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April 11: Vimy’s ‘mud and blood.’ Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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'Mud and blood'

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I stared a long time on Monday morning at your front-page photograph of soldiers marching past the boots laid out on the lawn of the Vimy Memorial.

How big are the "small" things in life. And how powerful is an image that leaves so much to the imagination.

"Boots on the ground:" I will never hear that expression the same way again.

Steve Wadhams, Victoria

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With sincere respect for the thousands of Canadian soldiers who died or were injured at Vimy and those Canadians who travelled to France to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of that battle, I was nonetheless dismayed by your choice of headline: 'This Was Canada At Its Best' (April 10). Even more dismaying, this dubious accolade originated with Prince Charles, also in attendance at the Vimy ceremonies.

The Prince of Wales may not be aware of this, but if Canadians have learned anything in the 100 years since Vimy Ridge, it's that Canadians' opening their doors to refugees, or serving in war zones as peacekeepers and physicians and aid workers stand as far more pertinent examples of "Canada at its best" than Canadians dying in terrible circumstances in appalling numbers on a distant battlefield long ago, for the sake of a few inches of ground in a world war now widely recalled as ill-conceived and senseless.

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At a time when the U.S. President apparently seeks distraction from his dubious associates and a boost for his ailing poll numbers in sabre rattling, it's especially important to avoid misplaced adulation of warfare as an heroic human enterprise.

Erika Ritter, Toronto

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Soldiers who survived Vimy were haunted by the unspeakable horror for the rest of their lives, my grandfather among them. He never spoke about it. If asked, he would answer "mud and blood."

And say no more.

Suzanne Howden, Toronto

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War's logic …

Essayist Michael St. B. Harrison says he didn't query the logic of going to church and praying for victory during the Second World War, while knowing there were cathedrals in Germany (When A City Of Churches Goes Silent – Facts & Arguments, April 11).

I had no such grace. I asked my Scottish grandmother: "Are the Germans not praying for victory?"

"Ach no, God disna' speak German."

Edward Veitch, Cork Station, N.B.

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Wrong title, CBC

The CBC just got the title wrong for its controversial series, Canada: The Story of Us.

This is actually, as is so often the case, The Story of Some of Us.

Leslie Lavers, Lethbridge, Alta.

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'We the Worst'

Re Toronto The Rude (April 10): Mark Kingwell's depiction of loutish Blue Jays fans regularly shouting racist and otherwise contemptuous vulgarities at visiting players left me dismayed.

I had entertained dreams of scooting my grandson and granddaughter down the highway to see the most gracious of all games played at the highest level.

Thirty years ago, I took my son to watch a game at Yankee Stadium in New York. We were forced to hide our Blue Jays caps because of the same kind of belligerent contempt for the opposing team.

Who would have thought we Canadians would some day outstrip the dregs of New York?

Raptors' fans have a catchy slogan: "We the North." With Jays' fans, I'm not sure "We the Worst" has quite the same ring to it.

Dan Turner, Ottawa

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Wealth? If only

Re Paid. To Bombardier (April 7): A letter writer states that "executive compensation is defined and agreed by the compensation committee of the board of directors" and that the "board is single-mindedly focused on creating shareholder wealth."

If only that were the case.

The more likely reality is that most boards are appointed at the pleasure of the CEO and comprise, primarily, executives from other companies.

The incestuousness of these relationships means that these executives are sitting on each others' boards and compensation committees, and are primarily interested in scratching each others' backs.

If these people were seriously interested in "single-mindedly creating shareholder wealth," the over-the-top employment contracts of senior executives simply would not exist.

Graham Sanders, Toronto

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Hard to digest

Re Indigestion Ahead For Restaurant Brands? (Report on Business, April 10): We Canadians often talk about the abuse of employees in countries such as China. Abuse being low wages, overwhelming workloads, poor relations with managers, uncertainty of employment.

Why are there such conditions? The drive for profits.

However, we Canadians invest in Restaurant Brands (QSR), which now owns Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes restaurant chains, with more than 6,000 outlets in North America.

It has systematically fired about 10,000 employees, increased workloads, stuck to minimum wages, cut back on franchisee financial support and left all employees from outlets to head offices uncertain about their jobs.

Why? The drive for profits.

So, are we any better?

Peter Fedirchuk, Kanta, Ont.

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T.O.'s housing woes

Re Toronto's Bubble, Canada's Problem (April 8): A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a modest winter retirement home in Florida. Our property taxes are almost four times what the previous owner paid. That's because he had declared the house as his principal residence.

Snowbirds from elsewhere in the United States, as well as Canada and abroad, could not gain this same "homestead" tax advantage in Florida.

Perhaps this two-tier municipal tax system might be a way to curb non-resident speculation in housing for Canada's major cities.

Maureen Adderley, Barrie, Ont.

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Virtues of golf

I begin my TV sports-watching season with the Masters (Garcia's Persistence Pays Off In Masters' Win – Sports, April 10).

Basketball is only relevant during the last two minutes, hockey is too violent, baseball is an acquired taste for boredom.

Golf is a test of endurance, and cerebral manipulation. This year's Masters was an incredibly exciting display.

Notwithstanding Sergio Garcia's well-deserved win, I'm speculating that he probably sent a cheque for 10 per cent of the purse to the company whose product was used to polish the garage stairs in the house where Dustin Johnson was staying (As Day 1 Finishes, The Only Loser Is Johnson – Sports, April 7).

Casimir Galas, Toronto

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