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Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes his way back to his office after a news conference at the Queens Park Legislature in Toronto on April 7, 2021.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

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Chauvin conclusion

Re ‘We Are Able To Breathe Again’ (April 21): What was truly remarkable about the Derek Chauvin trial was the Minneapolis police chief breaking the wall of silence to condemn his former officer.

Let us hope that police forces everywhere can break their confrontational culture and continue to seek accountability when law enforcement behaves badly.

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Nigel Smith Toronto

The most striking image for me that emerges from this trial: Derek Chauvin taken away under police restraint, hands cuffed behind his back.

Geoff Rytell Toronto

Provincial problems

Re Ford Government Eyes Paid Sick Days As Health Units Bolster Closure Powers (April 21): As a consumer and investor, I plan to boycott companies that refuse to offer paid sick days to employees. Bye-bye, Amazon!

JoAnn Breitman Toronto

Re A Leadership Vacuum In Ford’s Ontario (Editorial, April 21): “Experts” are not always right. They aren’t even always experts. I don’t envy Doug Ford and the knife-edge balancing act he has been living through this past year.

However, at some point he should be judged on whether he failed to accept medical advice to vaccinate essential workers and apartment dwellers as priority groups, and to grant easier access to paid sick days.

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These choices should not have become a litmus test for conservatism.

Phillip Morris Mississauga

Academic arguments

Re The Cuts At Laurentian Serve As A Warning For Other Canadian Universities (Opinion, April 17): Unfortunately, I find that all universities in Northern Ontario are being pushed to the brink by a combination of underfunding, swings in government policy and demographic challenges.

Successive governments have funded Ontario university students at a rate lower than every other province. Queen’s Park wants universities to take all the responsibilities of a private corporation while still being subject to the burdens of public regulation.

While one government calls on universities to provide better access to first-generation students, the next government walks away from that commitment. Smaller universities take these hits hard.

Just like how other projects in Ontario’s North require unique investments, so to do its universities. My institution is ready to grow and its costs are stable. But in order to flourish, we need to get out from under this rock and a hard place.

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David Tabachnick Chair, department of political science, philosophy and economics, Nipissing University; North Bay, Ont.

“Cuts at Laurentian serve as a warning.” To whom? Not, it seems, to the president and board of governors who presided over the “financial mess,” and who remain in charge. Not to the auditing firm that approved the pooling of operating and research funds. The Laurentian cuts instead feel like a government warning to citizens.

“Cutting Laurentian a fat cheque” wouldn’t be required – a very thin cheque now will keep Laurentian intact.

Kate Lawson Associate professor, department of English, University of Waterloo

Columnist Konrad Yakabuski writes of “professors earning comfy upper-middle-class wages.” I believe this feeds an underlying resentment of academics that is perpetuated by myths of academia.

Professors require academic credentials that take 10-plus years of postsecondary education. We often do further training or teach for years before acquiring tenure-track positions, often well into our 30s. The truncated nature of our careers never seems to be part of the narrative, and our salaries are rarely as high as assumed.

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While the tenure system might elicit envy from some, there are no “jobs for life.” The academic freedom that we enjoy is related to the subjects of our research and the public opinions that we express. We are as protected as anyone in unionized environments and are governed by collective agreements.

Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde Canada Research Chair, applied evolutionary ecology, Laurentian University; Sudbury

As a former university executive, I find that Laurentian University’s issues are not government’s fault.

Air Canada, Algoma and others used bankruptcy protection to survive. Yet some in academia feel Canadians should pay their debts through taxpayer dollars or higher tuitions.

Many professors teach 15 hours a week with five months’ vacation. Other hours may be spent on research, which generally has no timelines, and professors pursue subjects of their choice with little evidence liberal arts research enhances instruction.

If a course has little demand, why should taxpayers pay for a job, often for life, while others reskill and retrain? The centuries-old university model should be modernized. Tuitions and tax dollars could be halved. Academic freedom should be protected, but tenure seems unnecessary with labour laws and the Canadian Charter.

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I believe Laurentian did the right thing. It will get on track and proudly serve students and the region for generations.

Timothy Lang Toronto

An essential part of Laurentian University’s mission is to serve Northern Ontario’s Indigenous communities. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls on federal, provincial and territorial governments to “provide the necessary funding to postsecondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.” The plan to scatter Laurentian’s midwife programs to institutions in Southern Ontario, and to cut other courses taught by Indigenous faculty, is no way to honour that commitment.

Let’s hope it is not too late to honour our commitment to Indigenous peoples.

Joyce Green and Peter Russell Co-chairs, reconciliation committee, Canadian Political Science Association; Ottawa

Conservative course

Re Erin O’Toole Faces The Stinking Albatross (April 15): By taking the time and effort to prepare and present her bill to ban sex-elected abortions, Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall exercises her rights as an individual. It will be a futile effort, but the issue is nevertheless one obviously dear to her heart, and she will have raised awareness.

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Allowing individual members to reflect the wide array of opinions across this country should be admired, not treated as politically detrimental. We are, after all, living in a country which prides itself in accepting and celebrating a diversity of ethnicities, appearance, abilities, values and traditions.

Does this then not also include giving voice to a diversity of opinions? If so, why is it politically damaging?

Catharina Summers Kingston

Budget brief

Re Après Moi, Le Déluge (Editorial Cartoon, April 20): An alternative caption to Brian Gable’s cartoon of Justin Trudeau: Avec moi, le déluge. Après moi, le désert.

Michel Côté Ottawa

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