Letters To The Editor | May 24-30, 2018

Why Canadian citizenship is not a celebration of shared values plus, broadcasters pulling the wool over our eyes on Ontario election

Citizenship is about class not race

Don’t buy Evan Balgord’s contention that a Canadian citizenship ceremony is “a celebration of our shared values” (NOW, May 17-23), because if you do, you have to accept that the principle of equality is not one of those values. Your readers, and new Canadians, should know that the pledge of allegiance to the Queen, and her heirs and successors, which forms part of our citizenship oath, is entirely dispensable.

I am a naturalized Canadian and, in 2004, I officially recanted this portion of the citizenship oath by submitting a notarized document to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The document also re-affirmed my commitment to the latter part of our citizenship oath, which requires me to “faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.” The federal government acknowledged my recantation, in writing, and confirmed that it had not affected my citizenship.

It’s time Canada followed Australia’s example by excising this archaic and inappropriate pledge of fealty to British royalty from our citizenship protocols.

Ashok Charles, Executive Director, Republic Now

On Ontario election, media is pulling the wool over our eyes 

I refuse to have the thick wool pulled over my eyes during this election by those responsible for banning the Green Party from televised leaders debates – Elections Ontario and the Ontario Broadcasters Group (NOW Online, May 7). A class action should be brought against them for denying democracy. 

Mark Martin, Mississauga

Medpot patients going broke on medicine

Re Seven Ways To Boost Your Flower’s Power by Ian Carey (NOW, May 10-16). Yeah, edibles and decarbing your weed are a great way to save money – if they work for your medical needs. But I have to smoke or I don’t get the same effect. Welcome to the art of medicating with marijuana, it’s not that simple. I’m going broke on ODSP trying to treat my condition without opioids like fentanyl.

Pollen Maranda Marie Ortega, From nowtoronto.com

We need better health care, not pipelines

Re Trans Mountain Turning Point by Pam Palmater (NOW, May 3-9). I am a concerned Canadian and mother. 

We do not have the consent from key Indigenous groups along the proposed route of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. It will cross more than 500 streams along the Fraser River, threatening salmon stocks, affecting humans and orcas alike.

Instead of investing in a pipeline, the government should invest on improving universal health care to include drugs, home care and free mental health programs. That’s what Canada needs.

Shirley Zussman, Toronto

Women in the trades trending down

I was happy to read the article about women in the trades by Kelly Boutsalis (NOW, May 10-16), but I question women’s ability to get hired after being trained. 

This is painfully obvious to me. I work in the trades. It took me years to get in, and I work at a place that “respects diversity.” But what I see in my workplace is a diverse group of straight, white men. 

When I drive around downtown Toronto, I look for other tradeswomen working on road construction or building condos. The most I’ve ever counted is five in one year. This year I’ve seen three. The odds are stacked against us. 

Just today a male co-worker said something I’ve heard may times before, which is that he guesses women simply don’t apply for those jobs. 

I asked him whether he thought that also accounted for the low numbers of Black, Indigenous, South Asian and Asian men in construction jobs. Maybe they don’t want those good jobs either. 

We make up less than 1 per cent of the workforce in the trades. What will the success rate be for the women who attend trade school at colleges this year, or those female students who will be a part of the new Toronto District School Board’s program for women in trades? I hope we can double the number of women in the trades, but then we’ll still be only 2 per cent of the workforce. 

Nancy Irwin, Toronto

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