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Marlihan Lopez, left, and Safa Chebbi, are part of a coalition to mobilize Quebeckers against disciminatory legislation, speak during a news conference opposing Bill 21 in Montreal, on Friday, March 29, 2019.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:


If it smells racist …

Re Quebec’s Tabling Of Bill That Bans Religious Symbols Sparks Condemnation In Province, Ottawa (March 29): It’s hard to imagine a more darkly conceived and offensive piece of legislation than Quebec’s Bill 21. It is a sledgehammer aimed at a thumbtack – a thumbtack whose very existence is questionable.

Bill 21 won’t protect Quebeckers against possible faith-based decisions by public officials. It won’t push religious minorities toward greater integration. It will, however, slam doors on observant Muslims, Sikhs and Jews. And it may well encourage many more Quebeckers to view religious minorities in a negative light.

What’s more, the bill’s largest impact will be on a swath of Quebeckers who have the least social or political power – on both sides of the religious divide. Teachers. Public servants, starting at the lowest levels. Prison guards. Crown lawyers. Police officers. And, of course, the few dozen Muslim women who choose to cover their faces.

In the rest of Canada, our communities insist only that religious minorities aren’t accorded undue influence in politics. In Quebec, Bill 21’s ideology of secularism would demand the faithful be absent from the public square and, perhaps in time, absent from their communities as well.

Let’s put teeth in our often mealy-mouthed commitment to diversity. If Quebec pushes ahead with this regressive bill and uses the notwithstanding clause to insulate it from court challenges, appropriate federal and interprovincial sanctions should follow.

Ted Wakefield, Winnipeg


Not only should religious symbolism have no place in the provision of public services, it should have no place in any venue or service open to the general public, including stores, restaurants, sporting events, etc.

Proclaim your faith, whatever it is, in your home or religious institution. Instead of criticizing Quebec, the rest of Canada should follow suit.

Angela Brown, Winnipeg


Re The Nuance Of Quebec’s Religious-Symbol Debate (March 28): In response to Konrad Yakabuski’s opinion on Quebec’s proposed religious symbol ban and the “complexity” of the debate, I remember a wise old man once telling me: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.

Well, if it feels racist, sounds racist, and smells racist – I’d bet that it’s racist.

Dennis Forsyth, Denman Island, B.C.

U.K.’s spectacular failure

What a pitiful mess. Even the Keep Calm, Carry On Brits must be getting fed up with this Brexit charade. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is right to call for an election. The current crop of politicians, including Mr. Corbyn, has failed the nation spectacularly.

Helena Ivanov, Montreal

Spend to keep mentally ill out of prison

Re Correctional Service Ordered To Pay Millions In Damages For Placing Mentally Ill Inmates In Solitary (March 26): The penalty of $20-million imposed on Correctional Service Canada because of improper use of solitary confinement – usually with mentally ill prisoners – could have been better spent on providing mental health services for the vulnerable in our communities, including housing and psychological assessment and therapies, thereby preventing the unnecessary, costly and inhumane incarceration and unnecessary penalties.

The mentally ill cannot control their feelings and behaviour when under stress and frustration like the rest of us can, and often end up in trouble with the law. Is it really a wise use of money to send them to jail because they don’t have the services they need, then penalize the correctional system?

Is it smart to save money in one area and end up spending more in another area as a result?

Come on, Canada, we can do better than this.

Bruce Hutchison, PhD, C. Psych, Ottawa

Apologies all around?

Re PM Apologizes For Remarks To Grassy Narrows Activists (March 29): I am not a Justin Trudeau fan, however, I do find it curious that Perry Bellegarde should be calling Mr. Trudeau out for disrespecting the two protesters who interrupted the PM’s prepared remarks.

To be respected, one must show respect. Of course, Mr. Trudeau apologized as that is what he does best, but he and the other attendees also deserve an apology for the bad behaviour shown by those who were removed.

Ken Duff, Vankleek Hill, Ont.

The deadliest guns

Re For A Ban On Canada’s Deadliest Guns (editorial, March 29): The design of semi-automatic, assault-style weapons permits mowing down as many people as possible, as fast as possible.

If banning them stops even one mass shooting, it is worth it. Canada needs to get on with it.

Brenda Johnson, Calgary


Governments not wanting to be considered unsympathetic are quick to react to tragedy, especially if it enhances their electability. Not wanting to disappoint their base, they will table legislation which has little chance of preventing or mitigating the perceived problem. How did that work out for keeping drugs off the streets? Will even more gun laws really make a difference?

Reno Rovinelli, Sudbury, Ont.

Fix the jet

Re Mandating All Airplane Safety Features? Be Careful What You Wish For (March 29): It seems patently absurd to be talking about “disagree lights” and proper pilot training with regard to flying the Boeing 737 Max jets. Why would you train pilots to overcome a malfunction in aircraft software?

The assumption, at least for now, seems to be that the Ethiopian flight crew could have flicked two switches to override the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). So if all pilots were trained to do this, the Max 8 and 9 would be safe to fly? Yes, some sort of manual override is necessary for many of the complex systems on a modern aircraft, but training to overcome built-in problems misses the point. Fix the problem with the jet’s software!

Robert Milan, Victoria

It tastes of …

Re Wine, Beer And Booze Words That Deserve To Die (March 23): I have for many years read wine reviews, and have come across many baffling descriptions, for example suggesting a vintage tasted of “aged Sumatran coffee beans” or “lead pencil shavings.” Since I have never knowingly imbibed aged Sumatran beans or lead pencil shavings, I would be at a loss detecting such substances in wine. One word I never seem to see used to describe the taste of wine is … “grapes.”

Perhaps in this revision of allowable booze words, it should be permissible to say that a wine tastes of … “grapes.”

Anders Bennick, Amherst Island, Ont.

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