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Margaret Sutherland's "Emperor Haute Couture" (cropped here) is currently on display in an Ontario library. (Handout)
Margaret Sutherland's "Emperor Haute Couture" (cropped here) is currently on display in an Ontario library. (Handout)

What readers think

May 19: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Broken policing

Policing in Canada is broken – and not just the RCMP (The Police Must Learn From Mistakes – editorial, May 18).

Across this land, we constantly hear ugly policing stories. Just a few: tethering a teen in Victoria to a jailhouse door, multiple taser discharges in Vancouver’s airport, one-way trips in the winter in Saskatoon, strip searches in Ottawa, the behaviour of the Toronto Police Service at the G20, and more.

Can it be corrected? Yes – if the police want to fix it. They created the mess, they are capable of correcting it: The police have to stop investigating themselves or another force; they can charge officers who clearly act inappropriately; they can admit and accept their errors.

The events in Toronto took place under the command of the chief. The responsibility for these events must move up in the chain of command. With such a scathing report, if there is ever a chance to start to clean up Canada’s broken policing, now is the time. Does the chief of the Toronto Police Service have the fortitude to start in his own office?

Robert D. Townsend, Saanich, B.C.

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Policemen are human, with feelings. They are husbands and fathers, doing their job as best they can, and not monsters from a sci-fi movie to be vilified and fought against – even if they may look that way in their protective gear.

Edda Heinmaa, Toronto

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If charges are brought only against mid-line officers, then they are being used as scapegoats and we have failed to stop this type of action from reoccurring. It was Stephen Harper who decided to hold the G20 in downtown Toronto, knowing the problems and disruption this would cause in Canada’s largest city; it was the police chiefs and others involved in national security who were making the decisions.

David Bell, Toronto

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There is an old adage that there are no poor soldiers, just bad generals. Could this be true of Toronto Police Chief William Blair?

Pyar Dossal, Toronto

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Down, out

In tough times, the down-and-out can count on the Conservative government to give them a helping hand – down … and out (EI Shakeup To Target Repeat Users – May 18). This is just one more wedge to drive between East and West. There are reasons there are more “repeat users” of EI in Atlantic Canada. And it’s not because they don’t want to work.

Hannah Stephens, Edmonton

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Of course the Eastern premiers are upset the federal government is proposing a change in EI regulations. If my economy was based on the principle of seasonal work plus income supplements funded by someone else, I, too, would squawk if somebody called me on it.

I am 55, recently unemployed and have never had to apply for EI. I have the misfortune (kidding – the privilege) of living in Ontario, so I can just imagine the hoops I will have to jump through should I ever need it.

Mike Galt, St. Andrews West, Ont.

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100 million

Doug Saunders (What Would A Canada Of 100 Million Feel Like? – May 18) oversimplifies a complex issue. I have space to address only his U.S. comparisons. His states the U.S. “stopped being dependent on the ideas, imports and expression of other countries … exactly when it passed the 100-million mark, shortly before 1920.” This ignores developments in American literature and philosophy marked by names such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Whitman, and Henry and William James.

As for imports, the prime engine of the U.S. economy, from independence to today, has always been its domestic market. The U.S. first adopted a progressive taxation system during the Civil War. “The first great national infrastructure program” presumably refers to the National Highway Act of 1916, but the U.S. did not need highways before then: It had a complete railway system, thanks to state and federal subsidies.

Jack Blocker, past president, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, London, Ont.

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While Canada may seem sparsely populated, we spew about twice as much greenhouse gas per person annually as the European average and more than four times the global average.

An immigrant to Canada becomes a GHG glutton. Tripling the number of Canadians with high GHG emissions would make it virtually impossible to meet our commitment to absolutely reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Derek Wilson, Port Moody, B.C.

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Where parents are

The answer to where the parents are is that they are outside marching, protesting and demonstrating in solidarity with, and admiration for, the inspiration and leadership these youth provide (Not A Class Act – letters, May 18).

It’s a privilege to be alongside students who are resisting the increasingly draconian measures that limit freedoms of speech, assembly and protest on and off campuses in Quebec. Bravas and bravos to them.

Abby Lippman, professor emerita, McGill University, Montreal

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Transparency

We do expect transparency from politicians, as Senator Nicole Eaton says (Nicole Eaton Replies – letters, May 17). Unfortunately, we cannot get it. Do a search of your editorials and your writers’ reports and columns, and you will find numerous uses of “control” and “chill,” and repeated reports of MPs, cabinet ministers and Stephen Harper himself evading questions – or simply not permitting questions at all.

No transparency there.

Lionel Koffler, Uxbridge, Ont.

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Environmental charities in Canada disclose their sources of funding. EthicalOil does not.

Perhaps this is the double standard the government should be addressing.

Andrew Stewart, Toronto

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The body politic

To suggest that creative education about human sexuality does not fall within the mandate of a museum whose purpose is to increase knowledge about science and technology is absurd – unless the Conservative government has now declared that biology is not a science (Museum’s Sex Exhibit Has Heritage Minister Hot And Bothered – May 17).

It’s hogwash that the exhibition’s “content cannot be defended and is an insult to taxpayers.” At a time when so many teens get most of their “knowledge” about sexuality from online porn, more than ever they need reliable information presented in strong, meaningful ways. I am proud to have my tax dollars support such an important, innovative exhibit.

The Heritage Minister fails to fulfill his own mandate when he kowtows to puritans who would seek to strip an important institution of its creative and intellectual freedom.

Monique Twigg, Toronto

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Re ‘Nude’ Stephen Harper Painting Causes A Stir (online, May 19): Who knew, all those times people talked about the emperor having no clothes, they meant it?

Robert Sequin, Quebec City

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The prospect of a nude Stephen Harper certainly left me shaken. Stirred? Not so much.

Emily Wilson, Charlottetown

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