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ELEPHANTS OR OIL
Re The Elephant in the Room (Report on Business, May 29): Thanks to Geoffrey York for his excellent article on ReconAfrica’s proposed drilling in a fragile and important area of the world.
As a Canadian, I am ashamed that this Canadian oil company (don’t let its name fool you) is proposing to drill for oil in Namibia in the watershed of the Okavango Delta, an incredibly important world heritage site. This project poses a threat to the human rights of the local people, to this unique environment and to the commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement. The recent report from the International Energy Agency delivers a clear message to the world: no new oil exploration if we are to achieve our climate goals.
Canada should show leadership here and review this proposed drilling project.
Time to put human rights and the environment before business profits.
Pat Dolan, Gatineau, Quebec
This article does not delve into what, to me, is a bigger issue: The Okavango Delta is a crucial source of water and thus food, for Botswana’s people. Agriculture is still a main way of life for many of the country’s families who are dedicated to good agricultural practices, which take account of the lack of moisture for growing crops.
The Okavango Delta is a designated world heritage site for good reason. It is a small but richly diverse area, crucial to wildlife as well as the survival of Botswana’s people. What a travesty that it might be subject to oil development. And this, in a world that already has a glut of oil.
Colette Wilson, Brantford, Ont.
Re Catholic bishops must pursue a papal apology (Opinion, June 3): A valid apology is not possible in the absence of an independent, competent investigation to establish the truth of what was done and by whom to each child who died or disappeared.
To simply say we are sorry that children died, is a further violation of rights, including the right to life. All victims of unlawful deaths and disappearances and their families are legally entitled to a full investigation aimed at and capable of resulting in the identification, prosecution and holding accountable those institutions and individuals responsible.
Causes of the deaths such as withholding necessaries, assault, torture and unlawful confinement are criminal offences. Canada has a legal duty to fully investigate, prosecute and remedy these terrible crimes. Failure to provide the remediation required by International and Canadian law signals that elected representatives and church officials may still think that Indigenous people are not entitled to the same protection of rights and access to remedies for violations as non-Indigenous residents of Canada.
Gail Davidson, Vancouver
HOW TO SPELL BIPOC
Re What’s In An Acronym? (Opinion, May 29): I am writing, with some trepidation as a white anglophone, in response to the opinion article by Joseph Heath recommending we discard BIPOC in Canada in favour of FIVM. I cannot accept that the exploitation of francophones by the English-speaking elite is on a par with what has been done to Indigenous people. I believe Indigenous people were and continue to be the most systematically and brutally oppressed group. That fact should never be forgotten. So I believe the “I” from “Indigenous” should lead any acronym used to group oppressed people in Canada, the “B” for “Black” should stay and “VM” for “visible minority” should be replaced by “Asian and South Asian.” IBASA makes more sense to me than FIVM.
Peter Crosby, Toronto
There have been many such terms over the years as the understanding and thinking about race and racism has moved forward, but I find Prof. Joseph Heath’s opinions rather unsettling. In the first instance, I think it misguided to focus on numbers. The fact that Canada’s Black population is relatively small and based primarily on immigration should not be the way to study, describe or understand their role and place in Canadian society. And because the Indigenous population here is larger does not necessarily mean that the “I” for “Indigenous” should be placed before the “B” for “Black.”
We should not rank people in order of their discrimination either; victimization may take different forms and certainly may have a different history, but one does not outrank the other. Settler colonialism and anti-Black racism have a great deal in common.
To dismiss the idea that all Black communities face the same racism would be to dismiss Black life and experience. And lastly, to even suggest the wider use of the term “visible minority” as a solution would put critical social science and general understanding back by half a century.
Dr. Frances Henry, F.R.S.C. Professor Emerita (York University) Toronto
I consider it out of touch to think that racism and discrimination are somehow milder in Canada than in the U.S. To wit: Worshippers gunned down in a Quebec mosque; systemic anti-Black racism in police forces across the country; missing and murdered Indigenous women; and the unmarked burial site for Indigenous children at a B.C. residential school. Furthermore, rearranging and substituting acronym letters based on percent of population and how aggrieved certain groups are feels reductive and deflects from the greater issue. It strikes me as performative. I believe such energy would be better used toward making a difference in the underlying problems that necessitate labelling us in the first place.
Arman Mirza, Toronto
FAREWELL TO A GENIUS
Re Visionary Helped Define the Field of Landscape Architecture (Obituaries, May 29): I wish I had thanked Cornelia Oberlander for creating two of my favourite places in the country: the gardens of the Vancouver Court House and the National Gallery of Canada gardens here in Ottawa. In the 1970s, I would spend my lunch hour sitting on the courthouse steps among the plants and the waterfall. A true city oasis. And now I enjoy her re-creation of the Canadian Shield landscape on the grounds of the National Gallery of Canada and watching the trees mature since the building opened in 1988. In miserable weather (read: the Ottawa winter), I love to visit the gallery with a book and sit in one of the two interior courtyard gardens she designed for that magnificent building. Experiencing the greenery in mid-winter Ottawa is a godsend. We have lost a genius.
Brian Caines, Ottawa
ELKS BEAT ALOUETTES
Re Roasted Elks (Letters, June 3): Commentators worried that elk are not tough enough to represent Edmonton’s football team should spare a thought for the Montreal Alouettes, named after a bird most recognized for having its feathers methodically plucked in a children’s song.
Jonathan Jucker, Calgary
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