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Scott Creek Middle School in Coquitlam, B.C., Oct. 13, 2020.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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If you build it

Re Infrastructure Bank Spent $3.8-million On Termination Pay (Oct. 15); I can’t be the only Canadian who expected some infrastructure to be built under the Liberal creation of this body. Almost five years since the Canada Infrastructure Bank was first promised, I have only seen highly paid executives being hired and let go.

If Justin Trudeau wants Canadians to trust him on continued support for the CIB, a Thunder Bay prison project seems an obvious choice, especially after The Globe’s investigation (Thunder Bay: ‘This Jail Is Just A Death Trap’ – Oct. 9). No further studies required.

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Give us one tangible piece of infrastructure to hope on, or do as the NDP and Conservatives suggest: Dismantle the CIB, before we pay any more golden parachutes for impoverished CEOs.

Eve Giannini Toronto

Show me the money

Re Relief Cheques For Those In Poverty Don’t Have To Be A Lot Of Money To Make A Big Difference (Report on Business, Oct. 15): Research from the University of British Columbia confirms the many others that clearly establish cash transfers as more cost-effective than bureaucratically administered programs. Not only more cost-effective, but more beneficial.

These tests of cash transfers, including economist Evelyn Forget’s analysis of the 1970s basic income experiment in Manitoba, show that people do not squander the money; instead, the financial security allows them to bootstrap themselves out of poverty.

Political parties should accept this evidence and drop any ideological opposition to cash transfers.

Alan Ball New Westminster, B.C.

Curriculum crunch

Re Beijing Uses B.C. Schools To Push Agenda (Oct. 15): While the Toronto District School Board and others in New Brunswick chose to abandon the Confucius Institute’s educational programs, School District No. 43 in Coquitlam, B.C., continues to support the Chinese-backed organization after 10 years. Do we really need financial aid from China to teach students Mandarin?

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School District No. 43 should re-evaluate its position program and close this program down.

Andy Buchan Burnaby, B.C.

Heeding history

Re Margaret MacMillan Takes a Comprehensive Look At Military Conflict (Arts & Pursuits, Oct. 10): In reviewing her new book, contributor David Shribman describes Margaret MacMillan’s observation that our First World War dead were animated by “faith, justice, peace, honour, charity, truth, knowledge and hope.”

Less noble emotions such as “a chance for adventure” or “a decent day’s pay” – they’re left out. This reads to me more like propaganda than history.

Like all the other countries involved, I’m sure Canada dispatched an army not of saints, but of normal human beings, to kill one another in that terrible war of empires. For example, I believe both Canadian and German soldiers would have been animated as much by ignorance as by “knowledge.”

Denis O’Connor Toronto

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Re Civil Wars (Opinion, Oct. 10): Contributor Margaret MacMillan begins her fine essay with a quote from Thucydides in the 5th century BC, which helps to remind us of the deeply embedded nature of civil wars in human civilization. If we linger a bit longer in history, we can also learn how some ancient Greeks thought about the possible ways forward after a civil war.

Sophocles' Antigone is more widely appreciated these days by turning the lead character into a heroine of civil disobedience. But the play takes on a different focus if we remember that it is set against the background of a civil war: Brothers Eteocles and Polynices have killed each other in a struggle to rule Thebes.

King Creon decrees that those who fought against the city should have “vultures rip his flesh disgracefully.” Tiresias, the blind prophet, later warns Creon: “You act outrageously, and therefore Hades' executioners, the gods' destructive Furies, lie in wait to tangle you in evils you create.”

Sophocles warns that, to prevent the return to civil war, one must find a way to minimize the deep-seated desire for revenge.

Mark Wolfgram Ottawa

Film first

Re A Legacy Well Left (Opinion, Oct. 10): John Turner lived long enough to be almost forgotten, and it behooves us to remember a man of such accomplishment and dedication. One thing that has not often been mentioned is that Mr. Turner, as finance minister in 1974, introduced the financial write-off that became known as the "Canadian film tax shelter.”

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This tax-act provision helped pool the capital necessary to launch the careers of so many people in the Canadian film industry. For that, we owe John Turner a special thanks.

Nelson Smith Former board member, Toronto International Film Festival

What next

Re How A Bronfman Went From Heiress To Central Member Of The NXIVM Cult (Oct. 10): Clare Bronfman reportedly wrote that, for much of her life, she was “ashamed of my wealth.” The real shame, I find, is that she squandered her inheritance, and continues to do so by propping up NIXIVM and financially supporting its leader.

It was heartening to learn of Ms. Bronfman’s commitment to a vegan lifestyle, and heartbreaking to think of what a substantial difference she could have made to animal causes.

Linda Bronfman Toronto

My name is…

Re Memoir As Revenge: Barbara Amiel’s Campy Tell-all Is A Must-read (Arts & Pursuits, Oct. 10): Does anyone know how I can get on Barbara Amiel’s “enemies” list? I need another badge of honour for my collection.

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John Cadiz Toronto

The best of us

Re Sir Harold Evans: A Giant Of Journalism And His Canadian Connections (Oct. 14): Sir Harold Evans represented the ne plus ultra as newspaper and magazine editor, publisher and author.

Sir Harold intricately involved himself in all aspects of his fourth estate affairs, while affirming the autonomy of those undertaking the reporting that they were charged with pursuing on behalf of his newspapers. He required diligence, dogged determination and deep investigative reporting.

Sir Harold felt that the public merited this form of reporting to be informed citizens. There was never an issue that concerned the old, the weak, the poor or the disabled that he would not cover. It was, after all is said and done, the story and the need to tell it – and tell it fully and fairly – that drove his actions.

Sir Harold was a special human being who came to the fore in another time, and with an approach that cherished the importance of clear, concise and fair reporting. No fake news, no lackadaisical efforts, no cheesy headlines.

The best way to salute him would be for all readers to demand top-quality journalism, thoughtful editorials and principled op-eds.

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Steve Sanderson Quispamsis, N.B.



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