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Condos and housing in Toronto on May 20, 2021.

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

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Curtain call

Re Scientists Call For An End To ‘Hygiene Theatre’ (May 25): People should be calling for an end to “scientist theatre,” where an expert proclaims that something isn’t a concern relatively speaking, implying to me that it remains a concern in absolute terms.

Why not estimate how many lives deep cleaning has saved? Is it none, one, a dozen, a thousand? Telling people who want to do the right thing that their efforts are not very helpful … is not very helpful.

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Louis Desjardins Belleville, Ont.

Indigenous issues

Re The Liberals Give UNDRIP A Blank Cheque (Editorial, May 25): The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be viewed as an aspirational document not written in clear, legal, statutory language. It was never intended for wholesale adoption into law, but for guidance in production of future laws. Parliament said that in a 2015 resolution.

Instead, Ottawa intends to be the pioneer among national governments to make it law, thus tossing it to our courts to translate. Unfortunately, there is a five-word phrase which “sounds in law” and is clear: “free, prior and informed consent” that must follow consultation on any government action that “may affect Indigenous peoples.”

That seems clear enough to me. That is veto power. And I fear it will be clear to the Supreme Court of Canada.

J. Michael Robinson QC, Toronto

Given our democratic process, whatever the Liberals pass into law today can surely be passed out of law tomorrow when the Conservatives next gain power, as will inevitably occur. No laws are ever carved in stone, nor is any government in power forever.

W. E. Hildreth Toronto

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Re First Nation In B.C. At Odds With Anti-logging Protesters (May 25): That resource development is “revealing division within Indigenous communities” is a necessary reminder of the diversity of opinion among Indigenous peoples.

In December, 2020, Environics reported a wide range of Indigenous opinions and frequent consistency with non-Indigenous Canadians: 48 per cent of Indigenous people surveyed and 45 per cent of non-Indigenous Canadians supported a balance between phasing out fossil fuels and maintaining jobs; 40 per cent of Indigenous people (compared to 41 per cent) were positive/very positive about Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations (despite contaminated water, woeful housing and limited services, 60 per cent of those living on reserves were positive); 58 per cent of Indigenous people (compared to 51 per cent) were optimistic about “meaningful reconciliation happening in your lifetime.”

Such hope should elicit a tear, part guilt and part wonder, from undeserving non-Indigenous ducts, and remind us that dialogue, rather than assumptions, should guide improved future partnerships.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

The opposition to logging the remaining old-growth forests on Vancouver Island should not be seen as a fringe movement. Many British Columbians believe it should stop.

I do not believe this is about environmentalists versus loggers – there are loggers who also believe the logging should stop. It is not settlers making decisions for First Nations – many Indigenous people stand with protesters. It is not an aesthetic decision versus an economic one – stopping the clear-cutting of old growth is likely a better economic decision in the long term.

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We should reframe the discussion. B.C. politicians should listen to the people they represent and step up.

Sophia Rosenberg Lasqueti Island, B.C.

Belarus bluster

Re Belarus Unfazed By The World’s Wrath After ‘State-sponsored Hijacking’ (May 25): Calling in ambassadors amounts to a slap on the wrist, and sanctions usually have little immediate effect on such governments. There should be a highly visible, unmistakable gesture toward representatives of Belarus.

Given the current attention on hockey, I propose that the International Ice Hockey Federation send the Belarus team packing from the world hockey championship. There is a strong argument for keeping international sports free of domestic political considerations. It should be equally important to keep international commercial air travel free of it as well.

Henry Milner Montreal

Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, flights were sacrosanct. They would cross from East to West, with no danger to passengers who might be unfriendly to the regime below. West German planes flew to West Berlin over East German territory, and no one dared to pull them down.

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Alexander Lukashenko’s caper looks like a new low in international relations.

Robert Kalina Oakville, Ont.

Further defunding

Re One Year After George Floyd’s Murder: Progress, Problems And Frustration With The Pace Of Police Reforms (May 25): Defunding the police was a call to overhaul training, reduce militarization, disband the blue-line club and, most of all, make forces accountable to citizens – not a call to stop all police activities.

The most recent videos concerning the death of Ronald Greene in Louisiana desperately show the need for such overhaul and accountability. What happened to him has happened, does happen and will continue to happen in Canada without fundamental changes to policing. Yes, there are more good police than bad, but that small handful always seems supported by all police.

When will politicians and citizens call for real change? No one should fear for their life if they are stopped by police.

David Bell Toronto

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The next generation

Re The Postpandemic Failure Goes On Your Children’s Tab and It’s Official: Housing Has Gone Bonkers (Editorial, May 24): While the federal government continues to offload expenditures today to be paid by the next generation or two, the current wave of home buyers and sellers are simultaneously squeezing young families out of the housing market.

If this is allowed to continue unabated, my kids who are in their 30s may never own a home. My grandkids will be paying taxes for pandemic debt and likely have even less chance of home ownership than their parents.

These decisions by all levels of government gall me. I don’t know how they think it will win them votes.

Lindsey bat Joseph New Westminster, B.C.

Rough stuff

Re Is There An 800-year-old Tree In Your Toilet Paper? (May 25): Ouch!

Jim Hickman Bracebridge, Ont.

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I was surprised to see no mention of bypassing tree products altogether.

This newspaper introduced me to a subscription service named PlantPaper as a bamboo substitute for traditional toilet paper (You’ve Got Mail – Arts & Pursuits, March 6). It’s been tremendous and I highly recommend.

Nathan Stoffman Toronto

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