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Re Pope Expresses Sorrow Over B.C. Graves But Stops Short Of Apology (June 7): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he is “disappointed” that the church is resistant to accepting its role in abuses that occurred in the residential schools that it ran for over a century, and that the government “hopes it will change its position.” But years of efforts at moral suasion haven’t exactly made a difference, so why should we now expect the church to produce documents it has thus far failed to provide? It is time to contemplate more forceful measures. That might include, if criminal wrongdoing is indicated, the issuing of search warrants to enable police to comb through diocesan offices and other repositories where the relevant records might be located. Another option might be to consider revoking the church’s tax-exempt status.
Mr. Trudeau might want to remember the words his father used over 50 years ago (albeit in a very different context): “Just watch me!”
Peter Maitland, Lindsay Ont.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops insists that the Catholic Church is not apologizing, as a body, because it is really a loose network of “autonomous” and “decentralized” legal corporations. The powerful Roman Catholic Church is supposedly not really one church at all.
Flawed civil laws have enabled this fiction: Over the years, provincial politicians across Canada passed special laws (acts of incorporation) to allow bishops to incorporate their dioceses such that the only legal member of the diocese was the bishop himself (corporation sole). Suddenly, there was no legal standing or transparency for parishioners or anyone else.
Legislatures, it’s over to you to fix this problem. Catholic corporations should be subject to the same basic legal standards required of other non-profit corporations and charities.
Tom Urbaniak, professor of political science, Cape Breton University, Sydney, N.S.
There is no greater act of national reconciliation than to ensure that Canada’s Indigenous peoples are full participants in its daily life. That they people our courts, hold cabinet portfolios, and other elected and appointed positions in all branches of government.
Making sure Indigenous peoples become co-authors of our future history is worth more than a thousand apologies for the past.
Howard Greenfield, Montreal
A history of racism
Re The Shame Of Residential Schools Must Be Worn By Us All (Opinion, June 5). Of course we are appalled by the racist decisions of Sir John A. Macdonald and others who mandated the residential schools, and all non-Indigenous Canadians must share responsibility for the resulting atrocities. But the people who implemented those decisions, and watched on as First Nations children were neglected, abused, wasted away and finally subjected to the indignity of an unmarked grave, were officials of the Roman Catholic Church. Our greatest outrage must be directed at that institution and its present-day leaders.
Jeff Fairless, Kanata, Ont.
Re Healing Together (Opinion, June 5): Kudos to Rita Trichur for her informative and very balanced piece detailing India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. She provided touching glimpses of the grassroots level suffering, as well as the macro perspective as to why it is important for the region, if not the world, that India win her war against COVID-19.
Canada needs to reach out and do more to help than it has. India is a country of 1.3 billion people, and the homeland of many who have resettled in Canada. We share similar ideals and values, and there is great potential for a mutually beneficial partnership. Actions taken now – or not taken – will linger in people’s memories for years to come.
Amar Kumar, Grimsby, Ont.
The price of green
Re Real Incentives Are Needed To Spur A Switch From Natural Gas (June 7): In his article on moving past the use of natural gas, John Lorinc writes of the substantial financial incentives required to accomplish this goal.
Focusing on grants and rebates gives the impression that the change he seeks can be paid for by someone else. He adds to this by implying that power sources can be greened at no extra cost.
The reality, however, is that the taxpayer will eventually foot the bill.
Mr. Lorinc’s goals may be laudable, but there is no question that, at least for an extended period, they will result in significant added costs to the economy.
John Sutherland, Victoria
Tiananmen Square memories
Re Tiananmen Commemorations Won’t Be Tolerated In Hong Kong: Officials (June 4): As the Chinese government works to wipe out memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre both at home and in Hong Kong, its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, denounces U.S. criticism and says the United States should look to its own record, citing, ironically enough, the 1921 Tulsa massacre.
The 1921 Tulsa massacre was effectively hidden for nearly a century. It wasn’t taught in schools even (or especially) in Oklahoma, it wasn’t reflected in popular culture, no one made stirring speeches about it; there were no mass demonstrations to mark it. Yet now it’s everywhere, beginning with a novel and a miniseries about superheroes. This week, U.S. President Joe Biden went to Tulsa to mark its centennial.
Nothing stays hidden forever. Neither will Tiananmen Square, which Mr. Wang and the Communist Party of China might want to ponder.
Tom Sullivan, Toronto
For the love of trees
Re How An American Teen Launched The Fairy Creek Protests (June 5): Why can’t Ottawa step into Fairy Creek old-growth forest territory on Vancouver Island and relieve Premier John Horgan of further embarrassing himself with his trashed election promises?
Make Fairy Creek a new national park, and offer a generous “reconciliation” sum to the affected First Nation, who would manage it. Loggers can get jobs with Parks Canada. Everyone can go home and live happily ever after. Port Renfrew, B.C., which was already becoming a “tall trees” tourist mecca before the pandemic, will become the new Tofino, with bustling restaurants, pubs, kayak guiding, hiking and tourist accommodation. Two Tofinos are better than one.
Anne Hansen, Victoria
A new G-G?
Re Honouring the Children (Opinion, June 5): In the selection of a new governor-general, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should swallow his pride and pick his former nemesis Jody Wilson-Raybould, who is both Indigenous and highly accomplished, for the job. The mere act of honouring a woman who defied him on principle would demonstrate that he is capable of putting his country ahead of his pride, though this is something Mr. Trudeau rarely does. It would be good for the country and politically good for Mr. Trudeau.
Peter Ward, Ottawa
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