Cuban boycott would only hurt the innocent
Sir: The April 7 letter “Cuban vacations help support war in Ukraine” had merit, but boycotting an entire nation is not the answer.
It may be true that Cuban resort hotels are owned by government entities, but to cancel a whole country of individuals who rely on the tourism industry to put food on the table and a roof over their head is unfair.
More than 60% of Cubans earns less than $100 per month, with 27% earning less than $50 monthly. If just one tourist donated $1 a day to their bartender, it could nearly double the monthly wage and make a world of difference to someone in extreme poverty.
If everyone stopped going to Cuba we might punish a communist and autocratic government, but it would also punish the citizens still trying to get back on their feet after COVID-19 shut the borders. It’s a nation that has difficulty getting things we take for granted, including medication and personal hygiene supplies.
Cancel culture has gotten out of hand. We all hate the war on Ukraine, but punishing the people of Cuba and Russia is not the way to go.
Most don’t like the war any more than we do, but they are suffering enough without their lives being further disrupted. There’s a time and place to not support someone because of their actions, but cancelling entire countries isn’t the answer for innocent bystanders adversely affected by a war they have no control over.
Bill 100 is a dangerous government power grab
Sir: The provincial government’s “Keeping Ontario Open for Business Act,” as it’s labeled, is little more than a legislative power grab and an extension of opinion-based policing.
The legislation, if approved, would prohibit demonstrations and blockades on “protected transportation infrastructure,” such as land and water border crossings and international airports.
Bill 100 does nothing positive to help businesses continue to operate; instead it adds to political and police powers to restrict the rights to protest, assembly, and/or strike.
It would move Ontario dangerously away from the presumption of innocence, and rely on the opinion of the police and Lieutenant Governor, without judicial process or Charter protection.
Clauses of Bill 100 leave open to interpretation group or individual actions by police; and the Lieutenant Governor in determining what constitutes “protected transportation infrastructure.”
Without clear definitions written into the law, an interpretation is based on the opinion of those making the interpretation.
Eight federal Criminal Code laws already limit the way citizens can participate in protests, assemblies, and strikes. Bill 100 would override these laws, and remove the right to be heard with no recourse for wrongful accusations.
Further, the Highway Traffic Act Ontario already limits the way private and commercial vehicles may be used, and how licences, vehicles, and plates can be seized and suspended.
Police powers are already quite robust, with laws in place to govern protests, assemblies and strikes.
There is no need to create additional laws that infringe on Canadian rights and enhance government power.
Michael Van De Weghe
Another take on that restaurant manager’s actions
Sir: Regarding the March 24 letter, “Restaurant owner needs a lesson in kindness.”
I certainly sympathize with the writer as I, too, am a big girl. But I do not think the waitress or manager intended to ‘humiliate’ her when she was asked to exchange her seat for a metal chair. It was most likely a matter of safety.
In fact, I DID break the legs of the chair I was sitting on in a restaurant when I leaned over too far and fell off. The waitresses and management rushed over to help me in concern.
Fortunately, there was no harm done except for maybe some embarrassment on my part. Since then, I’ve chosen to sit on metal chairs when available.
I am sorry the writer felt embarrassed. But during a pandemic, when many restaurants are struggling, efforts still have to be made to best accommodate customers in a manner with which they will be comfortable AND safe.
It is perhaps time to allow for some understanding and forgiveness. At the very least, I suggest giving others the benefit of doubt.