Wonderful Jan Wong
A wonderful story about Jan Wong (NOW, May 3-9). I lived in Toronto for 30 years and just loved her reporting. I am an expert in whistle-blowing. I hate to say how many cases there are like Wong's, where people are treated so poorly. Part of the problem is that there are no whistle-blower laws in Canada's corporate world. In fact, Canada is the worst in the Western world in the area of transparency in the public and private sectors. Our democracy is hardly as strong as most believe it to be.
Dickhead on Greens
My response to Michael Hollett's snotty-nosed, dickhead remarks about the Green party (NOW, April 26-May 2) are a bit delayed. I will keep it short.
To say that the NDP is the only party with a vision for electoral reform is completely untrue. I would remind Hollett that there was a time, back in the David Lewis days and even more recently, when the NDP was considered a "vote-splitting vanity enterprise," but it's now the official opposition.
These things take time.
The Greens are on your side. To say that there is little difference between the Green party and the NDP (thus rendering the Greens redundant) is false. The Green party has a bolder and more exciting vision for environmental policy.
Don't hate on the Greens. Maybe the NDP needs to do a better job of persuading people.
Chris Michael Burns
Polling by numbers
Regarding Pie-in-the-sky polls (NOW, May 3-9). If you really want to look at polling, I'd worry less about the math and more about the way polls are structured.
The real math question might be whether the polls are actually represented by a normal distribution. If they aren't, then there's no way to say you have an answer with any degree of confidence.
You have to have true random samples. You can get a poll to tell you anything you want it to tell you by the way the question is phrased and the way the interviewer interviews.
This is true whether right or left is polling.
On Rob Ford versus Daniel Dale (NOW Daily, May 3). Joshua Errett is full of it. The incident between the mayor and Toronto Star reporter Dale didn't take place on private property. What Ford did was commit assault.
Generally, an assault occurs when a person directly or indirectly applies force intentionally to another person. But it can also occur when a person attempts to apply such force or threatens to do so.
Charging at Dale with a cocked fist and "cornering him" (the mayor's words) on public land qualifies as assault. If he did so while demanding that Dale drop his camera and recording device, and if those items ended up in his possession, Ford is also a mugger.
Call 9-1-1 on the mayor
Perhaps we need to call 9-1-1 on Mayor Rob Ford.
Help, 9-1-1. The mayor has been attacking our libraries. He is trying to destroy our beloved Riverdale Farm and all the other city farms.
Help. He tried to bring in the big box store monsters to devour our waterfront.
Help. He's still trying to kill Transit City.
Speed limit sense
I know NOW is anti-Rob Ford, but he's right, a 30 km/h speed limit in residential neighbourhoods (NOW, May 3-9) is stupid.
Common sense tells us people get hit on busy roads away from neighbourhoods, especially at intersections, which are exponentially more dangerous.
Thousands of people cross intersections daily all over the city, and all I see are cars running reds and accelerating through yellows.
None of this happens on quiet neighbourhood streets, because they have so many damn stop signs, no speeding occurs.
What I see is police setting up speed traps where they can make easy money, not where the most dangerous spots are.
Drivers know best
Denzil Minnan-Wong sloughs off the sensible suggestion of Toronto's medical officer of health, David McKeown, of lower speed limits for the city. His argument is that "drivers would simply ignore them."
He also thinks the good doctor should keep his nose out. Ignoring this immature slight, the councillor's comments about drivers - if they are to be believed - ought to lead to the striking down of all speed limits.
After all, drivers won't observe them whatever they are and wherever they are posted, school zones included.
Yes, drivers know best, school crossing guards had better stay on their toes, and police radar traps are anti-democratic.
White roof greenwash
Regarding Wayne Roberts's Hitting The Green Roof (NOW, May 3-9). It makes no sense to have black or white roofs unprotected from UV light and environmental fluctuations. A white roof in Toronto's climate doesn't even come close to the performance of a green roof.
For starters, a white roof has zero (zilch, nada) influence on stormwater control. A green roof captures anywhere from 60-80 per cent. It also filters and buffers the water, thereby reducing pollution. On a white roof, every pollutant accumulated since the last rainfall flushes into the storm sewer.
In Toronto, or anywhere north of southern Ohio, white roofs have no net benefit for energy consumption. In many cases, white roofs actually cost money, since they do not accumulate radiation during the cold months as black roofs do. Green roofs, on the other hand, keep a roof surface much warmer in the winter (temps below -5° Celsius are rare) and much cooler in the summer (25° vs 50° for white and 75° for black).
It doesn't make engineering sense not to include green roofs in new buildings.
Subtitle to Yank slag
Susan G. Cole calling American audiences xenophobic is an absurdly hateful claim (NOW, April 26-May 2).
Given that it's a nation of immigrants, it's probably less xenophobic than the majority of nations.
Also, America is larger than Europe and incredibly diverse in character, climate and landscape, so they can't really be faulted for not travelling. It is also cheaper to travel within Europe, and easier (and cheaper) for Europeans to go to Asia or Africa.
To attack Americans for not liking subtitles is also absurd, because most people (including Hitchcock and Pasolini) dislike them because they're a distraction from the film.
Using [Cole's own] dislike of remakes to launch an illogical attack on America only serves to delegitimize valid criticisms.
Regarding Steven Davey's review of Chickery Dickery Dock (NOW, May 3-9).
I'm not impressed with my $14.69 Mediterranean sandwich with side of potato salad. I understand they just opened, but get organized. Same thing with What A Bagel last week. Horrible service.
Pier Julien Dupont