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March 12: We’re all hyphenated Canadians, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

We’re all hyphenated

Multiculturalism was not created by the Liberals “to integrate new immigrants into Canadian society” (Hyphenation’s Outdated Insult – March 11). It arose in the 1960s because the Pearson government wanted to respond to the growing threat of separatism.

The government struck the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, which, as its name implies, was supposed to define Canadian society as bilingual and bicultural (English and French). The commissioners soon discovered that most ethnic groups (other than English and French) supported bilingualism, but not biculturalism. The one-third of Canadians who were not of either heritage wished to preserve their own cultures, as best as they could. They did not wish to be assimilated (different from integrated) into either English or French cultures. Faced with this reality, the Trudeau government adopted our official policy of multiculturalism in 1971.

We are all hyphenates, whether we are aboriginal Canadians, anglo Canadians, French Canadians, Greek Canadians or Slovak Canadians. We are all integrating into Canadian society, but not assimilating into one indistinguishable “melting pot.” We have learned to live with our differences without forcing anyone to become what he/she is not. That is the unique character of Canada and I am proud of it.

M. Mark Stolarik, professor of history, University of Ottawa

.........

Rather than blaming multiculturalism for so-called profiling, maybe Conservative Senator Leo Housakos could focus on getting his party to honour the world’s cultural richness and diversity by permitting a much broader base of immigration, and giving greater support to programs enabling newcomers to participate as fully as possible in Canadian life.

Mary Valentich, Calgary

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Science, gender

There is so very much to admire about the efforts of the group behind the Pueblo Science project, and about Prof. Cynthia Goh for her commitment to improving science literacy in schools (How Female Scientists Find Their Inspiration – March 11). However, Prof. Goh’s position that she was “adamant” that no one should notice that she was a woman – “I was the only female chemistry professor for my first eight years at U of T. But I was adamant that no one should notice it” – surely challenges her argument that her gender plays no role in her work as a scientist.

How many male scientists are adamant that no one should notice they are a man?

Esther Shannon, Vancouver

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Just wondering?

So Laureen Harper “did not miss a beat” when asked what kind of motorcycle she rides (Don’t Call Her First Lady – Focus, March 9). Did you really think she would? What readers really want to know is: Does she wear leathers?

Steve and Nancy Paul, Lansdowne, Ont.

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By the numbers

Inevitably, the false spectre of Atlantic City, with 40,000 citizens and 12 resort casinos, is raised as a comparison to what is being proposed for downtown Toronto – one integrated resort in a city with 2.6 million residents, within a Greater Toronto Area of 4.6 million residents (When Mr. Casino Comes A-courtin,’ It’s All Kisses And Sweet Nothings – March 9). Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to look at places such as London, Paris, Lisbon, Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore?

The reason what’s being proposed is called an integrated resort or entertainment complex is because that’s what it is – an integrated development comprised of a number of elements, including hotel, convention, entertainment and clubs, food and beverage, spa, retail, recreation, and yes, casino gaming that typically is less than 10 per cent of the overall public space.

To use Elizabeth Renzetti’s metaphor, we’ve seen plenty of examples of Toronto cozying up to improbable far-fetched schemes whenever any boho suitor comes a-knockin’ for public money. So what’s wrong with carefully considering a project that will produce good-paying jobs, attract tourists and provide significant ongoing revenue for the city to fund much needed services such as transit and public housing?

Bill Rutsey, CEO, Canadian Gaming Association

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Call me a skeptic, but I’ve crunched a few numbers regarding the MGM/Cadillac Fairview promise of “10,000 new sustainable careers with an average salary of $60,000” that they promise to create at their proposed Toronto casino/resort.

As a quick example, an average wage of $58,750 could be reached by paying 8,500 people at a rate of $25,000 per year (somewhat above the minimum wage), and 1,500 at a rate of $250,000 per year. If I were a Toronto councillor, I’d be demanding that all proponents lay all their cards on the table regarding wage and benefit distribution.

Peter A. Lewis-Watts, Barrie, Ont.

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Safety on high

As a frequent flier, I believe the Transportation Safety Administration should uphold strict standards of security (Fly the Friendly Skies – Feel Free To Bring A Knife – Focus, March 9). At the same time, I’ve often been bemused by the rules currently in force. For example, a friend who is a pilot with Alaska Airlines had his nail clippers confiscated by security personnel. He then proceeded to the cockpit – where a hatchet is part of his standard safety equipment. He will undoubtedly be pleased to know he can now take on board his favourite Swiss Army knife.

Avril Taylor, Victoria

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Not-so-nice guy

Far from being a “nice guy,” Ron Paul is an ardent conspiracist; his ideas stem from his immersion in America’s paranoid, white-nationalist underbelly (Ron Paul At The Podium – March 9). He has any number of excuses for the virulently racist incitement that went out under his name in his newsletters beginning in 1978. The excuses are unconvincing, and not only because his associates have stated that he closely oversaw the newsletters.

Mr. Paul’s disavowals also ring hollow because they come alongside his repeated defence of the Confederacy, his ranting about the trilateral commission, the Rockefellers and the imaginary “North American Union,” and his enthusiasm for the fringe John Birch Society. In 2008, he gave the keynote address at the Birchers’ 50th anniversary celebration. He’s not a “nice guy,” he just plays one on TV.

Anthony Cantor, Toronto

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Home work

While working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, William Faulkner received permission from a studio to work from home (Telecommuting Is Not A Right – March 7). His bosses became frantic when they could not find him in the city. They eventually located the great novelist in his house in Mississippi – which, as he pointed out to them, was his home.

Jim Lotz, Halifax

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