Lettres - Letters

By readers on April 9, 2009


Universities and free speech

Coming back to the office from a medical check-up at the Royal Victoria Hospital, to avoid walking down University Street I strolled down the hill through our vaunted McGill University campus. Just before reaching the Roddick gates is the playfield where on warmer days students sunbathe, play toss football or just sit around. But today was a little different. Walking down the main alley, a spotted hundreds, if not thousands, of little white flags planted in the playfield, like spring flowers, almost covering its entire length. 

Then, large posters on the trees lining the esplanade caught my attention. One read: For every 110 Palestinian dead, there is one Israeli dead. So, I understood it is an in-you-face pro-Palestinian happening. Now, the morbidly obnoxious comparing of body-counts is not my idea of an intelligently effective message dealing with the issue and elucidating a grievance but I agree that the right to demonstrate by friend and foe is part of free speech and, like just everyone around these parts, who can be against that. 

But then something else struck me: the site of this installation. The grounds of our venerable prestigious educational and research institution financed by well-intentioned donations, grants and tax dollars are being lent and pre-empted as a facility for this outside organization's cause. This is not placards made, brought and carried by some individuals to express their point of view on some issue; it is the property of McGill University being used by this private cause as part of its propaganda. Since when does an "independent and impartial" university of such standing a caliber provide its facilities and material to a sectarian political cause? 

I think James McGill and many of the great minds that taught, researched and studied there over the centuries must be turning over in their graves.

Ura Greenbaum


We are Montrealers

I am fed up with politicians and other leaders referring to certain religious groups  in differant area's of Montreal  We are all Canadian first, Not Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists or Jews, I don't hear politicians saying welcome to our Protestant or Catholic communities,  Yet when I attend a gathering of types in St Laurent, I hear things like welcome all my Jewish friends, Or its nice to see Jew and Muslim sitting in the same room, Why can't they say "It is nice to see Canadians of all beleifs  sitting in this gathering.” By singling out one certain religious group or another it places a certain pressure on that religion, Are they the religious person first and Canadian second ?,  Let our politicians and community leaders stop singling out  religions or groups for their own personal gain. We are Montrealers, living in Quebec and citizens of the greatest country in the world,                                             

Terry Birch
Ville LaSalle      


Better political competition 

 Up to now there are too many unanswered questions concerning the upcoming municipal election.

Why has the Tremblay union party requested online feedback from residents without listing the need of more parking for a good balanced transportation system unless he w ishes only to embellish his directives? Why has the Labonté Vision Party not translated their message into English?

If Labonté associates with Louise Harel and her ignorant, inappropriate and negative comments which undermine multi-culturalism and the direct “hands on approach” provided by independent boroughs, cannot the public assume he may lose support of his elected team all of whom represent these boroughs? Would not it be a pleasant surprise if they all joined a 3rd party so come election time there would be a more democratic race to administer this city of which we are all part owners? 

Michael Shafter


What’s the purpose of the Bank of Canada 

bank-of-canada-building-bw.jpgWith the economy so bad, the Bank of Canada my revert to printing money. The Bank of Canada creates money to buy the bad loans of private banks so that the banks can lend again.  The banks often lend this money back to government at municipal, provincial and federal levels.  Would it not make sense for the Bank of Canada to lend money directly to cities, provinces and the Federal Government for infrastructure spending?  Any interest paid on these loans would revert back to the taxpayers who are the owners of the Bank of Canada. The question is:  What is the purpose of the Bank of Canada?  Is it to serve Canadian taxpayers, or is it to bail out the banks every time they get into trouble by creating new money for them to lend at interest back to government?

Larry Kazdan, 
Vancouver, B.C.



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