Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.
Re Pope Francis Should Come Bearing ‘Gifts’ On His Apology Tour Of Canada (July 1): Committing to return the treasures in the Vatican to their original owners would be the very minimum to accompany the words of a papal apology, even if some of the objects were acquired as genuine gifts. This is no occasion to quibble.
Incidentally, it would well behoove the Pope to refrain from bringing any paraphernalia, the sights of which may be offensive to Indigenous people, to whom his organization is so indebted. That includes the pectoral cross and his papal ferula, which could be substituted by an ordinary cane.
“Sack and ash” come to mind.
William Lambermont Toronto
Re Ottawa Urged To Cancel ArriveCan App Amid Chaos At Airports (July 5): “We are making progress, but challenges remain,“ says Valérie Glazer, communications director for Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
I’m reminded of the epitaph I plan to have on my gravestone: “I don’t know where I am, but I’m making good time.”
Leo Deveau Halifax
One good way to avoid airport delays: Don’t fly unless one must.
By not taking to the air at this time, Canadians can avoid unnecessary frustration and inconvenience, reduce overcrowding for those who really have to fly, support local economies and – since air travel is one of the biggest contributors to our oversized carbon footprint – help protect a livable planet for our children.
Michael Polanyi Toronto
Re Camping Out For The Possibility Of A Passport (July 2): The inconveniences, costs and indignities heaped on Canadians wishing to travel would be amusing if they were not so demeaning and unnecessary. Perhaps Passport Canada and Service Canada should seek advice on how to do it better from their New Zealand counterparts.
When my wife and I discovered, to our horror, that our New Zealand passports had expired before a recent extended trip to the country, we promptly submitted an online application. Four days later, the delivery service e-mailed that our passports were on their way, and two days after that they were in our hands. This was the standard service option.
What does New Zealand know that we don’t?
Keith Bradley Mississauga
Re Alberta Needs To Stop Going All In On Oil (Editorial, July 5): I agree with calls for an Alberta sales tax, but am not optimistic the province will take the advice.
It seems that Alberta spends all its oil royalties (by keeping taxes low or non-existent), pushes the Alberta Advantage – then watches those royalties fall with falling oil prices, blames Ottawa and the “Laurentian elites,” prints bumper stickers and waits for the next boom. Rinse and repeat.
I get passed everyday on the highway by electric vehicles, on both cold days and hot. There will always be a need for some petroleum-based fuels. But if gas-powered vehicle sales end by 2035, then our energy industry is on the clock. Oil booms are likely to be a thing of the past.
What would Alberta do then?
Andrew Baker Burlington, Ont.
Re Cancelling Russian Culture Won’t Stop Putin’s War In Ukraine (July 4): It would be wrong to cancel the good in Russian culture, and wrong to ignore the bad.
To believe that “Russia is a great power, capable of achieving things others cannot” would be chauvinism. Russian art and literature, and its imperialism and genocides, have been matched by other countries. Calling Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania “Russian lands” would be chauvinism that weaker neighbours are unworthy of sovereignty.
Vladimir Putin’s chauvinism has meant disaster in Ukraine, existential threat to the Baltics and instability for Europe.
Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.
Say goodbye to Tchaikovsky. Say goodbye to the Bolshoi. Say goodbye to Russian conductors. Say goodbye to Russian literature.
It is sad to learn that our cultural institutions feel the need to deny Russian culture to North Americans, all because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Julie Beaudoin Pearce Victoria
There should be a distinction between boycotting works that are in the public domain, for which no copyright royalty or licensing fee is paid, and more recent works.
All of the great Russian literary and musical works of the 19th century, and many of the 20th century, are in the public domain, so no royalties flow back to Russia. Similarly, if a Russian artist is living outside of Russia and not paying Russian taxes, Ukraine and its allies should not hesitate to hire them unless they have expressed support for the invasion.
Any boycott should be primarily economic and not based on culture.
Bruce Couchman Ottawa
One of the strongest reasons to read Russian literature during the onslaught in Ukraine: Russian writers themselves often offer the richest insight into Russian problems.
Is there a better critic of Stalinist oppression than Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who, in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, takes us into the daily lives of prisoners in a Stalinist labour camp? Or Yevgeny Yevtushenko who, in his poem Babi Yar, exposes and condemns Soviet antisemitism? There are many others, such as Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam, whom we in the West should know well.
These writers knew the problems and atrocities in Russia because they themselves experienced them – and suffered exile and prison fighting them.
Hamish Guthrie Oakville, Ont.
What’s in a name?
Re Public Good (Letters, July 5): I don’t take issue with a letter-writer, a librarian, who outlines some of the ways in which Canadian libraries serve their communities. But I disagree with the representation of book boxes as housing “unwanted, slightly damp James Patterson paperbacks.” In Edmonton, perhaps.
In my Toronto neighbourhood, I once found, in such a repository, a hardcover set of The Lord of the Rings. A friend was eager to receive it. I later found a hardcover first edition of Kingsley Amis’s The Green Man, which I read.
Libraries? No. But many neighbourhood book boxes are dry and include much more than popular fiction. In Toronto, anyway.
Dale Churchward Toronto
I wholeheartedly agree with a letter-writer: Though charming, neighbourhood book exchanges have little in common with full-service brick-and-mortar libraries.
While we’re on the subject, hearing the redundancy in the name Little Free Library distresses my pedantic heart. Would one tell a friend about picking up the latest bestseller at a “payment-required bookstore”?
Kate Soles Victoria
Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: email@example.com