THE MAIL

December 13 2004

THE MAIL

December 13 2004

THE MAIL

Letters to the Editor: ietters@macteans.ca

‘Our sprawling, out-of-control cities have eaten too much pristine farmland. Yes, we will become more urban, but it should not be at the expense of the rural. ’ -Loren Pearson, Halifax

Rural angst

As the co-owner/operator of a family-run orchard in the Okanagan Valley, I read your article on the impact of suburbia on agricultural lands with a jaundiced eye (“The war between town and country,” Cover, Nov. 29). I am increasingly tired of the rural wannabes who move to the country for the lifestyle, then promptly attempt to remake the rural landscape into a suburban nightmare. If Canada wishes to continue to feed itself, those non-farmers living in rural agricultural settings must be more accepting of the messy, sometimes noisy business that we call farming.

Maureen Fisher-Fleming, Armstrong, B.C.

Persons who are offended by natural rural odours should avoid living in agriculturally zoned areas. If you and your children wish to have access to fresh, affordable, organic, local produce, and you care about preserving jobs and local economic benefits, please support your local farmer.

Lynn Van Halteren, Pickering, Ont.

How quickly the people of our society forget what makes their lives possible in the fantastically vibrant and interesting urban environment. Let’s take a look at the complex mosaic of the urban dweller. In the great cities and small towns of the nation, you find many different types of traders: doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists, construction workers, factory workers, engineers, etc. They all trade their skills and time for each other’s services. This is a wonderful system and it works, or we would all still be living in caves. There is only one hair in the pie—the foundation that all the rest is built on: food. Without someone supplying this necessity, all else stops.

James Matheson, Mission, B.C.

Your comments about the need for highspeed Internet and cellphone service in rural areas are true to home (“Life in the slow lane,” The Editor’s Letter, Nov. 29). Our township currently lacks both, and we know that is a deterrent to economic growth. Our

repeated appeals to cellphone providers and governments have failed to produce results. Several municipalities in eastern Ontario still are without cellphones, a real health and safety issue since many cottages are water-access only with no hydro or telephone. Oftentimes, the areas of the greatest need are in your own backyard.

Ken Hook, reeve, Township of Addington Highlands, Ont.

Having found work in several wonderful communities throughout northern and eastern Ontario for the past 17 years, I took mild exception to the “Life in the slow lane” title of the editor’s Nov. 29 weekly column. It may be slower only because the author

wants it to be when he is there on weekends with his family. Just because the values differ does not mean the speed is any different. Ours is not about a choice between a strong urban Canada or a strong rural Canada. It is about a strong urban and a strong rural Canada.

Allan Katz, Kingston, Ont.

Contrary to the “hick” stereotype, farmers are more technologically savvy than most of our urban neighbours, using modern tools ranging from global positioning systems in our tractors to genetically engineered seed. Derek Roberts, Rockwood, Ont.

Kid gloves

I cannot agree that our youth are stressed out from parental supervision (“Stressed out,” Cover, Nov. 22). I grew up on a small farm. My mother died when I was 11 years old and I had to chop wood, milk cows, clean the the barn, carry water. After chores I went to school. I was an A student. Stress wasn’t invented yet. I know that many parents push their youngsters to great limits. I pushed my kids to do their best and will never agree that our poor little kiddies must have time to hang out at the mall.

Bob Goodvin, Terrace, B.C.

Having worked with children in the public schools and also as a teacher of Music for Young Children (MYC), I read your article with interest. It is conceivable that children can be too busy, but we must give parents credit for knowing how much is too much for any particular child. It has been my experience that parents who find their child is “stressed out” have the good sense to limit the activities of that child. However, with an annual return rate of more than 90 per cent, parents of my MYC students must see the value of music instruction for their young children.

Betty Kingsbury, Kentville, N.S.

I think that far too many parents today feel their children must be super kids—everything has become a competition.

Angela Gibson-Kierstead, Kanata, Ont.

Dutiful parents

Bravo to Mike McCabe of Edmonton who wrote to you about universal child care, stating that no one is forced to have children (“Daycare divisions,” The Mail, Nov. 22). My

The blame game

Who’s responsible for the urban-rural divide?

In his Editor’s Letter, Anthony Wilson-Smith referred to his experience with the urban/ rural clash, wondering if, by buying a country home, he and his family were part of the problem. But Keith Roulston of Blyth, Ont., responded: “We rural people have also played a role by adopting a suburban lifestyle that’s at odds with the very nature of our surroundings.”

parents had four children, and my father chose not to receive what was then called “family allowance” because, he said, we were his children and his responsibility. People must learn to make the right choices and be prepared to live with them—not look to the rest of us to share their burden.

Kaye Faulkner, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Kalan’s posse

I was floored by the comments of your “reviewer” about Kalan Porter’s amazing CD (“How to dismantle an Idol,” Back Talk, Nov. 29). To say that the CD is a “mess” is truly an outrage. He wrote and co-wrote four of the 14 tracks. Talent, I should say. “Schlocky” and “bland,” I should say not. Kalan will be a force to be reckoned with. Cindy Davey, Newmarket, Ont.

I just read your article about Kalan Porter’s CD 219 Days. I am curious: did your re-

viewer even listen to the CD? Comparing Kalan to Ryan Malcolm is absurd. It is like comparing apples and oranges. There was also no mention of the fact that Kalan played violin on the CD: he is a classically trained musician on the violin and viola.

Lynne Commandeur,

Comox, B.C.

"Many parents push their young-I will never agree that our poor little kiddies need time to hang out at the mall

Dog bans won’t work

Thank you for your article questioning the effectiveness of banning pit bulls (“Pit bull, bum rap?” Essay, Nov. 15). As an SPCA adoption counsellor, I know that laws banning dog breeds will not stop the problem of dog attacks. Perhaps better education for potential dog owners would help. It may also help if the laws and penalties for animal abuse were both stricter and better enforced. And although there are responsible breeders, some are not. It would be good for a potential pet owner to check out the condition of the animal before buying, and refuse to buy from anyone who seems at all questionable.

Terry Boyd-Zhang, Edmonton

Technically not stealing

Downloading for personal use should not be illegal (“Hot television,” Technology, Nov. 29). But if someone is downloading and mass distributing any copyrighted material for profit, then they should be charged and held accountable. What next, are we going to make it illegal to use our VCRs to record a TV show to be watched later?

J.K. Barker, Toronto

Television programs are paid for by viewers by watching commercials or purchasing cable and satellite accounts. Copying for personal viewing should be allowed only under a fair practice agreement similar to print copyright.

Valerie Frost, St. Catharines, Ont.