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Omar Khadr's bail

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Finally, bail has been granted to Omar Khadr, who was interrogated and tortured in Guantanamo.

Emblazoned in my memory (as strongly as the moment that Terry Fox announced the return of his cancer), is the testimony of Richard Colvin about our government's "complicity in torture" of Afghan detainees. So is the Conservatives' denial of this (through Peter MacKay) in the House of Commons as they threw Mr. Colvin, a foreign service officer, under the bus.

Torture or complicity therein is simply wrong, an infraction of international law, and may well come back to haunt us. My thanks to the Alberta judge for her wisdom in this ruling.

Ruth Mossop, Victoria

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The federal government can't appeal Omar Khadr's bail soon enough. We're talking about a convicted terrorist here. (A 15-year-old is perfectly capable of forming the intention to kill. Just look at the teens leaving this country to try to join Islamic State.) A convicted terrorist should spend every minute of his or her sentence behind bars.

We've already seen what Mr. Khadr's word is worth as an adult. Why should we accept it on a bail-release promise? He waived his right to an appeal as part of the plea deal he made to get back into Canada. So what does he do when he gets back? Asks for bail until he can – wait for it – appeal his sentence.

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Janice Edwards, Edmonton

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Finance Minister Joe Oliver has omitted a significant item from the federal budget, namely the amount being squandered on frivolous appeals of judicial decisions. Appealing the decision to release Omar Khadr on bail is just one of a long string of examples of appeals which the Harper government knew it would lose.

This waste of taxpayers' money is almost as bad as the money being wasted on political ads disguised as "information."

G. Wayne Brown, Nanaimo, B.C.

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Austerity's end game

With the Ontario budget increasing spending on transportation while further squeezing health care, maybe the government's new slogan should be: "We'll help you get to the end of the road faster" (A Double-Edged Ontario Budget – April 24).

Gad Perry, radiation oncologist, Ottawa

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Didn't Ontario voters soundly reject austerity last spring? Here we are being sucker punched with it anyway. The Liberals certainly did not run on slashing health-care professionals and the services they provide, increasing class sizes or cutting back on benefits for disabled people who try and go back to work.

Neither did they promise fire-sale sell-offs of public assets like Hydro One. But that was then. Liberals promise anything to get elected, then rule like slash-and-burn conservatives in office.

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Look around the world: Austerity programs destroy public services, ruin lives and impoverish nations. Why is this lesson lost on our leaders? There is one group that benefits though, the richest among us, the guys who hire these former politicians after we throw them out of office.

Dave Lundy, Merrickville, Ont.

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The increased funding for community health services announced in the Ontario budget suggests sectors like community mental health and addictions will be protected from the spending cuts in the next two budgets.

However, the $138-million increase pales in comparison to the $11-billion announced last year for hospital construction.

In 2009, the provincial auditor recommended developing 23,000 supportive housing units for people living with mental illness. This hasn't occurred; more than 10,000 people are on the wait-list in Toronto alone. A modest $349-million investment over six years would create the housing and support services called for.

Steve Lurie, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Branch

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Make it all or none

Your editorial expressing hope that the Saskatchewan government will rethink its commitment to control farm land purchases by institutional investors reflects little understanding of the true issues involved (Land, Locked – April 23). At stake is the continuance of the family farm as the foundation of our agriculture in Saskatchewan.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board revealed in December, 2014, that it intends to invest up to $3-billion in farmland over the next five years. A billion of those dollars in the Saskatchewan land market would destroy the historic patterns of land transfer from retiring farmers to younger farmers.

It is not tenable for the CPP to exploit a questionable legal loophole while other Canadian pension plans remain unable to invest in farm land. Either they all should be restricted, or all should be eligible.

Creating a pension fund purchase free-for-all would end Saskatchewan's family-based agriculture forever.

Dan Patterson, Moose Jaw

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Oil-spill denial

Re Expert Denies 'Exceptional' Coast Guard Claim (April 24): Isn't it enough that the Conservatives are ineffective at protecting our coastlines? Now, after the spill in Vancouver, we find out that they can't even pull off a routine denial of responsibility.

Thor Kuhlmann, Vancouver

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Tutored results

Re Good Marks? Great. Meet Your Tutor (Life & Arts, April 24): It would be interesting to see exactly how much school improvement can be attributed to the amount of outside tutoring, rather than to what is happening in the classroom.

The Society for Quality Education has urged this statistic be gathered and included when the Education Quality and Accountability Office reports test results. Without information on how much parents are using and paying for outside tutoring, Ontarians aren't getting the full picture.

It's a question I fear the EQAO is afraid to ask – perhaps because schools have come either to rely upon the services of tutoring companies, or to take credit for improvement when none is due.

Doretta Wilson, Society for Quality Education

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A woman's body

Sheema Khan's column, The Fight Against Sexual Violence Is A Global Struggle (April 24), brings to mind the absurd comment made by an Iranian mullah in a debate on TV a couple of years ago: He baldly stated that a woman who "dresses immodestly" is asking to be raped. His metaphor was: If you leave meat out on the counter, the cat will eat it.

All I could think right then was that his cat was incredibly poorly behaved. I can not only leave meat out on the counter, but also his own dish full of cat food and my cat won't touch it, won't even show an interest – because it is on the counter. That is because he understands that my food is on the counter – his food is on the floor, and he was trained from kittenhood to respect that order of things.

All my cats have respected that order of things. If even a cat can be gently trained …

Claudette Claereboudt, Regina

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