Canada has lax laws for border control

Your article "Canadians shun US efforts to control border" (Feb. 8) contained some assertions that are misleading and need to be corrected.

For example, the story quotes me as calling Canada a "Club Med for terrorists." In fact, it was a Canadian police officer who made that observation. That's a huge distinction.

The assertion that border security measures will slow cross-border traffic omits the fact that technologies available today and others that will be available in the future will expedite legitimate trade and traffic.

Finally, the "perimeter security" plan touted by the Canadian government to allow anyone who enters either the United States or Canada to cross our mutual border with no checks would work only if both countries have similar immigration, drug, and security laws.

But all the evidence from Canadian sources shows Canada's laws in these areas to be much more lax than America's.

Both the US and Canada are challenged by international terrorism, and drug and alien smuggling. These mutual problems can be addressed in ways that benefit citizens of both countries.

Lamar Smith Washington Member of Congress

Don't forget past economic cycles

Your article "Social Security's boosted staying power" (Feb. 7) tell us to relax. We can stop worrying that our generation is imposing financial burdens on the next generation. Today's children can cope with any future problem.

Sounds too good to be true? Consider: The optimistic scenario presumes progressive growth in national output, productivity, and tax resources. The recent economic boom may lull us into believing that business cycles are a thing of the past, never again to rear their ugly heads.

Those of us who experienced the Great Depression might be dubious; such youthful optimism seems to defy laws of gravity. Some oldsters remember the positive prognosticators of the 1920s.

Allan Dean Swannanoa, N.C.

Lasting benefits of child labor

Regarding your Feb. 8 article "Child-labor twist: Town favors kids working": Hurrah for Snowmass Village, Colo.!

From the age of 8 to 15, I worked almost every summer in the bean and berry fields of Oregon to earn money to pay for my school clothes. I can't say I enjoyed it, but looking back, I know it kept me out of mischief, helped me understand the value of a dollar, and taught me a strong work ethic.

My own sons grew up without having to work like that, and no doubt they enjoyed their childhood more than I did. But they, and many of their friends, seem to be having a hard time really "growing up" and taking on responsibilities as adults.

The development of the concept of "childhood" may be one of the great accomplishments of modern society, but I'm not sure forcing children to goof off for the first 14 to 16 years of their lives is the best way to make responsible adults.

Ken Wade Simi Valley, Calif.

What about school sports on Sundays?

Regarding your Feb. 10 editorial "Decalogue on School Walls," if schools are so anxious to post the Ten Commandments to improve standards, why don't they do something that is really productive: Eliminate sports programs on Sunday morning, so youngsters can go to Sunday school.

Helen Holden Austin, Texas

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