Letters to the editor, December 24, 2015

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

The rumour is true

Dear Melissa Buote,
Thank you for spreading the rumour of a Spryfield farmers' market in your food Year in Review piece ("A taste of 2015," Food + Drink, December 17). We just want to confirm that yes, plans are underway to launch the Spryfield and District Community Market, April 17, 2016 at 212 Herring Cove Road from 12:30-4:30, and every second Sunday until mid-December. Farms, food and fun in a neighbourhood setting, suitable for families and accessible to all. In four short months! —Marian Munro, volunteer market manager

Return to sender

Dear premier Stephen McNeil, 
My husband is an acclaimed filmmaker. I therefore find it very difficult to accept your Christmas greeting card (with a photograph of you and your smiling family) because of what you have done to our film industry. It has been decimated, with young filmmakers and film technicians moving out of the province and families being torn apart, because one spouse is forced to work in Toronto and the other needs to stay home and look after the children. I have also heard of major film productions, slated for NS, choosing to be produced in Ontario or BC where the film production climate is still healthy. It is tragic that your mean-spirited policies have wreaked so much havoc on an industry that was flourishing and contributing to our economy in so many ways. And so I have chosen to return your Christmas card to you with this letter in the hopes that you will read these words thoughtfully and respond. —Violet Rosengarten, Dartmouth

Nova Scotia's misogyny problem

Recently the provincial supreme court struck down a 2013 anti-cyberbullying law passed in response to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, calling it a "colossal failure" and saying it infringes on charter rights. That comes as something of a disappointment, after the hard work and dedication of the Nova Scotia cyberbullying task force, with which I was involved as a graduate student.

Nova Scotia has the highest rate of cyber-victimization of any province, and the largest gender gap in prevalence (according to 2009 data from Statistics Canada). With less than 3 percent of the population of Canada, we've had 33 percent of the suicides that media reports have associated with cyber-victimization—11 times our fair share of the problem. Based on a sample of 120 cyberbullying-related suicides, victims were disproportionately likely to be women or girls (65 percent), which certainly stands out in the strongly male-dominated arena of completed suicide. Most of them were taunted for the poorest of reasons: their physical appearance and their sexual history. Among those considered impure, the young women's histories ranged from consensual long-term relationships, to rape, to a complete lack of involvement in anything sexual. It didn't seem to matter: someone thought she was dirty and just had to let her know.  

Perhaps the failure of this broad-based anti-cyberbullying legislation will prompt us to look at the real problem—the normalized misogyny behind the taunts that drive girls and women to take their lives, which take the form of dehumanizing assessments of prettiness and purity. When reviewing media reports about the young women who have passed, I cringe a little when I read the frequent comments expressing regret that someone so innocent and good-looking was lost. Those standards have no bearing on a woman's right to exist. Let's stop using them on other women, and let's teach youth better ways of valuing each other. —Tanya Bilsbury, Halifax

Walk this way

Pedestrians of Halifax: You need to wake up! Like lion cubs reared in domesticity, you will not survive in the wilds of other cities if you don't start to look before they cross the road, crosswalk or not. Pedestrians, teach your children to LOOK before they walk. That makes common sense. —Shirley, Halifax

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