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For the frail elderly, as for most of us, there's no place like home. Today's topics: home care; the Muslim faith; public nudity; the royal visit ... and more

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Beliefs, values

You seem to suggest that it is the Canadian majority's obligation to somehow accommodate the beliefs and values of our growing number of Muslim residents (Consider This - July 4). Fair. But your assumption that Islam is a religion of brotherly love is challenged by the article in the same edition where discrimination toward gays is elevated to the highest form by an imam who has been documented as saying that Islamic law teaches that gays and lesbians should be killed (Imam Decries Islamophobia While Pride Battles Homophobia - July 4).

So long as Islam wants its private beliefs to control, manipulate and dominate our Western liberal democracies, there will never be meaningful dialogue or integration.

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Steven Levy, Toronto

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After reading the fine article The Gap Between Two Solitudes (July 4), and looking forward to more positive articles this week to help us further understand the Muslim faith, I was dismayed to see the Editorial Page cartoon on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is exactly the type of pandering to stereotypes which the young people in the article described as something with which they have to deal daily.

Joan Burrows, Vancouver

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Great clothed nation

Although I often feel Canadians have a surfeit of laws, I confess to being a tad conflicted about the criminalization of public nudity. The case of Brian Coldin (Court To Rule On Whether Law That Makes Public Nudity Criminal Is Unconstitutional - July 4) does not lessen my ambivalence. However, living on a little island on the West Coast of this great clothed nation, I rarely find myself in a Tim Hortons or A&W, especially the Ontario franchises where one must imagine the temptation to shop nude is more pronounced.

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Perhaps the greater crime should be pretending, as Mr. Coldin allegedly did, "to reach in his non-existent back pocket for his wallet." Small and large businesses need to be protected from scallywags, naked or not, who step into the shops of the nation unendowed with the means to purchase goods.

Bill Engleson, Denman Island, B.C.

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Home's appeal

Adam Radwanski is bang on (Publicly Funded Home Care Appeals To Voters And Politicians - July 4). Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of home care in terms of the health system and, more importantly, the quality of life for the individual. The time is now to make serious funding shifts to enable people to receive enough care to stay at home.

Sue VanderBent, executive director, Ontario Home Care Association

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There is a critical need for improved funding and support in home care. Another level within our current health system requires equal attention. Urgent and emergency-care settings need immediate structural improvements to accommodate the physical needs of the frail elderly. Care for those suffering from chronic conditions should be provided by inter-professional teams trained in geriatric care that work hand-in-hand with home-care services in transferring the patient back into the community following discharge. The current gaps in the system result in avoidable suffering and further health complications. Politicians need to pay close attention to the current gaps and those enhancements that are needed in both home-care services and urgent/emergent care in order to better meet the needs of frail elderly people.

Karen Faith, Toronto

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Late to abolish

Neil Reynolds writes that "Though the U.S. inherited the great injustice of slavery from its colonial past, it became a beacon of freedom and liberty for a widely enslaved world" (The Original George Set The Limit - July 4).

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The British abolished slavery throughout most of the Empire in 1833; the French (so often the butt of bad American jokes) did the same 15 years later. The Americans, for all their devotion to democracy and freedom, did not follow suit until 1865. Even then, it took four years of a bloody civil war - millions of Americans in southern slave states were willing to fight and die to maintain the execrable institution - before the U.S. Congress could bring in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to outlaw slavery everywhere in the nation - in name, if not in actual fact. A de facto form of black slavery and oppression continued well into the 1960s.

Thomas Rendell Curran, Ottawa

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Asbestos and safety

Chrysotile asbestos is handled safely here (Digging In: The Politics Of Asbestos Mining - July 2). Those same safe standards will be exported by Canada along with the chrysotile fibre.

I am a spokesperson for an investor group - led by Baljit Chadha of Balcorp - planning to buy the Jeffrey Mine. Adherence to safe practices is a prerequisite for purchasing the material. An annual audit will be conducted to ensure these practices are followed all along the supply chain from the moment the material is mined to the moment it puts an affordable roof over the heads of a family in a developing country, the primary use for the exported material and the same material that is being sold and installed in buildings in Canada today.

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Guy Versailles, Montreal

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Walk of Fame

I am the chair of the production committee for the Canadian Comedy Foundation for Excellence. For the second consecutive year, the Walk of Fame Festival has partnered with us to produce an evening of Canadian comedy as part of their festival. Some of the federal grant money that John Doyle referred to is going to producing this event, and not to the television production (Canada's Walk Of Shame: It's Your Tax Dollars At Work - June 30).

Without financial assistance from the Canada Walk of Fame, we could not produce the gala event - which, in turn, will support and promote our Canadian Comedy Awards and Festival, happening two weeks later in eight venues across Toronto.

Briane Nasimok, Toronto

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Past, future

Promoters of the monarchy miss the point. Anti-monarchists can raise a glass to the young couple while rejecting the monarchy, all in the same breath.

For myself, a taxpayer here and in the U.K., I join the growing number of Brits and Canadians who see our future hindered by having the institution a part of who we want to be.

Many have tired of royal bad behaviour, spoiled attitudes and the cost to support them. Sooner or later, we need to step away from our formal connection to the Crown and carry on with a system that is truly Canadian, that represents the cultural diversity which is Canada.

The monarchy, like slavery, colonial exploitation and sexual and class discrimination, is a throwback to our shameful past and an impediment to our bright future.

William Perry, Victoria

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In a world where everything changes, the monarchy provides continuity, a bridge to our past, a link to our future. I'm looking forward to the next generation (What Four Words Did Kate Say To Spark (Even More) Baby Fever? - July 4). Since royal newlyweds usually don't waste any time having a family, here's hoping - for a girl, perhaps called Diana?

Mary Parker, Saint John

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