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Re A Syrian Restaurant’s Struggles Showcase Canada’s Double Standards (Oct. 11): As contributor Aisha J. Silim points out, anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise. Such prejudice is born of the tribalism that has always been part of the human condition.
Tribalism can be a force for good, but it can turn ugly when change comes too fast. But my feeling is that we are overcoming the ugly better than most other countries.
Catherine Sinclair Thornbury, Ont.
I immigrated from India in 1966. I came here with a mind open to Canadian ways of doing things. There was no rosy narrative about life here, which I believe contrasts with what recent refugees and immigrants are told. In this narrative seems to lie the rub: that diversity allows for lawlessness.
The xenophobia faced by the Al-Soufi family was triggered by the actions of their son Alaa Al-Soufi. The People’s Party of Canada is a federal political entity that held an event, and Mr. Al-Soufi blocked an elderly woman and her husband from trying to attend. The reaction that followed seemed excessive, but it also did not feel unexpected.
The People’s Party is known to be outspoken on refugee and immigration issues and it is entitled to those views. Whether we like it or not, the party is part of the diverse fabric of Canadian politics. As Donald Trump once said, there were faults on both sides. I do not subscribe to Mr. Trump’s ideology, but in this case I would agree with him.
Ashok Sajnani Toronto
Unfortunately, the Al-Soufis appear to have been caught in the middle between the hooligan antics of their son and the hooligan antics of those outraged by the hooligan antics of anti-fascists who protested at a People’s Party of Canada event. Hooligan behaviour should be unacceptable, period.
Kope Inokai Toronto
Re Language Arts (Letters, Oct. 8): A quick glance online at Cape Breton University’s international admissions guidelines will show that international students do need to meet a strict language standard before studying in an English-language program. The conversation should change, from whether students who struggle with English are, as one letter-writer describes, doing “a disservice to other students," to whether universities are doing a disservice to these students by having language requirements that do not align with academic expectations.
Connor Koch Sudbury
Something to chew on
Re Salmon Butter, A Costly Cleanup And A Big Stink In Fortune Bay (Oct. 9): As Newfoundland continues to clean up a mass die-off of farmed salmon, it should be asked: Why isn’t Fisheries and Oceans Canada doing more to prevent such shameful practices? Does humane treatment of the animals we consume play any part in Canada’s food supply? Is respect for the environment considered in the production of our food? Or do Canadians think that paying the lowest possible price for food is okay?
Maybe we can hope that some of our trading partners will help raise Canadian standards, as our regulators seem afraid to cut into corporate profit.
Christine Reissmann Ottawa
Why fight climate? Why vote?
Re Climate The Defining Issue For Canada, If Not Yet This Election (Oct. 7): Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives question why Canada should bother with a substantial climate plan, as we are only such a small fraction of total global emissions. To that I would ask back: Why do people vote in elections?
Does one vote really make a difference? I suspect that in most cases, a politician who wins a Canadian riding has done so by thousands of votes. Therefore, why vote? Is it because when people believe in a cause, they do what they can to support it? That thinking should apply to climate action.
Another example: In the 1980s, Canada showed leadership on the reduction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) emissions caused by aerosol spray cans and refrigerants. At that time, our contribution to those emissions was relatively small. But little-emitter Canada still stepped up to steer the Montreal Protocol, which resulted in significant CFC emissions reductions, a positive in protecting the ozone layer and the planet over all.
No matter how small our contribution, Canadians should believe that a national climate plan can make a difference. But if one cannot, perhaps one should also stay home this election – a single vote, in some views, won’t make a difference.
Dean Utting Ottawa
Over a barrel
Re Top Norwegian Pension Fund Drops Four Canadian Investments As It Distances Itself From Oil Sands (Oct. 8): Yet another Norwegian fund is eliminating oil-sands exposure. Meanwhile, Norway just began ramping up the largest offshore oil field in the North Sea, at an expected output of 660,000 barrels a day of oil. Perhaps Alberta should be paying attention.
While the province seems to be actively courting environmentalist attention by cancelling its carbon tax and looking to reduce emissions caps, Norway flies under the radar. The country has had a carbon tax for many years, 98 per cent of its power is hydroelectric (i.e. zero-carbon energy) and it has one of the highest market shares of electric vehicles in the world. Yet it still invests heavily in oil, and these are long-term investments.
No hint that Norway is planning to phase out its own oil – just ours.
David Konarek Toronto
Re Wall Street Eyeing Canadian Oil Sands (Oct. 10): I was delighted to read that some oil-industry analysts are now looking favorably upon our much-maligned oil sands compared to U.S. shale producers. This after so many foreign companies pulled their investments out of Alberta in recent years.
I would like to suggest, however, that any new investment in the oil sands should come from Canadians only, including, hopefully, Indigenous peoples. Then we can reconcile the objectives of economic prosperity and environmental responsibility among ourselves.
Jim Paulin Ottawa
Women in politics
Re After The Election, Will We See More Women In Parliament? (Oct. 7): Contributor Donna Dasko rightly points out the under-representation of women in Parliament and provincial legislatures. But that trend doesn’t seem to hold at the municipal level.
From my time in politics, I have seen that a higher proportion of women in municipal government is the result of a number of factors: an attractive work-life balance, a high priority on local issues and, in most jurisdictions, the lack of political parties, the presence of which can limit access to government employment.
Municipal government is increasingly where the most important political decisions are made and where talented women – and men – are choosing to make a significant difference.
Steve Parish Former mayor of Ajax, Ont.
Platform? What platform?
Re Politics Briefing: NDP, Conservatives Release Their Costed Platforms Ahead Of Thanksgiving Weekend (Online, Oct. 11): I had yet to see, analyze or digest the full Conservative Party agenda by the time I voted on Friday morning. So sorry. You snooze, you lose!
Eric Oliver Kitchener, Ont.
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