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Two hundred and fifteen pairs of children's shoes are placed on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery as a memorial to the 215 children whose remains have been found buried at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., on May 28, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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HONOURING THE DEAD

Re Calls Grow For Probes Into Residential School Deaths (May 31): Mass graves do not belong in any school. Discovering the buried remains of 215 children at the Kamloops residential school should be beyond enough to convince non-Indigenous Canadians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that it is time to finally walk our talk on truth and reconciliation.

Calls to action 71 through 76 in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call upon Canada to act with respect to missing Indigenous children and burial information.

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The Assembly of First Nations has reported that Canada has not met our responsibilities on these items.

The sheer inhumanity of a mass grave of children as young as three years old cannot be overstated.

We simply cannot fail to act anymore. Let’s finally do what is right. Mr. Trudeau, it is high time to finally make good on your promises on clean water and all else. Step up and act, or step aside, because you will no longer have the moral authority to govern this country.

Helgi Maki Toronto


I am a Canadian citizen and a status Indian registered band member, and invoking all applicable articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, I request that the government of Canada seek the assistance of forensics experts of the International Committee of the Red Cross in conducting investigations of the unmarked mass grave at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, believed to contain the remains of 215 Indigenous children.

John Moses Ottawa


For years, representatives of our First Nations have beseeched the government to investigate the deaths of their many “disappeared.”

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For years, the authorities have done nothing to pursue these calls. That the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation has had to discover these children’s bodies through its own efforts is a sad commentary on our societal failure.

Joe O’Brien Halifax


This is shocking news, even for our generation inured by seemingly endless stories of human-rights abuses from around the globe. Clearly Canada is in no position to continue presenting itself as a global champion of human rights.

Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.


After the heartbreaking discovery of yet another atrocity, flying flags at half-mast isn’t enough. Canadian teachers should be mandated to explain this recent discovery to their students. How smug I used to feel about being Canadian.

We need to own our culpability in creating injustices in many forms against Indigenous people, as well as many newcomers who only want to contribute to the greatness of Canada. My heart is very sad.

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Marilyn Kogon Kingston


I recall learning at university about Canada’s residential schools and how they were beneficial to Indigenous children, teaching them English and providing them with an education. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned of the disgusting atrocities that took place within these schools.

However, what disgusts me more is that our policy makers have known about these horrors for years, yet still do not provide adequate infrastructure for our Indigenous communities to have access to safe water and a steady supply of food.

Is this the same Canada that proudly boasts its multiculturalism but completely forgets its past sins? When will policy makers stop paying lip service to supporting Indigenous communities and take tangible action?

Kunwar Karim Alliston Ont.


Flying flags at half-mast to honour the 215 aboriginal children who died at the Kamloops residential school is a nice, very public gesture. But why doesn’t the Canadian government finally treat living Indigenous children like most other kids and fully implement the 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling to more equitably support First Nations children and their families on par with non-Indigenous ones? It is long overdue.

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Leslie Adams Vancouver

SHOTS AND MISSES

Re Ontario to Speed Up Second-Dose Eligibility For COVID-19 Vaccines: Being an elderly person and therefore at high risk, I follow with great interest the various pronouncements on pandemic-related issues.

I was very pleased to hear from Ontario Premier Doug Ford that I could seek an acceleration of my second vaccination appointment. I tried the online booking system this morning and received two messages: “Congratulations, you are eligible for an accelerated second vaccination” and “There are no appointments available at this time in your area.” My cynical response is that the Ontario government is much better prepared to make announcements than it is to do anything useful.

A.S. Brown Kingston


Re: Drop in COVID-19 Vaccine Demand Could Push Provinces to Explore Incentives: In public health, sometimes the ends justify the means. If incentives like prizes and lotteries will increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines, then I’m all for such measures. However, I am appalled that we would have to resort to this. Millions of people all over the world would love to get a vaccine. If you are lucky enough to receive a vaccine, you have already won the lottery.

I once worked for a year in two hospitals in South Sudan. I often think that I would like to write people a prescription for a similar experience. After following my advice then returning home, anyone would cherish their medical care, including the privilege of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Lauralee Morris MD, Brampton, Ont.

A NEW TOP DOC

Re Ontario’s Incoming Medical Officer of Health Known For His Swift Actions, Disease Surveillance (May 31): Kieran Moore has done an excellent job of piloting the Kingston area through the pandemic. He’s bright, capable, a great communicator and certainly knows his stuff.

It will be interesting (and telling) to see if his sage advice will be heeded or if he will become entangled in the sticky web of partisan politics that too often hamstrings people of his calibre at Queen’s Park. Doug Ford was smart enough to appoint Dr. Moore, now let’s see if the Premier lets him do his job. We can only hope so.

Ken Cuthbertson Kingston

LEADERS WE DESERVE?

Re In Times of Crisis, The Folly At The Heart of Our Democratic System Is Laid Bare (Opinion, May 29): There is a common thread in the examples of political inadequacy described by Robyn Urback. Perhaps with the exception of Justin Trudeau, all of these “leaders” had revealed their unfitness for office on numerous occasions prior to being elected. Perhaps the flaw in our electoral system that Ms. Urback notes is rooted in the unwillingness of too many in the electorate to adhere to Maya Angelou’s maxim: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.

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