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WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger is seen here speaking to local youth at International School of Minnesota on Oct. 9, 2018, in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

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What do we know?

Re We The Public Deserve To See The WE Deal Details (July 3): WE Charity has a great track record of engaging young people across Canada in activism for kindness and compassion, and the cancelled contract would have been their largest project to date. Maybe it was more than WE could manage and maybe it was pushed through too quickly

I believe two big mistakes were made: that WE agreed to deliver this project without a detailed proposal that could be vetted by experts and relevant government agencies; that WE referred to students and teachers in the project as “volunteers.” Paid volunteers are not only an oxymoron, but also go against the practices of hundreds of volunteers organizations across Canada. Instead, WE should have focused the project as a “community service” activity.

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However, WE ought to be given another opportunity to submit a complete proposal. Stimulating the continued use of volunteers in Canada should be reinforced and supported.

Rey Carr CEO, Peer Resources; Victoria

Re Ethics Commissioner To Probe PM, Liberals Over Cancelled WE Contract (July 4): To investigate the Prime Minister in connection with the now-cancelled contract with WE Charity would be a waste of time and money, as he is quoted as saying that “we need to reflect carefully on what exactly went wrong.”

In future I suggest that, when a possible conflict of interest is an issue, reflection and consultation with the Ethics Commissioner take place before any contract is signed.

Don Forsey Toronto

So the Prime Minister is under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner for the third time in less than five years. I haven’t done the research, but surely this is a record.

It also shows me how toothless the office of the Ethics Commissioner is, if there is no meaningful sanction that would suggest to Mr. Trudeau, or anyone else, that they should profit from prior experience.

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Douglas Vincelli Calgary

I have not read the Conflict of Interest Act, so could someone enlighten me? Does it contain a “three strikes – you’re out” clause?

Ben Rathbone Kamloops, B.C.

Sorry, we’re closed

Re Vast Majority Of Canadians Say The Canada-U.S. Border Should Remain Closed, Poll Finds (July 6): I agree with the majority of those polled by Nanos. The border should remain closed. But let me add, closed should mean closed.

No traffic in transit to Alaska, no cottage owners or owners of second homes, no dual citizens and definitely no professional hockey, baseball or football players – those are hardly essential activities, other than to team owners. I would also add anyone coming by air to the list.

Too many of these decisions seem made on the basis of politics, not solid public-health policy. We should keep everything closed until the U.S. infection rate is at the same level as in Canada or lower. Remember what our mothers used to say: You can’t be too careful.

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Dick DeRyk Yorkton, Sask.

What we wear

Re What History Can Tell Us About Wearing Masks (Opinion, July 4): In addition to the scientific history regarding mask-wearing, we could also learn from countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam, where masks are one of several preventive measures that have resulted in low infection rates and deaths.

Ignoring such qualitative data, based on real-life experience, is likely one factor explaining the Canadian government’s slow move toward recommending the benefits of wearing masks. Only some municipalities have figured out that mandatory masks in public spaces would be helpful – if it isn’t too late.

Mary Valentich Calgary

Should we say?

Re An Innu Path For Innu People: Inside The Fight To Control Their Destiny (June 30): Many Indigenous groups are trying to strengthen their unique languages before those elders who speak them fluently are no longer around.

There are those who consider this a hopeless quest; however, many, if not most, citizens of European countries speak at least two languages. Would it not be a huge contribution to strengthening Indigenous identity if governments were to significantly support language training, on the premise that folks are capable of knowing two languages, if the will is there? The Europeans have proven this to be so and so could we.

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Joe O’Brien Halifax

We’re listening

Re How Not To Talk To Your Doctor (First Person, July 6): Directly and succinctly, and with good humour, essay writer Mandy Ruthnum addresses the racism that is so part of Canadian life in small towns and big cities. To this reader, it brought first a morning smile, then a laugh out loud – with a kind reminder to check my assumptions about people of colour and take greater care in what I say.

Message received – and thanks for the morning smile!

Peter Elliott Vancouver

I’ve also found that racism permeates Canadian medicine, but so does sexism. Without intending to take focus off the important issue of racism, I, as a female surgeon, would like to add to Mandy Ruthnum’s list of patient “blunders.”

After I have taken a full medical history and examination, please don’t ask me, “When is the doctor coming?” Similarly, after a consultation and detailed discussion of the relevant anatomy, risks, complications and expected outcomes of a proposed surgery, please don’t say: “Okay, great. But who is going to be doing the operation?”

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Raewyn Seaberg MD, FRCSC; Toronto

We quit

Re Universal Basic Income Is A Means Of Liberation And Dignity For All (July 2): I propose that we do away with work entirely. I mean it is so soul-destroying.

Mike Innes Toronto

We can do better

Re Money, Not Conscience, Is Behind Washington’s Long-overdue Rebrand (Sports, July 4): So the Washington-based football team has made a giant leap and launched a “thorough review” of its racist moniker. What, in the hallowed name of Jim Thorpe, can there possibly be to review?

The team should just call for fans to submit better names. Then the bright sparks who are in charge can instead spend “weeks” combing through thousands of names, any one of which would likely be better than what the club is clinging to like limpets.

Oh, and once a winning name is chosen, I’d suggest other notable suggestions be passed along to the baseball teams in Atlanta and Cleveland.

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Helen Thibodeau Cobourg, Ont.

Given the theme of other Alberta sports teams (Flames, Oilers), perhaps consideration could be given to changing the Edmonton football team’s name to the Edmonton Emissions. This change would allow its “EE” brand to be maintained and, as a promotion, fans could be invited to buy season tickets with carbon credits. Seems like a natural.

Marty Shukster Toronto

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