Unions facing casino quandary
Thanks to Jonathan Goldsbie for documenting labour's contradictory relationship to casino development in Toronto (NOW, February 21-27).
A few points need to be added. First, it's more than a simple jobs issue. It's a what kind of jobs issue.
Second, there is historic competition among unions to represent hospitality workers. Both the SEIU and CAW are pro-casino and aspire to expand their representation of casino and hotel workers into Toronto.
Lastly, even unions with members in social services have complex relationships with casino development. Oxford Properties, for example, is competing to develop a mega-casino around the convention centre.
Oxford is the real estate arm of OMERS, the municipal workers pension fund in which many CUPE members are invested.
Snowed under wonder
Re Snow Emergency Here (NOW, February 21-27). I understand transit services were stretched by the "megastorm," but seriously, that was a pathetic display.
What happened to us? This is North America, after all. It's called that for a reason. Every winter it's like nobody living here has ever dealt with a little snow or ice before. And in last week's case, we knew it was coming.
The TTC provides substandard service far too often, especially considering how much it costs to use. It conspicuously fails the people who rely on it most - those who can't afford a vehicle.
But what those who live downtown might not know is that traffic in the north end on Sheppard, Finch and Steeles is ridiculous - at all times of the day.
Good To The Bones to pick
I happened upon Good To The Bones (NOW, January 31-February 6) a few days ago while doing a search for chicken tail recipes to use for the Chinese New Year dinner I was preparing. I was appalled.
The comments made by your writer were insensitive to cultures like mine that have long included "that useless flap of flesh next to the poop chute that most cooks throw away" in their regular diet.
The article tells your readers to "just stay away from the chicken tails," as if eating that part of the animal would be disgusting.
I am a mother of two daughters. Not too long ago, my 10-year-old came home from school upset because a few boys in her class made fun of the lunch she had brought. They were making fun of it for looking and smelling different. Your article has more in common with those bullies than with critics who write with a goal to educate their readers.
Climate change costs of pipeline economics
Re Ontario's tar sands trouble (NOW, February 7-13). Too many articles on the tar sands pipelines focus on economy in its very narrowest sense. The pipelines have already caused irreversible harm on a local scale, such as the Kalamazoo oil spill, and they threaten contamination of major aquifers.
But what is astonishingly left out in all the reporting, including Enzo DiMatteo's, is the connection between the tar sands and climate change and the very real threat of widespread extinctions.
Climate reality means that tar sands extraction should never have started. Well researched are the tar sands' permanent degradation of water (a non-renewable necessity of life), its permanent destruction of a large carbon sink (the surrounding boreal forest) and its huge carbon emissions. There are economic concepts that include these facts. A full analysis must also include who profits, and the corporate/government complex.
For Wynne, majority rule a bad idea
Kathleen Wynne should be congratulated for being the first woman premier of Ontario (NOW, February 14-20). She needs now to firmly grasp the nettle of change.
On prorogation, she should embrace the NDP's idea that it must be approved by the legislature. It should not be in the hands of one person who just has to get a compliant, constitutionally constrained lieutenant governor to sign off. More importantly, Wynne can enhance inter-party cooperation by giving substantial thought to introducing some form of proportional representation.
In most democracies nowadays, seeking an outright majority is considered old-school, a fatigued idea that has reached the end of its usefulness.
Love NOW, hate Facebook
I love NOW Magazine, but one thing recently pissed me off: your Love & Sex survey (NOW, February 21-27) asked readers to join Facebook to fill it out. I choose not to be on Facebook, so that excluded me from participating.
And possibly from surveys in the future. This annoys me! And more companies, etc are doing this.
The survey itself may be a stupid thing to get annoyed about. But if it's a survey that's only on FB, can it really be impartial?
Letter-writer David Keystone says, "It's sad [that] ‘penny for your thoughts' will need to be explained to our grandchildren" (NOW, February 14-20) now that pennies are being taken out of circulation.
I think we are going to have much more difficult things than that to explain to our grandchildren. The English language has many peculiarities and anachronisms; one more will hardly matter.
Personally, I am happy to be rid of the penny. It has been many years since they served any useful purpose.
Toronto top 50 albums music to these ears
I confess that when I saw your 50 Best Toronto Albums Ever (NOW, January 3-9), I was filled with trepidation, so much so that I waited a day before picking up a copy.
What a relief to find that my all-time favourite, and not just Toronto but Canadian album, Mary-Margaret O'Hara's Miss America, placed number 3! I have had an immense crush on her and attended every single live performance.
Then I perused the list in search of my other virtual nominees, and found them all! Broken Social Scene, Rough Trade, Lenny Breau (from whom I took guitar lessons for a while) and Glenn Gould (I have both his recordings of the Goldberg Variations, and was very slightly disappointed that you didn't mention both, if only to comment on the dramatic differences between them), Ron Sexsmith, the Viletones, and in the singles list, the inimitable Rise Up.
I haven't heard some of the albums you listed, but you can be sure I shall now seek them out. A huge thanks for this!
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