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Mailbag December 20, 2012 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Be less PC
Freedom of religious expression is guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....”

The “establishment clause” is merely a guarantee that no state religion (or its accompanying taxation) will be forced upon the American public. Any attempt by America’s liberal secularists to stretch that clause into a pretext for banning religious expression in the public square goes beyond the intent of the Framers and contravenes the subsequent “free exercise” clause. Perhaps they, like their Canadian counterparts who employ similar tactics, erroneously equate expression, religious or otherwise, with imposing one’s views upon others.

Furthermore, the Canadian Charter, like the American First Amendment, makes no reference to religious expression being restricted to one’s private life; so one must conclude that this right extends into the public spheres of both countries. On a concluding note, I will exercise my Canadian right to religious expression (a right that is also enjoyed by our friends to the south and many others worldwide) by wishing each and all a very Merry Christmas. —Kris Larsen, Halifax

Bus etiquette
Re: “Thanking the bus driver from the back door is for morons” (Love the Way We Bitch, December 13), which criticized people who thank bus drivers when getting off the bus.

I am a regular transit user and have noticed that there are far too many people who get on the bus without acknowledging the driver, as if the vehicle drives itself! I always make a point of greeting the drivers and thanking them for the ride---my small way of making up for all the ignorant riders out there. Courtesy and politeness cost nothing and if it makes someone feels better about their job and being out there in any kind of weather at five in the morning, so what?

Bus drivers are important people and they should be treated like they matter. Imagine what it would be like without them. —Aggie Pied-Cooke, Halifax

In Bloomfield
Finally, a decision made by the city that is not horrible (“Bloomfield redevelopment plan approved,” Reality Bites by Tim Bousquet, December 13)! While the slant of this article indicates that Dexel may have been a better choice to develop the Bloomfield site (I don’t have enough information to make that judgment call), I still view this as a positive step forward.

Four hundred and seventy-eight units of affordable housing is a great thing---bachelor and two-bedroom apartments or not. I assume that low-income seniors could live in the units? Or a parent (or parents) with one child? I welcome any increase in low-income housing options in Halifax. It is definitely needed, although this article did leave me wondering if there is any more information about whether these will be co-op or public housing or (preferably) both? —posted by thewons at thecoast.ca

The Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation builds public housing. The NDP should never have let them play in the private sector sandbox. —posted by Bo Gus

The city’s web
Halifax.ca is a nightmare for the abled, let alone the disabled (“Make the city’s website accessible,” Voice of the City by Russell Gragg, December 13). I’m a web developer, and it’s shocking they can get away with having the same website design they had a decade ago.

Section 508 of the disability act in the United States mandates all government websites must be accessibly designed, let alone best standards like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Where is our legislation to do the same? And what is it the web developers employed by HRM actually do?

Accessibility has been on the radar of web designers for over 10 years---which leads me to believe that halifax.ca is an IT department that thinks it’s full of web designers, too. —posted by Dartmouthy

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