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LETTERS: Advice for letter writers
May I offer a few thoughts for consideration when commenting on the issues of the day.
1. Avoid “ad hominem” attacks on those who do not share your views. Frances Saxton Manary’s letter alludes to several defects in my personality that I was unaware of.
And she followed up with a duplicate mailed to my home!
A writer only confirms the weakness of their arguments when deploying such tactics.
2. Use facts and figures, with identified sources, when presenting your argument or opinion.
Herb Spencer’s letter commenting on GMO food claims “75,000 artificial chemicals” have been added to our food chain and environment since 1945. The reader has no idea if this is true or false, what is the source quoted or what are “artificial” chemicals.
3. Filling space with unfounded or imaginary theories does not advance a commentary. Clearly Spencer’s world is full of conspirators and conspiracies favouring GMO foods, but the only things I learned from his letter is that he’s anti-GMO, anti-capitalism, anti-tobacco and detests Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Peace Arch News provides a neutral forum for reasoned debate. Columnists like Tom Fletcher and Roy Strang provide excellent fodder. Let’s elevate our written offerings.
Francis Patrick Jordan, White Rock
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I must thank letter-writer David Poole for making my day. I laughed so hard while reading his letter that I sprayed coffee on my newspaper.
If I can be characterized as an “environment extremist,” then God only knows how Poole would label Paul Watson, Greenpeace activists or the people who stood up for Clayquot Sound back in the day. “Eco-terrorists” perhaps?
To set the record straight, the most “extreme” action I have taken in recent years was to write an annual cheque to the David Suzuki Foundation. Yes, Mr. Poole, that would be the same David Suzuki who only last week penned an article supporting windmill farms, even if one was to be located front and centre in the view from his home.
Other examples of my “extremism”: there was my active opposition 25 years ago to the inane plan to locate a toxic-waste incinerator in the middle of productive farm land near Cache Creek; there was that time I voted for the Green Party because I believed Elizabeth May was more deserving of my support than were the leaders of the major national parties; and, mea culpa, I confess I drove a diesel-powered SmartCar for years.
Finally, I have served for the past seven years on the City of Surrey Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee – not exactly a hotbed of environmental rhetoric.
I am pleased to read that Poole acknowledges my right to be heard – unlike the muzzled scientists employed by our federal government – but that is not reason for this letter. Neither am I writing to correct his misrepresentation of my argument.
No, the reason for this letter is to endorse Poole as a worthy successor to our soon-to-be-retired member of Parliament. Throwing disparaging names at people with whom you disagree typifies political discourse these days. Thus it would appear he would fit seamlessly into the current Tory caucus.
He has my best wishes, if not my vote.
Bill Stewart, Surrey