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One reader believes that 'colonization also affects non-Indigenous people, causing us to be blind to injustice and numb to the suffering of fellow human beings.'

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

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Truth or consequences?

Re To Say Reconciliation Is Dead Implies That It Was Once Alive (Opinion, Feb. 29): I agree with contributor Tanya Talaga, and believe Canada is still in the “truth” phase of truth and reconciliation.

As a non-Indigenous Canadian, I have spent decades decolonizing my mind (the process is ongoing) to discover the truth of what has gone on. Colonization is not history – I see it continues to this day. We still have an Indian Act, we still have reserves, we still have gross inequality and dire poverty for Indigenous people.

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I believe colonization also affects non-Indigenous people, causing us to be blind to injustice and numb to the suffering of fellow human beings. Some people think Indigenous people should be glad Europeans came along to civilize them and create great wealth from the riches of the land. It sounds like someone speaking from the 1880s, but no, sadly, I still hear that fairly often today.

In my view, Indigenous people are not the only ones who need to heal from colonization – Canadians as a whole need to heal and decolonize our minds. Not only is it possible, it seems critical to our future as a nation.

Lorna Hillman Victoria

On Jean Vanier

Re To Plague A Saint (Opinion, Feb. 29): Like contributor Madeline Burghardt, I spent time at L’Arche’s Daybreak community, after leaving my lawyer job looking for self-fulfillment. There, I communed with adults who suffer from intellectual disabilities. They revealed to me that beneath my articulate speech and polished résumé is a vulnerable person just like them who, by virtue of that brokenness, has the capacity for love.

Part of the mystery revealed by L’Arche is that outer status can conceal inner loneliness. In Jean Vanier, I now see an expression of that enigma: A cloak of otherworldly status concealing dark manoeuvres toward physical intimacy. As L’Arche wrestles with Mr. Vanier’s shadow, it might consider preserving his counterexample within the organization, as a cautionary tale about what happens when a celebrated healer of others fails to reckon with his own inner brokenness.

The riddle posed by his life can be answered with L’Arche’s underlying philosophy.

Patrick Smith Edmonton

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“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Mark Antony’s words as written by Shakespeare remind us that, as in the case of Julius Caesar, too often it is the evil deeds of the departed that are remembered, to the detriment of the good they’ve done. In the #MeToo era, that will likely be the case with Jean Vanier. And those who hold no brief for organized religion will also have new evidence for their file, as it is doubtful that his alleged transgressions will provoke a spiritual reckoning where it is most needed.

But contrary to what he seemed to believe, Jesus and Mary were not Mr. Vanier’s enablers. Before the matter is concluded, more time should be devoted to finding those who were.

Howard Greenfield Montreal


Re The Jean Vanier I Thought I Knew (Feb. 29): The Globe’s Ian Brown writes that “we live in a time when people are vaporized for their misdeeds.” However, I’ve found that varying degrees of social censure have always existed, and always will. It’s how societies enforce the rules. Only a short time ago, in Canada, unwed mothers were shamed and stigmatized; they were forced to hide, and give away their babies for their so-called misdeed.

This era should be seen no differently from any other as we experience profound social change. Attitudes and behaviours that were acceptable a generation ago are no longer tolerated. “Political correctness” in many aspects of life seems to me the recognition of these changes, and an attempt to enforce them. The strength of the #MeToo movement is another manifestation of this change.

Jean Vanier had many good qualities and started a wonderful movement. Now we know he had a really dark side, too. But this knowledge should not mean his legacy will be vaporized – it will just be different.

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Carol Town Hamilton


By the end of reading this Ian Brown masterpiece, my eyes filled with tears. Why? For the messy moral complications everyone involved must weigh; for the beauty in the existence of L’Arche now shaded by ugliness; for the wisdom and vulnerability shown in the comments of all whose voices are recorded in this article; and for the incredible gift that Mr. Brown has for revealing the complex balance that forms the truth.

Maribeth Adams Kamloops


When the news about Jean Vanier broke, my immediate thought was that I needed to hear what Ian Brown thought. I was not disappointed.

Kathy Bleyer Toronto

Cup runneth over

Re The Unbearable Hypocrisy Of Corporate Greenwashing (Feb. 28): Many years ago, a tax was placed on cars that had air conditioning because this increased emissions. If we want to reduce the use of disposable cups, why not place a tax on drinks served in them? That would be a great incentive for people to always bring their reusable cups.

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Herbert Belman Toronto


I fail to understand contributor Glynis Ratcliffe’s criticism of attempts by companies to reduce their plastic waste. I own two reusable Tim Hortons cups. I’ve used them hundreds of times, and hope to use them thousands of times more. When they are finally pried from my cold, dead hands, I hope the cups are placed in a blue box, because they are fully recyclable.

Why is this not better than using disposable cups containing a non-recyclable plastic liner? Sometimes perfect is the enemy of good.

Graeme Hunter London, Ont.


The biggest single contribution Tim Hortons can make to improve the environment is to close the drive-throughs which circle the stores. The two lines which go around the Tim’s in my neighbourhood are major environmental disaster zones, as cars inch their way toward the delivery window, burning who knows how much fossil fuel and producing volumes of exhaust gases.

Deciding to end drive-thrus is a window of opportunity.

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Ian Guthrie Ottawa

Buy and sell

Re Markets On Edge, Economic Fears Intensify Over Virus (Report on Business, March 2): The next two weeks will be pivotal in revealing the difference between an investment adviser and an investment salesperson.

If an investor gets a calming call or contact to discuss feelings, needs and goals, that person is enjoying the benefit of an adviser. If not, their professional is merely a salesperson, and they should act accordingly.

John Lahey Toronto


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