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Regaining trust

Re Undermining Trust In Police Harms Us All (July 20): Retired RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli opines that “it takes hard work over a long time to build trust, and very little time or effort to destroy it.” Other clichés such as “a few bad apples” are avoided, but his views do not advance trust in the police because he blames others. He has the chutzpah to say “there is systemic racism in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police because there is systematic racism in Canada at large.”

The first step in regaining trust is to take responsibility for one’s actions and the actions of those one commands. Mr. Zaccardelli built the RCMP we have. A little sincerity in asking for our trust would go a long way.

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Michael Levin Toronto

Giuliano Zaccardelli’s defence of the RCMP is, ironically, “overly broad” and “reckless” (his words to describe those who criticize the RCMP). He admits no flaws, aside from the truism that police officers are human, and offers no solutions or even concessions on governance. Most Canadians simply want police forces to address systemic issues and adhere to their core missions. Obstinacy will only polarize debate and lend credence to more radical voices.

Brian Lowry Fredericton

Finally, a voice of measured reason! If all police are accused of being racist, including those who have never been, they will increasingly fear the backlash of dealing with those who do not look like them.

If all citizens of European descent are being accused of being racist, that is just as racist as the actions of the much publicized few.

Everybody needs to be aware that too much of any sort of "medicine" can be poisonous to the body that you are trying to save.

Joanna Anderson Burlington, Ont.

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Human toll

Re The World’s Population Will Start To Fall By Mid-century. The Time To Prepare Is Now (July 16): Falling fertility is indeed something to celebrate. Although the resulting economic strain will be significant, surely such costs pale beside the costs of addressing pandemics, climate change, environmental pollution, resource depletion and poverty. Overpopulation appears to be the inadequately discussed underlying cause of many of today’s shared global problems. Far from being neither a good thing nor a bad thing, a decreasing global population should be unreservedly welcomed. Hopefully, the continuation of existing successful actions can result in further reductions to the peak of human population at an earlier date.

Phil Surtees London, Ont.

John Ibbitson may feel that a decreasing world population is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. Many people, scientists included, feel that this is an extremely good thing. Perhaps now, nature and the environment will have a fighting chance. Perhaps it is not too late to save many endangered species, including large mammals. Possibly even the large mammals known as humans.

Patty Benjamin Victoria

The study cited by John Ibbitson, predicting a global population peak of 9.7 billion in 2064 followed by a decline, is good news compared with other projections that it will keep growing until at least 2100, to 11 billion or more.

But that the human population will reach 9.7 billion is not really “good news” to anyone except to those directly profiting from growth. It is really bad news for the vast majority of humanity, not to mention the other living things with whom we share (or increasingly don’t share) this planet.

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The only way to correct the problems that humanity has created for itself and other species through its rampant growth in the 20th century (1.7 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion in 2000) is to go through the process of shrinking. Of course that will create some problems, but no problems as severe as a population crash on a resource-depleted planet.

It is therefore unclear why Mr. Ibbitson should be shilling for a larger Canadian population through immigration. The economic arguments for a bigger Canada have been debunked, and the negative impact on the environment and our overcrowded cities is evident. The world would be better served if Canada stabilized and then reduced its high-consuming population and helped other countries to do the same by making family-planning support a significant, integral part of foreign aid.

Madeline Weld President, Population Institute Canada; Ottawa

Second wave

Re Province Bracing For Possible Second Wave Of Virus In Fall, Ford Says (July 15): Let’s take a page from retailers who market to young adults: Set up pop-up COVID-19 clinics in places such as Toronto’s Entertainment District. Testing would be voluntary, but also accessible and pro-active. Sites could even be advertised online: #popupclinics.

Otherwise, Toronto may turn into Montreal after it reopens bars and restaurants.

Paula Cook Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont.

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Slowing down

Re Canada Wins When 40 km/h Is The New 50 (July 17): Lowering the speed limit is not a bad thing, but people are still going to speed no matter what the limit is. If the limit is 40, they’ll go 50 or more etc. Continually lowering the limit should really be secondary to raising people in a society who obey the rules and who realize that speed can kill and speed can ruin people’s lives. Raising the quality of person and their respect for others’ lives should be where the emphasis is concentrated. A sign and a number are fine, but education and proper upbringing are the answer.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

Punk in perspective

Re Punk: Pretty, Sometimes Vacant History Of A Significant Subculture (July 13): My first loud introduction to punk was as an education student.

I was one of a handful of females living in a co-ed residence at Maria Grey Training College in London. The majority of residents were 18-year-old first-year lads who embraced the new sound with enthusiasm. Our group was affectionately known as the “Grannies,” because we were poles apart in music culture and knew nothing about the Sex Pistols.

After graduating, I taught at a primary school close to the Hornsey College of Art in Crouch End. In the 1970s, it was commonplace to see black-dressed, holes-in-everything, safety-pinned students walking down the street. Nobody batted an eye at the sight of lime-green, gravity-defying hair or aluminum tea-kettle handbags.

When my own children, at a certain age, adopted bizarre styles or fashions, I just shrugged my shoulders – it was all so has-been. Early punk now sounds pretty tame, too.

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Sarah Bruce Sarnia, Ont.

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