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Monumental dissent

Serious issues have been raised about the Victims of Communism monument, not least its location in front of the Supreme Court of Canada (This Monument Puts Justice Under A Shadow – March 26). The strong political message delivered by this placement is an affront to the respect Canadians have for the court and to the right of Canadians to an impartial hearing – unobstructed by any politically imposed metaphor.

An alternate spot must be found that will both honour the victims of communism and maintain our respect for justice and the court.

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Monica Cullum, Ottawa

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As a victim of communism (Czechoslovakia, 1948) and an Ottawa resident, I am vehemently opposed to the design and placement of the proposed monument in front of the Supreme Court.

Despite the credible voices (architects, lawyers, Chief Justice, Ottawa's mayor) raised in opposition to many aspects of the project, the government refuses to engage in discussion. The Conservatives' modus operandi demonizes dissent: Ironically, if this goes ahead, the Tories will have erected a monument to dictatorship.

Katharina Czerny, Ottawa

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The monument's design looks pretty Stalinist to me. The way it's been imposed upon the city, upon the site – and upon the Supreme Court – also brings back memories of Uncle Joe.

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Gilbert Reid, Toronto

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It's a rough life

I had to grab a tissue to wipe away my tears as I read about CN CEO Claude Mongeau's 2014 bonus being capped (CN Caps CEO's Bonus Due To Safety Record – Report on Business, March 26).

I can't imagine how the poor man managed to scrape by on a paltry $9.3-million (a 14-per-cent increase over 2013). If things don't improve, he might have to resort to selling some of his $49.7-million worth of company shares!

Peter A. Lewis-Watts, Barrie, Ont.

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Syria, reluctantly

Re Don't Expand The Mission To Syria (editorial, March 25): In 2011, the Syrian conflict began as a broad-based, non-militarized movement for civil rights and reform of the Assad police-state apparatus. This was supported by Syrians of all classes before the insurgency, and long before Islamic State became a force in the increasingly radicalized conflict that followed. It is these ordinary Syrians, including the more than three million refugees, who need relief, none of which can be provided by F-16 sorties. Relief should be our priority.

Islamic State's waging of jihad is coupled with ethnic cleansing; non-Sunni minorities will be persecuted or killed if IS prevails. This is why I reluctantly support an expansion, but you are right that Stephen Harper must clearly answer this question before ex-tending the mission to Syria: Who would Canada be fighting for?

Paul Merner, Victoria

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Lots, that's what

Re A (Second) Burial Fit For A King – 500 Years Later (March 26): Contrary to Leah McLaren's assertion, the remains buried at Westminster Abbey have never been conclusively proven to be those of Richard III's nephews, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York

As for Richard III's legacy, during his short time on the throne he improved bail to protect suspected felons from imprisonment before trial and to protect their property from seizure during that time; founded the College of Arms; banned restrictions on the printing and sale of books and ordered the translation of the written laws and statutes into English. So much for Charlie Brooker and his "What did Richard III ever contribute to Britain?"

Susan Moseley, Uxbridge, Ont.

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National negativism

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It's been five days since Konrad Yakabuski's column on the CRTC's changes to TV packaging, but my jaw is still dropping (Pick-And-Pay Will Lead To Better Cancon – March 23). Does Mr. Yakabuski really believe that CRTC rules protect "a small elite who couldn't make it in Los Angeles"?

This strange argument could be extended to other professionals. What about journalists stuck here because they can't "make it" in New York? Or bankers, doctors, musicians, museum curators – are they all hiding here under domestic protection policies?

The visionary CRTC of the 1970s created Canadian policies to break a pervasive negativism in English and French Canada. It reserved space for Canadian ideas, faces and views. It didn't cut off foreign programs, which still offered competition and choices.

We can argue over whether the CRTC's latest changes will aid or hinder the quality of Canadian TV. But Mr. Yakabuski's embrace of that old stereotype of Canadians who "can't make it" in America leaves me worried about a rebirth of the spirit of national negativism and insecurity.

Victor Rabinovitch, Ottawa

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Disability, pay

Letter writer Susan Gurofsky misses the point of André Picard's column (Disabled Workers – letters, March 26; Disabled Workers Need Respect, Not Pity – March 24). Disabled persons are not treated equally or with respect if they are not paid the same as non-disabled persons.

It is not an opportunity to work for less and be paid less. To pay them less stigmatizes them and is discrimination.

We unconsciously practise labelling theory every day. It should not contaminate the workplace: Awareness of inequality should eradicate it, not perpetuate it.

Shelby Shepherd, Toronto

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Booze, disease

We are deeply concerned about proposed changes to the sale of beer and wine in Ontario (How To Fix Ontario's Drinking Problem – editorial, March 23).

Alcohol is not a commodity like others. It is an underappreciated but substantial contributor to chronic diseases, injuries and social problems. Alcohol-related health care, enforcement and social costs are estimated to exceed $5-billion annually, well above the revenue generated.

Experience in other provinces shows that increasing availability and privatization of alcohol sales leads to higher consumption and greater harms, which are experienced by people at every socio-economic level. Risk for certain cancers increases with as little as one to two drinks a day.

A provincial alcohol strategy, along with an analysis of the societal costs of any changes to alcohol sales, would be a welcome next step to tackle this challenging issue.

Pegeen Walsh, executive director, Ontario Public Health Association

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'Merger' specialists

For many of us, the eventual merger of Heinz and Kraft Foods was only a matter of time (Buffett Blesses Kraft-Heinz Megamerger – Report on Business, March 26).

After all, gourmands have been "merging" their Heinz ketchup with their Kraft Dinner into a quintessentially Canadian KD "casserole" for decades.

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.

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