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Justice Minister David Lametti speaks about conversion therapy during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on March 9, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Escape plan

Re Kovrig’s Father Urges Ottawa To Pull Out All Stops To Free His Son (June 24): Having worked with Allan Rock in the 1990s, I developed a great amount of respect for his intellect and integrity. And Louise Arbour’s credibility in matters of the law is unquestioned. If they together have said that Meng Wanzhou can be released by the Minister of Justice, then Canadians must presume it is so. However, because he can doesn’t mean he should. Releasing her would demonstrate to China that the quickest way to resolve an issue with Canada is to imprison Canadian citizens.

Assuming there is a will to release Ms. Meng, can it be done in a way that sends a different message – keeping in mind the United States also has an interest in this file? Perhaps if her release were combined with a decision to ban Huawei from Canadian 5G networks and potentially other areas such as artificial-intelligence research. While the former decision might anger the U.S., the latter may go some way to ameliorating that anger.

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The reality is we are a minnow to both China and the U.S. – we need to do a careful dance between them.

David Wartman Calgary

In Meng Wanzhou’s case, Canada has done the right thing by following the rule of law and honouring the extradition treaty with the United States. However, China sees it differently.

The more China applies pressure, the more public opinion in Canada turns against it. There is a considerable amount of goodwill between China and Canada, and we seem to be squandering that in very short order – a pity.

As Canadians, we have values. But at the same time, we should look out for our own interests, and holding on to Ms. Meng has resulted in little good for Canada. We have paid a heavy price, but it looks like we have a legal way of getting out of this conundrum. May cooler heads prevail.

Wei Ding Calgary

Sweet apology

Re Good Riddance To Aunt Jemima (June 22): Contributor Lawrence Hill brought up interesting memories for me. I grew up in a large family where all food was cooked from scratch. We could not afford syrup – no Aunt Jemima for us. But did I raise my voice? No, I didn’t, and for that I am sorry.

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My mother was an activist, too. She boycotted all items made by Nestlé and any company that had labour issues. She taught me to be an activist and would be pleased by what is happening today. I can hear her saying, “It’s about time.”

Marianne Freeman Vancouver

Documented distress

Re Toronto, Peel To Reopen As Ford Expresses Frustration With Farmers In Windsor (June 23): Ever since watching Terence Macartney-Filgate’s 1959 documentary The Back-breaking Leaf about migrant workers picking tobacco in Leamington, Ont., I have had a sinking feeling every time the question of temporary foreign agricultural workers comes up.

I am sure progress has been made since that groundbreaking film, and confident there are good farming establishments that treat their workers well. But it still seems clear some of these workers are often in deplorable living conditions and toiling long hours to meet the needs of the Canadian market.

The tradition of migrant workers to bring in the crop is not unusual – my own family members went to the vendange in France to help harvest wine grapes, and they were well housed and well fed.

What is unacceptable here in Canada is workers placed in conditions that threaten their health and subject them to harassment. We should provide the values, pay and conditions that we would want for ourselves.

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Sarah Jennings Ottawa

I ain’t sorry

Re Short Shrift? (Letters, June 23): It’s difficult to feel sorry for Albertans when the facts of their median net income are stated. They are still much better off than the rest of us.

They should remember that many Canadians live or lived in municipalities that depended on one newsprint mill or mine, now shuttered. These people had to start over again. We’re also envious that Albertans don’t pay provincial sales tax, and it appears they don’t think that should end in the future.

On the other hand, I think we should better support Albertan oil. As long as the province will support the reduction of emissions through a carbon tax, we should build pipelines to refineries across the country. Some of the largest facilities in Canada receive their crude oil by ship from other countries. Why do we allow this?

William Baldwin Toronto

Living wage

Re Are Our Essential Workers ‘Heroic’ No More? (June 17) and Pandemic Launches Sobeys To Record-breaking Growth (June 19): I have been wondering what, if anything, I could do as an individual consumer to support fair wages for front-line grocery workers. I visited a family-run specialty food store and suggested to the owner that I hoped he was not paying his staff minimum wage. He responded that his store is a “living-wage employer,” a designation I knew nothing about.

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I soon found that living-wage employers “recognize that paying a living wage constitutes a critical investment in the long-term prosperity of the economy by fostering a dedicated, skilled and healthy workforce.” Thankfully, there is a site that lists member businesses numbering more than 300.

I will go out of my way to patronize them and look forward to the day when one of the major food chains decides to pay more than lip service (and temporary hero pay) to their front-line workers.

Paul Moulton Ridgeway, Ont.

Hold up

Re Ontario Unveils Updated Elementary Math Curriculum (June 24): Time will tell if this long-overdue curriculum change is the right one. Of immediate concern to me, however, are the objections of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, whose president would defer the rollout of new curriculum to COVID-19-free times.

This reluctance appears to be painfully out of step with the way the world looks now. At breakneck speed, businesses, institutions and even individuals are abandoning the familiar and adopting new ways of doing things.

The pandemic should not be seen as an excuse to stand still but as an invitation to move forward.

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Farley Helfant Toronto

Baby boom?

Re Baby Bust: Tens Of Thousands Of Canadians Won’t Be Born Because Of COVID-19 (June 24): I suggest that the result of putting millions of healthy young couples in close proximity for months on end is unlikely to be a baby bust. I expect this year’s New Year’s baby derby to be particularly competitive.

Bob Halliday Saskatoon

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