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Air of ire

Re Air Canada Overhauls Aeroplan Amid Travel Uncertainty (Report on Business, Aug. 12): So Air Canada is revamping Aeroplan in hopes of convincing Canadian travellers to remain loyal. But Canadians have little choice in remaining loyal to our national air carrier, owing to federal laws restricting foreign ownership of domestic airlines.

Some healthy competition would force Air Canada to improve its service, thereby encouraging loyalty without having to offer incentives to do so. The introduction of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations last year was thought to effect better service through the implementation of financial penalties for delays within the control of airlines. But because the regulations are enforced by airlines themselves, many Canadians find that they are denying compensation claims for a myriad of reasons.

My own claim is now with the Canadian Transportation Agency, where it lies among more than 3,000 complaints that flooded the office within the first months of the new regulations. I don’t expect a decision for years.

Canadians deserve better air service, and I believe that will only come when Ottawa takes the blinders off when it comes to protecting Air Canada.

Barry Imhoff St. John’s

Crunch time for classes

Re Unions Decry School Board’s COVID-19 Sick Leave Policy (Aug. 13): As stated by a Ministry of Education spokesperson, teachers and education workers in Ontario “benefit from the most generous sick leave program in Canada.” Unions should realize that’s 11 full salary days a year and 120 short-term leave days paid at 90 per cent.

Options for educators during the pandemic are there; options to teach in person or online are there. The recent Hospital for Sick Children report recommends kids go back to school for their academic and mental health. In this new-normal world, educators, as others, should also learn to adapt.

Ray Wolanin Toronto

Re As Back-to-school Anxiety Mounts Across Canada, Parents Turn To Private Pods (Aug. 13): It’s not surprising to see parents take steps to ensure their children receive safe, meaningful education through “education pods” or other means. It’s also not surprising that this can lead to inequality, since many families can’t afford anything other than government-run schools. What is surprising is the silence around policies that would erase those inequalities: Give parents money for their children’s education.

At Cardus, we propose that families be offered funding to use in the school setting that works best for their kids. The lower a family’s income, the more money they’d receive.

We should implement policies that will give all families the resources to make school work this fall. Why should only wealthy parents have the freedom to do what’s best for their kids?

David Hunt Education director, Cardus; Hamilton

Re Toronto Schools May Not Be Ready In Time, Board Says (Aug. 14): When I look at the old brick fortresses attended by my grandchildren and thousands of other elementary-school students in Toronto, I see no way to make them safer in the next few weeks. With hot-water heating, they don’t even have HVAC systems to modify. Many have windows that can’t be opened after years of painting.

I understand there are tens of thousands of working-class parents who do not have the money to ride out keeping their children at home until it’s safe. This is a huge dilemma for which I have no slick solution.

I do know these parents should be supported financially and we should have more information about the time and cost of keeping our children safe at school. I’m pretty sure the federal government will need to help. Unsafe actions, mostly driven by our collective fear of hurting the economy, are not good enough.

Peter Crosby Toronto

Slammed shut

Re Carleton Criminologists Cut Student Internships With Police (Aug. 13): I am appalled that criminologists at Carleton University would follow such a disastrous social policy. It seems to me that the purpose of a university criminology department should be to learn about and suggest improvements in policing practices, not to limit and demonize the current method of keeping peace in our society.

Canada is one of the most peaceful and respectful countries in the world – I think we can thank our policing policies for this. I know, like everything else, policing in Canada can be improved. But while this is being continually done, I would thank police personnel for a tough job well done.

Jonathan Usher Toronto

I rarely lose my temper, but this move by criminologists at Carleton University leaves me dumbstruck.

I believe universities are supposed to prepare people to be excellent citizens, so that the next generation can tackle society’s problems, and some of them will become leaders who shake up existing structures.

However, it appears that these professors are hiding from their own responsibility for problems in policing. As some of the country’s brightest experts on criminology, isn’t it part of their jobs to advise and work with police-related organizations to uncover issues and resolve them?

I find their current decision to be a shallow and unhelpful response to a problem as important and complex as how we police.

Ed McDonough Toronto

It must be a sublime pleasure for Carleton University criminologists – with their secure positions and pensions – to know they may be blocking career opportunities for students by denying them a chance to work in the police and prison fields.

If, as they claim, these institutions are “rotten institutional structures,” wouldn’t it be preferable to send in newly woke students to fix the problems?

Claire Hoy Toronto

Which way?

Re Frank, Belinda Stronach Reach Deal To Split Family Businesses (Aug. 14): The Stronach family’s business dealings, and the troubles that followed, remind me of a newspaper cartoon I cut out many years ago and still have on a bulletin board at home.

A car and driver come to a fork in the road with two signs. One leading right reads “Fame and Fortune.” The other leading left reads “Peace and Quiet.” I chose to go left and have been happy with my choice ever since.

Steven Brown Toronto

Down with debt

Re Consumers Paid Down Debt As Ottawa Increased Aid (Report on Business, Aug. 10): What a splendid bit of positive news for a change. Now we know that to remedy dangerously high household debt, there’s a simple solution: Endure a pandemic every couple of years!

Jim Hickman Bracebridge, Ont.

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