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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

What readers think

Nov. 10: Remembrance Day, and every name is sacred; plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Each name, sacred

The Fighting Schans of Lethbridge, seven brothers and one sister, are not the largest contribution of an immediate family to Canada’s effort in the Second World War (A Fighting Clan’s Forgotten Legacy – Nov.9).

That record may belong to the Cantin family of McCreary, Man. It offered nine brothers and one sister to its country during the Second World War. Three boys were killed.

Another compelling story is that of Charlotte Wood, of Winnipeg, who watched 10 sons and stepsons embark for World War One. Only five returned, and she was Canada’s first Silver Cross mother.

The memory of all these family names is sacred.

C. Hugh Arklie, Dugald, Man.

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Help for vets

The federal government of Stephen Harper is spending more than $28-million to commemorate – celebrate? – the War of 1812, now 200 years in the past. This money could be better spent assisting veterans who served and suffered in more recent conflicts.

This week, to pile insult on injury, our two young daughters came home from school with tote bags commemorating that old war, bags bearing the federal government logo. It’s bad enough that impressionable children should be asked, at taxpayer expense, to celebrate any conflict, especially one as ambiguous as the 1812 war. Worse yet, however, on closer inspection we saw that the bags had been manufactured in China – again at Canadian taxpayers’ expense.

David Bright, St. Catharines, Ont.

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Senate: boo vs. boffo

Re Senate Likely To Defeat Gambling Bill (Nov. 9): This is a provocative example for those of us who argue that the Senate is not only anachronistic, it is a prime example of anarchic thought.

The single-bet gambling issue is one thing – though I don’t gamble, it seems to me that the House of Commons, with the unanimous support of all three parties, got it right when it voted to change the law so one could legally bet on a single sporting event. But that is by the by.

The real issue has to be the injection of the authority of the unelected, patronage-appointed Senate to defeat a bill passed unanimously by the Commons. The gall!

There is one single-sport event I would like to lay a wager on – if a referendum on the continuation of the Senate were held today, the Senate would be toast. We’d be the better for it.

Bill Engleson, Denman Island, B.C.

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What we are witnessing is exactly what the Senate is supposed to do. There is a bill which it feels isn’t in the public interest and there’s bi-partisan support to reject it, which is quite compelling.

Carl de Vos, Canmore, Alta.

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It seems odd that the Senate would decide to show independence by opposing a bill that received unanimous approval in the Commons. In true Canadian style, it takes a bill involving hockey to wake the Senate from its slumber. As a political science student, I’d like the Senate to defeat bills more often to show that it is still relevant in Canadian politics.

Jonathan Weinbaum, Toronto

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Lobbyists’ lobbyists?

In his letter to the editor (Lobbying And Policy – Nov. 9), John Capobianco writes: “Lobbying is not about manipulation of political decision makers but is about providing … information critical to the development of sound public policy.”

Do lobbyists have lobbyists now? It sounds like it from this letter. The fact is, regular individuals don’t have the money to hire lobbyists; corporations and unions do. Most people instinctively feel that lobbying warps the political process in favour of moneyed special interests, and in general their instincts are probably good.

Brooke Clark, Toronto

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All the Ashleys

The death of Ashley Smith is our canary in the coal mine, representing our continuing failure to invest in mental health services, and reduce seclusion and restraint (Bob Rae Calls For Inquiry Into Prison Death – Nov. 9). Correctional investigator Howard Sapers reports that 30 similar deaths have occurred in federal correctional facilities since he launched his investigation. Only one in six children are able to access mental health care when they need it, and wait times can be up to 18 months.

Despite all the rhetoric and reports about improving mental health services since 1979, the mental health share of health spending has declined by more than 40 per cent in Ontario. While other countries, such as Australia, have invested $147 per capita to improve mental health services, our investments have ranged from $5 to $16 per capita.

The inquiry should be mandated to shine a light on systemic issues, including prevention, treatment and follow-up across the country. Governments must ensure that having a mental illness in a correctional facility does not continue to result in premature death and suffering.

Steve Lurie, executive director, CMHA, Toronto Branch

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In Fox’s lair

Every news network has its spin (yes, the folks at the CBC, too), but Fox is like a super turbo drier (Partisan Pundits Come Together In Their Uncertainty – Nov. 7). After every other network had declared Barack Obama the winner, Fox didn’t, to the point where it became quite hilarious. But what else should one expect out of the neo-conservative network?

Dennis Hall, Saskatoon

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Between the lines

Re Parking Spots Just For Women? Why Fredericton Is Considering It (Nov. 8): The biggest problem with Fredericton city councillor Stephen Chase’s proposal to create special safe parking spots for women is that it is reminiscent of victim blaming.

Once again, this places the responsibility for avoiding sexual and physical assault on women, rather than focusing efforts on the perpetrators of most of these violent crimes – men. Moreover, this proposal does not correspond to existing statistics on violent crime against women in Canada which suggest that, in most cases reported to police, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows.

I am not opposed to the idea of improving lighting and security in parking areas, but the objective should be to prevent all crime. If we want to prevent violence against women, we need to stop focusing our efforts exclusively on women.

Emily Colpitts, Halifax

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That politician …

John Ibbitson wonders if a Canadian politician will emerge who will appeal to young voters, embrace their beliefs and speak to them through their social media (Republicans Need To Look To Canada To See How Conservatives Can Win – Nov. 8). Mr. Ibbitson asks, “When and where will that politician appear?”

One answer to that double-barrelled question: Justin time.

Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.

 

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