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The University of Ottawa campus is shown on April 22, 2020 in Ottawa.The Canadian Press

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Definitely undefined

Re ‘Moderate Livelihood’ Isn’t For Canada To Define (Oct. 23): Canada does have the right and responsibility to tell Indigenous people what “moderate livelihood” means. The problem is they won’t.

Ricardo Di Cecca Burlington, Ont.

The Mi’kmaq having to wait for Ottawa to define a “moderate livelihood” would be akin to asking the Indian agent for a pass to leave the reserve.

Susan Franzini-Teeuwen Peterborough, Ont.

All or nothing

Re Ottawa’s Municipal Handgun Ban Is A Proud Continuation Of Its Gun-control Theatre (Oct. 21): While I share concern with the practicality of a municipal, rather than national, handgun ban, I believe columnist Robyn Urback misses the mark.

The science is clear: Restricting access to firearms reduces the risks of homicide, femicide and mass shootings. A (national) handgun ban would prevent incidents such as the Danforth shooting – a tragedy traced back to a stolen legal handgun. As well, a new study finds that two-thirds of Ontario gun deaths are suicides, a majority of those being rural men. We can prevent these deaths with a comprehensive approach.

Restrictions on assault weapons and handguns were debated in last year’s federal election, enjoy wide public support and should be an imperative during the pandemic. In this moment of renewed appreciation for science, we should not confuse politics with evidence-based public policy.

Najma Ahmed Co-founder, Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns; Toronto

Re Trudeau Wants Cities To Take A Bullet For Him (Editorial, Oct. 14): So handguns have "no legitimate civilian use.” I think if one examined the law, one would find two main civilian uses: target shooting and collecting. While people’s interests may differ, many citizens find these to be quite safe and enjoyable pastimes.

I find it troubling that some would pass judgment on what hobbies are “legitimate.” Target shooting is “niche”? Since when did being in the minority mean that rights can be disregarded for political theatre? Canada has done this sort of thing in the past. It often ends in disgrace.

Andrew Bennett Biggar, Sask.

Language lesson

Re The University Of Ottawa Throws Academic Freedom Under The Bus (Oct. 22): When Verushka Lieutenant-Duval used a slur in class, a student e-mailed that she was “uncomfortable” with the professor using that word. Fair enough. But then Prof. Lieutenant-Duval was subjected to “online harassment and threats,” with many of them using “well-worn slurs.”

This no doubt made the professor uncomfortable, but that seems to be okay. Discomfort over a microaggression deserves “consequences,” but threats of actual aggression don’t? Talk about a double standard.

James Duthie Nanaimo, B.C.

Despite my strong belief in academic freedom, I don’t want to live in a world where white professors use slurs to educate students.

This is not about freedom of speech or the “right to dignity" – this is about systemic racism and the lived experiences of Black people. As a white person, I recognize that I will never understand what it feels like to be a Black person listening to a white person in power use that slur.

I urge white people who are trying to defend freedom of speech to go out and have a conversation with a Black person. I think this would give them a different perspective.

Jake Bradshaw Toronto

Harder. Better?

Re Ontario Legislation Would Make It Harder To Hold Long-term Care Operators Accountable: Lawyers (Oct. 23): To successfully sue a lawyer, doctor, accountant or dentist, one need only establish negligence. The same goes for suing just about anybody.

However if the proposed COVID-19 legislation is passed, one would need to establish gross negligence to successfully sue a long-term care operator. Why do they deserve this protection? Is this how we improve long-term care and protect residents?

Alan Shanoff Toronto

Us first

Re WestJet, Air Canada Trade Jabs Over Refund Policies (Report on Business, Oct. 23): Why is Air Canada allowed to pursue its $190-million takeover of Transat while still resolutely refusing to refund millions of dollars owed for COVID-19-related cancellations? Money owed to its customers should come first.

Chris Dennett London, Ont.

An app for that

Re Long-Term Health (Letters, Oct. 22): The Ontario College of Family Physicians president’s concern, that “corporate partnerships like this one risk affecting medical practice as we know it,” has always been there. Technology has always had an impact on health care inputs, processes, advancement, regulation, delivery and governance. This is great news, I’d say, and cool on incentivizing the wellness focus.

Regardless, there should be certainty that these corporations give back to the communities in which they do business and have user consent to collect data for profit. Privacy, data security and trust are fundamental to our health care access.

Lyn Brooks Vancouver

Dry run

Re B.C. Doctor On A Mission To Change How To Treat Alcohol Dependence (Oct. 23): When a newspaper reports on options for non-shaming approaches to alcohol misuse, it brings this affliction into the hopeful light. One wonders how many people have suffered, even died, because they were ashamed and help seemed unattainable. Bravo to Jeff Harries for his work in medical options for treatment and education for the medical community.

Rochelle Thompson Toronto

Mind game

Re A Game Of Snakes And Ladders (First Person, Oct. 19): Contributor Andrew Lizotte perceptively summarizes his experience of treatment for his mental illness by suggesting “real change is about bringing a new perspective to an old conversation.”

That reminded me of a bright and engaging student of mine, who cascaded into mental illness and ended up in a psychiatric institution. Three weeks later, he appeared at my office door, happy and re-energized. He said that mostly things went well, but at times some of the staff, “rather than viewing me as a temporary invalid, seemed instead to consider me an in-valid."

Greg Michalenko Waterloo, Ont.

Vote in time

Re Elections Canada Says It’s Prepared For Federal Vote, But Challenges Remain (Oct. 23): Elections Canada has proposed holding federal elections over a two-day weekend period. Why not an entire week?

Surely the country that turned Boxing Day into a week-long event can devote more time to our country’s most important civic duty. Voting week: Act now to have one’s say in our democracy – this opportunity won’t last!

Beth Bailey Ajax, Ont.

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