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File photo shows temporary foreign workers standing in front of job posting board during their lunch break at the Highline Mushrooms farm, Canada's largest mushroom grower, in Leamington, Ont., April 14, 2016.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

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Same as it ever was

Re Not Enough Done To Protect Farm Workers: PM (June 17): I was born in 1955 in British Columbia. As a teenager, I joined marches to protest poor working conditions deemed acceptable then, as now, for migrant workers. We Canadians as a country like to pat ourselves on the backs for all kinds of perceived niceness. Perhaps it is time to admit we aren’t.

I find that our laws, systems and expectations for ourselves are still rooted in white privilege. We should admit we have failed in multiple ways and rework our systems. The time is now.

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Sheila Bannerman Red Deer, Alta.

Canadian scholars and activists have been complaining about migrant working conditions and immigration restrictions for years. Even the United Nations Human Rights Council has been involved.

In 2017, it received an expert report on people of African descent in Canada. The situation of migrant workers in Canada, the experts observed, is “reminiscent of indentured labour.” They recommended that the Canadian government “make available pathways to residency and citizenship to seasonal workers to protect them from exploitation.”

Rhoda Howard-Hassmann PhD, FRSC, Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights 2003-16, Wilfrid Laurier University; Hamilton

Home and away

Re Why Have We Neglected Home Care? (June 16): With all due respect to columnist André Picard, many elderly men and women choose to live in “institutions,” a.k.a. seniors’ residences.

These seniors prefer the active social life, good food, entertainment, recreation and attentive care that residences offer. They can move in with a lot of their cherished furniture and mementos. Many places have avoided the spread of COVID-19 simply by the same methods that have worked for the rest of us.

By contrast, home care may find seniors isolated and lonely, especially after the departure of their children and the death of their spouse. The occasional arrival of a harried home-care worker, often a different one each week, is often no solace.

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I believe it is a disservice to the elderly to imagine that they are always better served at home. Seniors’ residences should be regulated and inspected, but by no means should they be seen as an inferior option.

Ken Cory Oshawa, Ont.

I think columnist André Picard has it right: This is not the time to limit funding for home-care visits but to increase it. Last summer, home-care funding in Ontario was reduced and efforts made to steer these patients toward crowded local clinics. In light of COVID-19, this was a mistake and hopefully funding will be increased, with a better awareness that home-care visits are both cost-effective and limit the risk of spreading infections.

After two years of home-care treatment for a wound, I have nothing but praise for the dedication and professionalism of the nurses who attended me. Also, I calculated that the cost of one day in hospital would have covered the cost of 15 home visits.

Ian Savidge Brampton, Ont.

On the ground

Re Air Canada Urges Ottawa To Relax Travel Restrictions (Report on Business, June 12): I could not disagree more with chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu concerning the lifting of travel restrictions.

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We are in a pandemic, and while Canada has a pretty good handle on COVID-19, many of our neighbours do not. Opening the borders and allowing thousands of people to travel to Canada without quarantining would be a recipe for disaster. I’m sorry, but the airlines should remain grounded for the foreseeable future to keep all of us safe.

Mr. Rovinescu, on the other hand, seems to be saying that Air Canada shareholders should come first.

Randy Sterling Blenheim, Ont.

International conflict

Re Darfur Militia Leader To Appear In The Hague As ICC Spars With White House (June 15): I believe the attack on the International Criminal Court by Donald Trump, including economic and travel sanctions on its staff and officials, is a threat to world peace. Since the inception of the court in 2002, criticism – especially by the United States and Israel – has undermined support for its important work.

Canada has always been a strong ally of the ICC and the global need to support the rule of law. We should join other countries and strongly condemn this unprecedented attack. Quite frankly, it should be our ethical duty to protect the helpless victims of the atrocities of war, by fearlessly bringing those responsible before a court to let truth and justice prevail.

William Trudell Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers; Toronto

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Made in Canada

Re Peace, Order And Good Government (Editorial Cartoon, June 16): Thanks to cartoonist Brian Gable for drawing a picture worth a thousand words. I appeal to the Canadian government to identify those light armoured vehicles we are exporting to Saudi Arabia. Please put a big maple leaf on the side, perhaps even the words “Government of Canada.” Then those people in faraway places such as Yemen will know whom to thank when the LAVs roll into town.

In a time of so many businesses closing because of COVID-19, surely we can re-evaluate our industry of arms exports. My vote: Let’s just close it down.

Susan Stewart Vancouver

Parliamentary power

Re Security Council Seat Or Not, Canada Will Need A New Approach To Foreign Policy and Take It Easy On Trudeau. At Least He’s Being Honest About His Disdain For Parliament (June 17): The juxtaposition here is striking. First, columnist Campbell Clark highlights Canada’s now-failed selling point for a United Nations Security Council seat: that we should be at the table and involved in these affairs – both domestic and international – because the world needs “more Canada” and we have something to contribute.

Second, columnist Andrew Coyne considers the message being sent by our Prime Minister, who leads a minority government: that debate is not welcomed and that only a few chosen people are capable of giving laws in a democracy. We seem in no position to give input to other countries, at any level, until we have open debate on our own affairs.

The world doesn’t need more Canada – I believe Canada needs more Parliament, and it needs it now more than ever.

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Peter Hutcheon Toronto

Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson said that, “Well, we all know what Parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it.”

Douglas Cornish Ottawa


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