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Re Canada’s Greens Self-destruct Over Israel (June 17): Another visible minority leader faces backlash from a predominantly white party establishment. Do we remember the not-so-subtle calls for Jagmeet Singh’s resignation by NDP insiders at the first sign of trouble, before a single election campaign?
While I agree with the criticism of Annamie Paul, her position here is not a radical break from former leader Elizabeth May’s. It feels disingenuous for party insiders to blame Ms. Paul for the defection of an MP, who has walked back her own position to align with the Liberals.
Ms. Paul’s ongoing difficulties should be seen in the context of the Canadian political establishment’s actions falling short of its rhetoric on embracing diversity.
Daniel Ribi Ottawa
Here is my advice to the Green Party: It’s the environment, stupid.
The Greens will most likely never form government. Most people who vote for them are die-hard environmentalists, or those who care about the environment but won’t vote for one of the other parties.
There is nothing wrong with being a one-issue party, especially when the issue is existential. They have successfully pulled the Liberals and NDP in the right direction, by being an effective voice in the fight against climate change.
But now the Greens give us pause. Are they racist? Sexist? Do they crush dissent? Are they the “hate” party?
It looks like the Greens haven’t just taken their eye off the ball – they’ve rocketed it into their own net.
Valerie Edwards Toronto
Re Vancouver School Board Phasing Out Courses For Gifted Students (June 16): I am troubled by this decision, ostensibly because I don’t think it complies with “equity and inclusion” goals. This philosophy strikes me as political correctness run amok.
Surely the pursuit of excellence among gifted young people should be promoted in Canadian schools, and not vilified. To do otherwise, it would appear to this writer, the Vancouver School Board is in danger of promoting mediocrity, something all Canadians should resist.
Cecil Rorabeck London, Ont.
The dictate has come down! What’s next: No more classes for those who need special assistance, to comply with equity and inclusion goals? No more school teams because they exclude those with limited athletic abilities?
Richard Austin Toronto
As a former high-school and special-education teacher in Ontario, I witnessed the atrophy of gifted programming over several decades. Frequently, the default explanation was that “those students can be challenged in the regular classroom.” Unfortunately, that often didn’t happen in Ontario’s overcrowded schools.
Dismissing the concerns of those opposing these cancellations as examples of “racism and systemic racism” seems absurd. Rather, these parents are simply advocating for their kids, as any engaged mom or dad would. That should hardly make them racists.
Tim Waterhouse Ottawa
I believe this decision is in direct opposition to the significant efforts made by educators and governments to encourage students (especially women) to seek careers in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). These students will be Canada’s technological leaders in future generations, but they require a high level of skill in science, mathematics and English. Students who don’t receive adequate preparation in high school will be at a significant disadvantage.
I was once one of those kids who raised their hand too often. To my eternal gratitude, I had an exceptional math teacher who allowed me to work independently at my own level. But the notion that every teacher in every classroom will have the time and ability to “teach to individual students’ capabilities” seems extremely wishful thinking.
David Wortman Toronto
Re Well-wishers Overwhelm First Nation (June 17): I am at a loss to understand why the RCMP is not opening a murder investigation into the Kamloops unmarked residential school graves.
Imagine if 200-plus graves were found in a field on a regular landowner’s property. It would be cordoned off with police tape before the public knew about it.
Is this not so in Kamloops because the school was church-owned? Because the government was involved? Is it just that children are not that important to our institutions? Or that they were Indigenous?
It is 2021 and this happened in living memory. I can only wonder what Canadians will think 100 years from now if we do not act quickly to bring those accountable to justice, and shine a real light on this crime.
Boyd Davis Kingston
Re Timber! (Letters, June 16): A letter-writer suggests that banning the logging of old-growth trees would cause some unemployment, the precise opposite of what I know the ban would do: Increase employment in the logging industry.
The reasons are economic – banning the logging of old-growth trees would not change demand for lumber by one whit – and mathematical. If new trees are half the diameter of old growth, it takes four of them to get the same board feet; if, as is more likely, they are a quarter of the diameter, it takes 16 of them to get the same board feet.
It seems obvious, then, that banning old-growth logging requires more workers for the same amount of lumber.
Jeremiah Allen Emeritus professor of economics, University of Lethbridge
Halting old-growth deforestation may cost jobs, and a child may cry. But children may cry soon because old growth is not renewable and cutting will end sometime soon. The question is whether we keep more than a few small packages of old growth as museums, or stop now and do our best to maintain the diversity of a larger mature forest.
I think the real issue is the belief that nature is for us to exploit. This will end and children will cry, now or a not-very-distant generation. We only live because everything else does.
If nature dies, we die.
Robert Brown Peterborough, Ont.
Re My Hometown (Letters, June 16): A letter-writer decries the violence of the sectarian-based 1880 Donnelly massacre near London, Ont. Yet the Donnellys and their assailants were co-religionists, members of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Biddulph.
The murders were carried out by the “Peace Society” created by Father John Connolly and led by James Carroll. James Donnelly had by then removed his devotions to a parish in London, in protest of Father Connolly’s anti-Protestant rhetoric.
The violence of that event may best be described as “intra-sectarian.”
J. L. Elliott Calgary
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