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A Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil on Dec. 9, 2020.


No chance

Re Ottawa Approves Boeing Max Jet To Fly Again After Deadly Crashes (Dec. 17): They can paint the fuselage 14 different colours and offer heavily discounted airfares, but I will not fly in a re-engineered 737 Max jet. Boeing delivered a faulty product in the first place, and I see they are now delivering a patched-up replacement.

Pigs will fly before I set foot in one of these machines.

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James Chauvin Gatineau

Racism in Canada

Re Rec-centre Fight Points To Policing’s Problems With Black Youth (Dec. 16): When youth misbehave, let’s not “time them out.” Let’s seize a teachable moment and “time them in.” Hardly any good comes from suspensions, but engagement can result in many positive outcomes for all, including the “offending” youth, their peers and the larger community.

Let’s also engage the adults who enacted these suspensions in a conversation about less harmful ways of dealing with youth – especially racialized youth.

Jan Vanderwal Toronto

Re If Diversity Is Our Strength, Why Are Black Civil Servants Suing Ottawa? (Dec. 14): Contributor Erica Ifill offers a timely clarification of the oft-misused “systemic racism.” If the problem lies in the system, the solution should also be found in the system.

Papering over inequities addresses the symptoms, not the disease.

Mikelis Bickis Saskatoon

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I find there is still a need for education so that necessary cultural shifts can happen. I encourage people to read White Fragility by sociologist Robin DiAngelo and Caste by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson. Then reread contributor Erica Ifill’s piece.

Robert Chesterman New Westminster, B.C.

Own it

Re Experts Laud B.C.’s New Foreign Ownership Registry (Real Estate, Dec. 11): I am angry all over again, but so happy that something is finally being done.

My anger began several years back when a young family member in Ontario, stretched to the limit, made their first purchase of a condo. They were then forced to defend themselves from a Canada Revenue Agency action requiring that they pay back taxes from before they even bought the condo!

This is how I found out that some foreign nationals do not pay Canadian taxes. The government didn’t seem to get it, so they attempted to get the funds from a struggling, taxpaying Canadian buyer.

Marilyn Basil Toronto

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On MAID, Part 3

Re Our Cautious Start To Assisted Suicide Is Accelerating Toward Death-on-demand (Dec. 12): Kudos to columnist Andrew Coyne for pointing out the real dangers of the much-derided “slippery slope” in the debate on assisted dying.

As he notes, the idea of complete autonomy over one’s life is often invoked by proponents of widening the eligibility criteria for the procedure. Yet not all choices we make are equal in intention and outcome when it comes to health (such as smoking or eating excessive amounts of junk food). It would thus reasonably follow that choosing assisted dying for a manageable condition, physical or otherwise, is at best premature and at worst objectively detrimental.

Natasha Lomonossoff Nepean, Ont.

Joe Arvay, who died on Dec. 7, was one of Canada’s greatest constitutional lawyers (Renowned Lawyer Was A Passionate Advocate – Dec. 8). He was the lead lawyer in bringing the case for medical assistance in dying to the Supreme Court, which Joe and his colleagues won and set the stage for new legislation in 2017.

But, as Joe pointed out, that legislation had serious flaws, most notably the requirement that death be “reasonably foreseeable” before assistance is given. This was neither in accord with the Court’s ruling nor fair to many Canadians in grievous and incurable suffering.

Ironically, a few days after Joe’s death, it appears this misstep will be corrected through amendments to the earlier legislation. It is too late for Joe to know this, but his work on this matter will soon be successfully completed.

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Thanks to Joe for all that he did.

Gary Bauslaugh Author, The Right to Die; Victoria

At 79, I (and most of my friends of a similar age) hope that we will be granted the freedom of choice to decide when we want to die.

I would not presume to dictate to anyone else, and I am willing (nay, happy) to pay taxes for others to live in agony with no control over their lives, if that is what they choose. I just don’t want anyone to choose for me.

The “slippery slope?” Until recently, we have been right at the bottom of that slope, on the other side of the mountain of death, and we are now inching our way closer to the top. I sincerely hope that it is, indeed, too late to stop that from happening now.

Nichola Hall Vancouver

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Many faces

Re Cohen’s Tales Of Seduction Look Different Through A #MeToo Lens (Dec. 8): I was struggling to articulate my reaction to the oral history encapsulated in the first volume of Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years, until it finally came to me.

For those unfamiliar with the old Indian fable: Six blind men encounter different aspects of an elephant, and variously describe it as a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope. Here’s hoping that the forthcoming volumes two and three from author Michael Posner will give us a few other versions of the incomparable Leonard Cohen.

Jyothi Jayaraman Vancouver


Re All Aboard The Good Ship Soderbergh (Dec. 11): Film critic Barry’s Hertz’s review of Let Them All Talk took me back to a conversation with the captain of the RMS Queen Mary 2, on a transatlantic crossing with my partner in June of 2010.

It was during afternoon high tea when I mentioned to the captain that I had never been on a cruise ship. With an aghast look, he said, “Sir, this is not a cruise ship, it is an ocean liner.”

He explained that, unlike a floating high-rise called a cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 was sturdily built with such craftsmanship that it could take on the North Atlantic in December, when waves can reach the seventh deck. Indeed, the entire crossing was magical and definitely not a cruise experience, with Shakespeare in the afternoon, dramatic poetry readings in the evening, a huge library and even a full planetarium.

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By the way, it also transports mail as a Royal Mail Ship.

Ray Saitz Peterborough, Ont.

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