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Kellie Leitch has sparked a fire storm with her suggestion that prospective immigrants should be vetted for ‘anti-Canadian values.’ (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Kellie Leitch has sparked a fire storm with her suggestion that prospective immigrants should be vetted for ‘anti-Canadian values.’ (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 19: Judging, gender, values. 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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Judging, gender, values

Several judges have been hauled onto the carpet for inappropriate decisions and comments regarding sexual-assault complainants. All passed through judicial advisory committee screenings without their apparent prejudice against women being revealed. So perhaps Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch can explain how the screening of immigrants for “un-Canadian values” is going to work better than the screening for judges.

Rupert Taylor, Waterloo, Ont.

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What to do about judges who clearly demonstrate an inability to defend the rights of, and render proper decisions with respect to, more than 50 per cent of the population? The custom so far seems to be sending them off for some re-education and consciousness-raising, often at taxpayers’ ex-pense, after which they confess their sins, reminiscent of the graduates of Khmer Rouge reeducation camps. This is wrong and won’t work.

Changing the hardwired attitudes and opinions of middle-aged males is notoriously hard. (Case in point, the Republican Party waiting for Donald Trump to “pivot” and exhibit some moderation and “presidential” characteristics. Just ask them how that’s going.) Chances are, you’re not going to change their attitudes regarding women generally, which has no doubt made life harder and less fair for female lawyers and participants in their courtrooms. Better to put such judges out of their misery and return them to private practice.

Bill Rutsey, Toronto

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Poor in the North

Re When It’s Too Costly Even To Be Poor (editorial, Sept. 13): As a community retailer serving more than 100 northern locations, the North West Company has direct insight into the high cost of living, low income experience of many northern, indigenous Canadians.

Nutrition North (NN) is a modest-sized, fully audited program that replaced a less efficient, less effective food mail system. NN is not a complete solution but it is making food more affordable and people are buying more healthy foods. (Consumption of healthy foods is up by 15 to 25 per cent in our stores.) Unfortunately, subsidy rates been frozen since the program began five years ago and inflation has eroded its impact.

While food distribution into remote communities can be continuously improved, it is far from broken. Nor is it monopolistic, whether measured by profit margins or the diversity of shopping channel options. The real harm is to avoid the fundamental issue of low income households and an extremely high-cost living environment. Food Secure Canada is on the mark with its recommendation to give meaning to food security rights by having income programs indexed to remote living costs. This requires a significant, surmountable investment that should not be delayed.

Edward Kennedy, CEO, North West Company, Winnipeg

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A person of colour

As a mixed-race person who grew up in the 1980s, I read Brown And White, But Black All Over (Facts & Arguments, Sept. 13) with both amusement and irritation.

Although a different mix (Indian and English) than the child in the essay, I encountered racist teasing at school from kids who would call me “Paki” or even “Chinese.” That was the level of ignorance in those days in suburban Calgary, and that wasn’t very long ago.

The diversity of Canadian cities and towns has increased astronomically; that particular type of behaviour would not be so common now. Despite the incidents of horrifying racist violence happening these days, it is safer and easier being a person of colour in Canada than ever before.

It is to be hoped that this child will be able to talk about his racial heritage however he wants to and shape the conversation rather than feeling “lucky” or “unlucky” about an inherent part of who he is.

Anita Jain, Vancouver

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Bank on a post office

Re Seriously? No (letter, Sept. 15): Yes, Canada has a banking landscape that Canada Post could not penetrate if postal banking were introduced – but it wouldn’t have to. The purpose of postal banking is not to compete with banks, but rather to use the post office’s infrastructure to address people who live in banking deserts or who don’t have bank accounts.

Currently, these people often rely on predatory lenders and cheque-cashing businesses. In the United States, Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed using the postal service to provide debit cards and small, low-interest loans to people who are underserved by the banking industry.

If adopted in Canada, postal banking could raise significant revenue for Canada Post while also providing an equitable alternative to exploitative business practices that add to the substantial costs of being poor.

Anthony Cantor, Toronto

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Crushed by carts

Re Budget Cuts Force Music, French Teachers Out Of Rooms (Sept. 14): I wish I could say that this à la “cart” approach to French and music is a relatively new phenomena, however, I can attest that this is not the case.

My colleagues and I have been carting all manner of materials for these subjects from class to class for decades now. We are the Rodney Dangerfields of the teaching profession: We don’t get no respect.

That said, class space is just the tip of the iceberg of this problem.

This fall, my new timetable indicated that I was to teach Core French to my school’s Grade 7 and 8 students. They will receive five 30-minute periods of instruction per week, a significant amount of time. The resources that I have for my intermediate students date from 1997 and are no longer on the Ministry of Education’s Trillium list of approved textbooks. When I inquired about the purchase of new texts and materials, I was informed that there was simply no money available to purchase materials for Core French.

The theme for my first professional development day this year? Toward 21st Century Learning.

Such odious parsimony.

My students deserve better.

Philip May, Sudbury, Ont.

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As a French teacher with more than 15 years experience, the years I spent teaching with a cart were those where I felt the most stressed, disorganized and ineffective as a teacher. To expect French and music teachers to pack up and move all of their resources six times a day at 40-minute intervals is a logistical and organizational ordeal.

“French à la carte” (a lame attempt at a chic catchphrase) at overcapacity schools is the dreaded reality nowadays, but to impose that unnecessarily at schools where classrooms are readily available is ludicrous.

And all in the name of questionable cost savings, as only a few rooms in the entire school would be affected – notwithstanding that the maintenance of schools is at such a low point these days that “cleaning” involves emptying the garbage and a quick round of sweeping.

I wonder if the savings from the cleaning costs will outweigh the dangers posed by being run down by runaway pianos and carts full of English-French dictionaries …

Erin Grewar, Toronto

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