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More things change
Re Why Ottawa Must Beef Up RCMP Oversight (Editorial, Nov. 9): I own a cottage and have, for many years, taken copies of The Globe to use as fire-starter (after reading thoroughly, of course). Amid COVID-19, newsprint makes for fascinating reading prior to balling up and tossing into the fireplace.
The year 2014 doesn’t seem so long ago, but the social and global environments feel light-years away. Take this headline I came upon: “Police work to build trust with First Nations" (Oct. 4, 2014). Apparently Canada and its police forces have made little headway in bridging the gap between law enforcement and Indigenous communities, despite comments to the contrary made by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and others.
I’m looking forward to winter, when my need to burrow further back in our newspaper pile will reveal life as it used to be and, sadly, how many elements remain the same.
Kevin Lengyell Toronto
Re From Contamination To Evacuation: Neskantaga Still Fighting For Clean Water (Nov. 12): I am reminded of my experiences in the 1990s, when I visited developing countries on behalf of an international organization. I quickly realized how fortunate I am to live where tap water is safe for washing and drinking. That a country as wealthy as Canada cannot provide all its citizens with that good fortune should be a national disgrace.
While some progress has been made in this matter, much remains to be done. That should be given top priority. The cost would be a fraction of what we have spent to bring the economy through the pandemic, and would also bring future savings by improving the health of our Indigenous citizens.
Alan Batten Victoria
Re What U.S. Media Got Wrong: Their Own Country and Canada’s Courts Are Barely Hiding Their Disdain For Indigenous People (Nov. 6): On the same page, columnist Gary Mason opines that perhaps the United States isn’t the country we thought it was, while Tanya Talaga’s column made me think that perhaps Canada also isn’t the country we thought it was.
I am ashamed and angry to be part of a country where I see the justice system is clearly racist. I’m usually so proud of Canada.
Kathy Bacile White Rock, B.C.
Re Will Canada Defend Religious Freedom In China? (Opinion, Nov. 7): Freedom of religion deserves high priority, but contributor David Mulroney apparently thinks that Julie Payette’s 2017 remarks on the scientific origins of life insulted “millions of Canadians,” and deserve some form of reproof or punishment.
Am I insulted when a fundamentalist Christian insists that a divinity created the world 5,000-odd years ago? Not I. One can take offence at anything, but I believe Ms. Payette gave no offence.
Science deals with nature, not the supernatural. No lab can test the prescriptions of ethical and moral systems.
George Clark Kingston
I appreciate contributor David Mulroney’s spirited defence of religious freedom. Over the years, religion has comforted many. However, I object to any religion telling me I should suffer in my final moments, months or years, rather than choosing medical assistance in dying.
At 82, that choice is important to me.
Brian Northgrave Ottawa
Light of day
Re Nicholson Baker’s Latest Quest: To Find Out Whether The U.S. Used Biological Weapons In The 1950s (Arts & Pursuits, Nov. 7): My father, co-author of The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea (1998), would be pleased that another effort at uncovering the historical truth made its way to Globe readers.
Just over 68 years ago, my grandfather inspected evidence at the China-Korea border and concluded that the United States had used biological weapons against civilians, and asserted that Canada was involved in the research to produce those weapons. At the same time that headlines proclaimed him “public enemy No. 1," he received a standing ovation from 10,000 people at Maple Leaf Gardens, and the Canadian government quietly backed away from prosecuting him for treason.
Nicholson Baker’s book reveals horrifying details of U.S. germ warfare. As he makes clear, to what extent it was implemented is difficult to pin down due to ongoing secrecy. I believe such secrecy enables the U.S. government to continue deriding any allegations as baseless.
Marion Endicott Toronto
Re Thammavongsa Wins Giller Prize For How To Pronounce Knife (Nov. 10): It is a shame that Canadians will need to look to foreign booksellers to find hardcover versions of all but one of this year’s Giller-shortlisted books.
This isn’t unusual: Over the years, I’ve frequently had to look elsewhere to find hardcover, newly published books by Canadians. Why is it that the best of Canadian publishing is inevitably relegated to paper versions after short hardcover runs or, ever more likely, short “trade paperback” runs? Yet I can choose from 70-plus hardcover versions of John Grisham works from the country’s largest bookseller.
I’m ready to get reading, but it’s a shame I have to look outside Canada to do so.
Ken Suelzle Vancouver
Last Saturday was a day of optimism for me. Not only was Joe Biden announced as having won the U.S. election, but Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life was finally missing from The Globe’s Canadian non-fiction bestsellers list (Arts & Pursuits, Nov. 7)!
Sean Keeley Toronto
Re The Trump Administration (Opinion, Nov. 7): Illustrator Kagan McLeod’s two-page pictorial chronicling Donald Trump’s time in office kept me smiling for a good 15 minutes. They put me in mind of action scenes from 1960s Marvel comic books, or the jaunty mayhem of Cornelius Krieghoff paintings. It was also like spending time with the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Mel Simoneau Gatineau, Que.
Re Bringing It Home: Backyard Rinks Regain Their Sheen In Times Of COVID-19 (Nov. 6): Who needs boards and a level surface? I made our rink on the side of Nose Hill in Calgary, and piled frozen snow around it. We lost lots of pucks, but a bucket of them for Christmas works out well.
Patrick Hanrahan Calgary
Living in Southern Ontario, we always had a plastic liner for our rink. In December, we would watch the weather forecasts closely and decide when to add water. Timing was crucial. One year, we told our 11-year-old son he couldn’t go to school in the morning, because he would have to stay home and mind the hose.
Good luck this winter to rink-makers across Canada. Have fun!
Andrew Philp Churchill, Ont.
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