Letters to the Editor: November 2022

On nuclear disarmament, elementary schools, and garlic in a jar

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Weapons of Mass Dysfunction

In “The Case for Nuclear Disarmament” (July/August 2022), Paul Webster makes a compelling argument for Canada to do more on nuclear disarmament. However, for Canada to be seen as an honest actor, it needs to do more at forums it is part of—in particular, at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Canada can, and should, try to influence NATO’s nuclear policies. NATO’s policy states: “as long as nuclear weapons exist, it will remain a nuclear alliance.” This policy, logically, implies the converse: as long as NATO remains a nuclear alliance, nuclear weapons will exist. It is hypocritical to criticize Russia’s or North Korea’s nuclear weapons without denouncing the nuclear weapons of NATO allies, especially the United States, or while expanding military exports to Israel, the sole nuclear-armed country in the Middle East.

M. V. Ramana
Vancouver, BC

Balance of power

Reading Angela Misri’s “No Room at the Top” (September/October 2022), I was struck by how there seem to be more cries for gender equality in political leadership than among plumbers, truck drivers, and bricklayers, professions which are all dominated by men. It’s clear that these pleas have less to do with employment than simply power. What practical difference does gender make to Canadians when it comes to the role of prime minister? The real question is why we choose to elect politicians who cannot deliver anything close to what they promise.

Percy J. Phillips
Portage la Prairie, MB

learning gaps

In “How the Pandemic Messed Up My Education” (thewalrus.ca), Trudeau Gulati describes the underdiscussed impacts of quadmesters, which divide the school year into four, instead of two, sessions, on high school students’ mental health and their ability to learn. While quadmesters were not implemented in elementary schools, learning there was similarly affected by frequent school closures, pivots to online learning, and increased teacher workloads. This created serious learning gaps, with a study from the Toronto District School Board finding that more and more kindergarten to grade eight students are falling behind in literacy. As an elementary school teacher, I believe that the solutions to these learning gaps are simple: schools need funding for smaller classes and more staff members to support students. The current Ontario government, however, does not have the same mindset.

Steve Adamson
Toronto, ON

mince matters

Gabrielle Drolet’s “In Defence of Garlic in a Jar” (thewalrus.ca) highlights how ideas about “good food” often exclude those with disabilities. As someone who has worked as a professional chef and currently works as an ethnographer, I was struck by the ways that celebrity chefs often monolithically dictate how people relate to food. I’ve met brilliant chefs who espouse a multitude of ideas about technical execution in cooking and share the diversity of culinary traditions they are trained in. Yet, in the anglophone world, voices like Jamie Oliver’s or Gordon Ramsay’s seem to dominate, instilling a singular sense of “right” and “wrong” that can make cooking more stressful than joyful. I appreciated Drolet’s conclusion that “you can cook the way you want to”—after all, taste speaks for itself.

Mikaela Brough
Barletta, Italy

“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