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Ottawa’s ‘selfish’ policy ends Afghan rescue effort (April 18) and Ottawa engages heavy artillery for Ukraine (April 20): Our Approaches to Military Support to Ukraine and Immigrants Afghans look alike. Rather than recognizing that it should be in our national interest to help them, we behave as if we are doing Ukrainians and Afghans a favor – and we will eventually.
Ian Thompson Halifax
On why we should be wary of Canada’s plan to ban Holocaust denial (Opinion, April 16): Columnist Robyn Urback says that “the impulse to use state power to ban even the most poisonous should be fought on principle.” I do not agree. Holocaust denial is so toxic to public discourse that it, and the hatred that underlies it, should be fought with every tool at our disposal, including legal tools.
There is precedent in Canadian law, which includes limits on freedom of expression with respect to hate speech against identifiable groups. The bill expands this point to respond to a pressing need in society.
In other democratic countries like France and Germany, Holocaust denial laws were enacted due to rising anti-Semitism and violence against the Jewish community; they are also on the rise in Canada. Criminalizing Holocaust denial would give our courts tools to combat this dangerous form of hatred against the Jewish people, for the benefit of all Canadians.
Carson Phillips Executive Director, Neuberger Holocaust Education Center; Toronto
A bill prohibiting “endorsing, denying or minimizing the Holocaust” would seriously threaten freedom of expression. For example, a history teacher might be accused of downplaying the Holocaust when discussing the role of Jewish councils established by the Nazis during World War II.
The proposed law would also be a source of social division. Non-European Canadians might well wonder why the government is so concerned about the Holocaust, as opposed to the genocides of Rwandan Tutsis, Muslim Rohingyas, Muslim Uyghurs or indigenous peoples.
I do not say this lightly: I am the daughter of a refugee from Nazi Germany, several of whose Jewish parents were murdered during the Holocaust.
Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann hamilton
horrors of war
Re Rape As A Tool Of War: This Column Contains Disturbing Material (Review, April 16): My mother, born in 1916 in Staszow, Poland, would have turned 106 on April 22. His city was the scene of battles between Austro-Hungarians and Russian soldiers during the First World War. When the war ended in November 1918, she was 2.5 years old.
She was told that she had to be hidden from Russian soldiers to protect her from rape. Knowing her story, I was always surprised that people seemed shocked by the denunciation of rape as a weapon of war.
When even infants and toddlers are targeted, what else could it be?
Marcia Zalev Toronto
The future of news
Re Trudeau’s Tangled Web (Opinion, April 16): Columnist Andrew Coyne writes that regulating social media would be a cure “worse than the disease.” He also remembers the early days of the Internet, when Uncle Joe had his own website and people could find it without browsing through pages of paid ads.
That was then. The reality today is that social networks use algorithms that are incredibly smart about fueling “engagement,” but incredibly dumb about what they encourage people to “engage” with.
They haven’t found a way to stop this on their own. While regulation may not be the best solution, letting utilities fix these issues hasn’t worked.
Terry Madsen Sidney, BC
The Globe and Mail has negotiated content licensing agreements with Google and Meta. These companies recognize the value of the content produced by Globe journalists.
In addition to The Globe, Le Devoir, Les Coops de l’information, Black Press Media, Glacier Media, Metro Media, Narcity Media, SaltWire Network, Village Media, Winnipeg Free Press and Torstar have all signed content licensing agreements. Bill C-18 ensures that many other publishers will be able to do the same. If negotiations do not result in fair deals, they are subject to baseball-style final offer arbitration.
Andrew Coyne writes that the bill allows Canadian publishers to bargain collectively “as if it were a union”. This collective approach is already working in Australia, where similar legislation has been in place for over a year. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, “In aggregate, these agreements with Google and Meta…have resulted in strong hiring environments for Australian journalists.”
Paul Degan President and CEO, News Media Canada; Toronto
The greatest threat to free speech on the internet does not come from a list of federal bills. Nor does it come from Canadian media, which columnist Andrew Coyne says is failing to “adapt and improve” to compete with Google and Facebook.
Social media giants provide an irresistible platform for advertisers. This is money that used to be used to finance Canadian news stories. Newspapers, like that of Mr. Coyne’s employer, may have to stop delivering a paper product. But if they disappear completely, Canadians will lose the best sources of independent information they have.
So these social media giants, whose algorithms favor advertisers, may well become the sole arbiters of what we see and read online. If that happens, let’s hope it’s not just cute cat videos.
Rachel Morgan Winnipeg
On what the national $10-a-day program can learn from Quebec’s universal daycare (April 16): As a parent of two children who have gone through the Quebec daycare system, I would like to point out that the quality of our higher priced private child care center is excellent.
Well worth Toronto’s $70 a day (reduced to about $45 after a tax break) and since I can afford it, I’m not taking a $10 spot from someone else. Quality may vary, but these centers are also good. Many of our eldest son’s friends went to “cheaper” daycare and ended up in the same public school.
Let’s not start with the two-tier bogeyman like we do with health care. Quebec has a good model. Hopefully the rest of Canada follows suit.
John Lofranco Montreal
Re Bill Richardson Found Work Is The Antidote To Loneliness (Arts & Pursuits, April 16): About ten years ago, I was returning home to the Sunshine Coast, listening to Bill Richardson on CBC Radio, when I heard a Mermaid.
I stopped on the shoulder, just like two cars in front of me and three behind. We waited, but soon the siren got weaker. It became clear that the sound had been in the background on the radio.
It was also clear that I hadn’t been the only one enjoying the show.
Sharon Oddie Brown Roberts Creek, BC
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