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Re ‘Middle Class Tax Cut’ Is Not A Tax Cut At All (Dec. 11): The term "middle class” was transposed from a British setting, where it indexed social hierarchy, to ours, where it sits uncomfortably in its original use and seems misapplied to economic hierarchy.
In Canada and the United States, professor of social and cultural analysis Caitlin Zaloom says that “class has always been about more than earnings.” But what, then, should those who earn more than 60 per cent to 80 per cent call themselves? “Upper class” sounds ridiculous and invites thoughts of Uncle Pennybags.
As long as the media uses “middle class” in reference to a broad swath of mid-earners, it gives higher earners nowhere to go terminologically. Unless you call us what we are: “High earners” still contrasts with “rich” and “superrich.”
Ash Asudeh, Ottawa
Re Canada’s Craven Gambit For Negligible Power On The UN Security Council (Dec. 11): Columnist Robyn Urback may find that Canada’s quest for a seat on the UN Security Council a political gimmick because of its decision in favour of Palestinian self-determination, but this Canadian is proud that the government has recognized what he sees as the unjust plight of the Palestinian people.
Mark Purshouse, Puslinch, Ont.
Re Anger Over Oil Industry’s Image Hits Alberta Classrooms (Dec. 11): It is deeply concerning to me that a climate-change lesson given to an Alberta Grade 4 class ended in a call to the RCMP, when one parent threatened to confront the teacher at a school dance. Teaching kids critical thinking skills is not a crime, and it should be a vital skill for those who will have to live with a rapidly changing climate and economy.
Attacking the messenger won’t protect Alberta from the effects of climate change, or from a declining world market for oil as electric vehicles and renewable energy become the new normal. Rather than spending $30-million on a “war room” against climate-change advocates, I believe Jason Kenney should promote debate on how Alberta, and all of Canada, can prosper in a world looking to move beyond fossil fuels.
Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada, Toronto
Re Why UBC Medical School Has Decided To Admit Refugees (Online, Dec. 6): It is ironic to me that the University of British Columbia is removing the permanent resident and citizenship requirement for refugees who wish to apply for medical school, when there continues to be barriers for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have trained in medicine internationally. These doctors are excluded from postgraduate medical training in 66 out of 70 recognized medical disciplines in British Columbia, and accepted only in small numbers in the four allowed.
I believe it is hypocritical that UBC speaks of the value to medicine of international training and diverse cultural experiences for refugees, but does not recognize the similar experiences of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, nor allows them to compete for postgraduate medical training on the basis of individual merit.
Rosemary Pawliuk, president, Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad; Langley, B.C.
Re Toronto Dean Apologizes For Law Assignment That Included ‘Troubling Stereotypes’ (Dec. 12): As a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law (1976), I am disappointed by dean Edward Iacobucci’s comments.
I do not believe the scenario set out in the assignment relies on “troubling stereotypes.” Rather, as Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society points out, it relies on troubling facts caused by the mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada. If our future lawyers are going to help correct errors that have been made, they should be willing to look critically at such scenarios.
I am sorry if some students do not want to read “upsetting details,” but if they don’t know what is happening, they can’t do anything to fix it.
Neil Jones, Hamilton
Meanwhile at Queen’s Park
Re Changes To Compensation For Victims Stoke Ire (Dec. 11): Ontario’s new Victim Quick Response Program+ would be a helpful addition to resources that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board used to be able to provide victims of sexual violence. But seeing it as a replacement is shameful to me.
The government’s focus on the bottom line seems short-sighted. Making a victim whole again and a contributing member of society would easily save the province money in the long run.
Toan Klein, Toronto
Re Province Planning To Scrap Set Of Environmental Standards For Some Large Water Polluters (Dec. 10): The elimination of the Municipal-Industrial Strategy for Abatement seems a bad idea because it will result in incremental pollution and contamination of our precious water resources.
To protect our water bodies, the provincial plan says that companies need to “show that the proposed changes will ensure adequate environmental protection based on the assimilative capacity assessment of the water body receiving the treated effluent.” It is to be noted that the notion of measuring the assimilative capacity of creeks, rivers and lakes is indeed an onerous task because of the interplay of interacting factors.
A solution to the problem should not be the elimination of MISA, but rather its strengthening and expansion.
George Mulamoottil, Mississauga
Re New Ontario Law Used To Suppress Claims Against Province (Dec. 9): I believe that the new Ontario law prohibiting lawsuits against the government is the most anti-democratic act ever perpetrated on the citizens of the province.
Insisting that the government can do no wrong and that there is no recourse to the courts, is, I believe, truly fascist. I use this last word very intentionally: I define fascism as a view wherein the state is supreme and cannot be questioned. This from Doug Ford’s government “for the people” – the seemingly voiceless and powerless people.
Michael Gilbert, Toronto
Re How Canada Can Reduce The Potential Threat Posed By Freed Terrorists (Dec. 4): I would never take a medication that had a 4-per-cent chance of killing me. I would never fly in an airplane that had a 4-per-cent chance of crashing. Yet contributor Jessica Davis says that “only” 1 in 26 freed terrorists, or 3.8 per cent, re-engaged.
As we have recently seen, re-engaged terrorists can cause loss of life. That percentage is too high in my books.
Howard Bargman, Toronto
Re Care for Canada’s Seniors Shouldn’t Be Offloaded To Foreign Companies (Dec. 7): If my final days are to be managed by some multinational corporation, please let it be Bed Death & Beyond.
Farley Helfant, Toronto
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