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Pros and cons
Re New Virus Curbs Must Be Balanced: Kenney (Oct. 7): “We also need to recognize that for every public-health restriction, there are negative unintended consequences,” Jason Kenney says. We should also recognize that for every public-health restriction relaxation, there are negative unintended consequences.
Surely with all the models floating around, there is at least one that can predict a range of COVID-19-related deaths and non-fatal illnesses that will result from a particular economy-friendly tactic.
Louis Desjardins Belleville, Ont.
Re Dear Americans: Before Moving Here, Know That Canadians Are Racist, Too (Opinion, Oct. 3): Columnist Elizabeth Renzetti draws attention to the myriad ways which Canada continues to perpetuate systemic racism. Although this fundamental problem should remain at the forefront of our collective action, I find the suggestion that 21st-century America and Canada are merely different sides of the same coin to be wrong.
Most immediately, the U.S. Second Amendment sets Americans and Canadians apart, politically and socially. Americans considering a move to Canada may have decided that their own political demonstrations, which often include freely brandished assault rifles, have become something they no longer wish to bear.
Peter Stewart Ottawa
While we should refuse to accept any intolerance, suggesting that Americans fleeing racism won’t find it very different here is nonsense to me.
Canada is still a far safer place for minorities than the United States: In 2019, police shot and killed 21 people in Canada, while in the United States the figure has been pegged at 1,004. With a population approximately 10 times ours, it is easy to see why Americans might view Canada as a refuge.
Life is a comparative venture, and while Canada should do better, we are light-years ahead of most countries.
Robert McManus Hamilton
By the numbers
Re After 30 Years, Germans Have Accepted They’ll Never Be Fully Unified (Opinion, Oct. 3): I find that columnist Doug Saunders describes a deeply pessimistic view of the East-West divide in Germany.
A 2019 Pew Research survey asked: “Was German unification in 1990 a good thing or a bad thing for Germany?” Eighty-nine per cent in the former West Germany said the former, as did, interestingly, 91 per cent of former East Germans. Although the survey documents several East-West differences in opinion, most vary from 10 to 15 per cent, within the range of differences among Canadian provinces that we consider acceptable for regional diversity.
Although we may intuit deeper sociopolitical threads beneath surface opinions, empirical data can also aid our understanding. For example, we often read that many Canadians deny racism exists in Canada; a 2019 Environics survey reports that only 3 per cent of Canadians say racial discrimination never happens in Canada.
Relevant data can help us vault past debates about denial, and focus on the different opinions we likely have about impact, causes and solutions.
Chester Fedoruk Toronto
Re Elusive Truth: The October Crisis’s Competing Narratives (Opinion, Oct. 3): I was in the House of Commons when the War Measures Act was declared, as a staff member for then-senator David Croll. What was deeply troubling was the insidious undercurrent it created within sectors of Canadian society.
Suddenly, one had to be careful with whom one had a conversation. At a social function of middle-class professionals the day Pierre Laporte’s body was found, one person said: “Now we will have to start killing them.”
The act revealed how vulnerable democracy can become. It exposed how government could exploit such a situation. Fortunately, whether or not it was correct in invoking the act, the Trudeau government was not this kind of entity. But I believe it failed to provide safeguards to temper the excesses of this action, and to sufficiently remind the public that Québécois society overwhelmingly did not support the violence of the Front de libération du Québec.
Michael Clague Vancouver
I was there in a small way, as executive assistant to the prime minister. There are two kinds of mistakes a leader can make in such a situation: One can, temporarily, do too much, or one can do too little. The first is repairable; the second can be fatal.
I believe Pierre Trudeau did the right thing – to accuse the champion of the Charter of lacking concern for citizen rights is really a bit of a chuckle.
Gordon Gibson Vancouver
Re Fealty Is Folly (Opinion, Oct. 3): I believe it is important to not conflate white Canadians with supporters of the monarchy.
Many come from countries with no interest in or loyalty to Britain, or are simply descendants of those who did. Others, such as the Irish, come from a country significantly damaged by centuries of British colonial policy. We no more support Canada’s costly and benefit-free ties to the Commonwealth than many others.
We should have a truly independent Canada that takes pride in, but also responsibility for, its own actions and achievements.
Nicola Mansworth Toronto
Most immigrants, particularly from former British colonies, migrate to countries like Canada for a better life. In a sense, they are economic migrants who likely did not study Canadian history before coming here. I find it hypocritical for the children of immigrants to now question Canada’s attachment to the monarchy.
Esmail Jiwaji Edmonton
Canada’s head of state should be Canadian. A British monarch does not represent our Indigenous peoples, our Québécois nation nor our rich multicultural tapestry. While we can honour the service of the current monarch, Canada – after 150-plus years as an independent country – should move beyond its colonial past.
David Beattie Chelsea, Que.
Re Brace For The U.S. Election With This Guide To Campaign Lit (Arts & Pursuits, Oct. 3): I am reminded of what Francis Bacon and Franz Kafka each said about reading: “Reading maketh a full man,” and “a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”
I wonder how our current world disorder would be different if Donald Trump had Bacon’s breadth of understanding and Kafka’s ability to mine books for wisdom.
Heinz Senger Surrey, B.C.
Re Doug Ford Needs Better Advice. Now. (Editorial, Oct. 8): Since the Ford government doesn’t want families to gather for Thanksgiving, I have a different plan for the day.
Outside Toronto, I will go to the gym in the morning, meet friends at a bar in the afternoon, then gather 50 family members for dinner at a banquet hall – and hold my head high for following the rules.
Tom Scanlan Toronto
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