Letters to the Editor: July/August 2024

On bad bosses and all-or-nothing choices

Workplace Hazards

In her May cover story, “Danger: Your Job,” Samia Madwar asks, “Are workplaces inherently toxic?” The short answer is yes. But they shouldn’t be. When I was a student at a business faculty, we learned that while bosses might justify toxic behaviour as a tool to motivate their employees, it often has monetary consequences for the firms. In service organizations, the consequences will inevitably be reduced performance and increased staff turnover. In manufacturing organizations, the likely blowback is various forms of sabotage, with workers displacing their rage onto the employer’s products. As for eradicating workplace toxicity, managers should be privy to the same business education and human resource training I was privileged to receive. But I have no answer as to whether they’ll be receptive to such an education.

E. K. Bricknell
Toronto, ON

All or Nothing

Michelle Cyca’s essay “Parental Leave Is Broken” really resonated with me, especially when Cyca gives recommendations for potential fixes. I was on the bargaining team representing federal researchers, and we have been pushing for more flexibility on parental leave beyond all or nothing. We definitely see that women have more difficulty progressing in our system, where people are promoted based on multi-year records of innovation, productivity, impact, and recognition. There are big-picture issues with the binary choice in the current system, such as choosing between missing that one key field trial or international committee meeting that your work has been building to and cutting off your leave entirely. We obviously don’t want our members to feel pressure to have to work during parental leave, but it is increasingly untenable to force people into an all-or-nothing choice.

Matt MacLeod
Ottawa, ON


In the June issue, the article “Taliban Influencers” stated that few countries recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government. In fact, no country does, though some have kept their embassies open in the region and have accredited Taliban diplomats. The Walrus regrets the error.

“The time has come,” The Walrus said, “to talk of many things.” Send us a letter or an email (letters@thewalrus.ca) or tag us on social media. Comments may be published in any medium and edited for length, clarity, and accuracy. Mail correspondence to: 411 Richmond St. E., Suite B15, Toronto, Ontario, Canada  M5A 3S5