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Drug users standing in a parking lot in London, Ont., on Jan 24.Nicole Osborne/The Globe and Mail

In other words

Re “With the Trudeau government, everything is an unacceptable situation” (Feb. 19) and “A word” (Letters, Feb. 21): Both Pierre Poilievre and Andrew Scheer have used the word “unacceptable” many times.

Justin Trudeau has called Doug Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause in Ontario “wrong and inappropriate.” He also said that Mr. Poilievre’s “buzzwords, dog whistles and careless attacks don’t add up to a plan for Canadians. Attacking the institutions that make our society fair, safe and free is not responsible leadership.”

Mr. Trudeau may have some flaws, but a lack of vocabulary (in either official language) isn’t one of them.

Timothy Kwiatkowski London, Ont.

Safe spaces

Re “Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he is against transgender women in female spaces” (Feb. 22): The idea that a person would undertake exhausting, expensive and painful physical and psychological transitions in order to gain access to women’s washrooms or a competitive edge in athletics is absurd.

If Pierre Poilievre truly wants to protect women, he should stop pandering to his base and tell Canadians what policies he will introduce to protect them from violent acts perpetrated on women and vulnerable people every day by men.

Sally Cochrane Toronto

Is Pierre Poilievre inadvertently making a case for gender-neutral washrooms?

Mary Jane Chamberlain Toronto

Hit the road

Re “Guilbeault’s right: The feds should get out of the road-building business” (Opinion, Feb. 17): We think he’s dead wrong.

Roads are for the public good and a responsibility of governments to ensure they are safe and have sufficient carrying capacity. The federal government has collected an excise tax of 10 cents a litre on gasoline since 1995. This amounts to billions of dollars a year, but it is not earmarked specifically for highways.

While the federal government is not actually involved in the road-building business, there are highways under its full responsibility such as the section of the Trans-Canada Highway through Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks. Opened in 1962, these sections have not been fully upgraded in the past 61 years.

Traffic volumes on these sections are twice the capacity of a two-lane highway, resulting in many fatalities and serious injuries. Carbon emissions suddenly become less relevant than the personal tragedy of injured or lost loved ones.

John Morrall President, Canadian Highways Institute Calgary

Terry McGuire Former director, highway services, Parks Canada Calgary

Have heart

Re “A surge in open drug use has sparked difficult debates in cities across Canada” (Feb. 16): While serving food with Humanity First, I encountered a former teacher whose path to addiction began with a prescribed opioid after a car accident.

This encounter underscores the human cost at the heart of Canada’s opioid crisis. His journey from classroom to street corner illustrates the need for harm reduction and the decriminalization of drug possession. Handing him a meal, I realized these interactions are more than acts of service; they are vital steps toward bridging divides and fostering healing.

However, with a background in policy, I know we need more. We need policies that weave safety nets from both necessity and compassion; integrate harm-reduction facilities within community health centres to provide holistic approaches to addiction; embrace housing-first strategies that ensure stability for those grappling with substance-use disorders.

A public-health approach over a criminal-justice one challenges outdated stigmas, thereby reconciling public-health imperatives with community concerns.

Mubariz Maqsood Hamilton

Grow up

Re “Want to change the culture of junior hockey? Change the business model” (Report on Business, Feb. 20): As an amateur scribbler, I have been unable to beat up on Canada’s junior hockey system. It was too bizarre for many words.

As a 19-year-old in 1968 playing for the Sudbury Wolves, I was unremarkable. But I lived the dream for a season.

Congratulations for exposing a ridiculous business model: billeting young men far from home and treating them like skating serfs, while their parents happily allow this travesty to continue. Historically, serfs were little better off than enslaved labourers.

Dare to do the math. For every young man who “made it” to the National Hockey League, hundreds more tried and failed, and were often damaged both physically and psychologically.

It’s time for radical change, eh?

Ross Robinson Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Journalism matters

Re “As local news outlets shutter, journalists try to take ownership into their own hands” (Feb. 20): This Kamloopsian was complicit in her local paper’s demise. While faithfully subscribing to The Globe and Mail and national magazines, I ignored donation requests from Kamloops This Week, not believing our last print source would fold.

We pay for our naiveté. Spending an inordinate amount of time searching for information on local issues, I learn less. On the publicity committee of a seniors’ educational organization, my colleagues and I stab in the dark to get the word out. Media fragmentation means community fragmentation.

I encourage reporter Jessica Wallace and former publisher Kelly Hall to continue their efforts. Is a subscriber model viable? I also urge all Canadians to be responsible citizens and subscribe and donate to local papers.

A well-functioning, democratic society requires good journalism.

Ginny Ratsoy Kamloops

How are you?

Re “The bad and the ugly of supermarket self-checkouts” (Report on Business, Feb. 19): My dislike of self-checkouts revolves around the lack of human interaction.

The majority of cashiers at my local supermarket are students. I am always interested in finding out what they study.

One of them recently told me that a good number of customers look down on them. It behooves us all to treat them with the respect they deserve.

Cashiers work difficult, low-paying jobs. Pay raises should be in order. A subsequent elimination of self-checkouts would help reduce theft.

Next time at the store, be sure to ask the cashier how their day is going. Be nice to people.

Bob Erwin Ottawa

Seal clap

Re “How a PEI officer wrestled to save a surly seal and get it back to sea” (Feb. 19): A hearty thanks to Constable Matthew Muirhead, not only for his decency, bravery and tenacity in rescuing George the seal pup from himself and his certain fate, but for inadvertently rescuing me (and countless others, I suspect) from our certain fate of having to read about greed, government, bureaucracy, incompetence and corruption, which have become the steady diet that accompanies our breakfasts.

Joel Rubinovich Toronto

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