Today’s letters: School dress codes are about respect

Saturday, May 21: On the dress code controversy; Lansdowne 2.0; and health care. You can write to us at

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What students should do about dress codes

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Re: Orléans high school students walk out to protest dress code, May 14.

Here are my suggestions for the dress code problems at Béatrice-Desloges High School:

• Always respect police by following instructions given by police who were called by school authorities to ensure the safety of everyone. If you behave badly and ignore the police, expect to be arrested to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone else. This is the job police are required to do and once called to a disruption off school property, they are in charge.

• Always respect yourself by dressing properly, staying in class and doing your best to learn. School is a place of business where learning is the goal. The Education Act requires students to attend classes to qualify for credit. Leaving class to protest makes the protest illegal.

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• If you don’t like the dress code that was developed by staff, parents and students, ask the principal for a review of the code, in writing, with supporting signatures from concerned staff, parents and students.

We don’t need a review of the police force, the police services board or the city. What we need to do is teach students how to dress appropriately for school and the work place. This does not include sexualizing oneself with provocative clothing. It does include developing maturity and judgment to make good decisions.

Phil Logan, Ottawa, retired school administrator.

School dress codes are discriminatory

In the 22nd year of the 21st century, the existence of a dress code is discriminatory.

Robert Day, Ottawa

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More emphasis on studies, less on looks

The photo of three girls and their hand-made protest sign in the Ottawa Citizen this week clearly shows one short sentence with five grammar errors and several more capitalization errors.  Perhaps the students should pay more attention to their studies and less to their clothes.

Melita Link, Gatineau

Dress standards have slipped badly

Do students need dress codes? Absolutely. I am shocked when I see students leaving their schools in the most inappropriate clothing.

When I have travelled to poorer countries and seen the children in immaculate uniforms, a different one for each school, I feel ashamed. If not specific uniforms, then at least a guideline as to proper trousers and shirts for boys, and dresses or skirts and blouses for girls. Standards seem to have slipped badly and it seems that anything goes these days.

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Anna Ostris, Cornwall

Police needed to be at demonstration

Why is it necessary for interim police Chief Steve Bell to justify the police presence at the Béatrice-Desloges Catholic school demonstration after east-end politicians received calls from concerned citizens? These concerned citizens would be the first to complain if the police were not present and the situation escalated. The police are constantly under a microscope; just let them police.

Roberta Goulet, Ottawa

It’s a no-win for our police

Damned if you do (act), damned if you don’t (act). Why interim police Chief Steve Bell is seeking Ottawa’s top policing job permanently is beyond me. That said, he is fully qualified for the position and has my full support and confidence.

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Ken Imerson, Greely

Lansdowne 2.0 helps OSEG, not the city

Re: $330M ‘Lansdowne 2.0’ proposal would knit arena into berm, add 1,200 new homes, April 27.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) is once again asking the citizens of Ottawa to bail it out. This is at least the second attempt by OSEG to be rescued from the money pit it has fallen into. Lansdowne has been a money loser for OSEG since the beginning.

This proposal, if approved, is for the benefit of OSEG, not for the city of Ottawa. There is no true benefit to the city or to the residents. Ultimately, residents will end up shouldering the financial responsibility for this failed enterprise. No one should be surprised, whether or not this proposal is approved, when OSEG submits a third request for a bailout at some not-too-distant future date.

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Len Burnstein, Ottawa

We’ve stripped Lansdowne of its natural beauty

A number of years ago when Hopewell School celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, as a teacher there I visited the Ottawa Archives to educate myself on the early days of the school.

I found surprising photos showing the original beauty of nearby Lansdowne Park: a green forest of natural trees and pebble pathways with families picnicking on the grounds. It was an idyllic setting and very beautiful. It’s reprehensible that this significant natural green space in Ottawa is gone — having been removed by this ongoing development project of city council and the mayor.

The mayor, councillors and developers would have done well to visit to the Ottawa Archives to understand what this park once represented to citizens. And then reconsider their plans to further “pave paradise.” Shame on them for removing it for all future generations. What a legacy.

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Marion Shynal, Ottawa

Lansdowne: Plus ça change …

When I first heard about Lansdowne 2.0, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I spent two years working with Friends of Lansdowne (FOL) to oppose Lansdowne 1.0.

It started out quite well when the city called for an international design competition requesting proposals for redevelopment of the Lansdowne site. But then the city, under Mayor Jim Watson’s leadership, cancelled the international design competition and awarded the contract on a sole-sourced basis to OSEG (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group). This contravened the Ontario Municipal Act, which required (at that time) competitive bids for any contract in excess of $60,000.

FOL predicted that the shopping centre OSEG was proposing to build at Lansdowne would fail, mainly due to the lack of adequate public access to the site, as well as elements of the development itself. Yet, here we are, being presented with Lansdowne 2.0, still under Watson’s
leadership, as a proposed bailout of OSEG in an attempt to correct the design failures of Lansdowne as it exists today.

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It looks like more inappropriate development of the Lansdowne site, all to be paid for by the
taxpayers of Ottawa. The only good news is that Watson will soon be gone.

Ken Shipley, Ottawa

We don’t have health care; we have ‘sick’ care

Re: Health care is about more than adding beds, Ontario, May 16.

Even if this motley slate of provincial candidates begin to talk about health care, they will also most certainly be talking about the wrong end of the horse. Big Brother would be pleased about their newspeak on this file.

We do not have “health” care. We have “sick” care.

“Health” care more correctly would indication promoting health through our diets, exercise and other activities. With the “sick” care that we actually have, we let everyone consume and do anything, or nothing at all, as they wish and we then house them communally and try to fix the problems.

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The promotion of actual health through diet, exercise and common sense in our lives would greatly reduce the need to talk about “beds.”

Thomas Brawn, Orléans

Hospital in a hotel worked out fine

My wife was treated at the Queensway Carleton Hospital but needed rehab. So off to the Rehab Centre at the Fairfield Inn Hotel in Kanata she went.

I visited my wife every day during her stay and what a wonderful facility it was. And what a fantastic idea to transform the hotel into a hospital. If the building was not still badged as The Fairfield Inn by Mariott, you would not even know it was a hotel. And FREE ample parking as well!

And best part of the Rehab Centre were all the people there. From the receptionists, to the nurses, cleaners, doctors, PSWs, meal staff and of course the physiotherapists —  they were all very professional and courteous. They put their patients first.

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I say kudos the the management team of the Queensway Carleton Hospital to have the foresight to take a hotel that was being under-utilized and turn it into a first class Rehab Centre and take care of our patients in need, including my beautiful wife.

Alan Cohen, Ottawa

Hospital can do more to support nurses

Re: Nurses union concerned about hospital plan to hire more practical nurses amid shortages, May 13.

We laud The Ottawa Hospital for adding new registered practical nurse positions to stanch the staffing shortage that has plagued the hospital in the last few years. However, we encourage TOH to go further. Show leadership by publicly calling for an end to the Ontario government’s demoralizing wage cap under Bill 124, which has cut the real wages for many hospital staff by six per cent at a time when inflation is spiking, and sped up the exodus of overworked staff from our hospitals.

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This would go a long way to letting the TOH front lines know that the administration has their back, and some may reconsider leaving. It would also send a strong message to the Ontario government and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), the umbrella group that negotiates on behalf of Ontario hospitals, that it’s time to stop playing hardball with a female workforce when it comes to fair compensation, lower patient loads and increased mental health supports to deal with the trauma of pandemic work.

Another important step is for hospitals like TOH to end the use of private staffing agencies. These for-profit firms charge double and triple the cost of what a hospital staff nurse or personal support worker employed by the hospital is paid. Using that money to increase full-time RPN, RN and other hospital worker positions to retain valuable staff makes fiscal sense. Patients will get higher care levels and the improved working conditions will attract people to work in our hospitals.

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RPNs at TOH provide professional, quality care and will continue to advocate for increased bedside care delivered by all nursing staff.

Michael Hurley, President CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE)

Lou Burri, President CUPE 4000, representing nearly 4000 front-line staff at The Ottawa Hospital

Retired OC Transpo bus drivers could help

Re: OC Transpo needs hundreds more bus drivers as shortage continues into summer, May 18.

Why can’t OC Transpo hire part-time drivers? There is an abundance of retired OC bus drivers who have years of driving experience. I think many would be willing to work part-time for 10 to 20 hours a week to supplement their retirement incomes.

They already have their retirement benefits and health plan so the only compensation the retired drivers would need is an hourly wage. Hiring recently retired bus drivers would immediately address the driver vacancies at OC Transpo.

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Leo Berndt, Ottawa

Enforce Transpo’s mask mandate, please

I take the bus and O-Train at least four days every week. I see more and more people hopping on without a mask and no one from OC Transpo polices this. I have specifically asked two different Transpo employees working in O-Train stations and both told me they could do nothing about it.

It is getting ridiculous. OC Transpo has a clear policy on masks. its employees must ensure their employer’s policy is respected, or they don’t deserve to be employed there.

Pierre Charette, Ottawa

How about policing the Queensway?

What is going on with the Queensway? Anyone living within earshot of the highway knows it is a motorcycle and car-racing drag-strip many nights of the week. The recent gunplay incident there is scary and puts hundreds of drivers at potential risk. How can the victims of this shooting, who had knowledge of their attackers, just walk away without revealing their identities? Where is the policing of this increasingly dangerous roadway?

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Richard Christie, Ottawa

Replace the monarchy; colonialism is dead

Re: Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla tour Ottawa, greeted with pomp and ceremony, May 18.

It’s time to replace the monarchy. As a modern independent country, we desperately need our our own head of state. Colonialism is dead.

Keep our Commonwealth ties to respect the past, but make the Governor General our head of state representing not a foreign Crown, but our Confederation. More than 50 per cent of those polled want the monarchy gone. With Charles in the wings and the Queen nearing the end of her reign, a recent Angus Reid poll had only 34 per cent favouring Charles as king.

Canada should open the Constitution and vote on the monarchy question. The monarchy reeks of colonialism and privilege. For Canada, it should be gone on the passing of the Queen.

Harris Popplewell, Ottawa

Just tear down 24 Sussex Drive

Re: National Capital Commission has spent $767K on assessing 24 Sussex, May 19.

The headline is wrong. We taxpayers spent $767,000 on a complete waste of time and our money. The place is a dump. I could tell them that. Just tear it down. No assessment needed.

Joe Spence, Ottawa

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