at the Varsity Theatre the other day and saw that a new Indian film is playing.
After reading in Screen International daily news that this film, Jodhaa Ackbar, has reached new heights for Bollywood, I opened my most recent NOW Magazine. I was truly astonished that this film is not listed in your newspaper. Apparently, your editors believe that the film is of such limited interest that it needs no coverage.
Is it so inconceivable that someone like myself who is not of Indian origin would be interested in an Indian film?