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Recently installed solar lights mark burial sites on Cowessess First Nation, where a search had found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan, on July 6, 2021.

SHANNON VANRAES/Reuters

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Pandemic check-in

Re Our Rate Of Vaccination Is Still Too Low (Editorial, July 7): It’s time to prominently publicize daily Canadian statistics of hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination level. For those reluctant to get vaccinated, this realization could be a greater incentive than either coercion or lotteries.

Laurie Kochen Toronto

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Re Is It Okay To Stop wearing A Mask Now? (July 6): In what many saw as a political move, Jason Kenney announced the elimination of provincial restrictions. Here in Edmonton (where city council dropped its mask mandate by the narrowest of margins) it’s been interesting to see that the vast majority of people still seem to be wearing masks, whether at the hardware store, Italian market or the mall.

People are no doubt welcoming the relaxed rules, but I suspect that most, myself included, think that it will take more than a Premier’s proclamation to put an end to this thing.

Nigel Brachi Edmonton

Future bestseller

Re Wilson-Raybould Won’t Seek Re-election (July 9): Jody Wilson-Raybould’s description of the toxic environment in Parliament should be a concern for all Canadians. Canada has lost a true champion of the democratic process and I wish her all the best in life.

I am looking forward to her memoir. It should be a must-read for all Canadians.

Bob Erwin Ottawa

Culture change

Re Amid Shameful Residential-school Revelations, I Cannot Remain A Catholic (July 5): The horrific revelations of the burials in unmarked graves of likely thousands of Indigenous children, essentially incarcerated in government-sanctioned and church-operated residential schools, should prompt not only reflection, mourning and apology. Truth and reconciliation can only succeed when history (which is truth) is fully recovered and justice (which is reconciliation) provides restitution to peoples and persons who have endured unpardonable, criminal policies and acts.

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What this moment of national grief and outrage demands, too, is the acknowledgement that the project to cast Canada as “a white man’s country” has mandated genocidal policies against Indigenous peoples, the practice of racism against Canadians of colour and the maintenance of a “Vertical Mosaic” (John Porter) – or a hierarchy of ethnicities – which positions Indigenous and Black people at the bottom.

Let us sideline both white supremacy and the settler superiority complex by putting Indigeneity at the centre of a revised constitution.

George Elliott Clarke Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17); Eastern Woodland Métis Nation, N.S.


I submitted my apostasy to the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1990s, following yet another papal denunciation of homosexuality – “love the sinner, hate the sin.” How fortunate, I now know I was, to be sentenced only to a lifetime of psychological torment in overcoming the belief that I would someday “burn like a faggot in hell.”

The church couldn’t see me, so they couldn’t lock me up, abuse me, deny me access to health care and family, strip me of my heritage and, finally, bury me in an unmarked grave. Nothing compares to the agonies of Indigenous peoples – “love the Indigenous child, hate the Indigenous culture.”

I strongly encourage the formal act of apostasy. It helps. Not only one’s self, but generations of Indigenous children silenced and scattered across Turtle Island, and every Indigenous person who is a living testament to the depravity of that institution.

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Pete Tallon Amherstburg, Ont.

Just don’t mix

Re Oil Country (Letters, July 3): While some argue that Canada’s largest natural resource is oil and its associated products, we should recognize that our more and more endangered freshwater supply is far more important to our future health and well-being.

Bill Kummer Waterloo, Ont.

Environmental concern

Re Canada’s Pandemic Plan Ought To Make The Next Pandemic Non-existent (Opinion, July 3): What would also help, at the international level, is the cessation of widespread environmental degradation that displaces animal species. This encourages interspecies transmission of novel viruses in the first place.

Habitat destruction – particularly deforestation – not only increases the chance of future pandemic threats, but also helps drive the climate crisis. Stopping this kind of ecocide would be a double-win.

Wendy Tamminen Toronto

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The American way?

Re American Patriotism (Opinion, July 3): I could not help wondering if the current divide on the meaning of patriotism does not boil down to a battle over how the prodigious and enduring American egoism can best be displayed to lesser beings elsewhere. On that objective, I doubt there is any disagreement.

E.D. Briggs LaSalle, Ont.


Patriotism is a snapshot of personal experiences on our life journey. These experiences are a mosaic forming our views of what patriotism means to us.

Society still has living members who experienced the devastation of the Second World War; their children experienced the economic boom of the postwar era, followed by several recessions and economic destabilizations; their children have experienced social and environmental revolutions that no generation has ever faced.

No definition of patriotism seems adequate to express the fears and joys of these divergent experiences. The modern definition of patriotism should lie in our collective voice and willingness to hear others, and consider their experiences, as we redefine our relationship with our country.

Neil McLaughlin Burlington, Ont.

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Academic breadth

Re What Should Universities Look Like After The Pandemic (Opinion, July 3): While contributor Vivek Goel recognizes the benefits of interdisciplinary research, there is also the essential role of the humanities and social sciences in implementing technologies that benefit mankind, while protecting us from potential abuses.

A complete education increasingly involves continuous learning, but it also requires a diverse curriculum, from kindergarten through postgraduate studies. Technology alone will not end racism or achieve social inclusion, nor will it eradicate the worst abuses of its own rampant commercialization.

Len Ashby Toronto

The truth is out there

Re Eyes On The Skies (Opinion, July 3): I read the report on unidentified aerial phenomena and the main inference I came away with was a positive one. Perhaps advanced civilizations don’t necessarily always destroy themselves halfway through their evolution. So maybe we have a chance after all.

Evan Bedford Red Deer, Alta.

Cryptic consensus

Re Cryptic Cruelty (Letters, July 3): TBXQQX.

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Elaine Smith Vernon, B.C.


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