Cops shooting first
While I applaud [Ben Spurr's] overview, forgive me for voicing deep skepticism about the province's latest inquest into the police shooting deaths of mentally ill people (NOW, August 23-29). We live in a police culture of "shoot first, then refuse to answer questions later."
Encountering mentally ill
The only thing that will stop the [killing] of mentally ill people in these encounters with police is to end all involvement by the police in such situations.
Layton points way forward
It was a moving tribute to Jack Layton at Nathan Phillips Square (NOW, August 22). Jack's slogan was "Let's work together." Easier said than done. But that's the way forward.
Yonge party, Jarvis stink
I enjoyed Enzo DiMatteo on Yonge's Timid Celebration (NOW, August 23-29). Unfortunately, enhancing the pedestrian experience in this city is going to be a real challenge. I live on Jarvis between Earl and Wellesley. There's non-stop traffic day and night, not to mention the speeding. You can't have a window open for more than five minutes. I sleep with earplugs. On Saturday night, the air stank. Whatever bit of traffic not flowing down Yonge because of the month-long Celebrate Yonge has now been diverted to Jarvis.
Benefits of school debt
The majority of Ontario students simply don't want a Quebec-style strike (NOW, August 23-29), and hopefully student representatives in Ontario won't ignore that majority as leaders in Quebec did. A debt of $26,000 seems large only when devoid of context. That amount can buy a poorly equipped new car, a down payment on a small house or an education that raises your average starting salary by $10,000.
The personal benefits of a college education vastly outweigh accumulating $6,500 a year in debt.
Regarding your Barometer item Ending An Occupation (NOW, August 23-29). Israel's communities in Judea and Samaria are not "illegal." In fact, under any set of laws and according to all non-anti-Semitic declarations (here I am excluding such "truth seekers" as Iran, Syria and your un-newspaper), these long-standing, well-established communities and neighbourhoods are very much legal.
It's really easy to spout the leftist line. It's a lot harder to get your facts right. You do readers a disservice and embolden hate-mongers such as the minority cabal that pushed through their hateful resolution to boycott Israel at the United Church's council.
Barmy to cycle in T.O.
I'm from England, and I'm currently cycling across Canada on an electric-assisted bicycle. I'm resting in Toronto for four days and have been following the cycling debate with great interest.
So many cyclists here are clearly enthusiastic about creating a cycling-friendly city. And yet your cycling community needs to have great determination, especially considering the opposition it faces.
I've just read a saccharine-sweet article in another newspaper on a former political figure reinventing his media image following a terrifying incident in which a cyclist was killed.
I've also read of a local politician who wants to ban cyclists from a street following a tragic and unnecessary death involving streetcar tracks, and - on your own letters page - the view of one resident who suggests that as no drivers are convicted when cyclists are killed, the cyclists must be at fault (NOW, August 23-29). Barmy!
Despite these negative attitudes, I'm confident Toronto will become a cycle-friendly city. It's clear these callous voices that shrug unconcernedly when a cyclist is hurt or killed are in a shrinking minority.
From an Englishman cycling this fantastic country: Good luck, Toronto!
Rogers tech difficulties
Why does Rogers make phone and cable users sign elaborate multi-year contracts but refuse to guarantee a full day's work to those who install its products?
Over the past few years, Rogers has contracted out thousands of technician jobs in a bid to drive down wages and working conditions. Paid on a piece-work basis, installers have limited seniority rights, receive no overtime and are not guaranteed work. Sometimes they sit for a full day with almost no work.
Imagine if Rogers allowed consumers the same terms. Cable subscribers could decide on an hourly basis if they wanted to use (and pay for) their TV services.
All installation charges are passed on to consumers, so Rogers has the money to ensure that those doing the work are paid a decent, stable income. In fact, the company could improve technicians' pay while loosening customer contracts.
President, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
Planning worries on Quay
A row of 70- to 75-storey condo towers is about to be built on numerous sites along Harbour Street and Queens Quay from York to Jarvis.
An eerie silence surrounds these proposals, which will create an out-of-scale ridge between the water and Toronto's downtown. Several other sites are ready for development, the LCBO on Queens Quay being the largest.
The York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA) has spoken up against this debasement of our iconic neighbourhood. We applaud development and have no fear of heights, given that we all live in high-rises. Our neighbourhood is already the most densely populated area of Toronto, and we have millions of visitors every year. All good.
But why is this happening without a sound from anybody in charge? Developers tell us the city's planning department is no obstacle, because it's so understaffed.