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Students at harvest time: St. Peter’s Indian Residential School, Lesser Slave Lake, Alta. (Circa 1922-1931). (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)
Students at harvest time: St. Peter’s Indian Residential School, Lesser Slave Lake, Alta. (Circa 1922-1931). (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 5: Colonialism’s reach. 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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Colonialism’s reach

Your editorial, The Way Forward (April 4), makes a poor case for distinguishing different brands of colonialism. Notwithstanding your protestations, there are useful “parallels” and “insights” to be drawn between Canada and South Africa’s colonial past and efforts to redress it. The continuing shameful treatment by white Canadians of Indigenous people shares much with South Africans’ – living conditions, health, residential schools, reserves/homelands, constitutional status, etc.

The fact black South Africans are a majority and Canadian aboriginals aren’t is not to the point. Pretending Canada has a “unique history” of exploitation and discrimination is a vain attempt to distinguish ourselves and people’s responsibility to bring about real change. In the struggle to deal with this festering issue, any help from anywhere is needed.

Allan C. Hutchinson, Toronto

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Your editorial argues for a new Indigenous model based on Canada’s unique history. The dilemma is that many Canadians still do not know that history.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action urges mandatory education for all school children on treaties, residential schools and the contributions of Indigenous peoples, and proposes changing citizenship education to cover these crucial areas.

While we have some advances in curriculum, provincially, and some good words, federally, this new foundation in truth is still a long way off. We need to pick up the pace because education on our colonial history and its legacy will help bring change. Education fights racism, builds understanding and creates allies for a just future. Truth about our unique history of racism, aggressive assimilation, and violence has been obscured for far too long.

Jennifer Henry, executive director, KAIROS

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No random testing

Society is in a sorry state if we believe that “random” testing of Toronto Transit Commission employees is justified (TTC Union Loses Bid To Block Random Testing For Drugs, Alcohol – April 4).

It would not be unreasonable to screen for drugs and alcohol when there is an accident or misadventure involving the TTC, and where drugs or alcohol are suspected. But random testing is wrong. What next? Will teachers, nurses, doctors, judges, transport drivers, heavy machinery operators etc. also be required to undergo random screening because of a few unfortunate incidents?

Even editors at The Globe and Mail could be on the list. (Just joking about the editors, as I would like my letter to be published.)

Michael Gilman, Toronto

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Bombardier, anger

Re Widespread Anger Clouds Bombardier’s Backtrack On Executive Pay (April 4): Directors and executives of companies asking for government money should take a 50-per-cent cut in pay and benefits until the money has been repaid. Adding this precondition would ensure the help asked for was really necessary. It would also make me feel less used.

Hugh Molesworth, Shelburne, Ont.

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Bombardier was a company fast running out of cash at the end of 2015, had no new orders for C-series jets still under test, its stock was trading in pennies and many analysts had written the company off as a going concern.

At the end of the year, before conditional cash support from the feds, its cash position was sound, big new orders for two major airlines had been secured for the C-series, the stock price had doubled and some analysts were jumping on the buy wagon.

If this doesn’t deserve applause, someone needs to tell this shareholder what does.

Sudhir Jain, Calgary

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Canada’s history

Your recent series of articles about the First World War has reminded me of the summer of 1970, when I worked as an au pair in France on a travel scholarship and had the opportunity to meet my pen pal in Lens, Pas-de-Calais. She and her family made a special effort to take me to visit the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge.

Every Nov. 11 since, I cannot help but relive the overwhelming feeling of profound sadness when I saw the endless rows of white crosses in every direction – and the confused mixture of pride and humility I felt as so many French citizens shook my hand and thanked me for what Canada did for them and their country.

Thank you for helping me to learn to more than I did in school, and for bringing this part of Canadian history to life.

Janice Iverach Wasik, Tsawwassen, B.C.

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We must never forget how horrible war is and that the First World War was an especially horrible war. There was nothing heroic about any part of it: dying in the mud, often alone and wounded, or later of the various diseases engendered by the living conditions.

My great uncle Sydney Towle died in July, 1917, near Noeux-les-Mines, an unknown small town in northern France. A German shell landed on him and blew his leg off. He died two days later. All the family got was a death notice. This story was repeated tens of thousands of times for tens of thousands of families. No glory, just misery and loss. That was the true story of the war. We need to remember it so we are never tempted to let Canada become involved in another such war.

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver

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O’Leary? Oh, absent

Re Kevin O’Leary’s Absenteeism Amounts To A Major Weakness In His Electability (April 4): Kevin O’Leary appears to be running for president, oblivious to the fact Canada is a parliamentary democracy. No doubt he would be proud to win the Conservative Party primaries … if there were such a thing.

Brian J. Lowry, Fredericton

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Hmm ...

Re In Trump Era, Golf’s Class Divide Is Widening Fast Once Again (Sports, April 4): Cathal Kelly admits that his greatest personal golfing achievement was being able to “wedge nearly a dozen beers into the ball pocket of my bag.” He must be still suffering from the resulting hangover, judging by his grand slam of everything golf.

He seems to agree with Donald Trump that “golfing is shorthand for shiftless laziness,” adding that it is a “profound separator” of the classes. But he also notes that Mr. Trump has golfed 14 times in the past 10 weeks. Some would consider Mr. Trump’s time away from his work was a good thing – and that golf was providing an essential public service and supplying benefits for all.

Bill Jennings, Kingston

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Re Will America’s Game Reclaim Its Political Power? (April 3): The relationship between baseball and politics brings to mind Babe Ruth’s – some say likely apocryphal – response to a reporter who told him his salary was more than the president’s: “I know, but I had a better year than he did.”

That will definitely be the case this year – and the season has barely started.

Tim Jeffery, Toronto

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