When John Lorinc describes Loblaw’s response to the 2013 garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh (“The Root of All Evil,” January/February), he omits some important points: far from behaving like an evil corporation, Loblaw provided considerable funds to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed’s REVIVE project, which offered treatment, rehabilitation, and income replacement to the survivors. Without Loblaw’s support, their lives would be more wretched than before they went to work in Bangladesh’s textile industry.
West Vancouver, BC
Jonathan Kay says addicts need housing (“The Last House Before the Bridge,” January/February). But as someone who spent thirty years working with people suffering through mental illness and addiction—and who now enjoys the stability of his own mental health and sobriety—I don’t believe housing itself is what the mental-health field needs most. No, what we need most is better research and evidence-based treatments and interventions for those with life-threatening addictions and mental illnesses. We currently rely on treatments and interventions that are simplistic and often not based on the best science. We need to learn more.
St. John’s, NL
I have lived in a London Housing apartment building for more than twelve years. It was never a great place, but it was tolerable. Then the so-called London CAReS project started. Suddenly, the building was full of addicts, criminals, and the seriously mentally ill, and no provision was made for those needing intensive, ongoing support. Residents who had lived there for many years were assaulted, robbed, and harassed. Most people in need of subsidized housing are decent, law-abiding citizens who work and pay taxes—their only problem is that they are poor. Instead of focusing on addicts and criminals, why not focus on us? What about our rights and needs?
In “Free-for-All” (January/February), Matthew McKinnon argues in favour of legalizing all illicit substances—a cause I support, in a magazine I like. But his article was disappointing. Colorado, a state with about 700,000 more people than British Columbia, is projected to generate much less than $200 million in marijuana-related tax revenue. I have no idea what the “value of legal, regulated marijuana” means (perhaps the total value of the entire industry?), but $4 billion, the BC Liberals’ estimate cited in the piece, is a preposterous number for any public-policy purpose.
Katherine Laidlaw’s article on the number-one health problem worldwide—after famine—was all too short (“Sugar Rush,” January/February). The health disasters that are candy and soda are well known. What is less widely understood is the root cause of it all: the sugar-refining industry. Because of the harmful and totally unnecessary refining of sugar cane, society pays a steep price in the form of diabetes and heart failure—and the enormous financial burden those conditions represent.
Circle Of Jerks
Mark Kingwell (“The League of Extraordinary Assholes,” January/February) skewers the entitled and suggests that it is not only the wealthy who hold this superficial superiority—it is anyone who lords it over others in an expression of personal privilege. Unfortunately, the number of such people seems to be growing. So what do we do in response? Let us look to Kevin Connolly’s poem “Brilliant Disguise” in the same issue: “Divide the salad, share the steaks.”
Mont Tremblant, QC