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Evan Wiens is trying to start a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Steinbach Regional Secondary School, where he’s the only student who has come out as gay. (JOHN WOODS For The Globe and Mail)
Evan Wiens is trying to start a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Steinbach Regional Secondary School, where he’s the only student who has come out as gay. (JOHN WOODS For The Globe and Mail)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 19: A gay teen’s battle, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Bullying battle

It’s not often that a teenager can shame a minister of the Crown (Gay Teen Holds The Line For Bullying Bill – March 18). In standing up to Vic Toews and his attack on Manitoba’s Bill 18, Evan Wiens has shown that he has more character, courage and compassion than Mr. Toews can ever hope to possess. He is a remarkable young man.

Joan Richardt, Sidney, B.C.

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It seems that, in Vic Toews’s Manitoba, everyone is entitled to protection from bullying – except the people who need it.

Douglas Emond, Halifax

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Author, author?

Hugging little kids, writing polemical books, appearing before audiences of 700 – isn’t that what politicians and Hollywood do? Isn’t it up to historians and journalists to demystify the Supreme Court’s judgments (A Silence Not Golden – editorial, March 18)? Judges are busy enough just keeping up with their cases. Ditto for determining how a judge becomes a role model.

Enough with the cult of personality. And hats off to Canada’s judges for their restraint.

Janice Miller, Ottawa

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At the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission, we can proudly attest that members of Canada’s Supreme Court are already serving as role models for young people. They are, in fact, anything but monk-like.

Last fall, Justice Thomas Cromwell travelled to Kingston at our invitation and led a Sir John A.-themed walking tour of our city. Our commission, at his request, arranged for public school classes to accompany him. For almost two hours, these young Canadians peppered a member of Canada’s highest court with questions about that court, Sir John A. and Canadian history and law.

Afterward, the judge unveiled a portrait of Sir John A. at Queen’s Law School and spoke informally with students. He also encouraged all the youth he met to emulate Sir John A. and consider public service when making career choices. Perhaps judges like him don’t have time to write memoirs because they are already so busy interacting with young Canadians.

Ryan Zade, Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission

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Specifics, please

When asked what the Harper government’s crime legislation has accomplished, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s response was “I’ve had good feedback across the country.” So much for a discussion employing evidence (Minister Defends Omnibus Crime Bill – March 18).

Asked what the government was trying to achieve with mandatory sentences, he said “it sends out a message to the individual and society about the seriousness with which the government takes the offences in question.” What evidence is there that these types of crimes were not taken seriously before?

And could someone explain, specifically, what the rights of victims are and how they are being advanced?

When is this nonsense going to end?

Dan Lang, Toronto

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Picture backlash

Maybe the intention of the photo of Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond high-kicking to her eighth-place finish in her first competition at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships was to portray the exuberance and the consummate skill of this 17-year-old (Skating Championships – March 18). But were there so few pictures available from this event that you had to print a below-the-waist close-up?

Monica Kucharski, Mississauga

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Women in sport have enough difficulty without being viewed this way on the front page of The Globe.

Clare Kramer, Brantford, Ont.

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Yet another example

Re Cyprus Bailout Terms Unprecedented (Report on Business, March 18): The bank account “tax” is yet another example of how the thrifty and prudent are forever called on to bail out the profligate who insist on their entitlements.

Bruce Peckover, Toronto

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We’re … No. 11

So being ranked 11th on the UN Human Development Index isn’t bad (Inequality, Yes, But Canada’s In A Sweet Spot – March 18)? Perhaps I’m not being a polite Canadian when I say this, but with tremendous resources, low crime rates, strong educational institutions and good banks, give me one good reason why we shouldn’t be first.

Pete Reinecke, Chelsea, Que.

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Can versus should

Even more concerning than the fact of the rape the two teens were convicted of is how the information about it was disseminated (Judge Finds Football Players Guilty Of Rape – March 18). At least one of them, and the 16-year-old girl’s “friends,” sent around photos and videos on the Internet. Everyone’s chief priority seems to be “going viral,” regardless of whether it kills a person or kills a reputation.

Our society’s difficulties in using technology ethically reminds me of the gun-control debate. In both cases, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Elizabeth Fernandes, Toronto

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In defence

After years of study of defence procurement, most recently by OpenText chairman Tom Jenkins, Jeffrey Simpson’s proposal of another blue-ribbon panel would be useful only if it weren’t already clear what the panel would hear (How Broken? So Broken It’s Time For A Blue-ribbon Panel – March 16). This includes a need to beef up specialized skills and experience related to complex procurements, and to take a more rational approach to costs.

Adding necessary expertise and capacity could be done either within the federal public service or via an external research and advisory body, to improve decision-making early in the procurement cycle. Otherwise, the system is likely to remain bogged down by poor communications in virtually every stage between the customer and the supplier community; risk-averse behaviour by public servants; and redundant, process-driven activities that deliver little if any real benefit to the government, the military or to industry.

There are no silver-bullet solutions to these problems for a new blue-ribbon panel to discover. What is required now is urgent action, not more study. The government is to be commended for committing to move forward on the feedback it has already been provided.

Tim Page, president, Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries

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About that title

So the new Pope was a bouncer in a club in Buenos Aires while he was a student. I think I understand the “Defender of the Faith” title now.

Alain Gingras, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Que.

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