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An aboriginal protest against the First Nations education act and missing aboriginal women on Wednesday May 14, 2014, in Ottawa. (ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
An aboriginal protest against the First Nations education act and missing aboriginal women on Wednesday May 14, 2014, in Ottawa. (ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

May 21: First Nations’ education disunity – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Not just the chiefs

Re Canada, The AFN And The Duty To Consult (May 20): Karl Hele says that consulting individually with “hundreds of First Nations may appear daunting and perhaps time consuming.” The emphasis on “appear” and “perhaps” are mine.

What he fails to say is that First Nations must first take responsibility for creating their representative voice, not merely a lobby like the Assembly of First Nations, which is riven with internal dissent, unable to agree even on how to spend taxpayers’ funds to educate aboriginal youth.

It is time to create a structure enabling fruitful consultation for the benefit of First Nations citizens, not just their chiefs.

Michael Robinson, Toronto

.........

To say sorry

As a descendant of a head-tax payee (my grandmother) and a railway worker (my grandfather), I feel there is an often-forgotten dimension to B.C.’s discriminatory legislation – and that is the good side of the Canadian judicial system (A Past To Regret, A Future To Embrace – editorial, May 20).

As early as 1885, Canadian courts struck down offensive provincial and municipal laws (e.g. a $10 licence fee for Chinese workers) as being unconstitutional. The courage of those plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ lawyers and judges must have been exemplary.

Japanese Canadians and aboriginals were often named in these laws as well, so Chinese Canadians should take pride that when we took action against anti-Chinese laws, we spoke on behalf of other affected groups, too.

We Chinese Canadians should not forget that although those early immigrants faced discriminatory laws, Canada gave them, and continues to give their descendants, and indeed all Canadians, a country free from civil war, governed by the rule of law and possessed of the conscience to apologize.

Ted Yao, Toronto

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Euroskeptics?

Re Surging Euroskeptics Threaten EU’s Lurch To Unity (May 19): The rise of euroskeptics makes this skeptic think that the United States is rubbing its hands with glee.

The Americans wouldn’t be promoting this movement, would they? They wouldn’t interfere in the politics of other countries.

Or would they?

Dale Dewar, Wynyard, Sask.

.........

Modi’s operandi

You write that the scale of Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi’s victory “is stunning” (Modi’s Opportunity – editorial, May 20). Even more stunning is that he was victorious with only 31 per cent of votes cast, when earlier the smallest percentage of votes required for a majority had been 40.8 per cent (1967).

As a Times of India article states: “Far from spelling the end of a fractured polity, the 2014 results show just how fragmented the vote is.”

This makes it even more critical that BJP governs in the interest of all Indians, no matter what their religion or political inclinations might be.

Masud Sheikh, Oakville, Ont.

.........

Give teens a voice

Re Teens Deserve A Public Health Voice (May 19): André Picard shines a much-needed light on one of Canada’s most pressing concerns: the health of our nation’s youth.

Despite the significant physical and mental-health challenges they face, the current care needs of these individuals remain greatly overlooked. Preventing future problems, particularly for those who are disadvantaged, is not the priority it should be.

Reports of the numbers of Canadians without access to primary care and family doctors – proven to be the most important factor in producing healthy populations – and plans to ensure that this care will be provided, inappropriately leave out those who say they are not actively seeking care.

Sadly, this group is disproportionately made up of adolescents and young adults. Improved access to care for all young people and to programs for marginalized youth such as those of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation need the support of all Canadians.

Calvin Gutkin, MD, Mississauga

.........

F-35 ‘reset’

Re The F-35 ‘Reset’: Is It Go Time ? (May 19): I lack the technical expertise to opine on whether the points made in Paul Manson’s column on the process to select the CF-18’s replacement are good enough to support his thesis that we should purchase the F-35 without holding a competition.

However, I do not lack the common sense to realize that a former chairman of Lockheed Martin (1996-97) would not be the most impartial expert in a discussion as to whether we should purchase said (Lockheed Martin) F-35 without holding a competition.

Ralph Boardman, Gatineau, Que.

.........

Land: For sale?

If someone wants to make a case for B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), go ahead (Despite Being At ‘Peak Farm,’ Land Is Getting Less Protection – May 19).

But do not suggest that a land mass the size of Western Europe with the population of Paris is approaching a food production shortage due to a shortage of arable land.

The actual constraints on a variety of foods are marketing boards. The actual main and rising budget item for the average family is rent or mortgage payments, inflated largely due to an artificial shortage of land.

When I was selling real estate in Nanaimo in the 1980s, a nice, serviced lot was about $25,000, or about a quarter of the total price (house plus lot) of about $100,000.

Today, the same lot would be $150,000, with the cost to construct the same house also being about $150,000. Construction cost has doubled, land cost has multiplied by six.

Nanaimo is surrounded by vacant land, either Crown-owned, or off limits due to the Forest Practices Code or because it is in the ALR. Much of the latter is not being farmed.

Nick Kelly, Nanaimo, B.C.

.........

There’s a chance

So Ottawa Senators fan Jodey Michael Derouin is now “pulling for the Canadiens” and tells us that “some day (it’s theoretically possible), the Toronto Maple Leafs may play in the Stanley Cup finals again” (Hockey Dreams – letter, May 20).

As Leafs fans now stare down the distinct possibility of a 50-year-championship drought in Toronto, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a scene from the comedy classic, Dumb and Dumber, starring Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas as he assesses his odds of “ending up with” Mary, a highly attractive woman.

Lloyd: “Not good like one in a hundred?”

Mary: “I’d say more like one in a million.”

Lloyd: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”

Yeah!

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.

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