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Racism in Canada
In the shadow of present events, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an opportunity to show what he is made of, and what this country is made of, by offering an official apology for the slavery of African-descended people on this continent, including Canada. The slave trade and slavery was a catastrophe of almost unimaginable brutality – an estimated 12 million Africans transported in atrocious conditions and then subjected to generations of toil and degradation. This was an event whose barbarity and lasting damage is still not fully appreciated.
People of African descent have notwithstanding made an immeasurable contribution to Canadian and American society. We owe African-Canadians our thanks and our regret for what they have suffered and still suffer.
Nicholas Hudson Vancouver
While there was still slavery in the colony of British North America right up to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Canada as a nation did not come into existence until 1867. Although I deplore the fact that some of the people who built up the American colonies owned slaves, I fail to see how this country can be held responsible for what were clearly the legal and moral decisions of the British government.
The idea that Canada should “consider paying reparations for the abusive practice” – apparently a suggestion by the United Nations – is equally nonsensical. Any attempt by countries in the 21st century to right the wrongs committed long before they became independent self-governing countries would lead to a never-ending series of reparations, apologies and additional demands.
Mark DeWolf Halifax
I understand why Canadians are harshly critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not saying, out loud and in clear and uncertain terms, what many of us are thinking about U.S. President Donald Trump. I understand, too, why Mr. Trudeau has chosen to avoid aggravating Mr. Trump in order to mitigate any further damage to the Canadian economy. Whatever Mr. Trudeau might say aloud would be symbolic at best and potentially harmful to us.
What I really don’t understand is why Mr. Trudeau, when the spotlight was solely on him this past September, dropped the ball. Instead of the ineffectual apologies he gave for the “blackface” incidents, he could and should have announced to all Canadians that he would personally take concrete steps to lead the fight against racism in this country. He could and should have announced that he would create and lead a new national initiative against systemic racism. Those words, never uttered, would have made a difference to Canadians.
Gary Kapelus Toronto
Re Nunavut RCMP Officer To Face Criminal Investigation After Video Shows Inuk Man Being Hit By Truck (June 3): Several stories in the June 3 Globe and Mail tell a disturbing tale of racism in Canada, including an account of a Mountie driving into an Inuit man, and the unwillingness of our federal Liberal government to acknowledge the history of Black enslavement as recommended by the UN, or to advance action plans to reduce violence against Indigenous women or, along with provincial governments, to take action to ensure essential migrant agricultural workers are provided with protection.
Of these stories, the incident involving the Indigenous man may generate a storm because of synchronicity with the protests of white police violence against Black people. The others likely will not. To all us white Canadians, these stories should generate protests, financial support to anti-racist organizers, letters to the Prime Minister, angry posts on social media and lots of letters to editors. Our silence makes us complicit with present-day Canadian racism. Let’s make ourselves heard.
Peter Crosby Toronto
There has been extensive media coverage, recently, of the continuing systemic oppression and murder of Black Americans, in Canadian media. Finally, some front-page coverage of the institutionalized racism up here in Canada.
How do we live in a country where the RCMP are allowed to drive into an Inuit man, and be put on administrative leave? When there is one set of rules for officers who are expected to keep the peace in society, and another set of laws for people who are not white, we clearly have a racism problem in Canada, which deserves further media attention.
Rhonda Major Toronto
Trump, Trump and more Trump
Re Donald Trump just wants to watch the world burn (June 3): Andrew Coyne successfully avoids the trap of normalizing U.S. President Donald Trump’s endlessly abhorrent behaviour, which so many reporting on him fall victim to. The reality is that Mr. Trump’s behaviour has no bottom, and any view of him must take in the collective of his entire body of corruption, not just individual acts of incompetence and oppression. Mr. Coyne’s fear of darker days ahead may prove prescient as the deadline for the November election moves ever closer. It is not an overstatement to suggest the wedge of inequality that Mr. Trump is cleaving across the country to drive his re-election has the potential to ignite a new civil war.
Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.
There is a prominent place on my wall reserved for a framed copy of this superb article as a reminder of the chaos created by a single man and his administration. Guns, protests, hatred, killings, racism, police brutality and autocratic authoritarianism are no match for the single vote! Every raised hand in protest should be holding a pencil ready to mark an “X" in the election ballot booth and end this reign of terror in a democratic and peaceful manner.
Neil McLaughlin Burlington, Ont.
Re This Time, The Mayhem And Chaos In The U.S. Feels Different (June 3): In response to several articles in the June 3 Globe, and specifically to the gist of that of Gary Mason’s, I’m reminded of the saying, as cited by my former professor Northrop Frye in his 1982 book Divisions on a Ground: “The United States has passed from barbarism to decadence without an intervening period of civilization.”
Carol Ann Davidson Toronto
Masks a challenge to hearing impaired
Re Masks A Concern For Hearing-Impaired Travellers (June 3): As a wearer of hearing aids, I can say it is not only an issue for travellers but for everyday contact. Hearing aids can be lost when wearing a mask as the string, elastic or ribbon interferes with behind-the-ear hearing aids. Most people take off their hearing aids in order to wear a mask. Closed captions are a necessity.
Dale Horwitz Toronto
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