Letters to the Editor

Rick Hillier: Canadian hero You paint Rick.

Rick Hillier: Canadian hero

You paint Rick Hillier as a cartoon (NOW, November 26-December 2). By this you’re really doing a disservice to NOW readers – yes, even the pacifist numbskulls with all the tattoos and piercings.

As for Hillier’s “We’re in Afghanistan to kill scumbags” comment, that’s exactly what Canadian soldiers are doing.

This war is a moral war. Whether it is advancing Canadian interests or not is another question.

What Canadian soldiers do every day, they are real life heroes. Not in the modern sense, i.e. ,”Oh, you made me breakfast in bed – you’re my hero!” But in the classical sense of protecting the weak from the powerful, providing clean water and food and countless other things, all at the cost of their sanity, injuries, maimings and sometimes even their lives.

Hillier is not only made of his Newfoundland charm. He has big leadership qualities and, most of all, humanity. If you’d read his book, you’d know.



Afghanistan descending

While I admire the courage of former Afghan MP Malalai Joya in standing up to warlords and atrocities in her native land (NOW, November 26-December 2), she seems sorely lacking in practical solutions.

If NATO tried to oust the warlords, it would result in a war against everyone, not just the Pashtus, and Joya obviously doesn’t want that.

Indeed she doesn’t want foreign troops in Afghanistan at all, so it’s unclear who she hopes will oppose the warlords. The Taliban, perhaps?

Nope, she’s against peace talks with even “moderate” elements.

So no warlords, no NATO, no Taliban. Is there anyone else able to fill the void?

In the end, Joya seems to be in favour of letting Afghanistan descend back into its 1992-2001 state of affairs – or at least that’s the logical outcome of what she advocates. I can’t imagine how she figures that would help the plight of her people.

Jan Burton


Pill-popping experience

I find it amusing that the federal government is all set to ban and criminalize drugs like piperazines BZP and TFMPP because one person might have died from their use (NOW, November 26-December 2). If [the government] took the same no-nonsense approach to tobacco, whose use really has killed untold thousands, I might take it seriously.

But really it’s just more ridiculous Canadian copying of the U.S. war on drugs policy.

Education promotes harm reduction, not prohibition. Prohibition only creates crime, and while there are several institutions in place that do profit from crime, like privatized prisons and the DEA, the public in general does not.

My own years of intravenous cocaine use and accompanying crime were brought to an end by the use of a drug I ordered over the Internet several years ago. That drug has never killed anybody and saved my life, yet the woman who sold it to me was sentenced to three years in an American prison for doing so.

My vision for Canada, shared by acquaintances in any number of professions, would be to follow the model of countries like Spain, where small quantities of any drug are not illegal. When did practically any altered state of consciousness become inherently immoral?

David Nelson


Hamlet takes chances

I would never begrudge a theatre critic his or her opinion, but I was quite disappointed in Glenn Sumi’s dismissive review of Necessary Angel’s Hamlet (NOW, November 26-December 2).

NOW’s theatre reviewers have set themselves up as friends of Toronto theatre. So to trash one of the only shows produced this year that takes risks and furthers the craft of theatre was quite surprising.

I agree that not everything in this production works. However, even the parts that didn’t work were far more creative and provocative than most of what ends up on Toronto stages. This production illuminated the more human elements of the play.

If NOW’s reviewers truly want to nurture a vibrant theatrical community, they should push theatre artists to take the kind of risks on display in Necessary Angel’s Hamlet.

Jonah Hundert


Hey, your art’s shrinking

Your incredibly shrinking visual art section is driving me fucking mad! When I started reading NOW 10 years ago, two pages were dedicated to visuals arts.

Last week (NOW, November 19-25) there was half a page. Is this due to a decease in visual arts in Toronto? On the contrary, gallery listings have been burgeoning for years. So it’s not a question of lack of interest.

Is it ad revenue? Okay, yeah, so artists are kinda poor. You got me there.

Tonya Hart


Deer me

How strange that releasing a deer onto the Leslie Street Spit is considered releasing it “into the wild.” Urban dwellers might consider that “wild” (NOW, November 26-December 2). A deer might consider it purgatory.

Why not the Rouge Valley, where she likely came from, and into the company of other deer?

I think she’ll be back, unless the coyotes get her first.

Nicholas Brooks


The power of Paco

I read Ashley Botting’s article Making Scents Of It (NOW, November 26-December 2) and totally sympathize with her perfume quandary.

I’ve worn Calandre by Paco Rabanne since I was 16. Canadian retailers stopped importing it, so I’d stock up when I went home to the UK, but last year I learned the brand was discontinued. I’m still searching for a replacement.

Adrienne L.


Disabled stay home

I am a person with a disability who does not use Wheel-Trans, as others need it more and my needs have been better met by riding the subway, which is conveniently located half a block down my street. It’s the main reason I moved here.

The new fare increase (NOW, November 19-25) will limit my ability to access my city.

Those of us who are disabled do not get a fare rate reduction like seniors or students, and yet many of us live below the poverty line.

Adding insult to injury is the token freeze, which now means I either have to pay cash to get onto the subway or use up my precious energy going the extra distance to use another entrance. Merry Christmas to me!

How well Canadian politicians look out for the least among us. Hey, maybe this is their way of telling people like me to stay home?

Michelle Moore


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