From reading An Apple, An Aspirin And A Merlot A Day? (Life, April 2), I calculated that my chance of dying is decreased by 25 per cent if I have one drink or fewer a day, 7 per cent if I have 25 grams of apple a day, 36 per cent if I eat one or two servings of fish a week, 7 per cent if I take a vitamin D supplement a day and 37 per cent if I take an aspirin a day.
That adds up to 112 per cent, leaving me with a quandary: What do I do about the cemetery plot I’ve already purchased?
Garth Goddard, Toronto
While I highly doubt the longevity calculator’s precision (How Long Will You Live? Just Crunch The Numbers – April 2), I do appreciate its message. Although avoiding fast food may add years to my life, right now I crave the salty grease of French fries. It’s going to take more than a longevity calculator to override this instinct.
Valerie Hasbum, Mississauga
So who’s spoiled?
Gwyn Morgan (Breaking The ‘Entitlement Addiction’ – Report on Business, April 2) asserts that unionized public employees form a “spoiled over-class,” part of a group whose “entitlement addiction” creates “wealth destruction.” Total direct compensation for executives of publicly held companies in Canada went up about 30 per cent this past year, while the highest-earning CEOs had incomes that increased by 27 per cent in 2010. From 1995 to 2007, top Canadian CEOs enjoyed a 444-per-cent salary increase.
By contrast, last fall The Globe reported that while average salaries in Canada would rise by 3.1 per cent, after a 2.7 per cent increase the year before, public-sector workers would get pay increases lower than those in the private sector. Globe readers might reflect on who really belongs to the spoiled over-class – CEOs, or public-sector union members.
Mark Langer, Ottawa
There are no seniority-based processes in the core federal public service (As Flaherty Prepares To Take On Public Service, He Owes Ontario A Thank-You – March 28). All appointments and selections for the purpose of retention and lay-off must be carried out according to the merit principle as written into the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). The Canadian Association of Professional Employees is on the record as having opposed all attempts to undermine the merit principle, including changes to the legislation imposed by the employer in 2003.
The article’s description of what will happen at the bargaining table is an unlikely scenario. Negotiating matters related to staffing, appointments and the right to dismiss employees are prohibited by the PSEA and by the Financial Administration Act. Moreover, the great majority of bargaining units, of which there are many more than 18, have traditionally chosen arbitration to address bargaining impasses.
Claude Danik, executive director of policy, Canadian Association of Professional Employees
When my wife and I visited Santiago in February, we happened to be in a neighbourhood close by a university campus. Suddenly, a crowd of people ran toward me. The police had charged a group of demonstrators and they were fleeing in panic. In the melee, I was struck in the face and got a nasty gash over my right eye, an injury not unlike the one received by Angela Turvey (Protester Alleges Police Brutality During Arrest – April 2).
In a lively, democratic society, protests are part of life, but a vital question is how should police act in these situations?
If the police charge the crowd, as they did in Santiago, or aggressively attack demonstrators, as they are alleged to have done in the case of Angela Turvey, or make indiscriminate mass detentions as they did in the G20 demonstrations in 2010, there are bound to be injuries.
It is time we have a thorough debate about what should be the appropriate action of the police when they deal with protesters. The issue is much too important to be left to police officers and the courts to decide.
Bill Freeman, Toronto
How about access to primary care (The Fix, Revisited – editorial, April 2)? Rostering, which merely puts patients names on a list, without any standard of reasonable service expectations, is useless to patients and rewards those who do the least they can get away with. Canadian taxpayers deserve better, and need to start demanding increased efficiency and accountability for the public funds being collected and spent on their behalf.
David Hughes Glass, MD, Kincardine, Ont.
Lysiane Gagnon (Language War Gets Personal – April 2) writes: “There have been countless alarmist reports in Quebec’s media about the English ‘threat,’ but L’actualité’s article is the first of its kind: Whereas the ‘enemy’ used to be the English language, now it is anglophones themselves, even if they speak French fluently.”
Our poll and analysis paints the picture of a paradox: anglo-Quebeckers’ formidable investment in learning French on the one hand and apparent lack of concern for the future of French and rights of francophones, on the other hand.
We do not refer to anglo-Quebeckers as enemies, in quotes or otherwise. The sovereigntist political views of analyst Jean-François Lisée, a contributor to L’actualité for 30 years, are well known to all – as are those of the other guest analyst, federalist scholar Jack Jedwab, whose contribution Ms. Gagnon did not mention.
We feel our cover story helps to better understand an important piece of the linguistic puzzle, i.e. anglo-Quebeckers’ attitudes and opinions. We wanted to start a respectful, open-minded conversation on the subject and welcomed Montreal Gazette columnist Josh Freed as a special guest blogger on L’actualité.com. Globe readers deserve a more savvy take on what’s really going on in Quebec than Ms. Gagnon presented in her column.
Carole Beaulieu, rédactrice en chef, L'actualité
Dogs and stress
Bringing dogs into the workplace to deal with employee stress is not a long-term solution (Could Dogs Help De-Stress Your Office? – online, March 30), nor does it take into account people with allergies.
Not everyone is a dog person – whether they just don’t care to bond with them or are terrified of them. How much work do you think would get done in this environment? None.
Alicia Medeiros, Mississauga
Oh no, soon we won’t have to go to the bank to deposit cheques (Photo Chequing Is On The Way – Report on Business, March 27).
When my human gets a cheque, off we go on a five-block walk to the bank. He uses the ATM or, sometimes, goes to a teller who pats my head (it’s worth tolerating the head-patting to get a biscuit).
It’s a pleasant walk, good exercise for both of us. I’m worried that, due to these kinds of “improvements,” over the next few generations people’s legs will atrophy away and they won’t be able to walk with my descendants.
Bennie, canine associate of Michael R. Conrad, Vancouver