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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a knee during an anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on June 5, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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More money for Saudi arms

Re Ottawa Uses ‘National Interest’ Account For Saudi Deal (June 8): So, the government of Canada lends $650-million to the fully owned subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp., a multinational arms manufacturer, with a net profit of US$3.4-billion, so that General Dynamics can send military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which is US$1.5-billion in arrears on payment under the contract. A government of Canada spokesman won’t even reveal if any of the monies have been repaid.

Perhaps the spokesman could reveal, without a Freedom of Information application, what former politicians may have lobbied on behalf of this fine business transaction.

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Guy Jones Toronto

The Trudeau government has long blamed former prime minister Stephen Harper for the controversial contract of military light-armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia, insisting that it was unable to be broken. Yet, earlier this spring, our current government “resumed approval of new permits for military exports to Saudi Arabia.”

Even worse, Canada has given a $650-million loan to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (the company that produces these LAVs) because, get this, the Saudi government has not been making its loan payments.

Truly, this is a shameful deal for Canada. Saudi, with disregard for human rights, has been pummelling Yemen with bombs and blockades for years. Canadians, who like to bask in our angel complex, have been not only supplying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with his military equipment, but are now financing his atrocities as well.

Liberals, you are no better than Mr. Harper. Stop the military exports to Saudi Arabia and start opening up Canadian borders to the Yemeni refugees.

Jodine Ducs West Kelowna, B.C.

I find it very hypocritical when the Trudeau government proclaims to be so concerned with human rights and at the same time allows the sale of combat vehicles to one of the greatest violators of human rights on the planet, Saudi Arabia.

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Excuse me, but since when are we responsible for Saudi Arabia’s failure to make its payments, and why should we be bailing out General Dynamics? It is absolutely absurd to be involved with such odious dealings and makes a complete mockery of what I thought Canada stood for.

Ken Pattern Vancouver

Thumbs down on Trudeau photo op

Re Trudeau Takes A Knee At Anti-Racism Rally (June 6): Since March, millions of Canadians have lost their jobs and countless businesses are gone forever. The Trudeau government’s message has been “stay home, stay safe.” We were told that it was too dangerous for Parliament to sit and that those who gathered in parks were literally killing the elderly for doing so.

Yet our virtue-signalling Prime Minister broke his mandated lockdown and physical-distancing rules in order to “take a knee.” He and thousands of others put the health of Canadians at risk. It appears that the 7,000-plus Canadians who have died of COVID-19 are less important than his photo op.

David Morgan Ottawa

We are in the middle of a global pandemic and I, like most people in this country, have been heeding the advice from the government, scientists and the medical community to shelter in place and severely limit my contact with others for months now.

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I am totally disappointed in the lack of leadership from our irresponsible Prime Minister who attended a rally for a photo op. What are you thinking? What are you going to say to people who lose a family member from the resulting spike in COVID-19 cases through rally goers and/or their contacts?

Black Lives Matter has highlighted the inequities and police brutality that we desperately need to immediately address in society, but practice what you preach, Mr. Trudeau. Your decision to attend the rally during a lockdown makes you part of the problem.

Ken Southam North Vancouver, B.C.

LTC action needed

Re Lack Of Oversight Led Whistle-blower To Sound Alarm On Seniors Home (June 8): It would not be the first time a whistle-blower has come forward with allegations of abusive incidents in nursing homes leading to criminal investigations. The “lack of oversight” extends beyond owners of long-term care facilities; the provincial government, health ministers and their ministries have consistently failed to provide effective oversight and control over nursing homes. Claims of surprise made by politicians about the cruel and reprehensible treatment of residents are simply absurd.

Nothing can excuse the unconscionable institutional elder abuse of the past 25 years, which continues unabated in far too many facilities, and it must be remedied with severe consequences by our justice system.

Ellen Watson Aurora, Ont.

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The pandemic has given a face to the issue that has been examined by human-rights activists, politicians, researchers, government and seniors advocates with limited results. Fifteen years ago, the United Nations designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day as a time to honour, respect and celebrate older people.

A challenge for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has never been more clear: Older people deserve the full spectrum of human rights.

Elizabeth Podnieks Toronto

COVID-19 and green goals

Re Fixing The Virus Crisis Shouldn’t Mean Sacrificing Climate Goals (June 9): While a reduction in global emissions has been a welcome byproduct of the novel coronavirus, it is solely the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Green conditions attached to bailout packages and new carbon taxes are only the first step in the long marathon that is reversing the effects of climate change, both from industry and consumers alike.

It inevitably comes down to firms recognizing climate-change effects as a legitimate threat to business operations. By beginning to shift their attention to this, sustainability and a move toward carbon neutrality can become more tangible. At the end of the day, a transition away from fossil fuel consumption will be difficult, but then again so is combatting a global pandemic.

Jed Jespersen Spruce Grove, Alta.

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Sick days needed now

Racism Is A Public-Health Crisis That Needs Addressing (June 3): Poorly supporting workers in long-term care, farms and processing plants made COVID-19 outbreaks worse. For many of these disproportionately racialized workers, staying home sick has meant not being able to afford essentials. This has been disastrous for the financial stability and health of many workers, their families and communities.

The federal government must fulfill their promise to collaborate with provinces on permanently requiring 10 paid sick days for all. Paid sick days would enable people to stay home when needed – helping to fight both systemic racism and COVID-19.

Susan Anderson Decent Work and Health Network, Toronto


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