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Pro-Palestinian protestors take part in a demonstration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Nov. 12.Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

Canadian view

Re “Canadian lawyers, inspired by UOttawa students, call for unity amid professional conflict over Middle East” (Nov. 14): Would that we had more university student groups such as these.

Joe O’Brien Halifax

When we see one group of Canadians waving Palestinian flags and another waving Israeli flags, does this mean that Canada is just an assemblage of different ethnic and religious groups, who have the right to mirror and echo the attitudes of the respective homelands from which they have migrated? Or, rather, does it show pride in our origins and our hopes and aspirations for those homelands?

If multiculturalism is to mean more than just making reasonable accommodations for different cultural practices, then it should mean that we show people of other cultures and ethnic and religious groups the same respect we show to members of our own culture and group. Multiculturalism affords an excellent opportunity to see people with different backgrounds as people like ourselves.

Instead of importing the Israel-Hamas conflict to Canada, we should make our multiculturalism more meaningful.

Mark Thornton Professor emeritus, University of Toronto

Downward spiral

Re “What should be – but won’t be – in Canada’s federal mini-budget” (Nov. 15): Columnist Andrew Coyne articulates well the financial abyss that Canada is approaching, especially our declining GDP per capita.

Perhaps if the G7 kicked us out of the club, because we now rank 17th in GDP per capita in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, that might get our leaders’ attentions.

Stephen Gill East Gwillimbury, Ont.

Who’s in charge?

Re “Chief technology officer denies threats over ArriveCan, says he didn’t choose contractor” (Nov. 15): Regardless of whether it was Minh Doan or Cameron MacDonald who selected GCStrategies to build the overpriced ArriveCan app, how do such people – who do not think it necessary to record how and by whom the decision to spend (waste?) tens of millions of taxpayer dollars – get elevated to senior positions?

Does the government not require paper trails so that someone can be accountable for expenditures of this magnitude? The politicians in charge of this fiasco should spend less time flying to photo ops when the government funds some project, and spend more time governing.

Ted Crljenica Windsor, Ont.

Play nice

Re “If we’re not going to use carbon taxes to reduce our emissions, it may be better to do nothing” (Opinion, Nov. 11): The federal government takes great pride in its quest to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gases. But with such a damning report by the Environment Commissioner, I believe any government that makes the occasional rational decision would oust its Environment Minister. I doubt this will happen.

Not only have Steven Guilbeault and the Liberals not achieved any significant turndown in greenhouse gases, they have also alienated Saskatchewan and Alberta. The principal policy was to put a price on carbon that utilities and the private sector could base long-term business decisions on. The cardinal rule is consistency, but it was a rule they broke with the carve-out for heating oil.

The big question is where would plans and actions be today, if the Liberals had a conciliatory approach with the provinces in the quest to reduce emissions? I am sure much further ahead than we are today.

Byron Turner Calgary

Medical notes

Re “Is Danielle Smith’s overhaul of Alberta health care restructuring or revenge?” (Nov. 14): Over 41 years of practice as a mainly hospital-based internist and clinical professor, I survived each of the “restructuring” events described. Each of them resulted in serious loss of morale among every level of health care professionals, significant loss of physicians and others and overall deterioration of health care delivery.

The only “restructuring” that provided any improvements was the formation of Alberta Health Services, and even that took years of hard work by dedicated personnel. AHS, as of the present, certainly has its faults, but over all we are still the envy of most, if not all, of the other provinces.

If Danielle Smith’s concern was really the delivery of excellent health care and optimal working conditions, she would deal with the two largest needs by far: more doctors, nurses, other health professionals and facilities. I read through Ms. Smith’s entire public presentation and found not a word about these two issues.

Arnold Voth MD (retired), Edmonton

For rent

Re “To solve the housing crisis, we need to do something about ‘mom-and-pop’ investors” (Report on Business, Nov. 9): These investors are usually not buying single-family homes; they are buying multiunit (usually small) buildings and renting them out. Isn’t that what we’re looking for, more rental units?

Would first-time buyers purchase these kinds of buildings as a first home? Unlikely.

Ravi Deshpande Toronto

Fair pay

Re “Vet technician, 33, is scraping by in a small city Ontario house her parents paid for: ‘It’s a lot of guilt’” (Report on Business, Nov. 13): Quite frankly, this appalls me.

Since when is it okay to pay a college-educated technician with 15 years experience a $35,000 salary? I do not know what a living wage is in her city, but I am sure it is well above what she is paid. I do not say that she should be paid a living wage, rather that wage should be a floor from which she negotiates.

I am impressed by her efforts to hold it all together with rental income, extra shifts, etc., but really she should hold her employer’s feet to the fire and demand to be paid fairly. If they cannot pay a long-time, well-educated employee a living wage, then they do not have a business – they have a heavily subsidized charity.

I wish her well.

Dave Bird Fernie, B.C.

Back in the day

Re “What are parents’ rights groups actually fighting for in schools? And do students want it?” (Nov. 7): When I was a sexual-health educator for Toronto Public Health in the 1980s and 1990s, we held parents nights at schools to help them understand what we talk about in our classes about puberty, relationships, etc.

We often started with this overhead projection (yes, we used overheads in those days): “Sex is perhaps the only area of human life where some believe ignorance is preferable to knowledge.” Parents were receptive to our workshops then.

Today, it seems some parents prefer to leave their children in ignorance about this essential part of their lives. It is to weep.

Ruth Miller Toronto

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