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Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference June 26, 2020 in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Mandatory messaging

Re Province Reassesses Voluntary Vaccines Policy (June 14): I don’t understand why care-home workers and personal support workers seem to have all the rights, while the vulnerable people they serve have none.

My husband has a terminal illness. We rely on personal support workers and deeply appreciate their help. But here’s the rub: We wouldn’t allow our adult daughters into our condo until they were vaccinated, yet we may have unwittingly been welcoming unvaccinated workers for months. Health authorities say we have no right to know who has been vaccinated or not. It’s as if our right to make informed decisions doesn’t exist.

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Meanwhile, my 90-year-old father’s Ontario care home has been subjected to lockdown after lockdown. Some workers still refuse to be vaccinated. If they have that right, then we should have the right to deny them these jobs and urge them to find work where the stakes aren’t so high.

Diane Sewell Vancouver

Military misses

Re Military’s Second-in-command Resigns After Golfing With Vance (June 15): With so many military leaders resigning, under investigation, apologizing, suing government or facing potential disciplinary action, I ask: Who exactly is leading the Canadian Armed Forces?

Marty Cutler Toronto


I read the headline with some relief. Reason has prevailed, I thought. But reading further, I learned that Lieutenant-General Michael Rouleau was taking an indefinite medical leave.

Ordinary Canadians who commit errors at work are often sanctioned and can even lose their jobs. What’s more, medical leave is contingent on benefits and a doctor’s letter. How does an officer go from being entrusted with high command to being on indefinite sick leave almost overnight?

I trust that necessary medical documentation is in order, and that this is not a case of Lt.-Gen. Rouleau being granted the privilege of paid time off unavailable to many Canadians who commit grave workplace errors.

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Alexandra Diebel Ottawa

Think of the children

Re Tribunal Findings On Indigenous Children Unreasonable: Lawyer (June 15): Canada should withdraw from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if the positions taken by government lawyers are the government’s position.

Non-discrimination and Jordan’s Principle are core to what Canada ratified 30 years ago. If the government took implementation seriously, then the treatment of Indigenous children should have been corrected long before getting to Federal Court, saving lives and millions of taxpayer dollars.

Canada should no longer brag internationally about being a human-rights leader while putting up roadblocks at home. Either settle these lawsuits fairly, or be honest in front of the UN.

Kathy Vandergrift Past chair, Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children; Ottawa

Re Facing Our Suppressed History (Opinion, June 12): I am appalled at what we are learning about the treatment of Indigenous children. There is no shortage of justifiable criticism directed at the Catholic Church, the federal government, the Indian Act and the lack of action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations. Let’s not forget to point a finger at provincial education ministries: These atrocities should be included in our children’s curriculums.

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I am a senior. While I knew about the TRC, I am embarrassed that these atrocities were not made clear to me until a 2018 visit to Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In the Canadian gallery, my wife and I expected to hear of Japanese internments and the Chinese head tax; we were taken aback by information on residential schools and the forced relocation of Inuit.

Apologies and action are needed. Education empowers us all.

Paul Mercer Toronto


No matter how many statues we topple, Sir John A. Macdonald, Egerton Ryerson, Sir Hector-Louis Langevin and other architects of the residential school system are long dead. They cannot answer for their sins. We should turn our energy toward holding the Catholic Church accountable – the very much alive organization that continues to stonewall reconciliation efforts with Indigenous people in Canada.

Why, for example, do we continue to publicly fund the Catholic school system in Ontario? Let’s use our current feelings of anger to affect real change. Because after the last statue has come down and the Catholic Church has not been held accountable, is that really reconciliation?

Heidi Martin Ottawa

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My hometown

Re The Attack In London Is A Reflection Of My City – And Of Canada (June 11): I support the position of contributor Leenat Jilani and honour her experiences. I believe London and the region’s subtle racism is long-standing, insidious, endemic and murderous.

Anti-Chinese signage in front of a London pub is a recent example. An older one is the ultraviolent, sectarian-based 1880 massacre of the Donnelly family. Ms. Jilani’s historical review is a direct cry in support of education curriculum expansion.

I am not criticizing from afar: My family has a cairn in the Strathroy cemetery and I consider Southwestern Ontario my heartland. Can we raise up Canada the just?

Kristine Wilson Ottawa

Timber!

Re Protecting The Mother Trees (Opinion, June 12): Mother trees should not be lost. The recent announcement of logging deferrals in British Columbia is progress. And while I thank the provincial government for these half-measures, it isn’t enough.

Governments have failed to navigate the political, social and economic constraints that prevent change. Protecting old growth should not be an insurmountable issue. There is broad support from Indigenous communities and citizens across Canada that are deeply concerned about climate change. There should be stronger leadership from all levels of government.

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There is no time for delay – every year there will be less old growth to protect.

Robert Miller Calgary


Trees, like every other living organism, are born, grow old and eventually die. When trees are healthy and growing, they absorb lots of CO2 from the atmosphere. When they die in the forest, they fall down and emit that same CO2 back into it.

With sustainable forest management as practised in Canada, mothers (and fathers) are employed to harvest these truly renewable organisms and replace them with healthy young trees. Their locked-in carbon is manufactured by Canadians into a variety of forest products.

By all means keep small pockets of old-growth forests for public viewing, but please do not shut down sustainable logging in the Fairy Creek watershed or elsewhere. An alternative picture could be a child crying beside a dead, decaying tree that was not sustainably harvested by an unemployed parent who once was a woods worker.

Tom Griffiths RPF (retired); Orillia, Ont.

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