I realize that the intent of The Walrus is to provide an alternative point of view to so-called mainstream media. In doing so, it has made itself welcome in our admittedly left-of-centre home. This latest edition, however, with its — I guess you’d have to call them cartoons — of prominent Canadians (“Canadian Celebrities,” March) has us wondering what the hell you were thinking. The drawings are asinine and juvenile, and completely at odds with the usual tone of the magazine. Illustrator Charles Checketts has gone out of his way to insult these people, and in the process he has insulted us as well.
The Walrus usually sits on our coffee table until our family has had a chance to read and discuss most of the articles. Friends who drop in have been known to browse the pages, too. Quite frankly, we’d be embarrassed to let any of them see this issue. And if I were one of the caricatured celebrities, I’d be contacting my solicitor.
Richard and Dolores Hallam
Congratulations to Kate Harries on her informative article about the buried history of radioactive contamination in Port Hope (“Nuclear Reaction,” March). It must be very hard for parents and their now-adult children to fathom and accept that over thirty years elapsed before they found out about radon gas readings of 125 times the permissible level, under the local school. And to think that the federal government has just reduced the permissible limit of radon gas by 75 percent, due to its significant role in causing lung cancer. My heart goes out to them all.
Hopefully, Port Hope’s political and business leaders will soon recognize that the short-term economic benefits associated with nuclear refineries don’t compensate for the adverse long-term health and environmental outcomes. Energy alternatives already exist. In spite of huge hidden subsidies to the nuclear industry (including the $260-million cleanup in Port Hope), a greater share of the global electricity supply is, in fact, coming from renewable sources (20 percent, counting large hydro power). And capacity is expected to almost double in the coming decades, while nuclear will barely hold its present share (16 to 18 percent).
Here in Saskatchewan, now the largest uranium-mining region in the world, the new government is promoting a uranium refinery. Our citizens had the good sense to oppose plans to build one here in 1980, but the nuclear industry’s constant promotions, invoking “economic development,” can be mesmerizing. I would like to think that if our leaders made time to read Harries’ article, they would snap out of it.
Fort San, SK
“Nuclear Reaction” would get a much more sympathetic reading if one could be sure Kate Harries knew her facts about the nuclear contamination in the Port Hope area. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether she understands things “nuclear,” given some erroneous, or at the very least misleading, comments on uranium in general. To illustrate and set right a few: