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Today’s topics: daylight time; immigration backlogs; BC Place and its name; ABC’s of teacher pay ... and more (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Today’s topics: daylight time; immigration backlogs; BC Place and its name; ABC’s of teacher pay ... and more (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

What readers think

March 13: Letters to the editor Add to ...

One million waiting

Simply eliminating all the old files to deal with the immigration system backlog of one million applications is totally out of balance and unfair (Trimming The Queue – editorial, March 12). As you note, applicants have waited in line, many for years, and paid the required processing fee.

Does Immigration Minister Jason Kenney not feel morally in the wrong to suggest what would be harsh punishment for these aspiring immigrants? He should focus instead on giving the system the necessary resources and staff to clear the queue. After the backlog is cleared, Mr. Kenney can think about changes – keeping in mind that the immigration system should be fair and justifiable.

Kalwant Singh Sahota, Delta, B.C.

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Jason Kenney’s pending and proposed reforms to overhaul Canada’s immigration system are long overdue. They will ultimately transform our immigration system from one based on non-economic criteria – for example, refugees and family class – to one based almost solely on economic interest, fast integration and the productivity gains potential immigrants will be able to offer to this country. I commend Mr. Kenney for being a visionary on this front and hope the Harper administration diligently pursues this goal.

Kevin Carter, Niagara Falls, Ont.

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Time’s up

Daylight Time is silly and potentially dangerous. Studies have demonstrated that there are significantly more traffic accidents and sleep-related problems on the days after the clocks are changed, forward or back (Are Two Sleeps Better Than One? – Life, March 12).

The purported advantage of an “extra hour” of daylight in the evening is overrated. Many of us don’t like losing an hour of daylight in the early morning. Let’s pick one time or the other, or something in between, and stick with it. Life would be much less complicated.

Doug Blair, Toronto

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Not for sale

Despite what Stephen Quinn says (What’s In A Name? I’d Rename My Kids For $2-Million A Year – March 10), I applaud the B.C. government’s decision to turn down Telus’s offer for the naming rights to BC Place – even though it is but a finger in the dike to hold off crass commercialism. When we cannot seek sanctuary from adverts, even in public lavatories and while watching the curling rock in the brier go down the ice, I look at the decision as one of absolute correctness.

Nelson Mathieson, Nanaimo, B.C.

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ABC’s of pay

Re Teachers’ Salary Grid The True Test Of Premier’s Mettle (March 10): After indebting themselves to obtain two university degrees required to become a certified teacher in Ontario, young people spend three to five years on average as an occasional teacher before starting at a low level on the “grid.” It can take a decade or more for them to work through the grid to obtain a salary commensurate with their expertise and responsibilities. The highest salary level can only be achieved by taking extra training on their own time, at their own cost.

Freezing the grid or permanently altering it would punish newer teachers and discourage top-level candidates from entering the profession. So-called “austerity measures” will be a false economy when they lead to the destabilizing of key public services like education. Putting Ontarians to work in good jobs rather than creating a McJobs economy is the best way to get the province on the road to economic recovery.

Sam Hammond, president, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

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Why not base teachers’ pay on student performance? Reward teachers according to how well their classes do. If students write standardized tests, their performance on those will indicate whether the teacher is effective. If so, a bonus should follow. Incentives like this will soon get rid of complacency and encourage teachers to figure out ways to get through to their students.

Contest results should also count. For example, if the swim team competes in a championship, reward the swim coach (more, if they win). If math students do well in things such as the Descartes Contest, reward the math teacher.

Bryn Harris, Sandor Mathe, Halifax

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When it comes to the B.C. teachers’ dispute, it’s that déjà vu thing (First Strike – March 10). In the midst of Ontario premier Mike Harris’s Common Sense Revolution, I experienced firsthand the many frustrations of parents, teachers, students and the government. Truly, it was “not just about education, but the broader question of managing the public purse.”

I was one secondary school teacher among thousands who demonstrated against Mr. Harris’s “One Size Fits All” solutions. It didn’t and doesn’t. For example, applied to the student funding formula, it decimated schools in less populous rural areas and eliminated these important social anchors at the heart of communities.

One of the most vital social and economic roles public education plays is its most basic: a giant, nationwide, publicly funded daycare system that allows working parents to work. I have no solution to B.C.’s crisis but dialogue. It’s just common sense.

David Floody, Tofino, B.C.

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1812: ‘We won’

While the War of 1812 was really a continuation of the global, European power struggles of the mid-18th century, it was a decisive and instrumental event in and of itself (The Myth Of 1812 – Focus, March 10). We won; the invader lost. Later treaties merely confirmed the border’s status antequam. And while it’s true that the border with the U.S. is completely arbitrary, so, too, are the borders of Europe (geographical expressions), which have been rewritten time and time again.

Furthermore, if it’s the case that the Canadians who were defending our turf weren’t Canadians, then the Americans who were invading weren’t Americans, either (witness the faction of federalists in New York and Boston who actually supported the British and Canadian cause).

As Alan Taylor demonstrates so clearly, it was really a form of civil war fought between essentially the same people, first over the land, and then how that land should be governed.

But as a geographical and sovereign-determining event, the War of 1812 firmly made us masters of our own house. It’s a bigger production than John Allemang suggests.

Brian Noble, Toronto

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‘How ironic’

So Gwen Landolt, vice-president of REAL Women, says of the exclusion of gay-rights groups in the Diamond Jubilee medal nomination process, “They don’t want anybody who has a differing opinion to have any voice in Canada in any area in anything, at any time, in any place.” This is simply not true (Queen’s Jubilee Medal Process Excludes Gay-Rights Groups – March 10).

The gay community has always been about inclusion not exclusion and diversity over oppression. It chooses to lead by example, not name call and bully to promote a right-wing agenda. How ironic that the Diamond Jubilee medal nomination process would exclude the “real” Queens!

Blair Boudreau, Toronto

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