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The federal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is searching for a date to declare a national statuatory holiday to mark the painful legacy of residential schools.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

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Holiday pushback

Re Federal Government To Declare Statutory Holiday To Mark Residential-School Legacy (Aug. 15): Considering the complicity the various Christian denominations played in the residential school debacle, perhaps Easter Monday would be an appropriate day to commemorate the residential school tragedy.

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Chander Chaddah, Toronto

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Although we all deplore the events concerning the treatment of Indigenous peoples, it is a mistake to declare another statutory holiday. Certainly it would benefit the federal work force, Crown corporations, banks and eventually workers belonging to powerful provincial unions.

However, has anyone calculated the cost to our economy?

Business owners in the private sector will have to pay employees time and a half, or even double or triple time for working on a stat. By all means, declare a date to remind us of our abhorrent treatment toward Indigenous communities, but don’t make it a statutory holiday.

Michael Gilman, Toronto

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Prior to instituting a federal statutory holiday to mark the inexcusable “legacy” of residential school abuse, the government and Indigenous peoples’ leadership, such as the Assembly of First Nations, need to go much further in educating Canadians about residential school abuse.

Sadly, the collective conscience of Canadians has not yet fully comprehended what residential schools were, how they came to be, or the extent of the racially based policies that resulted in the horrific abuses inflicted upon Indigenous families.

Ticking a “create a stat holiday” box at this time will leave a sorely needed education initiative undone. Let us be relentless in impressing upon Canadians how residential schools were born of deeply rooted prejudices, resulting in long-lasting physical and emotional impact upon Indigenous families to this very day. Once this is accepted as real by the Canadian people, how to annually mark this sad chapter of Canadian history can be addressed.

Greg Schmidt, Calgary

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I cannot think of anything more divisive for Canada than for the federal government to declare a federal-employee holiday to mark the residential school legacy. It is almost certain that the provinces and the private sector will not modify their labour practices to add this holiday. With this action, the federal government will be providing yet another reason for the huge majority of Canadians who are not First Nations or federal employees to be upset, frustrated, envious or highly irritated with the few who are.

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John P.A. Budreski, Vancouver

Gunning for a ban

Re Montreal Set To Press Ottawa For National Handgun Ban (Aug. 15): Politicians are a pathetic bunch. In one sentence they tell us that we need to legalize drugs, because the drug ban didn’t work. In the next sentence, they would like us to believe that a handgun ban would somehow be successful. It’s crazy what they’ll agree to, if they think it will get them some votes.

Michel Trahan, Maria, Que.

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Your editorial, The Need For More Gun Data (Aug. 15), suggesting more data on criminal firearm use and how the weapons are obtained, overlooks one of the most important data points. According to Toronto Police gun statistics, this year (as of last Sunday) the city has had 249 shootings, 337 victims and 30 deaths. I agree with David Butt that firearms simply do not have a place in the modern urban environment (Firearms Do Not Belong In Canada’s Cities, Aug. 15).

There is no question that bad guys will still figure out ways to obtain guns and gun crimes will still occur, but a buyback program to generate an absolute reduction in the number of guns available, combined with the very tight restrictions on ownership and use as suggested by Mr. Butt, are necessary steps if we want to get serious about permanently reducing the number of shootings, injuries and deaths.

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Frank Malone, Aurora, Ont.

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It would appear, based on David Butt’s suggestions, that anyone living in an “urban area” as opposed to a rural area – whatever that is – would have to employ a “rural-based hunting guide” with access to firearms for that purpose if they wished to hunt.

I foresee many hunters and firearms owners having sudden rural attachments and rural firearm caches. Such storage, whether guide-based or personal, would create more problems than it could ever possibly solve.

The author references the fallibility of individual personal firearms authorizations, by pointing out that type of system isn’t perfect. No it isn’t, but for reasons that are far too obvious, his approach is worse.

If we need to devise a system where no one is ever shot by a firearm, the only slippery slope I see is the one to knee-jerk stupidity.

Douglas R. Andrews, Regina

Sing lustily along

Re Using Music To Help Deal With Dementia (Life & Arts, Aug. 13): Music, poetry and time outside have been sustaining pleasures for my mother, who experiences advanced dementia. Despite not knowing exactly who her visitors are and having limited physical abilities, mum can still recite the ends of poetry stanzas, sing certain songs lustily and smile broadly as she watches birds at the feeder. Active participation in these experiences with our mother is a pleasure for her family and caregivers, and is a gift of time with her we will never forget.

Kathy Martin, Toronto

Free advice? Plenty

Re The Democrats Are Self-Destructing Again (Aug. 14): Since Margaret Wente is happy to provide “free advice” to the Democrats, I would like to provide a bit of “free advice” to Ms. Wente: Look at the meat and potatoes portion of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s platform, which is government-provided health care and free tuition at public colleges and universities. Both items are supported by most Americans. Drop the condescending comments on her looks and lipstick. It’s unbecoming of a serious journalist, especially one who is a woman.

Paul Wilk, Mississauga

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Is it purely coincidental? If I substitute “Liberal” for “Democrat,” “Canadians” for “Americans” and “politically correct” for “socialists” in Margaret Wente’s view of mistakes the Democrats are making and what to do to correct them, I find a hint of Maxime Bernier’s criticism of Liberal policy.

Make those substitutions and you get: “So here’s my free advice to Liberals: Give the culture wars a break. Forget about transgender bathrooms. Stop identifying everyone by the intersectional boxes they tick off. Start calling out the campus radicals – on all sides. Start talking up Canada for a change, instead of condemning it as some sort of racist hellhole. Act as if you care as much for struggling Canadians as you do for unauthorized immigrants. Play down the politically correct. And please, please find a mainstream candidate …ordinary people can relate to.” Seems reasonable to this middle-class Canadian.

W. E. Hildreth, Toronto