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Today's letters: Ottawa has great architecture – protect it

Ottawa should protect its architecture, declares one letter writer, while another addresses cultural appropriation, and yet another mentions a recent military policy shift.

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Preserve history in architecture
Re: Is ‘iconic’new library still city’s final design goal? June 16

There should definitely be a design competition with entrants from all over.

The main reason for the competition is the “powers that be” are big on ugly. There are more than enough examples. How about the proposed addition to the beautiful Château Laurier?

Another example of design gone wrong is the newly designed National Arts Centre. It is located on Elgin Street, not a Las Vegas strip. The advertising is the ultimate in tackiness.

What a pity to have this monstrosity across from the beautiful Lord Elgin.

Ottawa is a beautiful city with many beautiful old buildings. The Parliament Buildings and all the others of this vintage should be preserved. Why do you suppose so many people travel to Europe and are so impressed with their buildings, which have stood for hundreds of years?

Eunice Sutton, Orléans

Start constitutional reform
Re: Dear Quebec, do we need to do this again? June 3

Andrew Coyne’s argument boils down to “we tried it once before and it was hard”.

Constitutional amendment is important, and meant to be hard. Perhaps as a 150th-anniversary task we should begin the long and difficult discussion to define a 21st century nation.

Philippe Couillard has proposed a process to enfranchise Quebec. But what about the aboriginal founding nations? They deserve more than peace and reconciliation. And as a country where a majority will soon be from non-founding nation cultures, is there a not role for them in our foundational document? As an urban nation, why are cities absent a defined role? How about a concerted effort at election reform or defining a new Senate?

The scope is wide and it will be a lifetime of hard work, but it will be honourable work.

If Justin Trudeau wants a legacy of nation-building equal to his father’s, then launching a comprehensive open-ended constitutional review could add him to the Fathers of Confederation list.

Robert Thompson, Kanata

Military change a long time coming
Re: Injured troops will stay in uniform until pension, benefits in place: Sajjan, June 12

This initiative, in response to complaints from numerous ill and injured military personnel who say they were forced out of the Forces too fast and left to fend for themselves, has been a long time coming.

A study conducted 20 years ago by the Canadian Forces Personnel Policy directorate stated:

“It is the contention of this report that when a service member is to be compulsorily released from the CF for medical reasons, the CF is morally obliged to resolve all issues of financial entitlement and compensation on behalf of the member, prior to the member’s release.”

Let us hope that it does not take another 20 years to resolve the problems which have plagued our veterans for so long.

Lt.-Col. Jack Stow (retired), author of the 1997 report, Orléans

Debate on cultural appropriation must be better
Re: Why cultural appropriation is under fire, June 17

If the Citizen is going to entertain discussion about cultural appropriation and expect an intelligent dialogue to ensue, I suggest that only cogent arguments that do not descend into name-calling and gross over-generalizations be presented.

It is not a given that non-native people wearing “Indian-girl” costumes are doing so because they think that “unlike those other brown women you see all the time, I make this look good.” They might be wearing them because they think the costumes are attractive or they might be unaware that wearing this costume might offend some people.

Perhaps they could reasonably be accused of ignorance, but condoning their shaming as “racist dumbasses” doesn’t seem to be an appropriate reaction to ignorance.

Isn’t there a less divisive way that we can address this issue together?

In the meantime, I welcome all my fellow Canadians to wear the Hay tartan any time they like, even if they look better in it than I do.

Elizabeth Hay, Ottawa

Harper, Thatcher, not as bad as Putin
Re: Good and bad leaders can both neglect rights, June 17

Shannon Gormley goes beyond the pale when she mentions in the same breath Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte, Margaret Thatcher and Stephen Harper.

In comparing the latter two, with the crime-filled careers of Putin and Duterte, Gormley’s list is laughable and not worthy of printing.

According to Gormley, the great sins of Thatcher and Harper are being a little cold and a little mean. Given the electoral success of these two, not many people agreed with Gormley’s assessment of them.

Ken Cumming, Ottawa

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