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Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye’s claims about “Western egotism and white supremacy” would be laughable if it were not for the current Chinese campaign of ethnic cleansing and Maoist-like re-education camps (China Ambassador Accuses Canada Of ‘White Supremacy,’ Jan. 10).
The only thing in common between the two imprisoned Canadians and Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is that their freedom of movement is constrained. The Canadians, however, are reportedly subject to horrendous conditions and brutal routine interrogation (such a nice word) while Ms. Meng is released on bail awaiting extradition to the United States to face bank fraud charges, confined in the lap of luxury and enjoying all the benefits of due process, something foreign to China. When China embraces truly the rule of law as opposed to the rule of party and president, maybe then we will take the ambassador’s claims seriously.
Richard Schultz, Montreal
Mr. Lu fails to recognize that when a country has an extradition treaty with another, as Canada does with the United States, it is legally bound to act if that country requests that it does so.
Chris Phillips, Ancaster, Ont.
Soldiers left behind
Fifteen suicides in the regular and reserve forces in 2018 (Defence Department Reports 15 Suicides Last Year Despite New Preventative Measures, Jan. 10)?
Why is this story not on the front page, rather than buried at the bottom of Page A12? Clearly the powers that be in our armed services need to seriously step up their efforts at providing counselling and support to its members. The time is now.
Deane Cornell, Kingston
In considering Canada’s regulation of energy infrastructure and the effects and frequency of pipeline protests, we all must keep climate change in the front of our minds (Protests Erupt Across The Country In Showdown Over B.C. Natural Gas Pipeline, Jan. 9).
What is the way forward? Peer-reviewed, mainstream science says that at present we are on track for four- to five-degrees warming by the end of the century, which will create an unlivable planet within the lifetimes of our children who are alive today. We need to rally. We must stop building fossil fuel infrastructure.
We desperately need green energy. We need to support all people and families suffering from job loss from the necessary transition away from the fossil fuel extraction industry. We need government policy to support this transition, and dedication akin to a war effort. Though Canada represents less than 2 per cent of global emissions, we have greater influence by providing the right example. The world has one last chance to avoid climate catastrophe, as the United Nations-commissioned intergovernmental panel on climate Change report has made clear, and it is now.
Tania Gill, Toronto
I see that there now appears to be substantial Indigenous and environmental opposition to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. If they manage to stop its construction, that will be four pipelines halted.
The Canadian people have to make a policy decision. Do they like their high standard of living or would they like to protect the environment by halting all megaprojects and new resource extraction projects? They can’t have both. This country lives on resource extraction and export. Curtail that business and we will all suffer economically. The environment can be preserved but at a cost. Before killing another megaproject, the Canadian people need to carefully consider the consequences of doing so.
Garth M. Evans, Toronto
Inclusion vs. exclusion
Students with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in Ontario have the additional challenge of not even being officially recognized as students with a disability and exceptional needs, unlike students with autism, although many of the impairments are very similar (Educating Grayson: Are Inclusive Classrooms Failing Students? Jan. 5).
Understandably, these can be difficult students to deal with, but it is so often made more challenging by a lack of understanding about the disorders, lack of educator training on how to work with these children, lack of support, resources, and sometimes the false belief these students’ behaviour is a choice, rather than a result of a disability. What makes the biggest difference is educators, teachers and principals, who “get it.” In other words, have training and insight, work with the families to figure out strategies and accommodations, and try to understand the student and their special needs, rather than being judgmental and punitive.
Many years ago when the Ontario Ministry of Education and boards began speaking about integrating children with exceptional needs into mainstream classrooms, an advocate cautioned that inclusion without more resources and support was just a form of dumping students into the mainstream. We have been seeing the results of this very process.
Heidi Bernhardt, president, Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada, Markham, Ont.
When a student’s actions or presence is detrimental to other students, the student may be excluded from the classroom or school until the right resources are in place to address the safety concerns. Exclusions are very rare. They are generally of limited duration and only initiated after other strategies and options have proved unsuccessful.
When necessary, exclusions are done in consultation with the school board and include a support plan to ensure the student can safely be reintegrated into the school.
We have seen an increase in the number of aggressive or violent incidents in schools over the past several years by students. Some of these incidents involve students with special needs. It is critical that we find out why these incidents appear to be increasing and how we can respond. We have shared our concerns with the government and have proposed a number of recommendations. Resolving this issue will require the involvement of many people.
To ensure the safety of every student and staff member in our schools, sometimes we must temporarily remove a student until their needs and behaviour can be managed appropriately.
Larry O’Malley, president, Ontario Principals’ Council, Toronto
Inclusive classrooms are important not just for special needs children but also for all children in the classroom. It is how they learn that many different kinds of people live in our communities and helps them learn kindness, acceptance, tolerance, mentoring skills, compassion, and an understanding of the feelings behind behaviour.
As a former special education teacher (behavioural exceptionalities), I know integration is possible and it should be our goal.
Sally Van Luven, Kingston