Your editorial The State Intrudes On The Workplace (June 12) is too mild in saying it “seems excessive” to permit the warrantless inspection of workplaces with temporary foreign workers.
It is arguably unconstitutional: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides everyone in Canada with protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Putting such powers in the hands of any arm of government goes against the letter and spirit of the legal culture of Western civil society.
Without any due process, how will businesses be selected for inspections? Could the mere presence of “foreign-looking” (read: non-white) employees be one of the criteria? Would businesses be tempted to misuse it against their competitors? Would “foreign-looking” citizens like me avoid visiting ethnic-run businesses in order to avoid the risk of being searched or detained? Would employers stop hiring “foreign-looking” employees, whether foreign or Canadian, to avoid the hassle of being searched? What would it do to the employability of “foreign-looking” Canadian citizens?
We must strenuously object to this high-handedness, and not allow our country to go down a slippery slope toward autocracy.
Adarsh Lakhanpal, Oakville, Ont.
More than turbans
Re Marois Backs Soccer Officials In Standoff Over Turban Ban (June 12): Rather than embracing diversity within the dynamic and diverse fabric of Quebec society, the Quebec Soccer Federation and the Parti Québécois have chosen to alienate another segment of Canadian society.
Quebec is travelling down a dark road, one well travelled by many European nations, including France, that have failed in their ability to embrace diversity.
Jay Orton, Toronto
Premier Pauline Marois and the PQ cannot tolerate being a part of Canada due to the cultural subjugation of the relationship, and yet she herself cannot tolerate seeing teenage soccer players in Quebec wearing turbans. Smells like a double standard to me.
Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa
Premiers: then, now
Re McGuinty To Give Up Seat In Legislature (June 12): It only seems fitting that Dalton McGuinty is quitting the Legislature, since he also walked out on his responsibilities as premier and quit on the people of Ontario.
Stephen Hayden, Kitchener, Ont.
While I agree with much of Adam Radwanksi’s praise for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, I disagree that she has made it “to this point” due to her “basic niceness” (Somehow, Wynne Has Turned The Ship Around – June 12). As the balance of the article makes clear, Ms. Wynne’s success is the direct result of her own hard work, steely determination, political savvy, and sharp intellect. That she’s nice is a bonus.
Let’s not minimize her or any other woman in the public sphere by chalking up her success to being likeable.
Shannon Beddoe, Toronto
Confront elder abuse
A friend visited a 93-year-old in a for-profit retirement home recently (Inspections’ Limits – letters, June 12). The woman’s hair was filthy, her nails and hands were soiled, her clothing was dirty and completely inappropriate for the weather.
My friend informed the Private Retirement Home Regulatory Authority, who said they would look into the matter. In the four weeks between my friend’s visit and the authority’s inspection, letters from lawyers were flying into the home’s office, along with e-mails to the resident’s guardian. They cleaned her up, so when the inspection finally took place, she seemed fine.
The systemic lack of understanding of what elder abuse really is, and our society’s lack of concern for elders is the problem. Abuse is not just death, beatings by residents and lack of food or bathing. Abuse can be psychological, emotional and financial.
If someone reported the neglect of a child, would it take four weeks to address it? The bullying and stealing from gramma must stop.
Andrea Marcus, Toronto
David Parkins’s editorial cartoon regarding Parliament’s “long summer recess” (June 12) was simply brilliant. In future, though, it should come with a health warning: I darn near choked to death from laughing.
Jim Regan, Dundas, Ont.
Margaret Wente points out that “marketers know everything about you,” then wonders why we are upset about government surveillance (What Could Go Wrong? – June 11). The answer is simple: While corporations have a lot of power these days, it’s nothing compared to that of governments. Governments wield the power of the police and the military. They can take away your money, your property, your children and your freedom.
So yes, I can live with most of the data collection that happens by corporations, but keeping that same information out of the hands of our government is much more important.
Chris Brand, New Westminster, B.C.
Re How Harper And Obama Are Alike (Focus, June 8): The Harper government’s science policy is like the Obama administration’s? You must be kidding.
As a former research scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, I could not disagree more. I worked at the Experimental Lakes Area for 30 years, but left my job there because of the minuscule funding that was available to me as a government scientist, and because of the progressively restrictive and oppressive research atmosphere.
I now work in the U.S., heading a team of researchers studying mercury pollution. My generous funding level there has enabled me to do high-quality, whole-ecosystem research, and to openly communicate my science. In fact, this was a requirement. For example, the results of my study were immediately posted on the Internet, where they are freely accessible to the public and to other scientists. The differences between the scientific environments in Canada, as compared to the U.S., in my experience, could not be starker.
John Rudd, former chief scientist at the Experimental Lakes Area, Vancouver
That gnome at 24 Sussex
Being invited into the Prime Minister’s residence must have been quite an experience for astronaut Chris Hadfield (Hadfield Announces Retirement – June 11).
What caught this Saskatchewan reader’s eye, however, was the garden gnome by the PM’s entrance: It’s holding a football and appears to be in Roughriders green. Who might the Rider fan(s) be at 24 Sussex Drive?
(Note to Mr. Hadfield: Rider Pride is quite out of this world.)
A. James Kohut, Saskatoon