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June 20: ABCs of gender – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

ABCs of gender

Gender identity is something I never thought I would have to deal with as a parent (Welcome To Vancouver’s Pronoun Wars – June 19).

Margaret Wente’s column raises a lot of concerns for me about the role of schools in my kids’ lives. Unlike schools, parents have a 24/7/365 responsibility with their children. To help parents with that responsibility, schools should not withhold information from them about a child’s concerns about gender identity or other issues.

As for the issue itself, regardless of what lifestyle choices my sons make, they almost certainly will die with the body they were born with (a man’s body). Regardless of what pronoun is used, their bodies are their reality, and reality is where I think my boys need to be in order to live a healthy life, mentally and physically.

There are always limits and exceptions to the powers of both schools and parents. Schools’ taking on a part-time parenting role and telling kids that they can pretend they are neither a boy nor a girl is stepping over that line.

School boards should trust us parents, we’ve got this handled.

Peter Smith, Winnipeg


As a trans ally, I can hardly understand why the Vancouver School Board is making pronouns so hard. All that’s necessary is to advocate for pronouns that are recognized within the LGBT community: ze (as a subject pronoun) and hir (very effective as an object pronoun). Some students may choose “they” as a pronoun too, and that’s completely all right: After all, Chaucer used it as a singular pronoun centuries ago. Talk about coming full circle, eh?

Amy Soule, Hamilton


I’m curious: Just what are these so-called “parental rights” that Margaret Wente refers to as being claimed by those opposed to gender-sensitivity programs in the Vancouver school system?

Parenting is a privilege and a responsibility; its only duty is to the best interests of the child.

The only “rights” that should be taken into consideration are those of the child. Discussions about school programs should focus on what is practical, effective and good for students, not on what makes parents socially comfortable.

As parents, we might be personally disappointed in the hobby, schooling, career, friend or sexual choices our children make, but in all cases the only consideration when influencing those choices should be what is best for the child.

If a child is having unprotected sex, or is involved with a destructive partner, we should get involved. But if a child chooses to follow a different sexual path than us, is genuinely happy doing so, and is aware of the consequences, our “parental rights” are nothing more than “parental prejudices” and our only duty is to accept it as best we can.

Bill Hollings, Erin, Ont.


It’s markets, plural

Re CMHC To Return To Lower Risk Roots (Report on Business, June 17): It is disturbing to see someone with the responsibilities and authority of CMHC head Evan Siddall talking about the Canadian housing market as if it were a single entity, then labelling it as only “modestly overvalued.”

In reality, the discrepancies in housing prices are so great between, say, Trois-Rivières and Calgary, that averages are of little relevance and any meaningful discussion must recognize regional discrepancies.

A market like Vancouver’s, where a million dollars will not even buy what used to be called a “starter,” is overpriced by any measure. Both the causes and the threat this implies need to be fully understood.

Ronald McCaig, Port Alberni, B.C.


Rx for Mideast peace

In his column for The Globe, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s prescriptions for peace in the Middle East conspicuously deal only with Palestinian activities (It’s Time To Demilitarize The West Bank And Gaza – June 19).

I look forward to his next article, in which I assume he will endorse an immediate end to the illegal development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. For decades, this has gone on unabated behind a facade of peace talks.

Ross Hedley, West Vancouver


There is not a shred of evidence that last week’s kidnappings at an (illegal) Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank were carried out by Hamas. And nobody, not even John Baird, can claim that they happened “under the watch” of the new Palestinian government when, in fact, they took place in an occupied area that is strictly controlled by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

Andreas Souvaliotis, Toronto


Robert Spencer replies

Re Vladimir Putin’s Fifth Column In The West (June 7): Doug Saunders labels me “anti-Muslim” when, in the very interview of me on which he bases his attack, I speak about “Muslims of goodwill.”

Mr. Saunders also claims that I “attack the United States and endorse Mr. Putin’s approach toward Muslim minorities.” I criticized U.S. President Barack Obama, which is still legal in the U.S. and is not the same as attacking the U.S. I did not endorse or even speak about Vladimir Putin’s approach to Muslim minorities, and have never endorsed Mr. Putin or his policies in that interview or anywhere else.

Robert Spencer, Sherman Oaks, Calif.


Pipeline battles

Re Enbridge Plans Next Steps In Wake Of Pipeline Approval (Re-port on Business, June 19): With legal challenges to Northern Gateway from dozens of individual bands as well as major aboriginal organizations, who is paying the millions in legal fees?

Could it be the Canadian taxpayer, given the fact we spend more than $10-billion a year on aboriginal support programs?

Peter Simpson, Edmonton


The massive surge of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline will bog down the building of that monstrous threat to two of the most amazing environments left in a rapidly shrinking world of beauty – the scenic splendour and teeming wildlife of Western Canada and the pristine B.C. coastline.

Instead of shooting itself in the foot, perhaps this government could put resources into building refineries close to the tar sands. Petroleum would be easier to transport, engender far more revenue, provide hundreds of jobs and help make gas-hungry North America independent of the rest of the world.

Bill Osborne, Victoria


Hillary Clinton, eh?

Re In Presidential Style (June 17): As U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has given up his Canadian citizenship, it seems to me that we have an available citizenship we can award to some other deserving American.

How about Hillary Clinton? After observing her exploits and listening to her talks for the past two-plus decades, it is clear she stands head and shoulders above our present leadership. With husband Bill, it would be a two-for-one trade. Likely our best international deal in quite some time.

Peter D. Hambly, Hanover, Ont.

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