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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Letter: Let’s remember, all people are created equal
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

Having read the letters both by Matthew French and Anthony Powell about fired chief librarian Cathy Simpson’s opinion piece (“Censorship and what we are allowed to read“), I completely agree with Mr. Powell.

There is no need to repeat his excellent arguments, but let me merely note one point.

Mr. French writes, “The divisive, far right American culture wars have arrived at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library …”

This reminds me of something I was told when researching my book, “Who Speaks for the River?,” about the injustices faced by a particular Indigenous people.

An old farmer said that long ago, “The innovations came north from the United States at the rate of about 10 miles a year.” Now, of course, the innovations, good, bad and mixed, arrive instantaneously.

In fact, American politics already arrived in Canada with the diversity, equity, inclusion movement.

As a former defence lawyer and senior Crown attorney, I think the concern with injustice is laudable.

But the methods as applied in Canada are often illiberal and dangerous. We have jobs at times only available to people of one ethnicity, and at other times, one ethnicity is not even able to apply.

Such excesses do not even occur in the United States as a matter of law.

Thus when the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism came north to Canada, it was another new innovation and a response to a prior one.

My sense is that in Canada we have lost our way on these issues and must remember again that all people, whatever their background, are equal.

In this context, Simpson’s public statement and the existence of FAIR are helpful antidotes to good ideas that, when pushed too far, become both bad and unjust.

Robert Girvan

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