Tough questions about male teachers
I've always been a loyal reader of your publication. I love the lefty political slant of many of your writers and the beautiful activist spirit that always shines through. It speaks to my heart.
However, I was a bit disappointed when reading Class Action in last week's issue (NOW, September 20-26), where you profile three Toronto teachers in light of the controversial wage-freeze bill that's been passed by the Liberal government.
I am a teacher myself (in only my eighth year) and appreciate that you gave teachers the space to speak their minds and show readers what a wonderful profession it really is.
But the three teachers profiled, all of them males, do not represent the diversity within our union. Women make up over 80 per cent of ETFO, something that should definitely be considered. Perhaps racial and ethnic diversity should be considered as well.
While those three white males you profiled were very passionate and articulate, are they really able to comment on the inherent problematic power structures within the school system itself?
The legend of Sam the Record Man
On R.I.P. Sam "The Record Man" Sniderman (NOW Daily, September 23). I'm not from Toronto, but every time we'd visit from Ottawa I'd be sure to stop by Sniderman's flagship store on Yonge. It wasn't the same after he retired, but it was there till 2007. I was disappointed to hear of its closing. We had a few Sam's locations in my city that I vaguely remember.
R.I.P., Sam. You're a legend to us music store people.
Toting my suitcase to Sam's
Our head office used to be in Toronto, and the hotel I stayed at was a couple of blocks from Sam's. A colleague had warned me about Sam's, but in vain. I had to buy an extra suitcase to take my new CDs home. The last time I visited Toronto, Sam's was closing, and this cost me another suitcase. It was the best record shop I have ever been in. Rest in peace, Sam.
Menno Van Oosten
Adam Giambrone's Fire Alarm (NOW, September 13-19) should have appeared in the comics. His information regarding the effect of cuts on Emergency Medical Services is totally ridiculous.
Firstly, Toronto's fire department is very nervous because [the number of] its responses to emergency medical calls have been reduced by 30 per cent due to the fact that it was doing nothing on these calls except burning diesel. If the writer had done any independent research on response times, he would have found documentation made public six months ago that showed Toronto Fire Service times to be between nine and 13 minutes.
This information was originally presented by the Ontario EMS agency, AMEMSO, which was attacked by the Toronto Firefighters Association until its own embarrassing study was published. In future, please do not drink the TFS Kool-Aid.
Wagner's anti-Semitism no anomaly
Re Wagner And Me (NOW, September 20-26). Wagner was six years old [in 1819] when the Hep-Hep riots occurred, and anti-Jewish hatred rose steadily throughout the century in Germany. His anti-Jewish prejudice was nothing special. Wagner used Jews for vital creative tasks, such as orchestrating some of his operas. The real villain was Houston Stewart Chamberlain [Wagner's son-in-law and biographer]. Chamberlain emphasized the "Teutonic" aspects of Wagner, establishing the composer as a model for Nazi aesthetic ideals.
Canada's changed value system
Re Ellie Kirzner's Frontlines column on war resister Kim Rivera (NOW, September 6-12).
The situation with the Iraq war resisters has been debated ever since Jeremy Hinzman came to Canada in 2004. To me, the real issue is what kind of country Canadians want.
Canada has a history of welcoming people of conscience, but the Harper government is changing that value system.
Compassion and respect for people with morals are being replaced by a hardline ideology that leaves no room for humanitarianism. I support the Rivera family's staying in Canada, and I am very concerned about the direction the government is taking.
Green standards: why we shouldn't keep score
Re How Can I Tell Which Product Seals Are Greenwash? (NOW, September 13-19). For years, Sustainable Forest Initiative Inc. has been promoting choice and inclusion of forest certification standards, and we don't believe it is constructive to suggest that any one standard is far superior to another.
SFI represents a rigorous single standard grounded in science, research and regional expertise to promote responsible forest management. With 90 per cent of the world's forests uncertified, there is room for many organizations and standards to promote responsible forestry.
Market Access & Product Labeling
Getting more sophisticated about "gangs"
When are the mainstream media and police going to stop using the word "gang" to describe the Galloway Boys and the Malvern Crew?
These are organized crime groups like the Mafia or Yakuza. They are in the drug-selling business, and calling them gangs make them sound like a bunch of guys who just hang around looking for trouble. They are as corporate as GM and Ford. So more sophisticated reporting would sure help.
Adam Berel Wetstein