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Today we remember
Re Trudeau’s Looming Provincial Battles (Nov. 4): A contributor is referred to as having served in several “war rooms” for one of Canada’s main political parties. I’m struggling to recall when this term crept into mainstream usage. It wasn’t that long ago that, as both a political activist and an elected politician, I knew of such places as “committee rooms” or “campaign offices.” And while elections were hard-fought and partisan, I don’t ever recall thinking we were at war.
Perhaps in the spirit of calming our increasingly harsh political discourse, as evidenced by the federal election, and in recognition of Remembrance Day – which is about recalling the horrors of real wars – we could choose our terminology more carefully. Words matter.
Rob Maxwell Toronto
Re Canadian War Museum Apologizes After Sending Fundraising Mailer With Photo Of U.S. Soldier (Online, Nov. 5): Maybe the mistaken Canadian War Museum image could have been a Canadian soldier in an American helmet.
When my father was wounded in Italy, at first the doctors thought the unconscious young man was American. He had lost all his equipment when the supply ship he was on was torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea. So he wore a mismatched, scrounged kit when he reached the Liri Valley with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment.
Nigel Smith Toronto
Re Legion Uses Fortnite To Teach Children About War Sacrifices (Nov. 8): The video game industry is huge, with millions of players logging on every day. I am a gamer myself. We remember the games we play.
There are more than 250 million Fortnite players alone, and all of them will have a chance to try the Royal Canadian Legion’s Remembrance Day mode, and learn what the occasion means. I have played other games involving history, and I remember these events for way longer than ones I learned about from textbooks.
I think that if all games go down this path – to educate – we will learn more about the world we live in, not just the virtual worlds we play in.
Aaron Vanleeuwen Fergus, Ont.
Quebec, Part 1
Re Leave Quebec And Bill 21 Alone (Nov. 8): The French have an expression: A beau mentir qui vient de loin. Roughly: Those who don’t know much about a subject can be told just about anything. Contributor Peter White says that Canada is “largely ignorant” of Quebec’s internal affairs. So a Quebecker writing about Quebec for the rest of Canada should get it right.
Mr. White believes that only newcomers are affected by Bill 21. I believe the law is multitiered in its discriminatory effect. Even hijab- or kippah-wearers who benefit from acquired rights do so only if they remain in the same position within the same institution. They have no possibility of career advancement and their mobility rights are denied.
Mr. White believes that such legislation is within the province’s jurisdiction. We shall see if Bill 21 passes constitutional muster. There are several court challenges under way arguing parts of the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights not subject to the notwithstanding clause. The rest of Canada may not know this. It’s important that they do.
Howard Greenfield Montreal
Quebec spent years under the patriarchal yoke of the Catholic Church. It does not seem hard to understand why Quebeckers are proud of their laïcité. They have no wish to see manifestations of religious faith in public life. (And recently, many readers have been revisiting Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in The Testaments, with its attitudes toward women and clothing.) I agree with contributor Peter White that we can be more sensitive to how Quebeckers feel about people employed in public service.
Margaret van Dijk Toronto
Thanks are owed to contributor Peter White for admonishing English Canadians who would meddle in Quebec’s decision to restrict the wearing of religious regalia in public offices.
Let us remember that practising religion is a choice, pursued regularly by a minority of Canadians, and Bill 21 in no way restricts religious freedom in privately owned buildings or homes. Those who believe that their shot at eternal life rests on wearing particular clothing can continue to follow that view – privately, outside of public office.
Bob Publicover Waterloo, Ont.
Like contributor Peter White, I was born and educated in Quebec, have spent most of my life in the province, but have also lived elsewhere in Canada. I am therefore also not “ignorant of my country.” Canadians do have legitimate, informed concerns about what is going on in Quebec.
Mr. White ends with a question: “Will Quebeckers conclude, once and for all, that they are not welcome in this country and must reluctantly leave it?” The better question is: Will Quebeckers ever stop using the threat of separation to silence the rest of Canada?
Peter Duschenes Ottawa
Quebec, Part 2
Re Quebec Posts $4-billion Surplus Amid Booming Economy (Nov. 8): I was born in Rimouski, Que., and grew up in Montreal. I have also lived in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. In addition to Quebec’s $4-billion surplus, this is what I learned while reading The Globe and Mail this morning: Quebec will continue to receive $13.1-billion a year in transfer payments; Quebec has the lowest university fees in Canada; Quebec has the lowest daycare costs; Quebec passed Bill 21, which I believe goes against everything Canada stands for.
Given that there are 78 seats in Quebec, it has become painfully obvious to me that politicians will pander to the demands of this province in order to ensure their continued power. This attitude seems to have reached circus-show proportion, and I suspect that the rest of Canada is already fed up. I know I am, and I’ve moved as far away from my native province as possible.
Cam Kourany Kelowna, B.C.
Quebec’s surplus: $4-billion. Quebec’s equalization revenue: $13.1-billion. Alberta’s net outflow to the rest of Canada: about $20-billion. Alberta’s deficit: $6.7-billion. This fiscal unfairness is just one of many reasons why many Albertans want out of Confederation. Remove equalization payments and Quebec actually ran a deficit.
Mike Priaro Calgary
With SNC-Lavalin and Albertan oil in the rear-view for Quebec, is it not time for the province to put money back into the communal pot? Apparently not, as the first thought is how to further benefit its own economy, with no consideration of past, continuous equalization payments from other provinces.
Is this how a confederation works? Maybe Quebec could separate and leave the rest of us a few loonies.
Elaine Baldwin Vancouver
Gross domestic party?
Re Why The Greens Should Consider Merging With The NDP (Nov. 8): Should the Greens merge with the NDP? Yes. They can call it the GDP.
Chuck LeBoutillier Toronto
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