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A pro-Ukrainian supporter waves the country's flag outside the Russian embassy in Ottawa on Feb. 24.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Russian relations

Re Government Apologizes For Sending Official To Russian Embassy Party (June 13): In one mindless, avoidable gesture, Canada has embarrassingly undermined its support for Ukraine. For the sake of Canada’s credibility, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly should resign. The fact that official representation at the Russian embassy party was even contemplated by the minister’s department points to weak and ineffective leadership.

This inexplicable mistake might also signal deeper problems in the bearings of the bureaucracy at Global Affairs Canada. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development should call witnesses.

It is outrageous to be sending any kind of mixed signals to the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tom Urbaniak, professor of political science, Cape Breton University Sydney, N.S.

Political figures

Re Paths To Conservative Leadership Now Look Improbable For Anyone Not Named Poilievre (June 8): More than 300,000 new Conservative memberships? I bet a majority of new members, like me, joined to vote against Pierre Poilievre.

Mark Christian Burgess Cobourg, Ont.

Financial figures

Re BoC Sounds Alarm Over Household Debt (June 10): In the days before the internet, one relied upon books of mathematical tables to foresee the extent of looming disasters posed by rising mortgage rates.

I have a small book called Amortized Mortgage Payments Calculated Monthly, which I bought in 1981 when our first mortgage was coming up for renewal. It provides tables of monthly payments necessary to amortize a mortgage, by 0.25-per-cent increments, beginning at 8 per cent and topping out at 25 per cent. In August of 1981, the 21.5-per-cent table was of surpassing interest.

I am in favour of anything the Bank of Canada can do to prevent the sort of soaring inflation which results in interest rates like that.

James Rodger Argyle, Man.

Tough lessons

Re International Students Deserve To Be Treated As More Than Just A Revenue Stream (June 10): Foreign students were the solution to the financial mess our colleges and universities were plunged into by decades of underfunding. Faced with shortfalls, administrators filled the gaps with corporate partnerships that undermine autonomy, increased tuitions that reduce accessibility and foreign students who, through no fault of their own, stress the system to its breaking point.

As a university educator, I saw the effects of packing already crowded classes with international undergraduates, many of whom were ill-prepared to handle university-level instruction in a second language. The result? Stressed students who face physical and mental health problems and fears of disappointing families back home. Beleaguered professors and teaching assistants who struggle to assess them honestly, fairly and humanely.

It’s currently a lose-lose situation. I support foreign students coming to Canada, but not as “cash cows” to prop up an education system we have failed to properly fund. That’s not fair to anyone.

Paul Benedetti Former faculty member, Western University (retired); Hamilton

What’s in a name

Re Mispronouncing Names Isn’t Okay, And It Has Nothing To Do With Being ‘Woke’ (June 8): “At the end of the day, it just comes down to … respect.” So important and true. I wish this truth had been observed at the recent ceremony commemorating the historic land-claim settlement between the Siksika First Nation and Canada (PM, First Nation Sign Land Claim Settlement). After Chief Ouray Crowfoot’s heartfelt expression of that day’s significance, during which he said his nation’s name several times, my jaw dropped in disbelief when the top representatives of the Canadian delegation mispronounced Siksika.

Such a small thing, the correct pronunciation of a name, but it holds such power and significance. To Justin Trudeau and Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Time to get with it.

Lynda Olson Esquimalt, B.C.


Our faculty had three professors whose names were spelled “Wiebe.” Our then-dean, knowing that one came from Russia, one from the United States and one from Canada, pronounced their names like so: “Veebeh,” “Weebie” and “Weeb.”

Quite right.

Michael Feld Vancouver

Welcome mat

Re Ottawa Still Silent On Afghans Seeking Refuge in Canada (June 13): Another day, and yet another headline about Canada’s abysmal lack of support to the thousands of people whom we left stranded in Afghanistan.

I’m glad that there has been the political will to accelerate the influx of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. That said, I wonder at the calculation and the morality behind the much lesser effort demonstrated by this government when it comes to helping Afghan refugees.

These are people who had risked their lives to help Canada, yet in their hour of desperate need we continue to treat them with bureaucratic intransigence.

Actions speak louder than words. Enough with your ineffectual speeches, Justin Trudeau. It’s time for tangible, measurable action.

I feel deeply ashamed of Canada’s response to date. You should too. Do something now please.

Ian Newall Toronto

Insurrection televised

Re The Jan. 6 Hearings Will Have To Try Harder To Be Consequential TV (June 13): One doesn’t need thunderous background music or special effects to clearly comprehend the insurrectionist conduct of the then-sitting U.S. president. Donald Trump’s actions were and remain unprecedented in U.S. history. The evidence has been compiled painstakingly by the committee and as the impact of the Trump tenure has sadly infiltrated our society, with its incivility and incessant mendacity, the committee’s presentation deserves the attention of all citizens. We should all care not only about the historical significance, but the future of their and our democracy.

Jim Conte Niagara Falls, Ont.

No more gag orders

Re Sports Groups Get New Standards Deadline (June 13): Minister for Sport Pascale St-Onge has announced new standards must be put in place by April, 2023, to protect Canadian athletes from physical, sexual and psychological abuse as a condition of government funding.

However, she expresses concern that some athletes may have signed or be pressured to sign contracts that include non-disparagement clauses. Clearly such clauses may prevent athletes from speaking out about abuses contrary to the purpose of safe sport. In Prince Edward Island, the Non-Disclosure Agreements Act came into force last month. Gag orders incorporated into settlement agreements in cases of sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination are now deemed illegal. Such clauses silence victims and permit serial harassers to continue with impunity.

This groundbreaking Island legislation can serve as a template across Canada. Ms. St-Onge, you have a precedent.

Ellen Anderson Summerside, PEI


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