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Glazed fruitcake are placed on racks to cure at Grant's Bakery Inc., in Huntingdon, Que.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

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Free press

Re Stop The Press (Opinion, Dec. 18): Thank you for contributor Amber Bracken’s discussion of journalist credentialing and police curtailment of reporting.

Freedom of the press is essential to democracy. The public has to know what the police they pay for are doing. I hope that the RCMP will have to defend itself in court for jailing Ms. Bracken and Michael Toledano for reporting on police behaviour against Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposition.

Readers of The Globe and Mail and The Narwhal, like me, should be kept informed and given the opportunity to contribute to the defence of press freedom.

Donna Stewart North Vanvouver

D for democracy

Re Democracy Has A Marketing Problem (Opinion, Dec. 18): Columnist Doug Saunders cites Russian aggression against Ukraine and China’s ambitions in Taiwan as indications of authoritarian states. What about the U.S. attack on Cuba by way of its 60-year-long economic embargo?

“Big dictatorships” have “invented popular, if largely imaginary, enemies.” It takes little imagination for me to say the same thing about purportedly democratic states. Democracies are complex social entities, with many variations on the theme.

Every government strives to run an organized system; the question is who benefits most? Democracies are supposed to be systems that primarily benefit the people, not tycoons, oligarchs or various other henchmen.

Carl Hager Gatineau, Que.

Up and over

Re ‘Canadian Experience’ Hurdle Kills Too Many Newcomers’ Job Hopes (Dec. 18): In a volunteer job-mentoring program for skilled newcomers, two approaches have helped with the hurdle of Canadian experience.

First, differentiate. A senior auditor from the Middle East says that “immigration spoke of many audit jobs in Canada,” but “they should have also said there are many qualified auditors.” Here, we have newcomers highlight unique experiences, rare skills or cutting-edge methodologies that might provide an advantage.

Second, demonstrate “fit.” Canadian experience is often a proxy for ability to mesh with workplace culture. Some aspects may be learnable to a degree, so we practise mock job interviews to refine articulating job-relevant skills, information-seeking and reading an audience and responding – skills applicable beyond the interview to the workplace.

Common challenges include disagreeing without appearing obstructive, seeking clarification without appearing dull and, most common, how to tout achievement in more senior positions without seeming dissatisfied with the opportunity on offer.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

We remember

Re The Three Battles Of Canada’s Hong Kong Veterans (Opinion, Dec. 18): On Christmas Day in 1954, I was invited to the Edmonton home of Sam Kravinchuk Sr., a soldier with the Winnipeg Grenadiers at Hong Kong.

He and and a fellow soldier related the horrors of Christmas Day in 1941 and their internment. His friend lost half his face that day, and had lain unattended at a dressing station for at least 18 hours – they thought other casualties had a better chance of survival. They agreed that day was the worst day of their lives.

A memorial was unveiled in Ottawa on Aug. 15, 2009. I attended to show my respect for them and all who suffered at Hong Kong.

Robert Day Ottawa

Merry Christmas

Re This Family Has Fruitcakes Baked Into Its History (Dec. 20): My husband, who is from Hong Kong, first tried my grandmother’s fruitcake when we were dating 25 years ago.

Only the select few appreciate fruitcake. He ate a hunk of it, and my grandmother loved him from that day forward.

My grandmother is gone, but my husband still eats a hunk of fruitcake every Christmas. In this house, the best gift is fruitcake.

Tirzah Chung Toronto

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