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Where we stand
Re Calls Mount To Expand Morneau Investigation (July 24): The biggest thing exemplified by the WE Charity mess seems to be the broader picture: When in Canadian history has our shining democracy ever been so abused and badly served by government, exercising such arrogance and contempt for ethics, integrity and parliamentary process, as Justin Trudeau’s minority leadership? Where in these dangerous times is the statesmanship Canada so badly needs?
Kathryn Vogel Toronto
Re Sponsors Begin Reassessment Of Ties To WE Charity (July 24): It’s been said that the best places to hide a body are in a morgue or on a battlefield. I guess the best place to hide the body of an important community value is in a pandemic: The victim is volunteerism and it appears to be dying from COVID-19 – the Canada Student Service Grant is a perfect example.
No definition of volunteerism should contemplate payment. I believe Canada already suffers from diminution in volunteerism, and the CSSG conflates low-paid work of unspecified purpose with volunteerism.
The program further risks skewing the values of a generation to believe in paid volunteer work. It exacerbates, when combined with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the reluctance of young people to seek remunerative summer jobs. It demeans all the other volunteers who have donated their time, talents and treasure to all kinds of charitable activities.
Let’s not let the theatre of politics obscure the flaw of a fundamentally bad idea.
P. C. LaBarge Ottawa
What’s in a name?
Re Don’t Erase Street Names And Tear Down Statues (July 18): Columnist Marcus Gee makes the case that, once we start renaming places and pulling down statues, this becomes hard to stop when one considers all of the streets, buildings and communities that are named after prominent figures of their day, figures that in today’s world are considered to have feet of clay.
And how can we be sure that the heroes of today that we wish to memorialize don’t also have dark secrets? What sort of investigation would be required? Would privacy become an issue? What would be the cost to change all related street signs, maps, records and businesses that contain a now-offensive name?
It would be far better to move statues of fallen heroes to museums where the story can be told completely, in context, or mark them where they stand with clarifying plaques. Further, there could be a fresh initiative to memorialize today’s heroes that reflects our changing social mores.
John Ellis Toronto
Streets are named and statues raised to honour men and women that an era admires. Time passes, and street names become merely signifiers, statues nothing but street furniture. Most people associate the name Dundas with a streetcar line in Toronto, not with an 18th-century politician. We should leave things be.
Because of this clamour, Henry Dundas is famous again. Is that what anyone wants?
William Christian Retired professor of political science; Guelph, Ont.
Re Ontario’s Opportunities Advocate Accused Of Anti-Blackness (July 18): Jamil Jivani, a Black man with impressive qualifications, has been appointed by Ontario as its advocate for community opportunities. While recognizing racism in our society, he also sees problems with the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for Black communities to change some of their culture in order to participate fully in society.
I believe he is exactly the man we need at this point. Good luck to him, and congratulations to Ontario for appointing him.
Jonathan Usher Toronto
The Globe writes that Jamil Jivani “was using his new platform and increased profile to criticize the very people he was supposed to uplift.” I found that Mr. Jivani’s critique of the culture of violence in hip hop was squarely aimed at corporations behind the music, and artists that glorify violence in their lyrics.
I’ve lived in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood of Toronto for almost my entire life. All my friends are Black, everyone in my family is Black; to a person, we all acknowledge the detrimental effects of violent and misogynistic hip-hop culture on the minds of our young people – even if we indulge it as a guilty pleasure.
The idea that acknowledging this reality somehow makes us anti-Black feels malicious.
Kwesi Opoku Toronto
Re Quebec Police Say Father Killed His Girls, Died By Suicide (July 23): The horrific tragedy that was the murder-suicide of a father and his children in Quebec surely must once again underline the fact that the system is broken when it comes to acrimonious family separations. There has been far too much grief with divorces that accelerate anger and financial ruin, at the expense of the innocent.
Please take the dissolution of marriage out of the hands of lawyers and courts, and place the process with trained therapists who have the skills to depressurize acrimony and safeguard children.
Peter Keleghan Toronto
Re A Turning Point For The Wheels Of Justice (Opinion July 18): Danielle Robitaille’s contribution is an important piece that also applies to new ways of conducting family law.
In May, I was a client in a case that was resolved through arbitration via videoconferencing. The hearing was conducted just like in-person: The lawyers made objections, excluded witnesses, introduced exhibits and used documents with screen-sharing. It was recorded through Zoom, and the arbitrator got a transcript immediately.
My lawyer, who has practised family law for many years, said this way of conducting arbitration provided a faster, less expensive way to have a full hearing and avoid the delay and cost of lawyers all having to travel.
With videoconferencing, getting a case heard becomes affordable to underfunded spouses, and can avert the stress and violence that may occur in drawn-out cases of family law.
Dorris Heffron Clarksburg, Ont.
Re Dog Days (Letters, July 23): I must regretfully disabuse a letter writer who regretfully disabused contributor David Shribman’s reference to the Blue Jays as a major-league team.
I am a long-time Toronto resident who’s nonetheless a Giants fan (blame Willie Mays), so this isn’t a case of hometown wishin’ and hopin'. I do think fans will see that the pitching rotation is better than many think (Matt Shoemaker, baby). Also, it’s probably better to have batters who can’t find the strike zone than pitchers who can’t find it.
Alan Rosenberg Toronto
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