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Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks during a rally in Ottawa on March 24.Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

In praise of civility

Re “The defence of civility rests on all of us” (Editorial, April 2): It is important to realize that this loss of civility did not start with the vitriol expressed about the conflict between Israel and Hamas. One should not forget Donald Trump’s personal attacks, abusive language and incitement to violence. Regrettably, this has not only become part of the modus operandi of the MAGA right in the United States, but also by the acolytes and imitators of the right in Canada.

As a result, we have seen the demonization of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, including the “expletive Trudeau” signs and flags waved by protesters on overpasses over Highway 401. The truck convoy protest in Ottawa included some who espouse antisemitic views, and some protesters waved Nazi flags. Yet the convoy was greeted and high-fived by some members of Parliament. When the “government-in-waiting” shows no civility, the unintended but predictable consequence is that it provides permission to all others who are not inclined to protest in a civil manner.

Philip Unger Toronto

It is high time for this “clarion call.” I agree 100 per cent. But the two words behind much of the incivility in political public discourse were conspicuously missing: Pierre Poilievre.

Michelle Walsh Ottawa

Re “An open letter to Canada’s political leaders – for the sake of the country’s future” (Letters, April 2): The open letter to Canada’s political leaders is, hopefully, the beginning of broader civil discourse to make our politicians understand that their undesirable personal comportment is endangering the Canadian way of life. It is noted that the letter is signed by many respected ”formers,” now let’s see if those currently in charge are ready to accept the challenge.

Jon Gillis Baird Goodwood, Ont.

I would like to add my voice to the call for increased civility of discourse and the need for protection against violent, hate-filled mobs that have been attacking Jewish institutions, business and places of worship in Canada. The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggested antisemitism is the world’s most reliable early warning system of a threat to humanity, freedom, and what he called the “dignity of difference.” I was at a rally on Sunday in Toronto of Canadian Jewish women against antisemitism. We heard from Canadian Jewish university students who have faced death threats, rape threats, cyberbullying and assaults.

We ignore this warning at our own collective peril.

Lesley Simpson Toronto

Congratulations to The Globe and Mail for featuring this impactful open letter to Canada’s political leaders and the editorial and article that support it. I have had the same thoughts lately and it was reassuring to see all of those powerful signatories matching my thoughts. I am an older and proud Canadian and I hate to see our values disappearing. I am sure many immigrants came here because they espoused our Canadian values. However, I am sure many of these newcomers cannot see our old values because of all of the animosity among our politicians, so they are imposing their own. I hope this brave gesture makes a difference.

Bonnie Carter Barrie, Ont.

We, as Canadians, need to be reminded from time to time of the blessings we enjoy in these dangerous times. These blessings are not shared by most other countries and peoples of the world. Among them is the presence among us of individuals who take civic responsibilities seriously, and who do something about it when our polity is threatened.

I am very grateful to the signatories of this remarkable letter for so forcefully and eloquently expressing the yearnings of many, many Canadians, for our leaders to find respectful, constructive ways to address the conflicts we are witnessing.

God bless them all.

Peter Love Toronto

‘Dumb sizing’

Re “Stop blaming boomers and other retirees for Canada’s housing shortage” (Report on Business, March 29): Based on this excellent article it seems many people have the opinion that empty nesters are sitting on unused empty bedroom spaces. While this is true in some cases, in many others, it is a myth. After the kids left, their bedrooms were repurposed into spaces consistent with their parents’ current interests, needs and lifestyles. New uses include an upstairs home office with a window, a hobby room, a library or a guest room, uses not possible when the spaces were occupied as bedrooms. In later years they may be further transformed into an in-home infirmary or a room for a caregiver.

Nonetheless, those wanting to move are faced with substantial fees, not to mention the emotional cost and the cost of the physical effort.

Some people have many valid reasons for moving to a smaller home. For them, downsizing is a totally appropriate choice. For others, however, acquiescing to outside pressure and moving for the sake of freeing up “empty” spaces is “dumb sizing.” As Rita Trichur’s column states, the politicians and planners are the problem, not the boomers.

Tom Driedger Toronto

Sportsmanship I

Re “Animal rights groups seek review of Ontario’s new hunting-dog law” (March 28): How cruel and barbaric it is to hold captive helpless coyotes, foxes and rabbits and use them as bait for training dogs to hunt. And how can grown men coercing dogs to hunt captive wild animals in a pen be called a sport? There should be no place for such cruelty in the 21st century.

Nevena Nikolic Hatchet Lake, N.S.

Sportsmanship II

Re “Stop trying to ban Russia from the Olympics. Start ignoring it instead” (Sports, April 2): Cathal Kelly suggests we ignore Russia and its athletes at the Paris Olympics; no handshakes, no applause, no mention. In addition, may I suggest a silent protest that all the world would see? During the opening ceremonies, each country raise a Ukrainian flag beside their own.

Rick Walker Toronto

Sportsmanship III

Re “They say baseball is boring. But that’s a gift, not a burden” (Opinion, March 28): With the Blue Jays home opener approaching on April 8, Mark Kingwell’s timely article might have explained that intentionally, baseball is the only team sport that tries to keep the ball out of play.

The pitcher tries to fool the batter who tries to fool the fielders. In the elegant logic of Wee Willie Keeler, the aim is: “Hit ‘em where they ain’t!”

Ultimate success is a baseball over the fence, totally out of play. Or a strikeout. Again, the ball out of play. Time comes to the ballpark for a holiday.

Baseball is the only team sport where no ball or object scores. It is the individual who scores. By coming home. Safely.

Boring? In this day and age, profound joy and relief.

Hooray and Hallelujah!

Shel Krakofsky Komoka, Ont.

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