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It’s our divide, too
Re America’s New Political Divide? Democracy (Nov. 19): We don’t need to look across the border to see the same disturbing symptoms: An Ontario premier who cancels programs, not after assessing their worth, but because they were enacted by the previous government. An unelected backroom boy pressures Ontario Power Generation to fire an employee connected to someone who ran against the winner for party leadership.
Other backroomers who shaped a failed Ontario government simply move to similar positions of influence at the federal level. A wealthy developer takes advantage of a loophole and creates 10 non-profit corporations (more to come?) to advance a political agenda.
The winners in a provincial party leadership contest declare nominations in some ridings as flawed, but ignore transparency as they announce the party (trust us because we won) has resolved the matter. And that’s just stories in Monday’s Globe and Mail, as politicians committed to “winner take all” politics escalate their use of the language of war and compile enemies lists – and create an increasingly cynical electorate.
Ab Dukacz, Mississauga
Restate the question
Re Stay Of Execution (Nov. 17): You write, “It’s a question of what those research animals are owed, if anything, for their pain. For now, humans need the monkeys to advance medical science. But do people have any responsibility in return?” I think the first question should be, “What right do humans have to artificially create these sentient beings to be used for our purposes and discarded when we’re done?”
Jane Senda, Lethbridge, Alta.
The Troubles with Brexit
Re To Execute Brexit, Britain Should Take A Tudor Approach (Nov. 19): Niall Ferguson places Northern Ireland as a child hostage in the divorce story between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Not addressed is a history too often ignored or forgotten, perhaps deliberately.
Anyone of my generation from Northern Ireland remembers at least one neighbour, friend or family member among the 3,600 children, women and men killed by bombs or bullets, or those who suffered grievous injuries during the Troubles in the seventies.
We remember when the small customs posts in rural areas along the border were replaced by fortified bunkers with soldiers from England, Scotland and Wales. We lived through the body pat-downs at the entrance to city centres and the security people stationed inside all large stores.
I remember the internments, the suspension of trial by jury, and the one and a half hour wait with a toddler in the car at the army checkpoint on the main road between Dublin and Derry.
Mr. Ferguson has provided valuable insight into some of the intellectual arguments around the cabinet table in Downing Street. I am sure Theresa May understands what will happen if the first customs officer appears at a new post along the border. Will the British Army be far behind?
Mary Curran, Whitby, Ont.
Kids at risk
Re Ford Puts Vulnerable Children At More Risk (Nov. 19): I write as a former Crown ward and a current advocate for children in the child-protection system.
The decison to close the Child Advocate’s office harks back to a time when children were not considered as worthy of being heard from. Historically, especially youth in care have had their voices stilled by the situations they experienced before entering child-protection. Those who have been conditioned to swallow hurts, give in, and shut up surely deserve a person dedicated to shining a spotlight on their needs.
The retention of the investigative function of the office is comforting, however, the lack of an outcomes-based, evidence-driven decision-making protocol is quite concerning. When it comes to foster kids, any actions should have a solid backing of data to ensure best practices are maintained. The positive outcomes of their lives depend on it.
Ingrid Palmer, Toronto
St. Mike’s culture
Re St. Mike’s Needs To Clean Up Its Toxic Locker-Room Culture (Opinion, Nov. 17): Bill Dunphy’s experience is not much different than the one my son had in 2013. While he wasn’t on the receiving end of anything as horrific as what is being alleged at the school now, he was bullied for an entire year. We lodged our concerns, the disappointing response minimized the behaviour. When the abuse continued, we complained again. We pulled him from the school at the end of the year. He was miserable and defeated, and it took a lot of work and all of the next year at a good neighbourhood public school to restore his confidence.
I agree St. Mike’s needs to be cleaned up. I don’t, however, accept that blaming the “win at all costs” mentality is accurate and that disbanding the varsity teams would solve the problem. The school is an incubator for toxic masculinity; simply putting a moratorium on sports will not halt the abuse that happens in the halls and classrooms just as much as it does in the locker rooms and on the playing field.
Deborah Adams, Toronto
The alleged behaviour exposed this week is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. That said, I attended St. Mike’s from 1973 to 1978 and my experience was the opposite of Bill Dunphy’s. I’m sorry his was so negative. Credibility takes a hit, however, when the words “I don’t know” and “I can imagine” and “or maybe” appear in one sentence: “I don’t know the victims, but I can imagine they are somehow ‘other’ – brown or black or gay or maybe just thoughtful.” That is conjecture.
I played hockey for four of five years – on good teams and bad. I had great teachers and coaches. I was never bullied, nor did I ever see anyone bullied. I saw young men encouraged to pursue music, art and drama as much as, if not more than, athletics.
Daniel T. Duffy, Aurora, Ont.
In his thoughtful review of Green Book, a film about segregation in 1960s America, Barry Hertz rightly places the film in the tradition of American cinema exploring anti-black racism through the experience of a white lead character (There’s Something About Tony – Film Friday, Nov. 16). Mr. Hertz then describes the film’s lighthearted tone and white-man-to-the-rescue quality as “segregation sanded down to a comfort level acceptable to your grandparents.”
Ouch! That hurt this old timer. It would appear that the iconic rock lyrics of 1960s still apply: “People try to put us down/Talkin’ ’bout My Generation.”
Today’s generation of grandparents should best be remembered for challenging racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression and exploitation. Indeed, the grandparents I know are still angry and active in opposition to inequality. No sugar-coating for us, please.
Myer Siemiatycki, Toronto