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March 22: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Justice?

The two-year sentence Graham James received for molesting two youngsters over a period of years is an absolute travesty (Anger Greets James's Two-Year Sentence – March 21). A black eye for the Canadian judicial system.

And a very black day for Canada.

James Bulger, Venice, Fla.

.......

I thought Graham James was clearly the most despicable person in that Winnipeg courtroom. Now I'm not so sure.

Lyman MacInnis, Toronto

Injustice?

Tom Flanagan's Past Wrongs Can't Always Be Undone (March 21) is a thinly disguised defence of the harmful actions of 20th-century Canadian public officials toward minority groups, women and children. He uses American economist Thomas Sowell's arguments to suggest that anyone who wants to draw attention to such actions is guilty of “presentism” – applying contemporary standards to actions taken in “good faith” in a different time governed by different legal standards. This is hooey.

A closer read of history makes it clear that public officials often knew that what they were doing was unjust and that the law allowing it was indefensible. But they did it anyway to win votes, kowtow to ignorant politicians or simply out of prejudice.

The public servants in Ottawa who assisted the government in depriving Japanese Canadians of their rights during the 1940s knew what they were doing was wrong but bowed to the demands of Mackenzie King, who was fixated by the need to placate racist B.C. politicians.

Why shouldn't we revisit such despicable acts and hold those responsible to account?

John Langford, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria

.......

Interesting times, when I write a letter in praise of Tom Flanagan. But his wise and helpful warning against the siren song of victimhood deserves support. A world where the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons is a world that sustains the sin, not rights it.

Scott Gardiner, Toronto

Sex, faith, parody

Reading of Texans' penchant for commercialism (Good Christian Forgiveness – March 21) and “glam and sparkle,” in this Lenten season of “self-sacrifice over self-indulgence,” I can't help but recall the story of a wise old priest who was invited to visit a mega-church in the U.S. South.

Showing him around, the church's minister bragged of the enormous glimmering cross atop the building that they'd recently acquired for $10,000.

“Ten grand?” the old priest said. “You got robbed! Time was, Christians could get those for free.”

Peter Gorman, Toronto

The penny drops

Re Claudette Claereboudt's letter on Conservative attack ads (‘There They Go' – March 21): Ms. Claereboudt, believe me when I say I feel your pain. But there are times when idealism must be tempered with something more practical. If you continue to contribute funds to every man and woman who has been the target of a federal Tory smear campaign, you'll go broke faster than an NHL franchise in Saskatoon.

Rest assured that I would love to help out by kicking in a few bucks myself, but the thing is, following the example of our fellow Reginan, one Andrew Scheer, I gave my last nickel to some guy who was running for the Conservatives in Guelph.

Nick Miliokas, Regina

Sports roundup

Was it not mere months ago when the media were dominated by reports of hockey enforcers' brains being scrambled like eggs? Yet, Monday night's brawl between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers (Staged Brawl Earns Rave Reviews – Sports, March 21) is called “awesome” and “exciting.”

While junior hockey leagues and other professional sports are prioritizing player safety, the NHL propagates the nonsense that will ultimately lead to more cases such as Bob Probert and Don Sanderson.

Congratulations to the NHL for racing backward from the 21st century to Neanderthal times.

Tim Kearns, Oakville, Ont.

.......

Peyton Manning is getting nearly $100-million to throw a football around for a couple of years (Horse Of A Different Colour – Sports, March 21)? That's obscene.

Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa

Vegans with benefits

I really wish foodies would stay away from stereotypes about veganism (Going Hard-Core Vegan: Rules For Health – Life, March 21). There's nothing bland about a vegan lifestyle.

I went hard-core vegan five years ago, out of compassion for animals. Overnight, I stopped eating all animal products. Since I had been a fast-food junkie, the only vegetable I knew was a potato. So I had to go on a steep learning curve.

Today, I create simple and delicious meals out of things I never even knew existed: barley, tempeh, quinoa, all manner of greens and every single kind of vegetable in the produce section.

Bland? Oh my dear Globe and Mail, if you ever tried any vegan recipes, you'd know.

Bonnie Shulman, Toronto

.......

Leslie Beck lists the reputed health benefits of a vegan diet, including weight loss. Has she seen a hippopotamus lately?

Andrzej Derkowski, Oakville, Ont.

Another moment

Let's temper our praise of Harriet Beecher Stowe (A Moment in Time – March 20) with another look at her activism.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Scottish highlanders were evicted from their homes, their crofts burned down and their villages depopulated to make room for sheep.

The infamous Highland Clearances, known as Great Improvements to the aristocrats who held legal title to the lands, resulted in mass emigrations that brought displaced and impoverished Scots to Canada, to places such as Cape Breton, Glengarry and Kildonan.

Some of the most extensive and brutally executed clearances were on lands controlled by Elizabeth, Duchess of Sutherland. When criticized in the British press, she found a stalwart defender in Harriet Beecher Stowe, who described Elizabeth's Improvements as “an almost sublime instance of the benevolent employment of superior wealth and power in shortening the struggles of advancing civilization.”

Enough said.

Peter S. Badenoch, Windsor, Ont.

Not a lawyer joke

Letter writer Campbell Robinson (Just Wondering – March 21), commenting on a master's program to study corruption, suggests that a Master of Corruption designation would have negative consequences. Not necessarily so. Lawyers who practise criminal law are often referred to as “criminal lawyers” by clients who bring them retainers for legal fees.

Henry Van Drunen, criminal lawyer, Stratford, Ont.

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