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The former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., on June 1, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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HORROR AND HEALING

Re Indigenous Leaders Say Discovery Is Beginning Of National Reckoning (June 1): We Canadians are now learning of the tragic loss that Indigenous families and communities have suffered: that many children taken by our government to spend years of their young lives in residential schools died there and were buried without respect for their humanity in unmarked graves.

We should dig deeper, though, and ask what quality of life was experienced by those children who somehow survived and were often scarred for life. Sources of first-hand testimony include the National Film Board documentary We Were Children and the poetry of Dennis Saddleman, both readily available online. I believe that anyone who listens to their words will no longer say that the victims and their families should “just get over it.”

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Elizabeth Lominska Johnson, Curator emerita and research fellow, Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Penticton, B.C.


The tragedy of the residential school has long been known. How many more bodies must be found before the Canadian government and the Catholic Church stop fighting the survivors, acknowledge their respective roles and fund the healing process?

Sadly, past performance suggests that the Catholic Church and the Canadian government will make appropriate noises and hope that this will blow over. Again. More silence, more amnesia.

John J. Sudlow, Oakville, Ont.


There may be reasons why the Holy Father cannot issue an apology for the wrongs committed by the Roman Catholic Church against Indigenous children at Canada’s residential schools.

But Rome has an airport and so does Kamloops, B.C.

Pope Francis could simply get on a plane and come to stand in solidarity with the dead children and their families. He could come humbly and quietly, as a man who knows what happened, feels ashamed and wants to make amends. An old man in a travel-worn cassock, kneeling amid graves in a forgotten orchard, taking reconciliation personally.

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His presence might show the way to a heartfelt atonement between his church and those of his flock who still suffer from those wrongs and that loss.

Richard Butler, Victoria

EXECUTIVE PAY

Re Air Canada Gave Executives, Managers Stock Awards And $10-million In Bonuses While Negotiating Bailout (June 1): No wonder Canadians are sour on airlines. When Air Canada received a $5.9-billion bailout from the federal government in April, Canadians were under the impression the deal was contingent on executives not getting sweetheart packages (or at least I was).

Now we learn this was not the case. The reason from Air Canada’s board: The executives “reacted urgently, decisively and skilfully to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the company.” What gives? Isn’t that what they were being paid for in the first place?

Bill Jory, London, Ont.


Having recently received a $5.9-billion dollar taxpayer bailout, Air Canada managed to find a strategy to provide generous compensation for its executives and managers. It is unfortunate that the company was unable to come up with a similarly creative solution when it decided to lay off 20,000 hard-working employees.

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Michael Gilman, Toronto

REAL ESTATE REALITIES

Re It’s Official: Housing Has Gone Bonkers (Editorial, May 24): The practice of blind bidding in real estate should be abolished immediately. This process alone has led to some houses nearly doubling in price. The fear of losing out, combined with other market conditions (low interest rates, the pandemic, faith in the future of Toronto) lead buyers to make decisions that in my humble opinion are not prudent. And the governor of the Bank of Canada is correct: prudence is warranted.

I strongly encourage our politicians to abolish this system of blind bidding to tackle this frequent cause of unnecessarily inflated house prices.

Ingeborg Vorst, Toronto

SHOTS AND CONSEQUENCES

Re Forget Lotto Max. Let’s Try Lotto Vax (Opinion, June 1): I am absolutely appalled by the notion of incentivizing COVID-19 vaccine uptake for those reluctant to receive it. Talk about rewarding bad behaviour!

COVID-19 vaccination is not merely a personal choice, it is a communal action. Receiving the vaccine not only protects yourself against the disease, it reduces its propagation among the community and protects those around you.

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Instead of being offered rewards such as money or lottery tickets, those who refuse to get vaccinated should have to face the consequences of that choice (except when there are genuine medical reasons). Health care workers who refuse to be vaccinated should not be allowed in a clinical setting. Parents who won’t let their children be vaccinated should have to home-school them. Adults who refuse the vaccine should not be allowed inside restaurants, sports venues, cinemas, airplanes etc.

If one chooses not to be vaccinated, there should be consequences for that choice.

Robert Lachance, Toronto

A TRUE CHAMP

Re Tennis Is Destined For A Mental-health Moment (Sports, June 1): Finally, an authentic voice has emerged from the tennis world. Good for Naomi Osaka for withdrawing from the French Open on principle.

No matter how much money is on the line, professional organizations should not hold athletes’ mental and emotional states hostage.

It is about time for prominent sports figures to stand up for broader societal issues.

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I could not be prouder of this young lady and the stand she has taken.

Carol Victor, Burlington, Ont.

FALL OF THE LEAFS

Re Canadiens Clamber Past Listless Leafs (Sports, June 1): Welcome relief. For weeks since Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews won the Rocket Richard Trophy and the Leafs clinched top spot in the division, we have been battered by the optimism/pessimism storm of emotion. This spring, like every spring, we got our emotions tied into a knot wondering whether this would be the year the Leafs make their hard-earned playoff run: Can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t think anticipating the next playoff game.

Disappointed? Not at all. Now we can relax and watch hockey.

Steve Harker, Kingston


As a long-suffering Leafs fan, I can take some solace in the fact that presumably Quebec Premier François Legault’s new language laws will make the “go Habs go” chant illegal in Montreal.

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Nigel Smith, Toronto


As surely as the swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano, every spring the final stanza of this poem comes to mind, with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer:

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,

But there is no joy in Hogtown – the mighty Leafs have struck out.

Rob West, Toronto


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