Today’s letters: ‘Toronto is not the centre of the universe’

Re: Toronto’s Great Political Switcheroo, Sept. 13.
Two-and-a-half pages of Saturday’s National Post were dedicated to coverage of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Is this really appropriate for a national newspaper? Sorry but I must advise: Toronto is not the centre of the universe; Rob Ford is a tool; and nobody else in Canada cares. Isn’t there a Toronto edition in which you can put all this, and spare the rest of us the agony?
David Gramlich, Victoria.

Re: The Fords Have Become Frightening, Christie Blatchford, Sept. 13.
After reading Christie Blatchford’s comparison between the Ford brothers and the North Korean leadership, my first impulse was to send her article to my brother, who is the UNICEF director in North Korea. But then I realized that I’d be putting him in danger because the North Koreans monitoring his communications and they would be insulted to have their Dear Leader’s family compared to the Fords.
Cathy Schaffter, Toronto.

As a former Torontonian, I’m familiar with the rise to prominence of the Fords in city politics and I continue to follow their political life from a safe distance here in Ancaster, Ont. As a longstanding Post reader, I’m generally a fan of Christie Blatchford’s columns, as they are insightful and well crafted. But her comparison of the Ford family with the dynastic politics of North Korea was, quite frankly, offensive and out of line.
Eric G. Fleming, Ancaster, Ont.

The media’s obsessive focus on the Ford brothers is less about buffoonery than about ideology. If the Ford “dynasty” was left-wing, Christie Blatchford would be more likely to compare them to the Kennedys than to the Kims.

To know what it’s really like to be embarrassed and “frightened” by a mayor, Ms. Blatchford should come out here to Vancouver, where the mayor is out to ram his green utopia down taxpayers’ throats.
Gary McGregor, Ladner, B.C.

Re: Another Ford Bros. Disgrace, editorial, Sept. 13.
For a newspaper that constantly decries the use of moral relativism, your Saturday editorial hit a new low in that insidious practice by comparing the Ford brothers election switch to former Alabama governor George Wallace’s machinations in getting his wife on the ballot in the 1960s.

Unlike Wallace, the Fords aren’t doing an end run around the law. Whatever you think of Doug Ford, he is as entitled to run as anybody else. It is also true that Mr. Wallace was a segregationist. The Fords, whatever else they may be, aren’t yearning for “the good old days” of slavery.
Claire Hoy, Toronto.

Violent sports

Re: Will Goodell Have To Go?, Sept. 15.
Surely, the blame for the excessive violence in sport must rest with the paying customers, not with the athletes and the sports organizations themselves. If we judge ourselves by the most popular movies, television shows and video games, a case can be made that we are addicted to violence and that we are prepared to pay substantial sums for violent entertainment.

Athletes and sports organizations simply deliver the product that brings in the most revenue. When revenues reach the excessive levels that prevail in sports today, salaries increase proportionately and competition becomes more intense among the athletes. Add in the big increase in the size and strength of today’s athletes, often fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs, and it’s little wonder that the violence in sport sometimes leaves the field.
Fred Purvis, Toronto.

Liberal foreign policy

Re: A Liberal Myth On Its Last Legs, Chris Selley, Sept. 15.
Retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie criticized Israel’s “indiscriminate and dumb” bombing of civilians in Gaza. Yet, almost 200,000 civilians have been murdered in Syria. ISIS is beheading Westerners in living colour. Iraq is under attack. Somali and Yemen are failed states. The Democratic Republic of Congo is turning children into soldiers and sex slaves. Girls are being kidnapped in Nigeria and forced to marry Muslims. The Buddhists in Myanmar are ethnically cleansing and murdering the Rohingya Muslims. Russia has invaded Ukraine. And Mr. Leslie decided that of all these terrible events in the world, Israel must be singled out.

He chose to attack a democracy, which is merely defending itself from terrorists who have clearly stated on many occasions that Israel must be eradicated, as his starting point for a new Liberal foreign policy. Does he not see the hypocrisy in his statement? Or is he just pandering to the left-wingers who only speak of Israel in derogatory terms, while remaining quiet about the real horrors taking place around the world?
Diane Weber Bederman, Caledon, Ont.

Bad for the economy

Re: Carbon Tax Is The Way To Go, letter to the editor, Sept. 15.
Letter-writer Gideon Forman has a strange understanding of economics, if he thinks a carbon tax would increase Alberta’s GDP. In fact, such a tax would reduce Alberta’s GDP, as people and businesses would buy less of everything that was subject to the tax, which would in turn reduce production, leading to higher unemployment.

Unless the wind blows constantly in Alberta, building wind turbines requires the same amount of backup capacity for when the wind isn’t blowing, which makes it exorbitantly expensive. When I have been there, I do not recall the wind blowing all the time. If 80% of Abertans support this, they are as stupid as the folks in Ontario who elected another Liberal government.
Kendall Carey, Toronto.

Side effects

Re: The New Drug Wars, Sept. 15.
As a physician and a parent of a child on a neuroleptic medication for autism, I can tell you that there are significant concerns with the bioequivalency of issues of generic formulations. As I understand it, they are required to be within 20% of the name brand. This may be clinically significant with some medications and for some individuals more than others. As well, if one is on a generic and the supplier changes to another generic, this can result in an even greater difference. Brand A could be 20% less an equivalent dose, while brand B could be 20% more than the name brand benchmark. That’s a 40% difference. However, it can be more. If for example, the dose should be 100 mg, and brand A is equivalent to 80 mg and B to 120 mg, that represents a 50% higher dose going from A to B.

My child developed akathisia, which resulted in extreme restlessness, pacing and his knees going up and down rapidly while seated, when he switched from one generic to the next, which I only realized had happened after the symptoms arose. Fortunately, the symptoms went away when we were able to secure a supply of the original generic.
Avery Hurtig, Toronto.

Picking the wrong horse

Re: Obama’s World Of Wishes, Robert Fulford, Sept. 13.
As a non-interventionist who was opposed to the 2003 Iraq war, I have watched with mounting horror as the U.S. and the West have repeatedly made disastrous errors and consistently backed the wrong people. We should have backed Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. More controversially, we should have backed Bashar Assad in Syria. This would have diluted Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East and it might have been possible to place some limits on the bloodthirstiness of his reaction to the rebellion. In every case, the West chose its blind belief in democracy as a cure for all ills, rather than trying to understand the geopolitical reality in the region.

The Iraqi military has disgraced itself. An armoured assault with air support could have annihilated ISIS in its infancy. The only people worth supporting now are the Kurds, who should receive Abrams tanks and anything else they want. It’s time to wake up and realize that Western elites are decadent and incompetent.
John Purdy, Kirkland, Que.

Contract negotiations

Re: Providing Students With A Better Education — At Home And Abroad, letters to the editor, Sept. 13.
Newfoundland teachers have more brains than the teachers we have here in B.C. Newfoundland teachers have now been without a contract since August 2012. But there has also never been any talk of them going on strike. These teachers know that once the contract is settled, their pay will be retroactive and they will not lose a single dime. This is something that the teachers in B.C. should learn about contract negotiations.
Joe Sawchuk, Duncan, B.C.

Giving voters what they want

Re: Reform Choked By All Parties, Andrew Coyne, Sept. 13.
Andrew Coyne portrays the changes that water down Michael Chong’s parliamentary reform bill in highly moralistic terms. Mr. Chong’s noble attempt to strengthen parliamentary democracy by empowering backbench MPs is being quietly undone by despotic party leaders, even as they hypocritically support the reforms in public. But it would be more accurate to see the bill and its fate as an illustration of the gap between parliamentary mythology and political reality. Voters and some media commentators continue to see MPs as independent local representatives who are being suppressed by political parties, but political parties that fail to maintain discipline and consistency in public messaging are routinely roasted in the media.

At election time, voters choose party representatives and shun mavericks and independents. Voters prefer to express choices about party leaders and the performance of governments, rather than simply picking local candidates. We need to accept the central role of disciplined political parties in our modern parliamentary democracy and stop sending mixed messages to politicians. Until we do, the hypocrisy Mr. Coyne ascribes to party leaders should be seen as a response to our own hypocrisy.
Jack Stilborn, Kanata, Ont.

Harper the great

Re: Obama’s World Of Wishes, Robert Fulford; On A Battlefield, Or In An Elevator, Image Is King, Rex Murphy; Waging Was By Pinpricks, Charles Krauthammer, all, Sept. 13.
I very much appreciated the excellent articles by Robert Fulford, Rex Murphy and Charles Krauthammer in Saturday’s National Post. They each eloquently exposed the dangers created by U.S. President Barack Obama’s weakness in foreign relations and highlighted the importance of having strong and principled national leaders.

I sincerely hope that their logic will not be lost on Canadian voters and decision makers. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly and concretely demonstrated his strong and principled leadership in international affairs and, as a result, has gained respect for Canada throughout the world. It would be an international tragedy and a dangerous leap backwards if Canadians attempt to replace Mr. Harper with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who’s merely a Canadian version of Mr. Obama. In these perilous times, great leaders need substance more than style.
Sam Grossman, Thornhill, Ont.

What’s in the book

Re: Extremists Distort All Religions …, Ihsaan Gardee, Sept. 12.
It’s true that, at times, some Christians have taken their religion to its extremes, but they went against God’s teachings in the holy Bible. The Islamists of ISIS, however, are devout Muslims who are merely following the teachings of the Koran.

The Koran teaches: “Fight those who believe not in Allah” (9:29); “slay the idolaters, wherever you find them” (9:5); “O Prophet, strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites” (9:73); “The only punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger … is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their fee should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned” (5:33); “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So smite above the necks” (8:12).

As Ali Sina once said, “Islam’s biggest enemy is the Koran. If people learn what is in that book, Islam will be finished.”