To Canada’s benefit
Canada does not have “a passive immigration system which merely accepts people on a first-come, first-served basis” (Ottawa To Play Matchmaker For Foreign Workers – Jan. 2).
The immigration system has been aimed at benefiting Canada for more than 100 years. In the two great periods of high immigration, the first decade and the last quarter of the 20th century, immigration policy aimed directly at bringing in the skills needed for the labour market and nation building: cold-weather farmers from the U.S. and Northern Europe in the early 20th century, and skilled workers with language, education and work experience at the end of the century.
Governments of the day created incentives to make the policy succeed: for farmers, land grants, credit, rail lines to take crops to market, and wheat science; for skilled workers, the innovation of the “points system” to identify those most able to contribute with a promise of citizenship.
Our immigration system is a success by international standards that simply needs periodic adjustment and maintenance, particularly to avoid the backlogs that have developed during the past decade, due to a lack of such adjustment and maintenance.
Alan Broadbent, chairman, Ratna Omidvar, president, Maytree
If this country is so short of skilled labour, why don’t we insist corporations train people by expanding apprenticeship programs? This approach has not harmed Germany’s competitiveness.
Or is it easier for the Conservatives and their corporate supporters to leave young Canadians untrained and unemployed?
Achim Krull, Pickering, Ont.
Culture of rape
Stephanie Nolen’s well-written article brought out India’s age-old perverse and pervasive cultural problem of treating women so horribly (The Dire Straits Of Being Single And Female – Jan. 2). The stories of women who defied cultural prescriptions are truly inspiring.
While there have been many Indian women who rose to leadership roles, millions live in constant fear of violence. It is to be hoped that the brutal attack on the 23-year-old who died will be the catalyst for a revolution that leads to a better tomorrow for more than half-a-billion Indian females.
Aleyamma Samuel, Ottawa
The silence about why men rape and feel compelled to limit the mobility of women through shaming, harassment and abstract concepts like “modesty” is a key issue to be addressed by all cultures (Ending India’s Rape Culture – Jan. 2). As long as women in patriarchal cultures allow the definition of their identity, freedom and aspirations to be determined by an archaic system, they will not break out of the cycle of repression.
At least youth worldwide, through protests and SlutWalks, are creating greater awareness. It’s too bad it takes rape violence to spur society’s outrage.
Diane Sullivan, Toronto
If you cite 12 months, 12 apostles, 12 inches in a foot, etc., you might conclude we should count everything by dozens, not tens (Triskaidekaphilia – editorial, Jan 1). You’d be right.
Twelve is divisible evenly by 2, 3 and 4. Ten gives us more problems. Try dividing a dollar into equal thirds? Or 10 of anything into equal fourths without using fractions?
In dozenal counting, maybe triskaidekaphobia would disappear. Being a dozen and one, it would be written as 11.
Paul Rapoport, Dozenal Society of America, member No. 230 (324 to most people), Ancaster, Ont.
First nations protest
As a First Nations Canadian, I read with interest your interview with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, coming as it does during a time of protest and civil disobedience across the country (Pipeline Squeeze Oliver’s Biggest Challenge – Jan. 2).
Concern over the Harper government’s proposed changes to the federal Environmental Assessment Act – changes that fail to take into account the Crown’s duty to consult aboriginal people – are a major theme in Idle No More events. We have a government in Ottawa that either cannot or will not comprehend its constitutional duties. Which means that there will be more protest, disruption and bad feeling, and that reconciliation will be delayed even further.
Glenn Wheeler, Toronto
Chief Theresa Spence’s protest is focused on the interests of not just one person, but groups of people across Canada (Native Protests Beyond Control Of Chiefs – Jan. 2). Her protest is not based upon insignificant or unfounded grievances, but rather serious and well-documented inequalities. Yet her simple demand is not met and she continues to starve herself.
I would not ask Stephen Harper to compromise his beliefs, but I do ask our Prime Minister to faithfully represent his fellow Canadians. This can only be done, however, when we decide and express what it is we want. Do we want to support an easily achievable request made by a peaceful protester? Do we want to set out to rectify long-running inequalities suffered by the first peoples of our home? Or do we want to let Chief Spence starve?
I’ve already told Mr. Harper what I want.
Katrina Leahy, Uxbridge, Ont.
The Indian Act is based on race and as such is a form of apartheid. Constant goodwill over long periods and much money spent still sees the recipients of the legislation suffering. No way forward will improve things until the most fundamental right of equality is what all decisions are based on. This seems too hard a reality – for both the government and the first nations.
David Hilton, Victoria
Where does political bluff, bluster, posturing and confrontation take a nation dealing with an income deficit and unsustainable debt levels (Polarized U.S. Congress Falls Off The Credibility Cliff – Jan. 2)? To the replacement of the “fiscal cliff” with a fiscal time bomb due to explode in two months.
For insights into what may happen next, review the classic Looney Tunes tales of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, two masters of cliffs, bombs, trickery and deception.
John Hague, Mississauga
Now seating rows …
Yes, airlines could ease boarding tensions by enforcing hand-luggage-size rules (A New Year’s Resolution For Frustrated Fliers – Travel, Jan. 1), but it is more important to them to enhance the value of privileged early boarding for frequent fliers.
Creating spurious value for loyalty is what keeps airlines solvent, not creating a pleasant experience for all passengers. Thus, today, passengers are Super-Elite, Elite or Self-Loading Freight.
Andy Reynolds, Nanaimo, B.C.