I was very disappointed that “A Rock and a Hard Place,” by Chris Wood (December), didn’t include even a passing reference to nuclear energy, which accounts for more than 50 percent of electricity production in Ontario. I can only assume this exclusion was motivated by paranoia over the disaster at the Fukushima reactor site in Japan.
Compared with other forms of energy — particularly fossil fuels — nuclear is green and sustainable, and while it is expensive to build it is inexpensive to operate. When will the Canadian media start to appreciate the CANDU reactor’s potential value and stop pretending that natural gas is a clean energy source?
Gwen Milton (email)
Chris Wood’s article is a must-read for both sides of the fracking/shale gas exploration debate. Those of us who have called for a moratorium here in New Brunswick, where our provincial government has declared its intention to pursue development, welcome such well-balanced reporting. The environmental and economic risks accompanying shale gas exploration and development cannot be underestimated.
So-called expert justifications for non-conventional drilling and fracking are too often just industry talking points. We have to place holds on industry, unless it can prove that environmental safety is its first concern. If only our government had those interests at heart.
Hey, Canadians, are you aware that our government here in New York State may soon authorize all forms of fracking? And that a proposal is in the works to “treat” low-level radioactive and chemical waste at a water plant in Niagara Falls? The facility is billed as “state of the art,” but unfortunately its carbon filters will not even come close to removing traces of radioactive and carcinogenic materials.
We are talking about huge amounts of potentially hazardous water reaching Lake Ontario — and, last I heard, most of the people who get their drinking water from Lake Ontario are Canadians.
S. Gateley (online)
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
Robert Fowler (“Kidnapped,” December) has gotten plenty of mileage out of his kidnapping in Niger, but I wonder why he was there in the first place. His explanation is vague: “My colleague Louis Guay and I were taking advantage of a quiet Sunday to do a little research into how resource revenues might be used to grease the wheels of a possible peace accord.”
For further elaboration, Walrus readers should consult “An Abduction in Niger,” by Yves Engler, in Canadian Dimension. The article questions whether Canadian political power should be used for the advancement of corporate interests, particularly mining, in Africa. On October 31, 2010, CBC’s The National aired an excellent story on Canadian mining companies and the international outrage they have provoked.
Then, of course, there is the “mystery” of how Fowler was released. No ransom was paid, said Stephen Harper. Millions were received, said al Qaeda. Walrus readers can decide for themselves.
Troy Jollimore’s poem “Charlie Brown” (December) reminded me of “The Pathos of Charles Schulz,” by Matthew R. Bondurant, who has written another poem, “The Kite Eating Tree,” that seems to pay homage to Charlie B. Is riffing on Charlie Brown some kind of meme in the States?
W. Mark Giles
As an earnest baby boomer of Finnish descent, I have to comment on “Adventures of a Supernumerary” (December). I enjoyed Tom Jokinen’s description of entering the strange (to him) world of opera. However, I wonder about his association of a feel for opera with his Italian genes. I’d like to recommend the Savonlinna Opera Festival; held in a medieval castle, it should give him an idea of the Finnish penchant for opera. I also urge him to give Finnish composer Sibelius’s wonderfully dramatic music further attention.
BID YOU TO BURN
“Montreal Is Burning” (December) made me feel a little bit melancholic, because I will never have the opportunity to see Arcade Fire play in those small bars, wearing those ties and helmets. But I understand that everyone grows up. Each Arcade Fire album has a place in my heart, and I thank them for making me love music. I have to experience one of their concerts before I die; here’s hoping they come to South America on their next tour.
So this isn’t about the spate of firebombings of small Montreal businesses? (Including a daycare — twice!)
Great kicker — but REM took this journey first.
This piece really captures how it feels to live and work in Mile End 10 years after Arcade Fire blew up.
Manchester, Memphis et maintenant Montréal. Le rock qui fait la ville.
I grew up fifteen minutes from the Peace Bridge (“Signed, Sealed, and Delivered,” December). Got drafted and sent to Germany in 1966. I never even thought of crossing the border. My army years were great: comradeship, discipline, and being in Europe (when the exchange was four marks to the dollar!). Not a bad deal for me. A shame John Swalby had to risk his American citizenship.
In “The Invention of Waterloo” (January/February), The Walrus incorrectly stated Mike Lazaridis’s birthplace, which is Windsor, Ontario; and misnamed the Digital Equipment Corporation. In the same piece, we misidentified the architects of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. KPMB partner Shirley Blumberg and associate Steven Casey designed the campus. The Walrus regrets these errors.