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Outrage over Ontario ruling

Re Extreme Intoxication A Defence For Violence, Court Rules (June 4): If homicide or assault can be excused by drunkenness or other impairment, what happens to driving while impaired?

Too many people’s lives have been forever burdened or ended by those who chose to take substances that further impaired their judgment. Whether they meant to harm anyone, the choice to impair one’s brain function comes before they hurt someone else. Is no one responsible for their actions, especially the irresponsible ones, any more?

Enough with the excuses.

Joanna Anderson Burlington, Ont.

By making extreme intoxication a legitimate defence in acts of violence, including sexual assault, the Ontario Court of Appeal is removing any consequences for people becoming stupidly drunk or stoned. Now it’s okay to rape someone if you were drunk out of your mind?

I am sympathetic to the idea that mental illness can lead to substance abuse, but this is too far. People choose to drink and do drugs; people do not choose to be raped or killed.

Humans are agents, not automatons. This ruling degrades the idea of what it means to be human, and makes society less safe.

Christina Charbonneau Woodbridge, Ont.

Day’s controversial comments

Re Day Resigns From Telus Board After Systemic Racism Remarks (June 4): As a child, I had a speech impediment. Looking back, I realize it was a blessing: I learned resilience and coping skills. For Stockwell Day to equate wearing glasses to the continuing racism that people of colour face daily would be laughable were it not so terribly sad. For those who want a definition of “white privilege,” I recommend Day’s “tutorial.”

John Rankin Burlington, Ont.

Here we go again, muzzling opinions with which we do not agree. As a former politician, he appeared on a panel and disagreed with Justin Trudeau’s view that systemic racism exists in Canada. In that situation, Stockwell Day has every right to express an opinion that is different from that of the Prime Minister.

As a member of a visible minority, as I am now politically correctly called, I find nothing offensive in his remarks. But even if I did, I would defend his right to say what he thinks. It is a shame that he has had to step down from the board of Telus and his position from a prestigious law firm. Liberal democracies must allow the exchange of diverse, even uncomfortable and offensive ideas.

Ashok Sajnani Toronto

Stockwell Day is not a serious person. Stephen Harper knew this and appointed him public safety minister anyway, so as to mischievously provoke the progressive educated class in opposition (and to appease the evangelical base of the Conservative party). The only real question is why the media continued to solicit his opinions – on anything?

As for the vacated board seat at Telus, I believe Derek Sloan is available.

Terry Sherbino Penticton, B.C.

Disappointed in HSBC

Re HSBC Backs China’s Controversial Security Law For Hong Kong (June 4): As a long-time customer of HSBC, I am very disappointed to see that a representative of the bank has thrown his support behind the Beijing government’s national security law. I understand the need for a stable social and political environment in order for businesses to operate, but what the law stands for is the extralegal suppression of rights and freedoms guaranteed in Hong Kong’s, and even in China’s, constitutions.

Suppression of rights may bring stability in the short run, but history has shown that it is not a viable long-term solution. HSBC should be ashamed to be associated with the introduction of the national security law. It shows they are more comfortable in the company of autocrats than in a genuinely free society.

Terence Russell Vancouver

Trouble with tracing apps

Re It’s Time To Talk About Contact Tracing Apps, Because They Are Coming Soon (June 3): Every time I read an article about contact tracing apps, I want to jump out of my skin. One key issue is always ignored: How does a positive COVID-19 result get uploaded to the app? Does it depend on the individual uploading the result? Or does the public-health unit upload and connect it to a particular user by way of a unique identifier? Must the individual agree to this? If it depends on the individual to either upload or agree, how likely is that? Some socially minded individuals will do so. But what about the others? We’re not an authoritarian country that orders people to download an app or be locked out of their phones. I’m skeptical, but app tracking will be an interesting social experiment.

Joyce Rowlands Toronto

A tower ‘too far’

Re A Tall Tale: 87-Storey Tower Proposed For The City (June 4): I am not a resident of Toronto, however, I grew up there. The city has changed dramatically since I left, but this proposed 87-storey tower would be a shocking next step to becoming an out-of-date city of the absurd.

The Toronto landscape is already littered by countless high-rise condo and office buildings, many of which are too high. This would be a tower “too far.” Toronto planners should be looking for increased low-rise development to make the city more human-scale and livable. If these planners and developers feel compelled to emulate a foreign city, try London or Paris, not New York.

But here’s a novel thought: Build a Toronto for people not just more storeys. Does anyone want to live 87 storeys up when the next virus arrives?

Peter Belliveau Moncton

Grateful for 5G call

Re Huawei’s 5G role In Doubt as Bell, Telus Use European Suppliers (June 3): When I heard the news that both Telus and Bell would not consider using Huawei in their telecommunications systems but other providers from Europe, I was relieved. These huge companies took the high road and put Canada’s security first. They understand the potential security consequences of using China’s 5G. Unlike our great elitist leader who has not committed to what “Canada” would do, the big telecommunications companies took the initiative and supported what the majority of Canadians want.

L.G. Anderson Spruce Grove, Alta.

Follow B.C.'s lead on data

Re Ontario Appoints Philpott To Lead Pandemic Data Effort (June 4): There is an easy fix for Ontario’s data problem. Create a provincial centre for disease control. The reason B.C. has done so much better with this pandemic, as we did with SARS, is because we have the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Everyone reports to them, and the outcome is obvious. Much better control of the epidemic because we are speaking with one voice.

Jane McCall Delta, B.C.

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