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The Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square at city hall.Chris Young

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Re “The usual suspects fill the line-up for Toronto’s mayor” (March 25): The current mayoral candidates are choosing to emphasize specific areas that need more financial support (e.g. housing, transit, etc.). The problem with this well-intended direction is that Toronto is significantly short of funds.

I believe the city needs a candidate who has a vision for and pathway to greater prosperity. Business growth would create new revenue streams so that city council can act on urgent social matters in a fiscally responsible manner.

This could also mitigate potentially draconian spending cuts or tax increases that the city is likely contemplating to fix its predicament. The candidate that approaches the mayoral race with this in mind will certainly get my ear, and possibly my vote.

Mark Spurr Toronto

I was offended by columnist Marcus Gee’s dismissal of urbanist Gil Penalosa’s passionate, reasoned advocacy of increased walking, cycling and public transit – all official Toronto policy, all ignored in practice – as “practised shtick.” This when the mayoral race “should focus the city’s attention on its ills and get its residents involved in the search for solutions.”

Isn’t that exactly what Mr. Penalosa does? If only the disgraced outgoing mayor had practised this sort of “shtick,” instead of perfecting the art of kicking the can down the road.

Michael Arkin Toronto

The field of candidates for the upcoming Toronto mayoral race looks anything but “disappointing.” The candidates range from city councillors to a celebrated urban consultant with global experience.

What is it with Toronto? The city has had many innovative leaders ready to lend their expertise and infuse the city with new ideas, yet we fail to celebrate them. Andy Byford, former head of the Toronto Transit Commission, and Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief city planner, for example.

What is the problem here?

Karen Prandovszky Toronto

At school

Re “The rise of seclusion rooms represents the failure of inclusion in schools” (March 20): We would like to thank contributor Naomi Buck for addressing the problem of seclusion rooms in Canadian schools.

The sad reality is that seclusion rooms have been a part of special-education settings in Canada for decades, with a majority of children restrained or secluded having a disability and most between five and eight years old. Autistic and other neurodivergent students, and those who are Black, Indigenous and students of colour, are disproportionately forced into locked rooms, just as teachers and staff are more likely to use physical force and prone restraints on these marginalized students.

Parents across Canada and the United States are advocating for a ban on seclusion rooms and restraints. In their place, we need comprehensive, neurodiversity-affirming, trauma-responsive training for staff, which is highly effective, much safer for staff and students and readily available.

All children deserve to be safe in school. There are solutions.

Chantelle Hyde and Anne Borden King Canadian representatives, The Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint Toronto

I retired as a special-education teacher of students with behavioural issues. Classroom management was easy for me.

When a student acted out, I reached for my notepad and wrote down the time and the behaviour. I then warned the student of their unacceptable behaviour and continued teaching. As further misbehaviour arose, I also noted it.

If behaviour escalated to the point where they had to go to the office, I had the details to make a complete report. The pad was my evidence.

Nowadays, teachers have a better pad: a tablet or, more likely, a phone with a camera. I suggest that students might ameliorate their behaviour if a recording begins.

School misbehaviour might decrease generally as students know that recordings no longer leave events to their word versus a teacher’s. The forensics should be obvious to student, parents and administration.

David Kechnie Sudbury

Old debts

Re “Millennials dominate insolvencies as credit card, student loan, CERB tax debts add up” (Report on Business, March 27): I almost choked on my morning coffee when I read that, for older generations, “tuition fees didn’t necessitate student loans, allowing graduates to enter the work force and start saving and investing out of the gate.”

In the 1980s, student loans certainly were a necessity for most of the people I went to university with. After graduation, we were stuck paying fixed interest rates between 13 and 17 per cent on these loans.

I find the idea that I was able to “start saving and investing out of the gate” to be laughable. The only investing I was doing at the time was in rent and food while servicing my very real debt.

William Chappell Toronto

Second opinion

Re “Doctor depression” (Letters, March 25): A letter-writer implies that doctor-shopping is partly to blame for physician burnout. My friend did just that.

When the surgeon she was referred to told her nothing could be done, she returned to her general practitioner and asked for a second opinion. The second surgeon did not hesitate to say he could help and now she is pain-free.

Medical knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds; physicians cannot be expected to keep up with everything. Patients have the right to seek the best possible outcomes.

Sadly, health care in Canada these days feels pretty much like a crapshoot.

Hope Smith Calgary

Oh, David

Re “Is Michelangelo’s David porn? Italian museum invites Florida parents to visit after principal’s forced resignation” (March 27): When my wife and I travelled to Italy, it was a cool spring and she caught a cold in Venice. By the time we reached Florence, it seemed she had pneumonia.

I suggested visiting a doctor, but she insisted we go see David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece. That morning we stood in awe before the 17-foot statue and both felt high afterward.

The next day we caught the train to Rome. I swear my wife’s cold had vanished!

Larry Mackillop Nanton, Alta.

In passing

Re “Euphemistically speaking, the English language risks passing away” (Opinion, March 18) and “Speak of…” (Letters, March 26): When my elderly father was required to take a driving exam, the family feared he might fail. In fact, he did just fine.

But when I e-mailed my sisters with the good news using the subject line “Dad passed!” they went into shock thinking he had died. Euphemisms can hurt.

Sue Careless Toronto

I was with my mother when she died. I sat with her through the night, held her hand and listened to the death rattle of her breathing.

Then, near morning, the soft swoosh of her last breath, almost a sigh, passed by me as she turned her head to the wall and died. In that moment, I understood why the phrase “passed away” is part of our language of dying.

Renate Schulz Winnipeg

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