VOICES

THE MAIL

March 28 2005
VOICES

THE MAIL

March 28 2005

THE MAIL

VOICES

Letters to the Editor: Ietters@macJeans~ca

‘Bottom line: the shooter hated police. He would have been just as much of a threat to the RCMP constables if he had been running a daycare centre.’ -w¡n¡amciegg,Nanaimo,B.c.

Making sense of tragedy

Now the clamour arises, the shifting of responsibilities, the strident calls for action; new laws, stricter controls, and better training (“Is pot to blame?”, Cover, March 14). How about we stop trying to reinvent the wheel? This is how we come to mourn four good RCMP constables: a man with a history of violent crimes is sent a strong message by a weak justice system. Criminals exploit weakness. Across Canada, we need to demand accountability. We need a fist in the velvet glove we call justice.

Keith Copeland, Hampton, N.B.

The attempt to demonize the marijuana culture by politicizing the actions of a deranged, dangerous individual is more than pathetic. It shows complete disregard for the untimely deaths of four human beings. Official reaction was predictable: police called for harsher penalties, telling the federal government to “wake up” and recognize the connections between grow ops, violence and organized crime. What our police officers fail to understand is that their proposed solution—enacting harsher laws—is a proven failure in the U.S. and will only lead to an escalation in the violence. Chris Goodwin, Hamilton

I agree with Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd, whom you interviewed in your story, when he said, “I’m not at all clear that this case has as much to do with grow ops as it does with a person whose own father describes him as evil.” Sandra Ang, Coquitlam, B.C.

It was not pot: it was the gun, stupid! I am most disgusted with the federal Liberals and their attempt to use this tragedy for political gain. Perhaps they are simply trying to divert our attention from their ill-thoughtout gun legislation, which does not keep prohibited guns off the street.

Don Sutherland, Willowdale, Ont.

What I know is these constables were part of an organization that serves its communities throughout Canada with dedication and heart. Policing is a challenge. In this time of grief, I suggest communities across Canada stand with their law enforcement personnel. That will go a long way toward healing the pain. Len Meilleur, Surrey, B.C.

I am amazed that those four young men were even sent into that potentially dangerous scene with what was known about the man who lived there. Who is taking responsibility?

Jane Janssen, London, Ont.

Your article quotes a retired officer asking, “If you legalize pot, then what did these officers give their life for?” Well, it wasn’t the pot. It was a dumb truck. It was for some financial institution that just had to extend credit to the town wacko. When it couldn’t collect, it apparently had the right to send in the RCMP.

S.L. Bonner, Langley, B.C.

Teaching the best and brightest

In the March 7 issue, there were three articles about different facets of education (Sue Ferguson’s “Looking for Mr. Chips,” about the lack of male public school teachers; “White tops, grey bottoms,” an Over to You about school uniforms; and “Rowing with one oar,” Paul Wells’ column on revitalizing higher education). These articles, taken together, reveal that there is no cohesive long-term education plan for the country’s next generation. We elect those who are willing to cut any program that directly supports the best and brightest. What we have accomplished is the creation of public schools that achieve the absolute lowest common denominator. Brad Belchamber, Nanaimo, B.c.

A man of influence

It was interesting to read Cleo Paskal’s story on Madhav Das Nalapat, the man you say is behind the restoration of ties between India and Israel (“The matchmaker,” India, March 14). I was under the impression that relations between India and Israel were renewed on a clandestine note sometime in the early 1990s when Israel began to provide counter-terrorism training to Indian security forces. As for Indian Americans, I thought their lobbying organizations, fashioned after Jewish outfits, began blossoming thanks to people like Washington lobbyist Ralph Nürnberger, who helped found the India Abroad Center for Political Awareness in 1994. The interest that geo-political consultants Kissinger Associates had taken in pushing for closer U.S.-India-Israel ties pre-dates any influence Indian Americans have wielded.

Sunil Adam, managing editor, India-West,

San Leandro, Calif.

Saving the best for first

The answer to Paul Wells’ dilemma of not finishing books is easy (“Stuck on the same page,” The BackPage, March 14). Read the end first. Then you get the adventure of seeing how well the author writes up to the ending. And if you do abandon the book, you already know what happens.

Louise Slobodlan, Toronto

I can relate completely to your serial bookunfinisher infirmity. I was one, too, but I am now in recovery. Here are three points that might help. 1) Buy a wall unit. Separate the books you have read from the books that are partially read. Place the unfinished books at eye level on the wall unit. 2) Commit to reading at least one unfinished book a week. 3) For the love of God, do not buy any more books until you have finished the unfinished ones.

John Gatsls, Toronto Great column by Paul Wells in the March 14 issue. How did it end?

Doug Wellard, Stratford, Ont.

Turn up the music

It was fantastic to read about Halifax rocker Joel Plaskett in the Feb. 28 issue (“From Halifax to Phoenix and he’s got the songs to show for it,” Back Talk). He is one of the most talented musicians in Canada, and it is beyond me why we’re still lucky enough to see him playing smaller clubs. As a songwriter, he takes feelings and spins them into something both clever and substantial. He is one of a kind.

Johan de Zoete, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Seasons of our discontent

In the March 14 issue, you quote a Canadian Institute for Health Information statistic concerning the number of people who slip on ice and end up in the emergency room, a fact which leads you to conclude, you “It adds to the notion that winter is a dangerous season and should be avoided when possible.” What are you suggesting? That we all sit in our homes for six months of the year? The fact that we continue to live here and, for the most part, survive suggests that with a little common sense, we can go about our day even in winter. By the way, when you consider heat stroke, sunburn, UV levels, smog warnings, allergy alerts, and swimming accidents, summer here ain’t exactly a peach either.

Adam Green, Ottawa

The tax man cometh

I think Revenue Minister John McCallum’s attempt to justify having former employees of JDS Uniphase in Victoria pay thousands of dollars on income they never received is absurd (“Victoria’s tax nightmare,” All Business, March 14). McCallum says that “what is critical is that each and every taxpayer knows that he or she will be treated exactly the same as every other taxpayer.” In other words, laws—regardless of how unjust or immoral they may be—must be followed. A law untempered by justice is no law at all. Rhonda Earthy, Victoria

Your writer thinks a taxable benefit is one that makes the employee money when, in fact, it is actually the employee taking (legal) advantage of some benefit unavailable to non-employees. In this case, the benefit was the below-market-value stock purchase, not the anticipated profit the employees were planning to reap. This is where fair and equitable comes in. Every employee in Canada who buys stocks in this manner is taxed the same way regardless of the eventual profit or loss the stock realizes. The fact that the stock price went south and no money was made on the deal is immaterial.

Alison Craig, Burnaby, B.C.

What are you suggesting? That we all sit in our homes six months of the year? Summer here ain’t exactly a peach either.