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Muppet Kermit attends the premiere Of Walt Disney Pictures' 'The Muppets' in Hollywood, Nov. 12, 2011. (VALERIE MACON/VALERIE MACON / AFP/Getty Images)
Muppet Kermit attends the premiere Of Walt Disney Pictures' 'The Muppets' in Hollywood, Nov. 12, 2011. (VALERIE MACON/VALERIE MACON / AFP/Getty Images)

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Nov. 21: Letters to the editor Add to ...

It’s us, not them

Could we stop blaming politicians ( Word Bombs – letters, Nov. 19) for low voter turnout? There is always a “least bad” option in any election. People don’t vote because they are under-informed and unengaged politically. In an era when political parties follow more than lead public opinion, weak and unwise governance is the result.

If Canadians graduated from high school knowing more about history, economics, current affairs and the roles of government and private sector, they would demand better public policy. Things that seem impossible now would become possible: effective action on climate change, more accountability in the public sector, a more efficient health-care system and more.

Anne Lambert, Chester, N.S.

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Space for Occupy

Juxtaposing the right to protest with its inconvenience to the liberty of the masses, The Globe conclusively asserts that the Occupy movement has no right to “occupy other peoples’ space” ( Protest Has Its Place, Editorial, Nov. 19).

Whereas public spaces are normally open to all, referring to them as “other peoples’ space” defeats their purpose and spirit. The movement does not inhabit public parks in competition with local residents; it is using these spaces to call attention to the masses’ plight.

Throughout history, vested interests have responded predictably to protests with the following: Now is not the time; this is not the place; this action is unnecessary. Had our predecessors obliged them, the monarchy would still rule, women and blacks would still be possessions and we would still be working without fair recompense.

Deepak Awasti, Toronto

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I’m glad that I read The Globe’s story ( California University To Investigate ‘Chilling’ Police Action Against Occupy Protesters – online, Nov. 19). Otherwise, I’d never know that curling into a ball constitutes “active resistance” and justifies being beaten by a baton.

One has to wonder – if a peaceful sit-in on a university campus justifies this type of police reaction, what kind of protest is considered acceptable?

Henry de Valence, Kingston

.....

Of course, if the Occupiers did indeed move to Fort McMurray to occupy the oil-sands projects, as suggested by the University of Toronto’s Joseph Heath ( Occupation: Undecided – Focus, Nov. 19), they would probably all be offered jobs.

Kathleen Webb, Calgary

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Games addiction

Avner Mandelman recommends investing in the video-game company Activision ( Found: An Addiction That Pays Dividends – Business, Nov. 19) “with a clear conscience.”

Think of the time spent playing these games – time that limits youths’ ability to engage in the world and become self-sufficient. I would rather invest in products promoting the understanding that we cannot always have instant results by pushing a button. I will not be investing in Activision; it cannot be done “with a clear conscience.”

Dr. Rafaela Davila, C.Psych, Toronto

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A matter of degree

In an otherwise excellent column ( Amid Dire Warnings, Canada is Missing in Action – Nov. 19), Jeffrey Simpson uses the word “target,” as many do, in reference to scientific warnings to avoid a two-degrees-Celsius global average temperature increase. Hitting this target condemns humanity to generations of destabilized climate conditions. It’s more of a tipping point. When the IEA speaks of “potentially catastrophic” climate change, it means shooting past this increase into runaway global warming.

Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada, Ottawa

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Unmanageable

Hopes that new RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson can succeed where his arguably competent and dedicated predecessors have failed is dreaming in technicolor ( Only A Cop’s Cop May Have The Clout To Fix The RCMP – Nov. 19). The force is simply unmanageable, given its existing management culture and multiple and conflicting mandates.

Relinquishing ministerial oversight to a board of management is an equally absurd proposal. If the Minister of Public Safety is no longer able to effectively exercise his statutory responsibilities, then the time has surely come for a commission of inquiry to recommend the appropriate changes.

Scott Burbidge, Port Williams, N.S.

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Toronto, un-Toronto

I totally agree with Marcus Gee’s premise in Saturday’s column ( Africentric School A Very Un-Toronto Idea). If a reduced dropout rate is the desired outcome, other options need to be developed. The very idea of “-centric” public schools is a form of segregation. Building new barriers can only lead to problems down the road.

We live in York Region, which, like Toronto, welcomes visible minorities to our neighbourhoods. In fact, a high percentage of our growth is coming from a widely diverse group of people. Diversity thrives here, and I believe we are a stronger community because of it.

Helen Murray, Markham, Ont.

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Mr. Gee asserts that “the Toronto experiment is working” and that “we are becoming a post-racial society,” but the reality is different for blacks. The most careful studies of Toronto’s multicultural experience are virtually unanimous on this. Despite debate about the extent of racial bias and exclusion across visible minority groups generally, black people clearly face distinctive and significant problems not of their own making. And yet most Torontonians want the black community to solve its own problems. So when some members of that community make a sincere effort to do just that, those who disagree with their approaches owe it to them at least to suggest credible alternatives.

Jeffrey Reitz, R.F. Harney Professor of Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, University of Toronto

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I grew up in Mississauga, one of the most ethnically diverse places in Canada, where I went to a high school that was 80 per cent non-Caucasian. You quickly learn to accept that Canada’s cultural narrative is not solely tied to one race. I now study in North Carolina, where I see first-hand the continued dangers of racial segregation.

It is possible to be proud of your racial identity and heritage within the broader spectrum of Canadian society. While I don’t have the “right solution” to combatting higher dropout rates among black Canadians, I know it does not lie within Africentric schools.

Maximillian Seunik, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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Globe’s bad latitude

In Brit Aims To Be First To Cross Antarctica Alone (Nov. 19), it is stated that, “A wealthy handful will be dropped off at one-degree north latitude, for relatively leisurely guided treks to the pole.” Since the South Pole is located at 90 degrees south latitude, let’s hope that those wealthy people are smart enough to take several changes of clothing, as the weather will change drastically between their starting point – perhaps in Brazil, Kenya or Indonesia – and their destination.

Patrick Flanagan, Huntsville, Ont.

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