Saturday, March 18: Some readers want the Ottawa Police Association to change a symbol that offends many. You can write to us too, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Treat the Canadian flag with respect
Re: Are police on the wrong side of the thin blue line? March 15.
Bruce Deachman is exactly right in his prescription for the “thin blue line” flag hanging outside the Ottawa Police Association.
In addition, I was taken aback by the photo that accompanied the published article. Protocol for the flying of the Canadian flag, as described by the Department of Canadian Heritage, is quite clear. “The National Flag will always be flown on its own flagpole, with the sleeve nearest to the pole.”
Regardless of its origins, the thin blue line flag has become a symbol that is not acceptable in our community. Even if the police association is tone-deaf to this, perhaps it could react to the disrespect it is showing the flag of Canada by its continued display on the same flagpole.
Greg Peterson, Ottawa
Get a new symbol of solidarity
My suggestion to the Ottawa Police Association is to recognize the divisiveness of its thin blue line flag and change its symbol to a thin blue ribbon, similar to yellow ribbons worn to recognize cancer patients. The blue ribbons could symbolize the recognition of the sacrifices of our police force and their families as well as their ties to our community.
Nancy Biggs, Orléans
Many symbols become compromised
Columnist Bruce Deachman and Coun. Ariel Troster both decry the use of the thin blue line flags and patches flown and worn by the police, as these symbols have been adopted by many who espouse far-right and hateful views.
On the very next page of the newspaper, we are treated to a picture of convoy participants waving and wearing Canadian flags. Some singers also take it upon themselves to change the words to “O Canada.”
I guess that means it’s time to go back to the Red Ensign and “God Save The King.”
Todd Campbell, Ottawa
Perhaps choose another symbol?
I would ask my fellow trade unionist Ottawa Police Association president Matthew Cox to reconsider hanging on to the current symbol.
Perhaps the association should consider a Forget-Me-Not flower worn like a poppy in the lapel to remember the officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Or perhaps the Celtic sailors’ knot: people used it to keep loved ones in their thoughts during long sea voyages. As such, this knot is also seen as a symbol of friendship, affection and love.
Deb Sonego, Kanata
Another cemetery we cherish
Re: Why I keep coming back to wander around Beechwood Cemetery, March 11.
Many thanks to Bruce Deachman for his article about Beechwood Cemetery. Like him, I too find cemeteries “a public library with fresh air.”
McGuigan Cemetery just outside Merrickville is one such place. Located across the road from the Rideau River and Clowes Lock, it is a source of history for the community of Merrickville-Wolford.
As one of the oldest burying grounds along the Rideau Waterway and in eastern Ontario, it was discovered in the early 1960s and over several years Wolford Township and volunteers from the Merrickville and District Historical Society worked on clearing the overgrown site. With an Ontario Government New Horizon grant, the restoration was completed in July 1981.
The earliest known grave is 1806; the last is 1899. Grave markers include those of United Empire Loyalists, British veterans of the Napoleonic War, children of pioneer settlers and the unknown, unmarked field stones believed to be those of predominately Irish labourers who died working on the Rideau Canal.
Living across the road from McGuigan Cemetery, my husband and I act as “custodians” of the abandoned cemetery. We have now completed our submission for Ontario Heritage Designation and if granted will join some 120 other provincial heritage designated cemeteries. McGuigan Cemetery, too, tells stories of more than 200 years ago in the open and fresh air.
Donna Ross, Merrickville
How Beechwood welcomes all
I couldn’t agree more with Bruce Deachman about the beauty and serenity of Beechwood cemetery. It’s a national, historical and soul-satisfying park with nature displaying it’s finest soothing side. It’s worth putting it on the list of things to do in Ottawa, especially during summer and fall.
One of the things Deachman didn’t mention is that since the 1990s, in the spirit of inclusion and diversity, the cemetery has assigned sections to the many diverse communities in Ottawa. There are sections for some 10 communities — as well, of course, as the national military sector whose head stones stand in impressive military formation.
As an example of what one may find in the cemetery apart from prominent political figures such as Tommy Douglas, there is a plaque to Jerzy (George) Dobrowolski, Order of Canada recipient and Currency Hall of Fame member. He contributed to the design of our currency, ensuring the dollar bills in our pockets are safe from counterfeits. His plaque, in the Polish sector facing the military one, showcases how the safety of our country is protected in so many ways.
Rafal Pomian, Ottawa
Creative ideas for winter skating
Re: What the NCC is doing about climate change (and the Rideau Canal Skateway), March 16.
What was that Einstein said about expecting different results?
I do hope our beloved NCC has noted the success of various forest-based skating circuits popping up in the region, including Lac des Loups and the Icelynd Skating Trails by ex-Ottawa Senator Chris Neil. They are simply a blast, and creating one in areas such as the Central Experimental Farm or Arboretum might be an easier and cheaper to maintain Plan “B” than pouring cash and water onto The Rideau Canal.
Thomas Brawn, Orléans
Smoking out all the potholes
Re: Letters, Once again, Ottawa’s potholes have drivers dodging, March 11.
If cars are required to be road-worthy, then why shouldn’t roads be car-worthy?
Governments should take all taxes that are collected from the sale of cannabis and put them towards repairing our roads. They could call it “operation pothole.”
Pat McAlpine, Kanata
Faith restored in human race
On Wednesday, my husband and I went to Donna’s Express (Moe Atallah’s restaurant) for breakfast. The plan was to then go home; a friend was picking me up to bring me to The Ottawa Hospital General campus for an appointment.
As we came out of the restaurant and reached the sidewalk, I tried to avoid a puddle, because I had a sandal on one foot due to surgery. I managed to avoid the puddle — and watched as my car keys fell right into a manhole.
As I was standing there open-mouthed, two Ottawa city employees working across the street came over and said they had a magnet in the truck and would “go fishing.” Meantime, Moe Atallah and staff offered help. One staff member drove us home in Moe’s van so I could make my appointment on time.
It seems the keys were pulled out just after we left. My thanks for these wonderful people — the city staff, Moe and his employees — offering to pitch in and help. It was an amazing experience; my faith in the human race went up many notches.
Eileen Carroll, Ottawa
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