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Members of the Many Nations dancers help to raise the Reconciliation Flag in Saskatoon at a ceremony to honour Indian residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors.Matthew Smith/The Canadian Press

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And so it goes …

Re 2018 U.S. Midterms (Folio, Nov. 6): Regardless of which party won the midterm elections, does anyone really believe that the “Bullhorn in Chief” will ease up on the inflammatory rhetoric?

Or that the United States will experience a “breather”? Don’t count on it. I suspect we ain’t seen – or heard – nothing yet.

Marianne Orr, Brampton, Ont.

Costs of reconciliation

Re Will Mounting Costs Of Reconciliation Benefit Indigenous People? (Nov. 6): I don’t doubt the accuracy of Tom Flanagan’s calculation of the costs of reconciliation, nor that prosperity will come to the Indigenous people thanks to their self-determination.

But since Prof. Flanagan is so eager that taxpayers be informed of government expenditures, it would be fair to present the other side of the balance sheet and try to ascertain the wealth that Canada has accumulated since Confederation through confiscated lands, violated treaties and stolen resources. Reconciliation cannot happen without some form of reparation. And no, I am not Indigenous; I am only a citizen concerned with decency.

Ethel Groffier, Montreal


Prof. Tom Flanagan lays out the potential costs associated with reconciliation but he is too brief on the concept of “own-source revenues.” While significant reconciliation costs are certainly appropriate, he suggests that research shows that unless Indigenous people get involved in the mainstream market economy, they will continue to lag behind (and be dependent on handouts).

A significant barrier to joining the market economy for many First Nations is their small size and isolated locations. There is no simple solution to this tradeoff between the mainstream economy or staying on ancestral lands.

David Enns, Cornwall, Ont.

Uyghurs’ plight

Re Inside China’s Campaign Against The Uyghurs (Nov. 5): It is time to call China’s campaign against the Uyghur people for what it is: cultural genocide.

Marc Storjohann, Mississauga


The new era and shared future promised by China might require my reeducation before I can fully appreciate such gifts. Before China opens its markets to the world, perhaps it might open its internment camps to inspection.

The world ignored a similar plight in the last century with horrific results. Never again.

Christopher Staines, Komoka, Ont.

Big data, bigger issues

With better data, Statscan can do a better job, and Canadians will benefit. The sharing of some personal information is not an assault on privacy. Privacy and secrecy should not be conflated.

In Sweden, you can look up online such things as someone’s annual income; the size, market value, and equity in their home; their date of birth; who they are married to or live with; their age.

Swedes value privacy, without being secretive. We should, too.

Reiner Jaakson, Oakville, Ont.


The people of Canada are not pawns for its chief statistician. Any arguments that Statscan “wants” or “needs” our private data in order to “get the facts” is a bottomless premise. Where does the invasiveness end, pray tell?

Richard Barrett, Mississauga


One of the characteristics in assessing the value of information is its timeliness. Statistics Canada is undertaking to provide timely information for sound decision-making by businesses or government. I have no worries about Statscan having access to my personal information, as Statscan is not interested in individual specific data and examines the data at an aggregate level.

In today’s digital world ‘big data’ is being compiled at the individual level every second by many enterprises – online vendors, Google, Facebook, Twitter. All these entities use the captured data to tailor marketing efforts to a specific individual. Such is not the case with Statistics Canada.

The agency is simply keeping up with disruption being caused by the digital technologies where conventional methodologies of data collection are no longer adequate in generating timely information. To stay relevant and to enhance decision-making, Statscan must produce and provide timely information on economic and/or social indicators.

D. J. Sandhu, Professor emeritus, School of Business, University of the Fraser Valley

Rx for an easier death

Re Bureaucracy Is Postponing Dignified Death (Nov. 6): André Picard’s column should be required reading for all MPs. How often is palliative care simply medical assistance in dying by another name? In this the “checks and balances” of medical assistance in dying (MAID) are by-passed.

However, this reality is not evenly practised throughout the system. Access, the individual feelings of the medical team and the team’s relationship to the patient and patient’s family become the governing principles.

Dean Chamberlain, MD, Toronto

No visitors, please

Re No One Visited Me At The Hospital. Now I’m Angry (Life & Arts, Nov. 6): No one needs visitors in hospital, unless they are there a long time. As a patient, you are there to recover, not to hold court.

When I was in hospital, my husband and son visited for about 20 minutes, which was quite long enough. The day of my surgery, my roommate had 10 visitors who were still there at midnight. It was just awful, as they were not even attempting to be quiet. Why would someone want to visit a place full of germs anyway? In this day and age, when private rooms are rare, visitors should wait till the patient goes home.

Ann Neilson, London, Ont.

Let down by top court

Re Top Court Sides With Quebec Utility In N.L. Power Dispute (Nov. 3): The Supreme Court of Canada has let us down. I was in Newfoundland last summer and heard repeatedly about the frustration with Quebec’s refusal to renegotiate the 1969 Churchill Falls deal.

A mistake in the past doesn’t justify a mistake going forward. Is it politically impossible for two provinces, side by side, to co-operate and find a way to share fairly this new wealth? A relational approach to the dispute, stressing partnership and co-operation between provinces, makes much more sense in today’s world.

Sandra Demson, Toronto

It cut the mustard

Re In Other Words (Opinion, Nov. 3): Bravo to Graham Roumieu for his illustration accompanying the article on idioms. Just what we needed in the winter of our discontent: He knocked my socks off and gave me a barrel of laughs.

Janet Horsnell, Hamilton

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