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Mourners drops off flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene of the a multiple fatal stabbing incident in Calgary on April 16, 2014. (Larry MacDougal/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Mourners drops off flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene of the a multiple fatal stabbing incident in Calgary on April 16, 2014. (Larry MacDougal/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 17: Killed with a knife – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Killed with a knife

How does one person in a crowd of 20 to 30 use a knife to kill five people (Shaken To The Core – April 16)? Why wasn’t the suspect restrained by the others?

If one person had had a gun, would some or all of the victims have been saved?

I’m starting to wonder if the Americans and National Rifle Association have it right. The argument for arming “everyone” leading to fewer mass killings is starting to make more sense. We might have more gun control in Canada, but how to we “control” knife attacks? Do we need to legislate kitchen drawer locks?

This should make for an interesting parliamentary debate.

Harry Birman, Toronto

.........

Even experts in public safety would be at a loss to suggest how to have prevented the horrific knife attack that took place at a student house party.

Notwithstanding the horror of a recent mass stabbing in China, knife attacks rarely pile up long lists of fatalities, unlike those involving guns.

For now, we must acknowledge that impulsive rage attacks, even of a homicidal intensity, will always be with us, and that there remains a great need to prevent guns from being too easily distributed among the public.

Ron Charach, Toronto

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Kiev under siege

Re Moscow Warns Of Civil War As Kiev Forces Storm Airbase (April 16): In what other country, besides Ukraine, would you have a threat of civil war declared by another nation?

The bizarreness of this situation reflects the inanity of the actions of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin in their attempts to try to destabilize and invade Ukraine for the sake of expanding their “empire.” When ridiculous becomes reality, there is a cause for global concern – accompanied by a pervading, eerie sense of danger.

Daria Olynyk, Toronto

.........

Much of what we hear from Russia is propaganda, but I doubt that there is any less propaganda being generated from the West.

This is not a clear-cut issue of democracy vs. Russian imperialism. Ukraine has not proven itself as a nation, it is culturally and linguistically split and has had ties to Russia for hundreds of years.

The U.S. and NATO have em-braced every opportunity since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact to move their influence if not forces ever closer to Russia. If I were a Muscovite, I’d be feeling somewhat encroached upon myself.

Robert V. d’Amato, Mississauga

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Grade integrity

During my 30 years as an Ontario secondary school teacher – 20 years with two public boards and 10 years at a Toronto private school – I spoke to many parents who shared the suspicion that grading practices vary dramatically from one high school to another (Grade Inflation – letters, April 15). Is this the case?

It is just about impossible to provide anything other than anecdotal answers without first knowing – at the very least – the median mark of the Grade 12 courses offered by every school that grants the Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma.

If the Education Ministry ever decides to take the brave step of publishing an annual summary of this information, we’ll all be in a better position to assess Ontario’s Grade 12 grading practices.

We’ll also be in a better position to respond to those who extol the merits of the International Baccalaureate diploma program (Citing Grade Inflation, An Elite Program Ups Its Marks – April 14).

Alistair Macrae, Toronto

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Doesn’t interfere?

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow states that above-ground rail does not interfere with cars (More Than Subways – letters, April 16). She has clearly never driven along St. Clair Avenue.

Philip Russel, Toronto

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‘Fair elections’ logic

Re Less Bad Is Still Not Good Enough (editorial, April 16): If I were a true cynic, I’d venture to guess that amendments to the Fair Elections Act suggested by the Senate were written by minister Pierre Poilievre himself, then passed under the table to Conservative senators. And that he will indeed accept them to prove to the public that he is open to good suggestions, knowing full well they are mere window dressing.

David Wood, Mildmay, Ont.

.........

For the first two federal elections in which I voted, I had to ask my boss at the time to vouch for me. I was taking the elections seriously, I was not stupid, not irresponsible – I was poor. I had no driver’s licence, was always a roommate, never the renter, moved often looking for places I could afford on minimum wage, couldn’t produce evidence of where I lived.

Each time I voted, I experienced the huge lift of being part of a greater community where eventually I might take my place – and with hard work and good fortune, that’s how things played out.

Why on Earth do the Tories want to place barriers on this life-changing experience?

Leslie Lavers, Lethbridge, Alta.

.........

Until the recent excitement over the Fair Elections Act, I had no idea that anyone (and I mean anyone) could claim to have no means of identification or proof of residency and yet vote. It remains unclear to me just how many of these hapless, homeless and unidentifiable souls are wandering around Canada. Estimates vary wildly. Does Elections Canada have any real idea of the number after all their years of effort?

It seems inconceivable to me that a citizen who lacks any form of ID and requires a voucher to guide them to their polling station (and possibly guide their hand to the ballot?) should have the right to vote.

Fraud and biased mismanagement of elections have been intimated for years by politicians of every stripe, so where were the “experts” during all this time?

Mel Wilson, Strathroy, Ont.

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Senator Linda Frum writes, “In the war of words over Bill C-23, opponents have hurled the ugly accusation that this government is engaged in voter suppression” (Elections Canada’s Conflict Of Interest – April 14).

Someone should remind the senator that Justice Richard Mosley found that fraudulent robocalls took place across the country in 2011 with the express purpose of suppressing the vote of Canadians who had indicated their preference in prior polling. He found that the likely source of voter information for these calls was the database maintained by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Someone should also remind the senator that Elections Canada has delayed reporting on its investigation until after the 2015 elections, when this new bill will probably make it impossible for Canadians to ever hear the truth about voter suppression that took place in 2011.

It’s an ugly accusation, but these are ugly times.

Tim Doran, Toronto

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Plan B …

One can only hope that the Commons senses that a truly commonsense approach would be to bury the “Fair” Elections Act.

Failing that, perhaps someone could call all the Conservative MPs and tell them the vote location has been changed?

Douglas Lawrence, Toronto

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