Insisting that gay or queer students repress a fundamental aspect of their identities is not, as John G. Stackhouse Jr. argues (Have Some Faith In A Christian Law School – Feb. 3), an issue of “minimum sexual ethics.” It is a violation of the Charter-protected right to live in a society that is free from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
While it is true that no student – gay or otherwise – is required to attend Trinity Western University, the school’s code of conduct creates an environment where it is acceptable to shame and exclude members of the queer community. This environment is incompatible with the right to equal benefit and protection enshrined in the Canadian legal system. Tolerance of sexual diversity is not a matter of “values,” but an irrefutable aspect of Canadian law. Any university that pretends otherwise should not be allowed to grant law degrees.
Ariane Wylie, Ottawa
Mr. Stackhouse notes that lawyers who presumably frown on behaviour such as theft, drug pushing, fraud and murder are perfectly capable of representing clients who engage in such behaviour. That he breathlessly cites examples of illegal acts to make a point about a perfectly legal one (consensual sex between adults) is a clear example of why so many critics are concerned.
Will Stos, Toronto
Pierre Trudeau famously said that government has no place in the nation’s bedrooms. Nor does Trinity Western.
Rod Yellon, Winnipeg
To argue, as others have done, that there are other law schools open to gays and lesbians is undoubtedly true – just as it was undoubtedly true that African-Americans in the South had access to other restaurants and washrooms.
Mike Hutton, Ottawa
For what it’s worth, I have the privilege of working at Trinity Western University. It might surprise some of your readers that my research is in the area of feminism, gender and sexuality. I use feminist theory to explore the use of language in various social contexts. I also help direct Trinity Western’s Gender Studies Institute, of which I was also co-founder.
Much of the press coverage concerning the new law school makes TWU sound like it’s anti-gay. But it’s not. There are many gay students. The classrooms are inclusive environments and there is a vibrant academic community working in the area of gender studies. The campus community is accepting, caring and open. And our commitment to serving all of our students, whatever their sexual orientation, is strong and well-entrenched.
Prof. Allyson Jule, Trinity Western University, Langley, B.C.
Don’t conclude from the latest Edward Snowden revelations that it just doesn’t matter where your data travels or is stored. While it appears that Canada doesn’t offer nearly as much of a “safe haven” as we had hoped, data belonging to “foreign nationals” is subject to both unlawful and lawful dragnet surveillance in the United States. So we need different solutions.
In Canada, we urgently need our politicians and judges to bring CSEC back to trustworthy lawfulness through greater transparency, accountability and parliamentary scrutiny. But that is not enough. Since we have much more limited legal and absolutely no constitutional protection in the U.S., we should stop sending so much of our data south, at least until the U.S. protects our data as well as we can here. This can be done, for example, by regulatory and procurement requirements on Internet service providers to route domestic traffic within Canadian borders and extending existing laws that require government and broader public service data to be housed here.
We need to engage lawmakers and service providers now. Let’s get started.
Andrew Clement, professor, faculty of information, and Heidi Bohaker, associate professor, history department, University of Toronto
The ordinary citizen may not worry about what the government in power is finding out about them. Those watching my phone don’t care when I pick my kids up from school (As Government Snoops, Canadians … Take A Nap – Feb. 3).
But we should worry about what the government of the day is learning about its political rivals, groups opposed to policy, provincial governments, journalists or anyone who might not fall in line with the government agenda. Our freedom to disagree is an important one but is easily intimidated without privacy.
Margaret Kelly Warner, Toronto
Considering Conrad Black’s outstanding contributions to the worlds of business, journalism and literature, the only moral justification for his removal from the Order of Canada (Black Removed From Order Of Canada, Privy Council – Feb. 1) should have been based on the premise that his convictions in a foreign jurisdiction would most probably have been arrived at by Canadian courts, if they were faced with the same facts but with the application of Canadian law and criminal court procedures.
Given that the proceedings were held behind closed doors and that no report on the proceedings or detailed reasons for the decision has been forthcoming, one is left to wonder whether this rather crucial point was even considered.
Frank Casey, Calgary
Robert Deluce, CEO of Porter Airlines, tells us in his Feb. 3 letter (Sharing Toronto’s Waterfront) that “Harbourfront Centre attendance is up 40 per cent since Porter started flying.”
Harbourfront attendance has gone up because Torontonians have spent millions of their tax dollars to make it an attractive and inviting place. Tourists don’t go to Harbourfront to see and hear noisy planes taking off.
Avtar Dhanota, Toronto
Fright or flight
Margaret Wente should rest easy – there is no great push on the part of parents of daughters toward ski racing and jumping (Agony On The Slopes: Should Women Jump? – Feb. 1).
The number of competitors of professional calibre is very small and the number of injuries, although severe, are minuscule when compared with the road accidents we seem to blithely accept as part of modern life.
Professional women skiers inspire girls and women to have courage and perseverance in entirely different fields of endeavour. More power to them.
Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert, Alta.
Re Tangle Of Rules And Procedures Strangles Federal Government Tweets (Feb. 3): Perhaps we ought to rename any Canadian government post on Twitter a “‘twas.”
Angie MacDonald, Chelsea, Que.
This story has been updated to correct personal information.
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