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Re Ottawa Should Ban Huawei From 5G: Military (Feb. 10): While pondering Huawei’s role in forthcoming 5G networks, shouldn’t the government cast the net of circumspection wider? Western companies, it seems to me, haven’t always been paragons of virtue when dealing with our digital information. Misuse and abuse should not be defined solely by geography or politics.
Eric LeGresley Ottawa
Where is the dialogue on the potential health risks of new 5G technology? These networks use extremely high-frequency, never-used-before bandwidths in the electromagnetic spectrum, and we don’t yet know the potential health effects.
In the 1950s, it was common for shoe stores to employ X-ray machines to show how well a shoe fit. It was fun to wiggle one’s toes and see the bones dance. We learned that this was not wise, after the fact. We shouldn’t make these mistakes again.
Governments and scientists should pursue further risk analyses before going down the 5G path.
Laurie Kochen Toronto
The key to Khadr
Re The Omar Khadr Saga Is A Testament To Canadian Principles Of Justice (Opinion, Feb. 8): Columnist Robyn Urback writes that Omar Khadr’s story is an example of the principles of Canadian freedom and justice in action. I suggest it is another example of a justice system that too often puts the rights of criminals before those of victims.
When I read of violent criminals offered parole after serving only one-third of a sentence, only to reoffend, or alleged murderers released because rights to a speedy trial were violated, were the rights of victims really considered? I think the proper phrase might better be “justice inaction.”
John Donly Pickering, Ont.
I have followed the Omar Khadr case for many years. To me, he has consistently displayed a peaceful, non-violent demeanour, both in and out of prison; expressed remorse for the tragic situation that occurred; shown compassion and concern for his captors and torturers, as well as a positive regard toward all with whom he interacts.
I am happy to hear that Mr. Khadr will deliver a keynote address at Dalhousie University, and I wish him well in all his future endeavours.
Jim Thompson Ramara, Ont.
Re Tracking Safety (Letters, Feb. 10): While Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s 30-day slow-order for trains carrying dangerous goods is a welcome development, I believe it is a short-term Band-Aid response to deeper problems in Ottawa’s approach to regulating railway safety.
The Guernsey derailment and fire is the latest in a long string of precisely the kinds of accidents that Transport Canada’s regulatory regime is supposed to prevent. There should be less emphasis on letting the railways regulate themselves, and a stronger focus on direct and effective oversight and enforcement by federal regulators.
Mark Winfield PhD, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University; Toronto
Greater than the sum
Re Just How Bad Are The Jobs Numbers, Really? (Report on Business, Feb. 6): Every month, 56,000 households, or 110,000 Canadians, take part in the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS and three other data sources – the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours; Employment Insurance Statistics; and the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey – provide a comprehensive dashboard of labour information. Policy makers use this dashboard to make decisions that affect Canadians, from determining employment insurance rates to developing training and skills programs, and more. And with every LFS release, Statistics Canada provides data quality statements: Users should be careful in drawing trends from a single month’s data or relying exclusively on one instrument. This would be like driving a car using only one of the gauges on the dashboard.
We thank Canadians who participate in the LFS every month, our interviewers who work hard to ensure high response rates and quality, and our users who understand the value and proper use of the LFS.
Anil Arora Chief Statistician of Canada; Ottawa
Re The Liberals Want A Happiness Budget (Feb. 5): In my view, GDP economics are about maximizing how fast we can convert resources to money, using the cheapest possible labour, with no consideration to people or planet. The biggest challenge with GDP, however, seems not so much the metric itself, but rather its supremacy in the various processes that guide society’s governance. Our addiction to its quantitative qualities has left us believing in what Greta Thunberg calls “fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” But what do we want to grow, if not happiness and well-being?
A successful economy could indeed be judged by a flat-lining GDP, accompanied by a much more desired increase in “happiness” and “well-being,” in whatever way a diverse society chooses to measure it. I see that places such as Bhutan, Scotland and New Zealand are already on their way.
As Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said: “If we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing.”
Yannick Beaudoin Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada, David Suzuki Foundation; Toronto
Re Photo Project Curated By Kaepernick On Display At Toronto Festival (Feb. 5): As a black female Canadian, my wish for Black History Month in Canada is that we acknowledge the 200-plus years of slavery in Canada, and the Canadian civil-rights leaders who ended centuries-long segregation. Black History Month shouldn’t just be about feeling good while listening to black musicians, or putting black artists on subway walls. We should educate more and strive to be truthful about the full scope of black history.
Since moving to the United States a few years ago, I’ve noticed a stark difference in how Black History Month is celebrated and how black history, in general, is acknowledged. References to the African-American slave trade and U.S. civil-rights leaders are a consistent part of popular culture and education. But in Canada, I never saw references to either of those. I was never taught about the Canadian slave trade. I had to teach myself.
This year, I would ask that people take some time to learn about the African-Canadian slave trade that helped build the colonial empire we call Canada, and that important figures such as Hugh Burnett and Marisse Scott become commonplace, alongside names such as Viola Desmond, in the celebration of black history.
Sinead Bovell Brooklyn, N.Y.
Re Adding This Plant Compound To Your Diet Could Help Keep Alzheimer’s At Bay (Feb. 10): Dietitian Leslie Beck is my hero. She describes a study that has identified three flavonols critical to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Two of these, myricetin and isorhamnetin, are found in wine. Great news – cheers to that! And I forget what the third one is …
Vic Bornell Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
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