Edmonton Journal

Opinionate­d readers make our day


Journal readers write, comment, tweet and sometimes phone.

In short, they join the vital conversati­on that makes the city and province hum. And in 2014, our readers tackled topics big and small.

We received thousands of letters. And we also published thousands of comments on our website.

Starting at the end of October, we added to our Friday print Letters page some of the pithy quotes and remarks from our website story commenters and Twitter.

This year, readers wanted fellow citizens to roll up their sleeves and get their flu shots, for the sake of their neighbours as well as themselves.

There was passionate discussion about the merits of oilsands developmen­t: How it affects the economy, how much royalty companies should pay, what needs to be done to protect the environmen­t and whether the industry is acting responsibl­y.

The question of how the province should move forward on changing the education curriculum drew lots of response on both sides of the issue: Discovery learning or back to the basics.

Some readers were enraged by the Oilers’ record; some argued the fault is in the team’s head office, and still others begged us to give the boys a break and ride out the slump.

Photo radar was a live hand grenade in the public forum. Mayor Don Iveson pulled the pin by dismissing concerns about the cost of the system, and paid for it in critical column inches.

In fact, Edmontonia­ns may have said everything there is to say about photo radar this year. They hated it as a cash cow for city coffers or loved it for enforcing speed laws. They disputed its accuracy and efficacy. And when Journal columnist David Staples took up the anti-radar cause, they responded in droves, positively and negatively, to his plea for a leeway on the letter of the law.

Our writers decried the defacement of a Cold Lake mosque with racist graffiti. They pleaded for a more humane approach to the immigratio­n status of temporary foreign workers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin drew close to universal condemnati­on from readers for his actions in Eastern Ukraine.

Closer to home, former premier Alison Redford took heavy fire for her high-flying travel expenses. But some articulate and empathetic writers also ably defended her record and her wish to keep her young daughter near on business trips.

The Journal’s recent series Condition: Critical, about the state of the province’s acute-care hospitals, drew a lot of response, including impassione­d defence of the crucial role of small-town hospitals in the lives of their community.

The Journal welcomes the criticism, the praise, the discussion, the perspectiv­e and the context our correspond­ents provide. So please, keep emailing, commenting on our web stories, responding to our Facebook posts.

Keep tweeting and call us anytime to discuss the issues of the day.

Because engagement and debate are central to the life of any community.

And we’re glad to be a part of it.

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