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March 15: Hazing revulsion. Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Hazing revulsion

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Reading about these hazing incidents, I am overwhelmed by disbelief, sympathy for the victims, and rage and disgust for the perpetrators (McGill Hazing Incident Reveals University Ban's Shortcomings, March 14).

Here we have privileged and supposedly intelligent young adults with opportunity served to them on a platter, yet they choose to stoop to this barbaric level of conduct. How heartbreakingly sad is it that a student can't trust his/her peers at a university?

Students responsible for instigating this behaviour should not be considered deserving of the honour of representing their institution.

Universities must be challenged to uphold common decency and adopt effective enforcement strategies to ensure this behaviour is stopped and to promote a culture where students clearly see that this is unacceptable. It is tragic that some of them can't see that for themselves.

Sue Gal, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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They call it hazing, but let's take a closer look. The person hazed was jumped by four or five players who threw a pillowcase over his head, and then he was driven to a basement apartment.

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Isn't that kidnapping?

He was taken to a room, ordered to strip to his underwear and to pop balloons with female basketball players in their undergarments in sexually suggestive positions.

Isn't that sexual assault?

The punishment – probation for the basketball teams – certainly doesn't fit the crime.

Don Cooper, Toronto

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O'Leary's appeal

Re Why Are Conservatives Drawn To O'Leary? (March 14): At the outset of Adam Radwanski's analysis of why Conservatives are drawn to Kevin O'Leary, he cites some of the many reasons why they might "laugh off" the prospect of having him as their leader.

Here's one more. Mr. O'Leary claims he is the only one who can take out Justin Trudeau in the next election by delivering the millennials who, thanks to Mr. O'Leary's Trump-like celebrity, have signed on to his Twitter account. Even if that were true today, or in May when the new Conservative leader is chosen, does anyone really think the obnoxious, "BS baffles brains" style of politics will still be in vogue two years from now when Canadians go to the polls? It's hard to imagine that even Donald Trump will last that long in office.

Jay Gould, Toronto

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I suppose the Conservatives' positive regard for leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary is intriguing journalistic material, and I find no fault with Adam Radwanski's treatment of it.

But I would be concerned if this were the start of the kind of unmerited and disproportionate media attention that Donald Trump enjoyed at no cost to himself during the campaign.

The appealing photo of Mr. O'Leary, flanked by a group of keen young people, and the central placement of the article on page A4 might not have bothered me a mere year ago.

It does now.

Kim Fraser, Edmonton

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I found the use of the phrase "kick Mr. Trudeau in the teeth" – not just in the article, but also in the photo caption – offensive.

What kind of violent images do you want to subject readers to first thing in the day? For a newspaper that has championed stopping violence in hockey, maybe you could cut it from politics, too.

Georgie Binks, Toronto

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Accountability?

Re Provinces Get Their Health Dollars, Now They Must Deliver (March 14): In his article on health-care transfers from Ottawa to the individual provinces, André Picard mentions that, during the unsuccessful negotiations in December, 2016, there were "some reminders from Ottawa that it can demand accountability for the monies that are transferred." Fair enough.

Now that negotiations have been accomplished with all but one province, where is that accountability?

It isn't evident to this taxpayer.

Linda Waverley, West Vancouver

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Populist anger

Michael Valpy asks what it would take to make someone decide they were no longer (quelle horreur!) middle class (Populist Anger Is Real, And Canada Had Better Wake Up – March 13).

A lot of children have come of age since 2000 into a world of temp contracts, part-time work and unpaid internships. Toss in large numbers of immigrants still struggling to find a place, and I wonder how many, if anyone, actively "decided" they were no longer middle class. Yet I doubt either group is a hotbed of populist anger, which, rightly or wrongly, I associate with people more in my own demographic – i.e. older, less affluent, less educated white folks.

More seriously, once we acknowledge the existence of frightened, angry people, what then? Pat them on the head?

Reason with them? Jolly them out of it by explaining things aren't really so bad? Roll over and give them the country? Those would seem to be the choices.

The first three likely wouldn't work and the fourth is unthinkable.

Tom Sullivan, Toronto

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Walled up unrest

Re More Referendum Madness In The U.K. (editorial, March 14): It may not be as much opportunism by Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party as it is intransigence by Theresa May and the Tory government in Westminster that is leading to a request for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

In light of only a 52 per cent vote among Britons to leave the European Union, one would have thought that before passing legislation for a "hard" Brexit, the Tories should have listened more to the 48 per cent of Britons – and especially the 62 per cent of Scots – who were opposed.

The break-up of the U.K. is the last thing many Scots really want to happen, but the continuing (it's not the first time!) disregard for Scotland's interests by U.K. governments will make this prospect increasingly likely.

Jock Buchanan-Smith, Cambridge, Ont

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With SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon calling for a second Scottish independence referendum, and the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland becoming a major issue with the proposed hard Brexit, I propose the following solution.

The pro-EU regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should form a new federal country within the European Union called the United Northern Kingdom – UNK for short. Gaelic would be an official language.

The hard border between UNK and England could then be established by rebuilding Hadrian's Wall, originally built by the Romans to protect the border. Eat your heart out, Donald Trump!

It would be paid for by England of course, but would be regarded as an archeological restoration task – in modern terms, simply a major job-producing infrastructure-renewal project doing wonders for the economy, otherwise harmed by England's Brexit.

Reid Robinson, Regina

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