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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to the podium for a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on June 29, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Not all in this together

Re WE Charity Offers Roles At Own Organization (July 2): We recently saw our Prime Minister take a knee and proclaim: “Over the past weeks, we’ve seen a large number of Canadians suddenly awaken to the fact that the discrimination that is a lived reality for far too many of our fellow citizens is something that needs to end.”

Well that didn’t influence his decision to hand over a $900-million grant program without putting it to tender to the Kielburger brothers, two white men who apparently run the only organization able to administer this program in Canada. Who was consulted? Where is the strategy? What is the message that sends to the large number of community service groups with vast experience working with volunteers across the country doing incredible work in diverse communities? It is a slap in the face.

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Reinforcing charities such as WE that continue to benefit from political connections, power, money, gender and race shows the inability to confront the system we are supposedly trying so hard to change. Proving again that we are not all in this together.

Annie Game Toronto


This seems to be another “policy on the fly” initiative emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I can just imagine how the millions of Canadians feel, those who currently volunteer their time and efforts in the true definition of the word, not to mention distracting and saddling teachers with the execution of this program. How does this inspire our youth to volunteer for worthwhile causes, as a contribution to what Canada is all about?

Roger Straathof Calgary


The Prime Minister is intent on creating a new Canadian value among the young of paid volunteerism using government money but administered by the WE Charity using teachers paid by a bounty for recruitment and on-boarding. This was done without public consultation or parliamentary oversight.

If the PM feels so strongly about this, perhaps he should have used the Trudeau Foundation to sponsor and pay for this rather than the hapless Canadian taxpayer who had no say in the matter.

Chris Tworek Calgary

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According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the WE Charity was “recommended by the public service” as the only organization that could administer the government’s $900-million grant program. Really? The easiest way to demonstrate that would be to publish the written analysis by a civil servant, or bring forward the relevant civil servant to attest to that conclusion. I am waiting.

Mike Firth Toronto


In past decades, youth have been employed on farms helping in the raising and harvesting of fruit and vegetables. While this work is very important to migrant workers and their families, why not have students more involved in this sector when there is a real need for help at this time? Physical labour goes a long way to help mental health, perhaps just as much as creating digital content as described in the article. Building community is also mentioned. Communities would also be benefited by crops being harvested and not going to waste in the fields as the very serious problems with the exploited migrant workers continue.

Patricia Moore Paris, Ont.

Deplorable conditions

Re On Farms, Ontario Is Repeating Mistakes Made With Long-Term Care (July 1): In her excellent and thought-provoking column, Robyn Urback noted the “years’ worth of reports” warning about the awful conditions in Ontario long-term care homes. She missed mentioning the most recent call to action. In July, 2019, Justice Eileen Gillese, commissioner of Ontario’s public inquiry on resident safety and security in long-term care homes, presented to the Ford government her final report into the circumstances surrounding the murders of eight seniors in long-term care homes committed by nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer over nine years.

Her recommendations to the Ministry of Long-Term Care included (among others) that the ministry should provide support to long-term care home operators in order to achieve regulatory compliance, to spread best practices and to provide bridging and laddering programs in long-term care homes to increase the skills of those who work in them. She also recommended that the ministry “create a new, permanent funding envelope for training and education in long-term care homes.”

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One must ask, what happened to Justice Gillese’s report and her thoughtful recommendations? Given the deplorable conditions reported by members of the Canadian Armed Forces from a number of facilities, it seems clear that the judge’s work might have been sitting on a government shelf and ignored for the past year.

Martin Birt Uxbridge, Ont.


Canada’s treatment of the temporary migrant farm workers has been shameful and inhumane. In the name of our own selfishness – food security and profitability – we’ve been disregarding the migrant workers’ health and lives. Multiple levels of governments should impose rules that require (or even subsidize) farms to accommodate migrant workers in nearby hotel rooms and provide daily bus transportation to and from the farms. This way, migrant workers get the safety, dignity, appreciation and income that they are entitled to, Canada gets its food security, hotel owners get some much-needed revenues, and the hospitality and transportation employees get to work.

Swire Chin Toronto

Living organ donation

Re ‘Generosity, I Have Learned, Is Anything But Simple’ (June 27): Thanks to Wency Leung and her story on living organ donation. I am an advocate for a friend in need of a new liver.

For the past few years, I have been working on creating awareness and educating those in our community who might be willing and able to help with a living donation. Despite the pandemic, the need for donation has not disappeared. My friend, who tires easily and has problems with digestion and sleep, is increasingly aware of how the pandemic has set the progress of finding a donor back by a considerable time. Time that she does not have.

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Living donation is a serious commitment but anyone interested should know that the donor’s health risks are prioritized, the outcome is a few weeks of recovery for the donor and, hopefully, years of life for the recipient. In Ontario, detailed information can be obtained from the Trillium Gift of Life Network organization.

The pandemic has spawned a wave of many selfless acts. The opportunity to save someone's life should be at the top of the list.

Carol Victor Burlington, Ont.


When my beloved, healthy, almost 19-year-old grandson, Joshua, died in January, 2018, he became a donor, with several of his organs and tissue used. I don’t know how many people were helped or who, or where, they are. I do know my grandson is special, as is any organ donor, and we should all sign our donor cards, and consider live donation.

Joy Ruttan Gatineau


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