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A burkini, a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, on a Tunisian beach. (Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)
A burkini, a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, on a Tunisian beach. (Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

WHAT READERS THINK

Aug. 26: Taking racism seriously. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Saskatchewan. Et al.

Re Saskatchewan Not Taking Racism Seriously Enough, Chief Says (Aug. 25): I was disappointed in a Saskatchewan historic highway marker on the trip home from British Columbia this summer. The marker informed me that the buffalo “disappeared” from the area of the historic “Ranch 76.” There was no mention on this marker of the wholesale, indiscriminate slaughter of the buffalo to starve the indigenous population of the area into accepting relocation to a reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley.

I suspect Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was educated at a time when history was “white” washed. I recommend reading A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape by Candace Savage. It is a start to a re-education.

Glenda Osnach, Stonewall, Man.

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The easy and validating reaction to the case of the rancher charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a young aboriginal man is to allege archaic prejudice on the part of the accused, and maybe even rural Canada as whole. But as a coffee companion Thursday morning expressed their hope for justice for the “Indians,” perhaps a more constructive reaction would be to correct the small, pervasive examples of ignorance toward indigenous issues. No need to seek the wide open spaces of the Prairies to find wide gaps in Canadians’ understanding of First Nations and race relations.

Jenny Crick, Nepean, Ont.

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I live in …

Re Can Newcomers Be Told Where They Must Live? (Aug. 24): Instructing immigrants to live in specific communities in Canada is not fundamentally a legal issue, but has a multiple layers of human dimensions.

Immigrants these days are selected carefully under the Express Entry system, which is based on high education, experience in a skilled occupation and proficiency in English or French. Most are under 35 and adaptive to the knowledge-based economy.

This pool of immigrants comprises city dwellers by nature and design. To instruct them to live in rural areas of Canada is a recipe to losing some of the brightest and most needed human capital to other competing countries.

The Federal Skilled Trades system, which emphasizes trades and craft skills, is more to the point. Another idea is to create a separate farm-oriented program specifically for rural and agricultural Canada. Otherwise, we are shooting ourselves in the foot and alienating the people we need.

To be productive in Canada, immigrants need to be happy, respected and free to live and be who they are – like the rest of the Canadian family.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, immigration consultant, Ottawa

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A matter of attire

Re RCMP Allow Wearing Of Hijab To Attract Muslim Women To Force (Aug. 25): An interesting comparison can be made between attempts to promote “égalité” as demonstrated by the recent actions of the RCMP in Canada, versus the prohibition and legal actions taken against wearing burkinis on the southern beaches in France.

One approach involves positive accommodation and inclusion in an attempt to welcome and encourage the participation of Muslim women in the Canadian police force. The other is a negative practice of discrimination and exclusion, led by mayors and police to discourage openness and participation.

Which approach will be more successful in creating a peaceful, society enabling “liberté, égalité et fraternité”?

Donald Symonds, Markham, Ont.

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I thought the RCMP was trying to stamp out the sexism that has tarnished its ranks. Now, it is allowing the wearing of a blatant symbol of institutionalized sexism, the hijab, while in uniform.

How can a woman whose uniform attire suggests she believes other women are second-class citizens to males possibly be allowed to police other people in a society where gender equality is supposed to be a thing? Officers in hijabs could potentially be dispatched to domestic disturbance calls. How progressive.

Dave Morgan, Ottawa

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Re Fashion Police (editorial, Aug. 25): It happened on a sunny summer day at a Montreal municipal outdoor pool in the late 1950s, that is, before the Quebec cultural revolution. My mother, she of a certain mature age and round body, wore a two-piece bathing suit. Forbidden! A lifeguard told her to leave the pool.

Reiner Jaakson, Oakville, Ont.

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End point: addiction

Re Canada Lags Behind In Adopting Safer Drug For Addiction Treatment (Aug. 24): I’m not opposed to better addiction treatment for Canadians, however, does it not make more sense to improve pain treatment services and avoid misuse and eventual addiction in the first place?

There are precious few comprehensive pain programs in Canada, and neither a national strategy nor coherent provincial strategies for the 20 per cent of us who live with chronic pain. Fee-for-service models do not pay doctors for the time and effort it takes to manage complex pain patients. The best and least-toxic pain medications are usually not covered by provincial formularies.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological treatments are likewise unavailable to most. Wait lists for existing services are embarrassing. Addiction to opioid painkillers, which did not have to be prescribed in the first place, is the logical end-point to the system we have built.

Stephen Wiseman, psychiatrist, Vancouver

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Thank you, both

Quite often, I have been brought to tears by moving submissions in Facts and Arguments, but never more so than by two recent essays. The first was published July 5, All The Things My Son Left Behind, by Carolyn Strauss, and this week’s Memory Of A Toddler Who Was The Embodiment Of My Joy, by Donna Cross.

These two women, through two exquisite pieces of writing, shared with us the heartbreaking loss of a son, one in adulthood, the other when a young boy. As the mother of sons, I want to thank Carolyn and Donna for having the courage and love to share with us these most intimate thoughts and feelings. We were privileged to be allowed into their hearts, and I, for one, cried with them.

Zyna Boyes, Winnipeg

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English, Irish thing

According to Lord Moran, the British High Commissioner at the time, our former PM Brian Mulroney wished to be seen as being a sophisticated, elegant man of the world, “but the veneer is thin, and every so often it cracks, and the Irish political street-fighter comes through” (Files Show What British Diplomats Really Thought Of Canada In The 1980s But Were Too Polite To Say – Aug. 24).

At least his Lordship did not go so far as to suggest that our former leader acted like an English soccer hooligan or an English lager lout, even on his worst days.

Frank Casey, Calgary

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