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Sent in by Shirley Williams, of Dundas, Ont. Today’s topics: veils and citizenship; Big Box daycare; Amundsen’s arrival; signs, continued ... and more (Shirley Williams)
Sent in by Shirley Williams, of Dundas, Ont. Today’s topics: veils and citizenship; Big Box daycare; Amundsen’s arrival; signs, continued ... and more (Shirley Williams)

What readers think

Dec. 14: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Something is wrong

The question of whether new Canadians may wear veils while taking the oath of citizenship is a complicated and difficult one, touching on issues of personal freedom and the responsibilities of citizenship (Muslim Women Must Lift Veils During Oath – Dec. 13). I’m not sure where I stand on this. But I am sure about one thing: Canadian citizens have the right to challenge laws under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they believe those laws to be unjust.

When the federal Immigration Minister refers to this process as “trump[ing]up some stupid Charter of Rights challenge,” something is very wrong.

Paul Kron, Guelph, Ont.

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Those who choose to come to this country, and indeed, are welcomed by this country, should adapt to our values and way of doing things – not the other way around. The temporary removal of a veil would seem to be a very small compromise, in accepting citizenship in Canada, and all the benefits conferred upon recipients of Canadian citizenship. Tolerance should go both ways.

John Morrison, Burlington, Ont.

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I will never wear a burka, a business suit or a bikini, but my Canada welcomes people wearing any of these. Jason Kenney’s Canada is not my Canada.

Michael Moore, Toronto

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Big Box kids

Big Box childcare comes with all the detrimental elements of Big Box anything (Playing For Profit: The New Face Of Daycare – Dec. 13). With the emphasis on making profit, how can this fit with our community values of giving our children the best care and educational experiences in their critical learning years?

The collapse of Australia’s ABC Development Learning Centre, with its 1,100 daycares, shows the disastrous outcome of corporate-run centres. Our education ministers need to take the initiative to keep the Big Boxes out and build a publicly accountable child-care system.

Billie Carroll, Roberts Creek, B.C.

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Time will tell

Christopher Kelk asks at which specific 3 p.m. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, as all 24 time zones meet at each pole (Tempus Fugit – letters, Dec. 13).

All lines of longitude converge at the poles, but time zones are politically determined. The South Pole uses New Zealand Standard Time and New Zealand Daylight Time (late September to early April). Amundsen therefore reached the pole at 3 p.m. NZDT.

Clark Patterson, Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Canadian Navy

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A hex on them

Re Saudis Behead Woman For Sorcery (Dec. 13): The House of Saud’s continued oppression of women in the 21st century is an affront to humanity. I hope I have a sorcerer’s power as I place a hex on these rulers for their latest outrage.

Richard McFarlane, Edmonton

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Walk into any bookstore in Canada and you’ll likely find something on how to practise sorcery. Do it in Saudi Arabia and you’ll lose your head. Forget the environment. This alone is reason enough to drive a smaller car.

Marty Cutler, Toronto

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Daily dilemma

The challenges for Ruth Woodside and her family as she waits in a Toronto hospital for a long-term care bed (LTC) in her family’s facility of choice, and the acute care bed pressures experienced by the hospital, is a dilemma faced daily throughout Ontario (Hospital’s Ultimatum Reveals Strains On System – Dec. 13). Toronto’s ratio of 1 in 10 acute care beds occupied by a patient waiting for LTC, and the time they wait, is among the best in the province. In Peterborough, with the second most elderly population in Canada, one in four acute care beds is occupied by those waiting for LTC. They wait three times longer for admission than those in the Toronto area.

We need a more comprehensive response and plan from the Health Minister for this provincewide problem.

John Sheehan, Peterborough, Ont.

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First peoples

As a proud Métis, born and brought up in the Red River Settlement, I was pleased to read Last Battle Of The Red River Rebellion (Dec. 12). This otherwise excellent article asserts that the Métis are first nations. We are not. We are first peoples; first nations is the proper term to be used for people who previously were called Indians.

Many Canadians, in making a respectful attempt to understand the language around Canadian aboriginal people, have started to call me a first nations person. I am not, I am Métis. I am one of Canada’s first peoples.

Garth L. Wallbridge, Yellowknife

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Every bullet

Our physician colleagues in Africa are promoting the “one bullet story” to follow the chain of responsibility for the human suffering caused by light weapons (Is Ending War A Right, Or A Gossamer Hope? – Books, Dec. 10). If there is no connection, why the secrecy over where the bullets are manufactured?

Human belief and behaviour is not immutable. Bullying on the playground – and in the workplace – is now a recognized “crime.” Beating one’s wife or raping her was considered the husband’s right in Canada not that long ago. The world turned its collective back on the slave trade, losing more than a trillion dollars in lost trade of both slaves and of sugar (dependent upon black slave labour). We do change our paradigms, slowly, perhaps, but over time we are becoming more “human.” It is time to turn our backs on the arms trade.

Some quarter of a million physicians, members of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, agree with Dr. Samantha Nutt. She is not naive; her vision is our future.

Dale Dewar, executive director, Physicians for Global Survival

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Frightful weather

Your coverage of the great snowstorm of Dec. 12, 1944 (A Moment In Time – Dec. 12) stirred deep memories. It did bring much of Toronto to a standstill, and as you note, The Globe and Mail did not publish its scheduled issue. Neither did the Toronto Star appear that day, nor the Telegram.

The Varsity, the University of Toronto student daily, overcame formidable obstacles to bring out its Christmas literary issue that day. Its staffers felt an extra glow of pride at having upstaged all three of our downtown rivals.

Kenneth McRae (managing editor, The Varsity, 1944-45), Ottawa

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Signs, continued

While not quite anthropomorphic (Signpost To Signage – letters, Dec. 13) , a sign I saw in a Moscow hotel lobby read: Stairs out of order, please use elevator.

Michael G. Kelly, Ottawa

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At Rice Lake, Gore’s Landing, a sign in the mens’ room read: We aim to please, you aim too please.

Walter Bell, Toronto

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On a Caribbean cruise, we stopped at a small island and saw this sign posted in the bus station: No loitering – no barking.

Sonny Aylward, St. John’s

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A friend from Chicago used to laugh uncontrollably whenever I broke out a package of Stoned Wheat Thins to go with the cheese and wine. Her laughter initially perplexed me, being a “pure” Canadian.

Sheila Mackenzie, Waterloo, Ont.

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