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Umer Jan, 12 takes part in a rally to encourage Canada and other countries as they consider labeling China's treatment of its Uighur population and Muslim minorities as genocide, outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington on Feb. 19, 2021.


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It’s done

Re China Committing Genocide, Parliament Declares (Feb. 23): Yea: 266.

Nay: 0.

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Yeah! At last.

Walter Maughan Vancouver

On Nov. 7, 2018, Justin Trudeau stood in Parliament and apologized for Canada’s decision to turn its back on Jews fleeing on a steamliner in 1939. At the time, Mr. Trudeau said: “We apologize to the mothers and fathers whose children we did not save, to the daughters and sons whose parents we did not help.”

Now marks the day the Prime Minister and his cabinet turned their backs on China’s Uyghurs, who, by all credible accounts, face similar atrocities. I wonder in what year a future prime minister will stand in Parliament to apologize for this decision.

Alex Treiber Toronto

Does the treatment of Uyghurs in China constitute genocide? Absolutely. However, I cannot blame Justin Trudeau and his cabinet for the caution they are adopting. Substantial risk exists for Canada within the worsening of diplomatic relations with China. The Chinese ambassador’s response to the motion was a subtle warning which should be taken seriously.

I also don’t believe Conservatives are the defenders of human rights they’d like Canadians to think, and that they’ll find this an auspicious opportunity to besmirch Liberals and further their own political agenda.

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I believe, as Mr. Trudeau said, declarations should come from the United States and Britain before we proceed with officially declaring a genocide. As we all learned as children, when dealing with bullies, there is strength in numbers.

Dante De Benedictis Lakeshore, Ont.

What is all the fuss about? Not all countries are condemning China. In fact, last October during a United Nations effort to condemn China, 45 countries refused to do so.

By abstaining, Canada’s Prime Minister and his cabinet are in good company with countries such as Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Russia.

John Budreski Vancouver

Fast track

Re Vaccine Record (Letters, Feb. 23): As a family doctor, I have 70 patients over the age of 80 on my roster. If I am allowed to pick up vaccines from a warehouse, I guarantee all 70 will be vaccinated within a week, including the ones who never leave home and can’t get to a clinic. I promise not to cheat.

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Robert Heyding MD, Leaside Health Centre; Toronto

Not enough

Re Ottawa To Relax Penalties For Drug Offences (Feb. 19): Recognizing the “need to reduce overincarceration of minority groups,” our federal government has introduced Bill C-22. Yet “the bill stops short of decriminalizing such drug use” and gives police the discretion to decide when charges should be laid.

So instead of enforcing the law with all citizens equally and fairly, a police officer will use their personal judgement in deciding who to charge. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what’s created this imbalance in the first place? Lady Justice may be blind to wealth, power and colour, but many people are not.

Brooks Rapley Toronto

Stop it

Re Sex Trafficking Is A Game Where The ‘Romeo Pimps’ Always Win, And That Has To End (Feb. 23): Want to stop or greatly reduce sex trafficking? Legalize prostitution.

R. R. Innes Brampton, Ont.

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Of course laws, education, information and so on are being proposed to stop or punish pimps and others involved. But I’ve read little about the customers – the users.

The thought of these men purchasing sex from these trapped people makes me sick. What is wrong with them? What is wrong with us that we cannot also legislate against these users?

Faye Campbell Courtenay, B.C.

Church and state

Re The Curse Of Clericalism: The Catholic Church Must Act To Address The Sins Of The Past (Feb. 22): I find that issues of sex, celibacy and power are important but unhelpful in defining what form change should take in the church.

Instead of placing priests under clouds of suspicion, progressives should challenge the church to build democratic structures that place women and lay experts in roles of real power that do not require ordination. Such an appeal would be much harder for the church to resist.

As to realism, consider that Catholics are key players in the battle between democracy and authoritarianism in the United States and Europe, for better or worse.

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The church has incredible potential for democracy. Its contribution cannot be missed. I say that is reason enough to belong to it.

Matthijs Kronemeijer Toronto

Corporate equity

Re The Equalizer (Letters, Feb. 22): During the 1950s, CEO salaries were about 10 to 20 times the salary of ordinary workers. That ratio today is in the hundreds. Working people make these CEO salaries possible by buying goods and services from corporations.

Meanwhile, salaries at the bottom and for the middle class have, in relative terms, declined or remained stagnant. The wealth gap fuels anger, resentment and political extremism. We see that acted out in the United States.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Re The Real Reason Behind The Gender Gap? Corporate Duplicity (Report on Business, Feb. 23): I believe corporate duplicity is also men’s complicity. We should better engage husbands and fathers in appreciating and sharing in the burdens and responsibilities of caring for children and households.

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From my own experience, taking on a more equal role is actually incredibly rewarding and self-fulfilling. But promoting men to do so lags even further behind efforts to support women. This should be an essential factor in changing workplace culture – an issue for all of us.

Derek Eaton Toronto

All hands on deck

Re A Helping Hand (First Person, Feb. 16): Kudos to the essay-writer for calling attention to a sad reality in an era of so-called destigmatizing of mental illness. In many ways, we’ve come a long way in recognizing the debilitating effects of severe depression, anxiety, PTSD and so forth. Perhaps we’ve progressed rather less in ensuring effective and available treatment.

Clinical psychiatrists remain among the lowest-paid physicians with specialties. Some residential programs and much therapy cost money – most not covered by health care. Mental illness can be so debilitating that it derails one’s ability to sustain long-term work or afford a sustaining life.

Yet the courage required to carry on is seldom recognized. If a sufferer chooses to end their life, the tragedy of it is acknowledged – but often not the ugly fact that they felt this was the only courageous option.

This may seem shocking to many, but I believe it reflects a nasty truth.

Rebecca Garber Nanaimo, B.C.

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