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One reader gave a primer for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, seen here on April 20, 2020, 'on what constitutes systemic racism.'

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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RCMP and systemic racism

Re RCMP Head Disputes Systemic Racism (June 11): RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki shamefully joins the chorus of people at the head of various state institutions denying the existence of systemic racism in her organization. She clearly does not understand what it is.

The existence of systemic racism does not depend on intentional, overt attempts to discriminate. It is not reflected in the “unconscious bias” of a few members, as she puts it. Rather, it describes the structural inequalities built into the system that create and then perpetuate disadvantage for people of colour and Indigenous people.

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If you head a state organization and you can only see a few “bad apples,” but fail to see the rot that has beset the trees, it is time to go.

Nicole Chrolavicius Toronto

Here is a primer for Brenda Lucki on what constitutes systemic racism: If the management team is not representative of the people they serve, then that is a systemic issue based in racism. If the rank and file do not represent the people they serve, then that is also systemic racism. If the rank and file along with management haven’t been properly screened to block those with “unconcious bias,” then that is systemic racism. If the organization does not offer adequate training to deal with those of different cultural backgrounds, then that is systemic racism.

It is disappointing to see people in positions of great responsibility and power have such a poor grasp of the social implications in their approach to leadership.

Bruce Henry Waterloo, Ont.

Dundas name controversy

Re Mayor Open To Renaming Dundas Street Over Concerns of Namesake’s Racism (June 11): I was surprised to read that Dundas Street was named after a certain Henry Dundas. I had always understood it to be so named because when Toronto was Muddy York, it was the road to Dundas (and still is), just as Kingston Road was and still is the road to Kingston.

It appears the real issue is whether Dundas, Ont., should be renamed; if so, then we should consider following suit. The irony is that the controversy has so far served to revive the memory of an invidious individual who was hitherto long dead and forgotten.

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Andrew Leith Macrae Toronto

It is difficult to know if a man blinded by values of his time should be erased from our street names. Until you remember others were not. William Wilberforce fought to abolish the slave trade. William Wilberforce Street please.

Chris Stoate Oakville, Ont.

Compromise on Parliament

Re Parliament Has Sat Only 38 Days In Nearly 12 months. What Now? (June 10): I don’t agree with the wholesale suspension of Parliament, but Canada’s situation has a bit more complexity compared with that of Britain. It is a relatively compact country with multiple options for MPs to return to London for regularly scheduled sittings, plus it has near universal high-speed internet connectivity for remote sittings. Canada is geographically massive with greatly reduced options for travel to Ottawa, and internet connections for many ridings are not as robust. With the higher COVID-19 incidence rate in Central Canada, I can see how Ottawa may not be the best choice for everyone.

Maybe a different hybrid model should be considered: one in which MPs gather regionally to sit concurrently with MPs in Ottawa and have video links joining everyone. These hubs would have best-of-class video conferencing hardware and displays (not like Zoom meetings), with rooms large enough so members would maintain physical-distancing protocols. Travel would be restricted within “safe” zones (such as the west/north to one location, Maritimes to another, Ontario/Quebec travel to Ottawa), so the dynamics of live Parliament are partially restored.

Surely there is a Canadian compromise that can work to bring Parliament back.

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Tom Muirhead Vancouver

Our responsibility on policing

Re The Nine Principles of Good Policing (June 9): Almost 200 years after its first publication, Sir Robert Peel’s principles offer the perfect, elegant description of what we call “consent policing.” The rules lay out both practical and philosophic foundations of community policing. But in founding the first modern police service, he never absolved us (the public) of our own obligations.

Principle 7 describes the correct police/public relationship, but many of us skim the last bit: ”… the police being the only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties that are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” Put simply, Sir Robert’s “bobbies” weren’t doing anything about crime and disorder that the public were not obliged to do already.

So, today’s challenge is to reform our own preferences and attitudes, not simply to impose changes we want on police services. Are Canadians prepared to do the hard work of improving community policing, by performing those duties incumbent on us in the interests of community welfare and existence?

Andrew Mizen Toronto

Who gets hurt in a boycott

Re Former Envoy Urges Boycott Of Beijing Olympics (June 11): Boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics would be counterproductive and discriminatory. Counterproductive, because if Canada is absent, China will win more medals to brag about. Discriminatory, because the advocates of a boycott are not offering their own personal sacrifices, but instead expect athletes who have trained for years to forgo their Olympic dreams and miss out on medals that open doors for future careers in sports.

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David McLellan Orleans, Ont.

What would Ralph Klein do?

Re Ralph Klein Would Build The Green Line (June 8): Your editorial suggesting that former Calgary mayor Ralph Klein would build the Green Line in the city suggests The Globe’s lacking of the history of Calgary and a knowledge of the issues facing Calgarians.

We are considering the expenditure of a $5-billion investment of taxpayer money for a rapid transit system that is ill-considered and has the potential of large overruns. Mr. Klein would not build the Green Line.

Your forget that he closed two hospitals, backed off the construction of another, reduced the funding for teachers, doctors and nurses. The Ralph Klein that Albertans knew was a fiscal hawk.

Ron Ghitter Calgary

The freedom to protest

Re Goodell Tries To Say Sorry About Kaepernick (June 8): Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest during the U.S. national anthem raised the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump, who claimed the act to be unpatriotic and disrespectful to military veterans. To be clear, no U.S. soldier ever fought or died for their national anthem. They fought and died for the freedom it represents, including, by the way, the freedom to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

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David M. Williams Ottawa

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