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Mr. Fahmy, the PM

If Mohamed Fahmy had been arrested in Russia, you can bet our human rights-loving Prime Minister would have been publicly, visibly outraged ('Completely Shattered,' Family Says – June 24). Stephen Harper's selective, politically motivated stance on human rights is disgraceful. How can he support Egypt's government?

Andrew van Velzen, Toronto


Canada's Middle East foreign policy is set by Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli PM is very pleased to be rid of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood with its ties to Hamas. With Mr. Netanyahu happy to have the Egyptian military back in control, our government isn't about to criticize the Egyptian government.

Gerald Johnsrude, Kingston


Supporters of imprisoned journalists don't constitute a significant voting bloc in Canada. The Harper government's moments of outrage in foreign policy are reserved for issues where a stentorian response might enhance its chances of re-election.

(And it wouldn't be surprising if Ottawa had a few journalists of its own on an "enemies list.")

Jim Reynolds, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


I agree that Ottawa's quiet diplomacy didn't work. But it doesn't appear that the strident vocal responses from other governments and agencies worked either.

At least Mohamed Fahmy's brother, Sherif Fahmy, has Stephen Harper to blame.

It's raining today: I blame Mr. Harper.

Colin Wheeler, Whitby, Ont.


CBC's docs "R" us

Re CBC Notables Fight To Keep Documentaries In House (June 23): For decades, CBC documentaries have given Canadians an objective, timely examination of what our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows tell us, helping us to make informed decisions.

In-house documentary-making is the core of the CBC mandate. Despite the fact that most of CBC's docs are now independently produced, and even though the CBC is at the lowest level of documentary output in 20 years, there still seems to be a need for savings. Really? Should we believe that cutting the doc department will mean a stronger Canadian documentary scene? Or will the money simply vanish into some starved CBC budget line?

If not the CBC, then who? Private broadcasters have little interest in long-form, cross-platform docs about Canadian issues. If we are to survive this short attention span era and market-driven chatter, we must open our eyes to the far reaching effects of making the CBC irrelevant and unsupported.

We have billions for oil sands instead of green energy, billions more for fighter jets instead of diplomacy. But we rank near the bottom of industrialized nations for public-broadcaster support.

You gotta wonder what the rest know that we don't.

Peter Keleghan, Toronto


Caregivers needed

The live-in caregiver program has been a boon to dual-income families with young children who would otherwise face staggering child-care costs (Give Them A Break – editorial, June 24). Eliminating the program would force many parents to leave the work force to care for their children, at a time when the economy is facing a looming labour shortage. Surely we can crack down on foreign-worker fraud without making matters even harder for young dual-income families.

Eric Stutz, Toronto


Keep privacy promise

Re Adjudicator Fights To Keep Abuse Stories From Public Archives (June 19): Thanks to the excellent work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), there is no danger that this shameful episode in Canada's history will ever be forgotten. It is etched into our collective consciousness.

Former students seeking compensation under the Independent Assessment Process were assured that the intimate details of sexual, physical and emotional abuse they provided in confidence would be kept private. Historians and future generations do not need to know the intimate details of every student's suffering in order to document the extent of the abuse that occurred.

Claimants bargained for a confidential compensation process, and they were promised confidentiality under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Changing the rules now would betray the trust of individual claimants.

Our process will not be complete until 2018. I will propose a mechanism to the courts to help claimants who wish to voluntarily share their stories with the TRC to do so. We must respect the freedom of individual claimants to limit their private information to the compensation process in which they agreed to participate, or to voluntarily choose to share it with the archive.

Dan Shapiro, chief adjudicator, Independent Assessment Process


Bra straps? Next?

Elizabeth Renzetti is critical of various institutions which have tried to define an acceptable standard for clothing, and more specifically that worn by girls (Girls Are More Than The Sum Of Their Parts – June 23).

Is there a "reasonable limit" of exposure? If thin bra straps are okay, what about strapless bras? Or maybe just forget the bra?

If Julia Gillard's cleavage displayed in the Australian Parliament was okay, could the then-prime minister have appeared bare breasted? What is the problem?

It is easy to write a critical column, but far more difficult to define the limit.

J.T. Reid, Oakville, Ont.


Dads are judges

Peter MacKay's sexist, overly simplistic assessment of a systemic issue women in many professions struggle with is downright degrading (Mysteriously Missing Women Judges – editorial, June 24). To assume women do not apply to become judges because it will take them away from their children completely negates the discriminatory attitudes that exist in the legal profession.

Unequal pay, sexual harassment, limited opportunities for advancement and a demanding work schedule from a field notorious for its lack of work/life balance, may have a larger role to play than the babies themselves.

Children have strong bonds with their mothers, but we should not discount the important role that fathers play, who despite their parental status still become judges. Let's also recognize that not all women choose to have children, and blaming babies for an outdated patriarchal attitude perpetuates harmful stereotypes that limit both women and men.

Katherina Herman, Water Valley, Alta.


Hmm …

Re Job Of Finance Minister Split Into Two (June 24): So now Ontario has a Finance Minister – and a Finance Minister Lite?

Jennifer Campbell, Vancouver


Well, the Premier did say she would work on job creation.

Irwin Silverman, Toronto