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Critics say the shift to non-adversarial alternatives in order to protect children doesn’t go far enough.

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Broken break-up laws

Re Ottawa Looks To Put Children First in Divorce Act Overhaul (May 23): I nearly choked on my eggs when I read that Ottawa’s decades-in-the-making plan to reform divorce laws to protect children was to – wait for it – change some words.

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After my experience in divorce court, I can attest to one important fact: Confrontation between acrimonious ex-partners hurts children. Want meaningful change? Mandate mandatory counselling and mediation before lawyers and court. They do this in Australia, providing counsel and respite for feuding partners and putting children first.

Without this major overhaul, the continued course will be acrimony, prosperous lawyers, and court. Want three different words to investigate for our broken system? Follow. The. Money.

Peter Keleghan, Toronto

Least worst in Ontario

Re Ontario’s Choice: Who Is The Least Worst? (May 23): Margaret Wente expects that Doug Ford will be the next Ontario premier. I think she’s right. One can hardly blame the voters, because the other choices are abysmal. Mr. Ford will make Ontario a hellish place in which to live, while the other contenders will simply spend the province into the poorhouse.

Proportional representation would be a big improvement in Ontario, not to mention elsewhere. It would give people far more choice, because other parties with new ideas would have a chance of getting a few seats. Under PR, voters wouldn’t have to be afraid of wasting their vote when they opt for a new party with new ideas. Right now, voters are either angry at the Liberals, or terrified of the Ford Conservatives. The New Democrats do not seem to offer a very good alternative.

In B.C., we are in a bitter campaign to bring in PR and end the two-party stranglehold here.

David Pearce, Victoria

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Margaret Wente gives Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals zero chance of being re-elected, then goes on to criticize NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for her math. As for “least worst alternative,” that would clearly be a Liberal/NDP or an NDP/Liberal coalition government, with two bright, capable women at the helm of Canada’s most populous province.

There is no reason to fear that Ms. Horwath would be the radical leader that Doug Ford warns she will be. Already, she has promised not to restore the right to strike to the essential Toronto Transit Commission.

I was raised in a working-class family under successive Manitoba NDP governments, and while the upper and middle classes grumbled a bit, great strides were made in helping the working class and the despairing poor.

While a Liberal/NDP or NDP/Liberal coalition does its thing, Mr. Ford can spend four years learning statesmanship as Opposition Leader. It might temper the radical simplicity of his ideas with a dose of complex reality.

Ron Charach, Toronto

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While I often agree with Margaret Wente, this time she is off the mark. Letting the NDP toy with its version of social engineering for a few ineffectual years is a reasonable price to pay for ridding the conservative end of the spectrum of “a blustering ignoramous.”

A PC loss, with the Liberal option in such a sorry state, would surely end the populist nightmare for good, and make way for a new and thoughtful Conservative leader. In a few short years, intelligence, reason and a free market mindset could finally return to the Ontario Legislature.

Lyle Clarke, Whitby, Ont.

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Margaret Wente so brilliantly says, “A couple of years from now, I suspect that we’ll be looking back on this election and wondering what was so horrible about Kathleen Wynne’s government after all.”

Just remember what former New York Mayor Ed Koch said after he lost an election: “The people have spoken and now they must be punished.”

Thomas Bonic, Toronto

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More than 233,000 votes were cast for the Greens in the 2014 Ontario election. Green policies are comprehensive, sensible and progressive. With candidates in all ridings, why is the Green Party left out of media coverage and leaders’ debates? Voters deserve the opportunity to compare.

Gordon Ball, Orillia, Ont.

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Help! Here in Brantford-Brant riding, we have a candidate on the ballot running for the “None Of The Above” party. His policies as listed in handouts don’t appeal to me any more than those of the larger parties. So what do I vote for now that “none of the above” even includes None Of The Above?

Diane Pope, Brantford, Ont.

Digital done right

Re A Hard Lesson: The Digital Classroom Can Really Fail (May 19): The proposal that “for teachers to use technologies meaningfully, they need much more than network filters and the general guideline for use that school boards provide” overlooks the real opportunity for teaching.

Our children will come across hate videos, fake news and manipulated images, even by accident. Why not use classrooms to teach kids critical thinking to navigate that world? When the teacher realized the unintended video had run – that was a learning opportunity. Ask the students: Who was the author of the video? What do they know about that person? What do they think the author wanted to make them believe and say? How does that align with their knowledge and values?

No tech filter will make our kids smart. Our children themselves must be the wise filters.

Claudia Moore, Calgary

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Over a three-year period, my student teachers did an assignment in which they reflected on their experiences as students and as practising teachers in the digital world. In general, they shared the same concerns as Naomi Buck.

Veteran teachers I have talked to have also been frustrated with the latest tech foisted on them without adequate work on how to use it effectively. Like any innovation, tech has power and limits to improve learning. It seems that whatever comes our way, the history of educational innovation is still a history of untested assumptions.

John J.C. Myers, Curriculum and Assessment Instructor, Elementary and Secondary Education, OISE

Politics as fig leaf

Re In Election Collusion, JFK And Pearson Showed The Way (May 23): Whether or not JFK thought the Dief was “an SOB” or “a prick” may be up for question. But there is no doubt about what the former PM thought of his caucus as his hold on power weakened from within.

By nature a staunch Victorian, Diefenbaker couldn’t take ownership of a ribald joke, so using George Hees as his fig leaf, he asked to all and sundry: Have you heard the one that Hees is telling? What’s the difference between a cactus and the Conservative caucus? Striving for his patented effect, he waited, looking about. Then he delivered the answer in stentorian Diefenbaker: A cactus has its pricks on the outside.

Howard Greenfield, Montreal


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