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Re Family Of Slain Hostage Backs Policy Not To Pay Ransom (June 15): The family of Robert Hall are heroes, because their defence of the federal government's position on not paying ransom will help save lives.
It is normal for people in a time of devastating grief to be emotional and, on occasion, to react and get other sympathetic people to join. As a child, I saw this passion first-hand: My father was federal justice minister and held firm on Canada's stand against the death penalty, and at an event our family attended, a grieving mother, who wanted the death penalty, held a sign that I'll never forget. It read, "How are your children Mrs. Lang? Mine are dead."
The pain that families feel after terrible incidents is indescribable. The fact that the Hall family, in their worst hour after their loved one was executed by kidnappers, still had the foresight and reasoning to see beyond their own grief makes them heroes.
Justice and logic must prevail. Passionate responses to terror often only lead to more terror. My condolences to the Hall family, as well as my great respect and gratitude for their strength.
Timothy Lang, Toronto
It is most disconcerting that our country, which touts non-violence, ranks second as an arms supplier to the Middle East, a region well known for its violence, brutality and suppression of democracy (Canada Ranks As The No. 2 Arms Dealer To Middle East – June 15).
How is Justin Trudeau wearing the shame and hypocrisy?
Zina Maher, Toronto
CRA and Mr. Black
There are some important omissions in your article, CRA Put Liens On Black Home Fearing Flight From Tax Debts (June 15). The Canada Revenue Agency obtained the order that it did ex parte, without notice to the taxpayer. The order is granted solely on the basis of the Crown's evidence consisting of revenue investigator Jon-Paul Rebellato's affidavit, on which he has yet to be cross-examined.
Conrad Black's evidence, which has yet to be put before the court, is that he has no intention of fleeing the jurisdiction, nor has he put or will he put his assets beyond the reach of the CRA. It is dangerous to accept as fact anything a civil servant has attested to until he has been cross-examined, especially when it is based on insinuation and conjecture.
Just a few years ago, Mr. Black was assessed about $17-million as a non-resident of Canada. He paid that amount in full, as he was required to do because it was non-resident tax.
The CRA later changed its mind and, after assessing him as a non-resident for more than a decade, decided to assess him as a resident and consented to judgment in an appeal against the $17-million assessment and refunded that amount to him. He was then assessed about $6-million as a resident.
He appealed against that assessment, and under the law as it now stands and has stood for many years, the objection and appeal stayed collection by the CRA. It is that stay that the CRA now seeks to have lifted after almost a decade of carrying on the appeal. Thus the CRA refunded $17-million and got a receivable of $6-million in exchange!
David C. Nathanson, counsel to Conrad Black, Toronto
Re Do Fewer Guns Equal Fewer Deaths? (June 15): He was Muslim, but not religious. Homophobic, but maybe closeted. A westernized American citizen, but first-generation and with a father obsessed with the old country. Abusive, but no criminal record. Isolated. Maybe undiagnosed, but passed a psychological exam.
It's impossible to use profiling or bans to prevent these kinds of attacks: People are too varied and those tools don't have the specificity or the sensitivity.
But it is straightforward for society to keep people from using semi-auto weapons with large magazines to work out their problems.
Justin Noble, Toronto
It took but a moment after the Orlando terrorist tragedy for the media to start demonizing guns. The AR-15 is cast as a destructive military assault rifle, when it is no different from a semi-auto coyote-and-deer rifle of a weekend hunter.
The Orlando attacker worked as a security guard, had multiple background checks and FBI interviews, yet was still able to commit his heinous act. Something is wrong with the investigative system, and has nothing to do with the tools evildoers used to commit their crime.
We should avoid punishing hunters and sport shooters for the actions of a single madman. It is the equivalent of reshingling the roof after an angry bear breaks into a house.
Kirill Stepanchuk, Kitchener, Ont.
In a country where virtually anyone can buy an automatic assault weapon, the only thing that is "shocking" in this tragedy is that there have been only 135 mass shootings in the United States this year.
Brigitte Waisberg, Toronto
U.S. politicians should count their blessings, because as far as mass murdering goes, a gun (even a scary looking AR-15) is quite ineffective. Remember Timothy McVeigh: 168 killed and more than 680 wounded …
Michel Trahan, Maria, Que.
Bad law is worse
On C-14, It's Carter V. The Charter (editorial, June 15): The Liberal government was not "charged with the responsibility of writing much-needed legislation." The Supreme Court said: "It is for Parliament and the provincial legislatures to respond, should they so choose, by enacting legislation consistent with the constitutional parameters set out in these reasons."
Two important points. First, there is no obligation to enact legislation. Second, legislation must be consistent with the parameters "set out in these reasons." So Bill C-14 could die and we would need nothing more than the Supreme Court decision in the Kay Carter case.
This has actually been the situation since June 6. Voices far more competent than mine have already stated that there is no legal void, that Carter provides the criteria and safeguards, that parts of Bill C-14 are unconstitutional and go against the Charter.
In this case, no law is a lot better than the flawed C-14.
Jeffrey Brooks, Victoria
Re League Appears Ready To Gamble On Las Vegas Expansion (Sports, June 15): I can see it now – a huge arena in the desert made to look like the Little White Wedding Chapel, all the players wearing black helmets sculpted into Elvis hair. Personally, I would prefer a renewal of the Montreal Canadiens-Quebec Nordiques rivalry, and have fond memories of the Stasnty brothers.
Tuula Talvila, Ottawa