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Governor General Julie Payette takes part in a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Aug. 18, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Workplace woes

Re A Work Force Still Stuck In The 1970s (Editorial, Jan. 28): I beg to differ. It is not the work force that is stuck in the 1970s, it is the white men in power. White men using their privilege are all over the news, being investigated for sex trafficking (Federal Lawyers Argue Against Releasing Nygard On Bail, Citing Flight Risk – Jan. 28), jumping vaccine lines (Gaming CEO Resigns After Vaccine Charges – Jan. 26) and opposing legislated equity targets, as the editorial mentions.

Wendy Williams Vancouver

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The following two words come to mind: systemic sexism.

Should we be surprised at what The Globe and Mail has found in Canada’s power structures? I think not.

Should we have faith that a concerted effort to remedy the situation can fix it, and that “it should not take 50 more years to accomplish?” I think not.

After all, both the systemic sexism and systematic racism that exist in Canada today is endemic to the well-established power structures imported to these shores centuries ago.

Lynda Olson Evansville, Ont.

Re Workplace Gender-equality System Failing Victims and Report on Payette Reveals Next To Nothing (Jan. 29): Reading reporter Robyn Doolittle on the difficulties women face when subjected to wrongful acts perpetrated by men in the workplace, followed by Campbell Clark’s column on the investigation of the former governor-general, made me think: If Julie Payette was a man, would we even know about any toxic behaviour? It seems not.

James Handyside Lucan, Ont.

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Thanks to The Globe and Mail for this front-page report. Because of it, I have removed engineering firm WSP from my Globe Investor watchlist. If it smells bad, it probably is bad.

Maggie Keith Ottawa


Re The Meaninglessness Of An Indigenous G-G (Jan. 29): An Indigenous governor-general would not solve the challenging issues faced by Indigenous peoples; it would be purely symbolic. The institution of the governor-general is also symbolic. Often symbolism does serve a purpose, and can go a long way as far as perception is concerned.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

It would indeed be a “shocking ask” for any Indigenous person to act as the Queen’s representative in Canada. Imagine asking an Indigenous lieutenant-governor to award Mike Harris his Order of Ontario?

It’s shameful for all Canadians that an Indigenous governor-general would be a shocking ask. That can only change when our behaviour changes.

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Peter Lavin Toronto

Personal history

Re Proposal For An Indigenous Identity Act Presents A Moral Quandary (Jan. 25): I have to take issue with contributor Drew Hayden Taylor’s notion that with “a simple click of a button … you are First Nations, Inuit or Métis.” My application went to the requisite Canadian government office 625 days ago and counting. I am still waiting for that button-click.

All of the required paperwork – including birth, baptismal and adoption certificates, along with legal endorsements from a law firm – was included. My background as an Indigenous person of Mi’kmaq descent should be unquestionable. My mother remarried when I was 5; I discovered my true birth family at 18, then was formally adopted by my non-Indigenous stepfather.

“Identity and history are very personal, important concepts to be cherished and protected,” Mr. Taylor writes. Exactly.

William Grenier Vancouver

Cascade effect

Re Alberta Faces Backlash After Move To Scrap Coal Policy, Ease Restrictions On Mining (Report on Business, Jan. 25): I have the privilege of spending time by and over the Livingstone mountain range. I am dismayed at the prospect of devastation and contamination that coal strip mines would wreak crossing from Elk Valley, where the damage to the headwaters that feed southern Alberta is amply documented.

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Much has been written of the bucolic landscapes, wildlife habitats and species at risk in the region, but it is also time to consider the irrigation-dependent farmers and livestock producers, businesses that support agriculture, municipal and First Nations water supplies, and food-processing industries that employ thousands in downstream municipalities.

George Haeh Lethbridge, Alta.

Age of apocalypse

Re Canada Should Join The Push To Create A World Without Nuclear Weapons (Jan. 25): As a former disarmament activist and analyst, I strongly disagree.

I have long believed nuclear weapons abolition to be an unrealistic goal for many reasons, but most importantly it is a distraction from what is presently necessary and doable. This would include major reductions to nuclear arsenals, the de-alerting of these weapons and a no-first-use agreement by all nations that carry them.

All those pursuing a safer world should be prioritizing these goals instead of chasing rainbows.

Simon Rosenblum Toronto

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I believe nuclear war represents a more immediate and devastating threat to humanity than climate change. Predictably, states possessing nuclear weapons have denounced the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The fate of Earth rests in the hands of countries that do not have nuclear weapons but have yet to sign the treaty, particularly NATO members such as Canada.

While Canada espouses nuclear disarmament, the government doesn’t seem to believe this in practice, bowing to the dictates of a NATO that maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Canada should break away from an antiquated Cold War alliance and do its part to save the world.

Mark Leith MD, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada; Toronto

Various artists

Re Artists’ Futures Demand More Careful Craft Than Canada Has Shown (Jan. 25): While financial instability for writers is well documented, the literary business model does have positive features. Each published book is printed in many copies and sold at shops and literary festivals. As well, there are nearly 70 Canadian literary prizes, by my count, and two national support organizations. Visual artists are in a worse position.

A work of visual art can be sold to only one buyer, usually through a single commercial gallery or at a local exhibition. There are only about 10 Canadian art prizes (including the Kingston Prize for portraits, of which I am a co-founder) and one national support organization. In normal times, the public is willing to pay $30 and up for a concert, a play or a book – there is reluctance to pay anything to see an art exhibition.

Julian Brown Kingston

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