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"Too broken to write," Sheema Khan told her editor (Fifty Years In Canada, And Now I Feel Second-Class – Oct. 7 ). Then I will write – write that I am ashamed and saddened by the Canadians fuelling the government's "fear and prejudice" agenda.
I offer Ms. Khan three pictures of hope, real hope, led by our children.
One: In my elementary school assembly, I see children – brown-skinned, black-skinned, pink-skinned, beige, white and tan-skinned – snuggled knee to knee to knee, knowing no other kind of reality. A wonderful, busy, positive mix of religions, races and beliefs: The children play and study together, run round outside together and see no differences.
Two: In my Sunday school, we have more nationalities than I can name. Children from toddlers to teens swarm downstairs for their service, learning from each other, pushing, teasing, singing, playing. They see no differences.
Three: One recess at school, three Grade 2 Muslim girls come skipping up: one from Serbia, one from Ethiopia, one from Pakistan.
"Mrs. Munier, Mrs. Munier, we're sisters!"
"Yes, we're sisters. For real! Mohammed said that all little girls who are Muslim are sisters, so we're sisters." And off they skipped.
More than 2,000 years ago, someone else predicted: "A little child shall lead them." More recently, Jack Layton wrote that with love, hope and optimism, we can "change the world."
Our children are changing the world. Our children are.
Diane Munier, Ottawa
I don't understand why anyone would feel "second class" in our country just because our government chooses to protect Canadian values, traditions and culture.
The Conservatives' message is not "you are Muslim… you can't be trusted and you will never belong"; the message is "Canadians have a right to establish the basic values around the citizenship ceremony that are reflective of our basic values as a society."
Why should our government be reprimanded for upholding Canadian values and tradition?
Nicole Crawford, Toronto
Does Stephen Harper want to be responsible for inciting foolish attacks not only on people who wear niqabs and hijabs, but also on those who wear turbans or even brown-skinned women who are just covering their head with a scarf against the cold?
Should I pack away all my scarfs, just to be on the safe side?
Usha Rangachari, Hamilton
As Canadian Jews, we add our voices in support of Muslim women's right to choose how they will dress in public, including at citizenship ceremonies.
That is the Canadian way. And it is the value we have learned from Jewish history and tradition.
Stephen Harper has dangerously unleashed bigotry and xenophobia against an entire group in Canadian society. Predictably, it has not taken long for acts of violence to be perpetrated against Muslim women, recently in Montreal and Toronto.
As Jews, we understand the dangers of scapegoating and victimization. As Canadians, we know that our country's most precious asset – valuing diversity and acceptance of others – is jeopardized by Mr. Harper's attack on Muslims.
The courts have again upheld the right of women to wear the niqab at citizenship ceremonies – something only two women have done in recent years after fully identifying themselves to citizenship officials.
Observing one's faith in a way that harms no others is not at odds with Canadian values. It is the essence of Canadian values. So is gender equality. We wish our government had some credibility in speaking on this matter.
Myer Siemiatycki, Karen Mock; Toronto (plus 100 other signatories)
I, too, have rights. One of them is the right to see the full face and identity of those who have chosen to share citizenship with me and could even become my next-door neighbour.
Covering the face does not comply with the degree of honesty and sincerity implied in taking the oath of citizenship. Common sense is missing in this debate, as in so many others.
P.J. Hebb, Vancouver
Campbell Clark is correct that Justin Trudeau's endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens his support among auto workers (Auto-Industry Hit Puts Trudeau In Tight Spot – Oct. 7). But the Liberals can regain ground by reversing Stephen Harper's backward compensation pledges.
The Conservatives have promised over $4-billion for dairy farmers, and a paltry $1-billion for the vastly larger number of threatened jobs in the auto sector. Liberal strategy should be to demonstrate that city folk are every bit as important in this election as their country cousins have been to the Conservatives.
Many thousands of manufacturing jobs have already been lost during Mr. Harper's tenure.
Mr. Trudeau, if he wants our vote, should promise that he will spend our money fairly. That means $4-billion or so for auto workers, and the remaining $1-billion for those cantankerous, mostly Conservative, cows.
Scott Gardiner, Toronto
How is spending $5.3-billion of our "hard-earned tax dollars" on paying off the dairy and auto industries to soften them up to accept the TPP either good public policy or responsible stewardship of scarce resources?
Justus Havelaar, Campbell River, B.C.
The Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line is long overdue. The undermining of Canadian values by young men hiding behind large beards has gone too far. Who knows what they are thinking, and when they are sneering at the rest of us?
Not just young men.
There's that red-suited old guy with the Latin name showering children with undeserved gifts on Dec. 25. Speaking of Latin, how does the PMO know that "barbaric" echoes the Latin (barba) for beard? Isn't Latin a Suspiciously Cultural Practice?
And speaking of hidden faces (not just Thomas Mulcair's), Stephen Harper engages in deadpan Unexpressive Facial Practices that prevent the electorate knowing what he really thinks. (Or are those just old-fashioned Barefaced Political Practices?)
We need more snitch lines.
As an Old Stock Canadian, I want to know why they were not in Bill C-51.
Douglas Hay, Toronto
Valium, deep breaths
Thanks to Cathal Kelly for his hilarious take on the fragile mental state of Blue Jays fans facing the playoffs after all these years (Toronto's Sports Psyche Is Not Prepared – Sports, Oct. 7).
I am one of the minions standing on the cliff ready to jump, so for my bod's sake, I hope they make it past the first round. It was a pleasure to laugh out loud for once while reading the ever-depressing news.
Claire Helmers, Spruce Grove, Alta.