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Protestors march during an anti-racism march on June 6, 2020 in Toronto, Canada.

Cole Burston/Getty Images North America

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Systems down

Re Pledge To End Systemic Racism At Canadian Companies Picks Up Steam (Report on Business, July 21): We all should own a share of blame for systemic racism in Canadian society, and within Canadian companies such as law firms. I believe some of the roots of inequity lie with historically exclusionary education and immigration policies.

Such education policies, which have streamed students away from law and other professional studies, have resulted in smaller pools of qualified minority candidates from which businesses hire employees. Such immigration policies, which prevented most minorities from even reaching Canada’s shores, have resulted in fewer minority candidates being promoted to senior managements in companies.

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Only today are most children of minorities, who came to Canada after the Immigration Act of 1976 or were born soon after, reaching the age when they might expect to receive these higher-level promotions. Now, with sufficient numbers of qualified minority candidates, we should correct the results of past unjust policies.

A. J. Hans Viirlaid Toronto

Safe sext

Re Authoritative Advice For Lovers In A Dangerous Time (Aug. 1): Consensual nude image-sharing (i.e. sexting) is often described by governments as a dangerous activity that should be avoided, due to the risk that images will be non-consensually distributed by a recipient. Thus, I was struck by the fact that governments are now including sexting as a safer sex option in COVID-19 sexual health guidelines.

Hopefully this is a sign of mainstream recognition that, like all sexual practices, sexting can be a pleasurable activity that has pros (such as no risk of COVID-19 transmission, pregnancy or STI transmission) and cons (the risk of non-consensual distribution). Recognizing its benefits helps to undermine beliefs that sexters are overly risky or naive, perceptions that often lead to victim-blaming when images are non-consensually distributed.

Regarding sexting as a legitimate choice, with both potential risks and rewards, helps to replace shaming with more open dialogue on safer sexting.

Alexa Dodge Donald Hill Postdoctoral Fellow in political science, Dalhousie University; Halifax

House of cards?

Re Home Stay (Letters, Aug. 5): A letter-writing couple illustrates to me exactly why we have a housing affordability problem, and why it will never go away.

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Their house, as with millions of other Canadian families, has been their best long-term investment and their retirement nest egg. They borrowed via a mortgage to invest in a product free of a capital-gains tax – tax that happen to have a home attached. Many politicians, of every stripe, want to protect property values for the simple reason that they won’t get elected otherwise.

I believe three consequences follow: Those who can’t afford to get on the “property ladder” are shut out of this lucrative investment; return on investment depends mightily on where homeowners happen to live – Vancouver, brilliant, Sarnia, not so good; the housing market is transformed into an investment market as far as price-setting is concerned.

I find this is a system that cozies up to winners and is cruel to losers in the housing lottery. And guess what: Winners get to pass their housing fortunes on to their children, thereby boosting the next generation even higher up the ladder.

Michael Poulton Halifax

Camped out

Re Surge Of Misbehaving And Inexperienced Campers Raises Concerns About Natural Environments (Aug. 5): I find this camping problem pitifully ironic. In Vancouver alone, we have more than 200 tents set up in Strathcona Park. These folks didn’t get a chance to practice setting up tents in their backyards. They are not vacationers who can return to condos with hot running water, showers and toilets.

These are people with no other place to go. Here we call them homeless.

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Carole Itter Vancouver

Shame on inconsiderate campers, hoarding campsite reservations and littering everywhere – heaven forbid, even human waste!

Need we be reminded that Canadians are often complimented for being polite and kind when travelling abroad. Surely we can behave better and respect our fellow campers and beautiful natural environments here at home.

Joe Benedetti Hamilton

Solid investment

Re What’s Driving The Rally In The Price Of Gold? (Report on Business, July 30): When financial experts explain the appeal of gold, they often only mention low interest rates and that gold is a hedge against a falling U.S. dollar. Very few financial advisers ever mention that gold has been just about the only asset universally recognized and accepted as precious and valuable without break since the Bronze Age.

In this age of global unrest, practically all other assets are dependent on external factors outside one’s control: the internet being accessible; banks and markets being open and liquid; governments allowing free movement of capital. Physical gold, on the other hand, gives the holder a lot more control and secrecy over its ownership, and is relatively portable in times of trouble and can be passed down from one generation to another easily.

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Of course, gold can be stolen or lost, but perhaps it is not much riskier than the many financial scams or scandals. I believe gold is regaining attraction because it is physical, tangible and the exact opposite of every questionable financial instrument invented by Wall Street in the last 20 years. Did I mention that gold is also more pleasing to the eye than a virtual account number?

Swire Chin Toronto

Take me out

Re Every Which Wear (First Person, Aug. 4): We have a triumvirate of events in 2021: Our son and daughter are each getting married (COVID-19 permitting) and it’s our 50th anniversary. I mentioned to my beloved spouse of 49 years that a new suit would be needed, wondering if my suggestion would be followed.

Gasp and celebrations – it’s gorgeous. Fine summer-weight wool, European cut and details to flatter his slim body and he did not ask the price! I’m so proud of my husband.

Now, if the designers of dresses for mothers of the bride or groom could find colours other than personality-destroying beige, grey or pale almost-pink, I would be happy. They gasp when I ask for aqua and shrimp-pink.

Sigh. My quest continues.

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Edie Lewis Brantford, Ont.

I must confess that I do not feel great empathy for the writer who expresses dismay that her husband’s poor fashion selections somehow reflect badly on her. She writes about being particularly unhappy with his clothing choices when golfing.

I am retired and a somewhat regular golfer. I hold to the theory that when I see someone wearing mismatched and wildly colourful clothes on the course, they have obviously lost a bet!

Paul Moulton Ridgeway, Ont.

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