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Queen's University signage is seen in Kingston, Ont., on Aug. 14, 2020.

Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press

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First removed

Re Queen’s To Remove Macdonald’s Name (Oct. 20): The decision to rename the Queen’s University law school building should demand a higher standard of academic behaviour from the school.

There is no denying the unacceptable treatment of our First Nations. If piling all the blame for past failures on Sir John A. Macdonald would atone, it might be worth it. The sad truth is that society in the 19th century was racist, and our history confirms that the actions of Macdonald reflected Parliament and Canadian society.

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Where were the opposition and all the subsequent prime ministers who turned a blind eye to residential schools? What about George Monro Grant, the famed principal of Queen’s, friend and adviser to Macdonald and a leader in the Presbyterian Church, operators of many residential schools? How does Queen’s make that exception and Macdonald the scapegoat?

Our society accepted practices that are properly considered inhuman today, and yet we still tolerate racist behaviours. Token measures do not atone for past societal failures. Canadians should demand policies that deal directly with racism and prejudice.

Graham Scott CM, QC; Toronto

Bravo to Queen’s University for removing Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from its law school building. But why stop there?

The university itself was named in honour of Queen Victoria, an ardent imperialist and fierce opponent of women’s suffrage. In the name of equity, diversity and inclusivity, Queen’s should do the right thing and rename the university, too.

Wanda Nowakowska Toronto

Fishing for solutions

Re Ottawa Condemns Violence Against Indigenous Fishermen (Oct. 20): Kudos to Miꞌkmaq leaders for their calm, patient steadfastness in the face of dangerous, unwarranted provocations. If only the non-Indigenous fishers and government would aspire to this quality of leadership.

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Don Taylor Mississauga

I am a reasonably privileged white male of settler stock (my family came to Canada in 1776 from the United States). I am frustrated by sonorous apologies from politicians of all stripes, looking backward at acts over which they had no control, while ignoring issues that they can control.

Fishing rights in Nova Scotia should have been settled immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Marshall case. Whether it is fishing rights, health care, education, systemic racism, potable water or the effects of mercury and other pollutants on First Nations communities, successive governments have failed Canadians by not resolving these problems. It is fine to voice support for reconciliation, but it is not fine to ignore issues that should be considered part of repairing the poor relationship with First Nations people.

If Canadians are truly interested in being a better society, then we should tell politicians to stop chattering on and take concrete action. I, for one, will not vote for a politician who is not committed to true reconciliation.

David Wartman Calgary

Re Resolving Nova Scotia’s Fishery Conflict Will Require Both Sides At The Negotiating Table (Oct. 20): Is it too much to hope that the Trudeau government will have the good grace to acknowledge their blunders and heed the modest proposal from contributor Donald Savoie? After all, isn’t sound leadership about acting on sound advice from an impartial source, especially when one’s credibility – not to mention the public interest – is at stake?

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Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.

Re Only Ottawa Can End The Lobster War (Editorial, Oct. 20): Indigenous rights guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution are not based on Crown grant, legislation or treaty, but the fact, described by many, that Indigenous people were once independent, self-governing entities long in possession of most of the lands we now call Canada. As the Supreme Court of Canada has said, this country’s Indigenous people “were here when Europeans came, and were never conquered.”

An appeal for Ottawa to simply “set” the rules is eminently more complicated than it sounds.

Nicole Chrolavicius Lawyer and lecturer in constitutional law, Osgoode Hall Law School; Toronto

Lit up

Re Scientific Process (Letters, Oct. 20): Assistant deputy minister Arran McPherson praises scientists and staff at Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their professionalism and rigour in producing quality science. I couldn’t agree more.

Her letter did bring to mind a flashlight. Yes, their flashlight is of high quality, focused and brightly illuminating its target. However, the real test of usefulness is where the flashlight holder chooses to direct its beam. And that seems to be the main critique of Fisheries' conflicted approach to aquaculture.

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Ian Craine Toronto

Safety first

Re Cancelling Halloween Is Downright Ghoulish (Oct. 20): I believe that cancelling Halloween is the best way to keep children and teachers safe. Everyone involved in public education is working so devotedly to stay compliant, so our children can learn and socialize in schools.

The children I know have never been happier to be in school again. It has been a remarkable concerted effort to sustain that. To risk all that effort on a couple of hours of fun makes no sense to me.

Doug Ford was bold enough to make this decision.

Lesley Shore Toronto

A tax upon us

Re As Charities Suffer Through The Pandemic, Those With Means Must Do More To Help (Report on Business, Oct. 14): Charity is important. But I believe it will only be when the Canadian tax system is redesigned to tax fully and fairly the wealth of citizens and corporations that we can reach the level of justice demanded by our conscience.

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Bruna Nota Toronto


Re Hamilton-born Kapwani Kiwanga Wins France’s Top Art Prize For Flowers For Africa Installation (Oct. 20): Kapwani Kiwanga’s win, after receiving Canada’s Sobey Art Award two years ago, is a cause for celebration. It confirms the international standards of competition for the Sobey and indeed of the visual arts generally in this country.

It also underlines the need for more such prizes in Canada, where there are so few compared with the 70-odd literary prizes.

Julian Brown Kingston

L.A. blues

Re Tampa Gets A Ray Of Hope, But L.A. Is More Interesting (Sports, Oct. 20): The Rays are the prototypical underdog – especially in the only major North American sports league with no salary cap – and should therefore be worthy of universal support by well-adjusted and right-thinking baseball fans.

Meanwhile, the big-spending Dodgers have done business "badly” since 1988, their last year celebrating a World Series. By the way, my animosity toward the Dodgers has nothing to do with me being a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan. None. Honest. Really.

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Alan Rosenberg Toronto


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