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Senator Lynn Beyak says she will not resign in the face of calls to do so. She has been widely criticized for her speech about the failure to acknowledge the ‘abundance of good’ to come out of Indian residential schools. (Senate of Canada)
Senator Lynn Beyak says she will not resign in the face of calls to do so. She has been widely criticized for her speech about the failure to acknowledge the ‘abundance of good’ to come out of Indian residential schools. (Senate of Canada)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 18: ‘Resign, Senator. Resign’ – 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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‘Resign, Senator. Resign’

Re Senator Says Residential-School Comments Were Meant To Focus On ‘Waste Of Tax Dollars’ (March 17): Normally, I pay little attention to the goings-on of the obsolete institution to which Senator Lynn Beyak belongs, beyond a mild irritation that we Canadians continue to foot its bills.

But after reading her stubborn defence of her outrageous comments lamenting that “remarkable work, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unnoticed,” I’m compelled to express shock and disgust. It takes considerable gall (I’m sure being unaccountable to electors helps) to make, then defend, such statements. I would strongly urge her to reflect on what she’s done, reform her hurtfully obtuse position, and apologize publicly to the thousands of Indigenous children who suffered and all too often perished in that racist system.

René Guerra Salazar, Hull, Que.

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Senator Lynn Beyak says her speech “was not intended to be about residential schools.” Why then did she refer to them 17 different times? If she’s genuinely sorry, she will say so, plus heed calls to resign to ensure the situation doesn’t exacerbate.

Amy Soule, Hamilton

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Good of Senator Lynn Beyak to be concerned about the “waste of tax dollars.” I for one would be delighted if she stepped down so I could stop wasting them on her salary. Her remarks belittle the tragedy of the suffering and harm the residential schools inflicted, harm which echoes through the generations to this day. Disgusting remarks. More disgusting revisionism. Resign, Senator. Resign.

Sarah Johnson, Winnipeg

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Profit trumping animal suffering

Re Federal Agency Bowed To Meat Industry (March 17): Canada’s shamefully inadequate guidelines on the treatment of animals in transport must change. How is it that other countries do so much better? Do Canadian producers just not care about animal suffering? It’s time our government listened to voices other than those from industry lobby groups. The current regulations fall grossly short of any reasonable person’s definition of humane.

Sandra Neill, Toronto

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Benefit-haves, have-nots

Michael Valpy asks, “What would make someone wake up one morning and decide she or he is no longer middle class?” (Populist Anger Is Real, And Canada Had Better Wake Up, March 13.) I have a few suggestions. Perhaps she woke up with a toothache, then remembered that she didn’t have a dental plan. Perhaps she woke up with a stiff neck for the third day in a row and wished for a massage or chiropractic treatment or physiotherapy – all beyond her means. Perhaps she woke up on her 65th birthday and remembered she had to keep working, because she didn’t have a workplace pension.

The vocabulary of “class” hides the daily life experiences and a telling difference among Canadians today: those who have workplace benefits and those who do not. Most of those who do have benefits can thank a union and a collective agreement.

Nancy Bowes, Dartmouth, N.S.

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(Not so) universal heath care

As a wholehearted supporter of medicare, I was delighted to see The Globe and Mail’s call last Saturday for an expansion of services, including universal drug coverage (Make Canada Smug Again, editorial, March 11). It was disappointing then to see the mistaken notion repeated that “In Canada, if you’re breathing, you’re covered.”

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people remain uninsured. In Ontario alone, more than 500,000 people are falling between the cracks, including new permanent residents in the “three month waiting period,” migrant workers between contracts, people completing inland sponsorship applications, and those who are undocumented.

As physicians, what should my colleagues and I tell the young woman with mental illness whose coverage will only take effect in three months, but who is suicidal and requires hospitalization now? Or the elderly, undocumented man whose cancer treatment cannot wait, who has worked years in Canada, but never had a path toward gaining citizenship?

We pride ourselves on our single-payer public health-care system. It is time to be bold, to separate access to health insurance from immigration status, and create a truly universal system where everyone residing here has access to the health care they need.

Michaela Beder, psychiatrist, Toronto

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The right thing? Fuel standards

Re Trump Targets Fuel-Efficiency Standards (March 15): Fuel efficiency standards are a small but essential step toward solving the most pressing and dangerous problem of our time: climate change.

Although keeping our economy in step with the United States’ economy is important, the “right thing for Canadian consumers and producers” is ensuring that our youth (myself included) and the generations to follow have access to a similar standard of living – clean water, fresh air, and a habitable climate – as we have today.

Each piece of legislation passed with this in mind translates to fewer deaths, displaced people and destroyed ecosystems in the long run. We need to take care that our policies align with our values and are enacted with a concern for the future, as opposed to an attempt to save a few dollars today.

Regardless of what our American neighbours are doing, we must stick to the high road on emissions reduction. Our children will thank us.

Rebecca Hamilton, Vancouver

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