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Re ‘Our Souls Are Numb’ (June 9): Following the killing of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., our politicians have offered what are no doubt sincere condolences. But we have heard such condolences before – after the 2017 killing of six Muslim people in a Quebec City mosque and after last year’s killing of a volunteer at a mosque in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood.
We need more than mere words.
Civil society actors and the Liberal government should acknowledge the seriousness of this issue and develop concrete policies to counter this menace. Law-enforcement authorities should record anti-Muslim hate crimes separately and treat them seriously. Counselling services must be established for victims. And educational institutions must work to dispel any negative perceptions of Islam.
It is frightening for Muslim families to see such horrors inflicted upon innocent people. How long will this saga of violence and bloodshed continue?
Javed Akbar Ajax, Ont.
Will this latest incident of Islamophobic violence finally give pause to the politicians, and their supporters, who advocated for the “barbaric cultural practices hotline,” or Quebec’s Bill 21? Or is their political calculus so cynical that the pursuit of votes justifies pandering to the most hateful and retrograde elements of the electorate?
Laeeque K. Daneshmend Professor, PhD, Noranda-Falconbridge chair in Mine-Mechanical Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston
After the terrible tragedy in London, Ont., people are calling for action. One way forward is to require compulsory religious education in all schools. If we learned at a young age about the world’s religions, perhaps we would become more tolerant. The more knowledge we have, the better we may understand each other.
Michael Berlis Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Do we need more evidence that our country has a racism problem? Prejudice against minorities is still prevalent in Canadian society. We have work to do.
Murray Angus Ottawa
Re Murders in London, Ont. (Letters, June 9): This barbaric attack on a Muslim family was shocking and horrific, but we must not let the despicable actions of one 20-year-old xenophobic man define the character of an entire generation of youth, nor the character of Canadians. This is an isolated incident by a disturbed young man that certainly does not speak for a generation of amazing youth.
Bruce Hutchison PhD, Ottawa
Re Canada’s Gold Medal Vaccine Performance (Editorial, June 9): As a family doctor, I am relieved to see the members of my family, my patients and my fellow citizens being immunized at an impressive rate. However, I am concerned about our failure to adequately immunize the global community. A local solution cannot solve a global problem.
We need to have our decision makers understand that it is not enough to save ourselves. Effort and resources are needed to help our global community. If we fail to do this, the virus will inevitably continue to mutate as it struggles to survive and will be back in Canada in new and more virulent forms.
We are in a lifeboat but are not reaching out enough to those who are still in the water, and are worried that if we include them we will sink. If we do not help, we will sink with them. We need them and they need us.
Michael D. Yachnin MD, Ottawa
RESTING IN PEACE
Re Canada Must Listen To The Stories Of The Children In Unmarked Graves (Opinion, June 8): Kim Echlin’s lovely, sad, wise article about the children buried at Kamloops Indian Residential School brings us face to face with the underlying rationale for the recognition of deaths for any reason and in any location. The focus should be on recognizing these individual children’s final resting places for this reason alone: Human decency requires it.
Meredith Saunderson Toronto
THE END OF GROWTH
Re China’s Three-Child Policy Is A Triumph Of Bureaucracy Over Logic (Opinion, June 5): Doug Saunders dismisses The Limits to Growth (1972) as a “widely discredited … population-doomsday study.” I recently reread this work and would say rather that it is widely misunderstood. In fact, it is a first-rate piece of work, pioneering new approaches to the study of large, complex, dynamic systems such as the world. The authors state only one conclusion as absolute, namely that indefinite exponential growth – of population, consumption, use of natural resources etc. – is impossible in our finite world, the Earth and its atmosphere.
The human population must stop growing at some point. At a modest 1-per-cent growth per annum, the human population would number about 18 billion by 2100, 1.2 trillion in 500 years and 174 trillion in 1,000 years. In the last case, there would be a three-foot-by-three-foot square of land for each human being, including land currently considered uninhabitable. This is simple arithmetic. At some point, we must adjust to slower growth, even no growth or decline, and an older age structure. There is no alternative, not even the colonization of Mars.
Thomas K. Burch PhD, Demographer, Victoria
Re Do Not Lose Sight Of How The Military Sexual-Misconduct Crisis Affects Those Who Serve (June 4): Canada’s former defence chiefs, Paul Manson and Ray Henault, do a disservice to victims of sexual misconduct in the military, and everywhere, when they say, “There is a clear need to act aggressively and visibly on any allegation of sexual misconduct in the Armed Forces” and then begin their next sentence with, “However.”
When it comes to gender-related abuse and harassment, “however” has no place. There have been too many “howevers” that have led to a torturous delay on the part of the government and the military in stemming this epidemic. More of that was on display last week in the lame Department of National Defence response to retired Supreme Court judge Morris Fish’s report on Canada’s military justice system.
As to the cause of low morale among the troops, look to bad actors and leaders. Nobody’s morale has taken a life-altering hit more than the women and men who have been betrayed by those at the top. That sting is all the worse when a credible allegation points to a former defence chief as being one of those bad actors.
Kathleen Finlay Founder, the ZeroNow Campaign, Gravenhurst, Ont.
Re Cryptocurrency and the environment (Letters, June 9): A letter-writer points out the astronomical environmental costs associated with cryptocurrency transactions. To discourage such activity, governments should charge a special carbon tax on every cryptocurrency transaction. It would be insane to stand by and do nothing about this growing contributor to climate change.
Peter Love Toronto
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