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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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Bankable women

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Re: And The Nominees Are, Folio (April 25): I was very surprised to see the paucity of women of science on the list of deserving women, particularly in light of current efforts to get more women interested in the sciences.

There are some outstanding candidates such as Margaret Newton, PhD, whose pioneering work on wheat rust disease resulted in the savings of millions of dollars for farmers of Western Canada. The first Canadian woman to earn a doctorate in the agricultural field, she was also one of the first women to be elected to the Canadian Science Hall of Fame.

David Swales, Peterborough, Ont.

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I am disappointed the Native Women's Association of Canada did not nominate Edith Anderson Monture, the first First Nations registered nurse in Canada, and a pioneer of indigenous health care in this country.

Born on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in 1890, she was determined to become a nurse. Indian Act restrictions of her era prevented status Indians from pursuing higher education, so she trained in the United States and worked in New York as a public health nurse.

In the First World War, she served two years overseas in France with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps of the American Expeditionary Force. She later returned to Six Nations, married and raised a family, and continued her nursing and midwifery until she retired in the 1960s.

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Moreover, as a war veteran, under the terms of the 1917 Military Voters Act, for many decades Edith was the only female status Indian registered band member in Canada with the right to vote in federal elections, which right she proudly exercised.

John Moses, Delaware and Upper Mohawk bands, Six Nations of the Grand River; Ottawa

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When the elite of Victoria were sniffing at Emily Carr's lack of pallid watercolours, as was the custom of the time, she was out in her caravan capturing real life. She painted in Technicolor with bold brushstrokes across her canvasses and produced stunning depictions that serve to record how our First Nations people lived. Her work is living history. That factor should be considered when we look at whose face might grace our banknotes.

Judy Pollard Smith, Hamilton

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'Shameful' solitary

Kudos for persistently exposing the shameful incidence of solitary confinement in Canada's prison system (Disturbed Inmates Caught In Solitary Trap, April 25). As the article notes, the UN Mandela Rules recognize 15 consecutive days in solitary confinement as "torture." A paradigm shift in Canada's prison system could occur overnight if a human-rights group were to advocate for charges at the International Criminal Court against the responsible ministers of the Crown, accusing them of "crimes against humanity" of which torture is included when it is part of government policy or tolerated and condoned by government.

William O'Meara, Toronto

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Native home

Re: Why I Won't Leave My Native Home (April 25): Susan Bardy asks, would you "leave your home, your land, which you grew up on, land that was walked on not only by your grandparents but also by your ancestors?"

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That is exactly what my grandparents did when they immigrated to Canada and they never saw their home, their parents or cousins again. They moved because they did not see a good future for themselves in their homeland.

Isn't that what Newfoundlanders and many other Canadians do? They move within Canada in hopes of a better future. Isolated reserves lack resources just like the isolated outports of Newfoundland. Newfoundland stopped trying to supply services to many outports and helped the people move, making them leave their community and history behind so they could have water and sewer, heath services, high schools, electricity, jobs, roads …

Nancy Rutherford, Red Deer, Alta.

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Ms. Bardy's situation as a member of the Tyendinaga First Nation in Bay of Quinte Territory is quite different from that of remote indigenous northern communities such as Attawapiskat. She lives less than an hour's drive to a modern hospital in Belleville. Youths of her First Nation can attend community college there without leaving home. Employment and cultural opportunities are nearby, both within the indigenous community and the larger general community.

Delivery of essential services in distant communities faced with severe climate conditions is expensive and time-consuming, and requires a level of local response that is difficult to mobilize.

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We need to continue to work with First Nations communities, supporting them morally and financially. But there is a reason that half of Canada's indigenous population has opted to live off the reserve. Those who choose to exercise this right should not be discouraged from doing so.

Ray Argyle, Kingston

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Leap or ...?

Re: The Trouble With 'Decoupling' (April 25): Konrad Yakabuski's column has one thing in common with other recent criticisms of the Leap Manifesto: It presents no alternative. Yes, emissions and economic growth have been in lockstep for the past 150 plus years. But we know we have to reduce emissions drastically; if that means affecting economic growth, we need to come to terms with that.

To argue that there are still a billion people who can only dream of granite countertops is not a rationale for justifying perpetual economic growth. It can't happen. The Leap authors are trying to start the discussion on how to move the economy away from fossil fuels. This is something our new government needs to do. They need to bring everyone to the realization that things are going to change. And that includes the idea of "economic growth" as the only solution to our problems.

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Dave Carson, Dundas, Ont.

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Finnish schooling

Re: Social Climber, Focus (April 23): As a former, and somewhat disillusioned, teacher (age 33), I found Doug Saunders's article about Finland's education system to be a breath of fresh air. I have worked in both public and private systems in Ontario and see several factors that hold us back, such as a bloated curriculum and bureaucracy, an emphasis on "standardization," and days unnecessarily filled with structure.

Government's role should be minimalist, yet strong; for example, raise standards in critical subjects such as literacy and math and allow more freedom in other areas. As Finland demonstrates, every student needs attention from people who care, and room to breathe, socialize and have fun, all within a flexible, not burdensome, academic framework.

So, what is holding us back?

Chris Bocking, Peterborough, Ont.

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All together now

In the wake of the Duffy trial, why don't we all rise up, march together to Parliament Hill and demand that the Senate be abolished?

Riva Ellinson, London, Ont.

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