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Mitt Romney has chosen a budget hawk, Paul Ryan, as his running mate. (Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press)
Mitt Romney has chosen a budget hawk, Paul Ryan, as his running mate. (Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press)

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Aug. 15: Ryan and Romney, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Romney and Ryan

While history may not bode well for Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, reality also may intrude on the outcome he and Mitt Romney want in November (History Bodes Ill For The GOP’s Latest Pick – Aug. 14).

I’m no fan of Mr. Ryan, but the Wisconsin congressman does have something he fervently believes in and is willing to discuss. It’s more than can be said about his running mate, who has made more news by strapping his dog to his car and retroactively leaving Bain Capital than in proclaiming just what he would do if elected.

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Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Mr. Ryan and his ability to connect with audiences is flouting one of the cardinal rules of show business and politics: Never upstage the main star. Especially one who knows how to use a cage.

Mary Stanik, Minneapolis

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Help wanted

The uproar in Quebec over the appointment of a new CEO chosen for his business expertise rather than his linguistic capabilities (SNC Choice Ignites Language Row – Business, Aug. 14) brings to mind the old story of the Quebec lifeguard. He couldn’t swim, but he could hear calls for help in two languages.

Charles Morton, Manotick, Ont.

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Retail politics

Thank you for your thoughtful editorial Jean Charest’s Poison Pill (Aug. 14).

One thing that has puzzled me about reaction to the Lowe’s bid for Rona is the absence of mention of takeovers in other countries by Quebec-based firms, particularly in the retail sector.

Jean Coutu, the second-largest chain of “Canadian” drug stores, has more than 50 per cent of its outlets in the United States. Alimentation Couche-Tard is now a major player in the United States, Mexico, Northern Europe and Asia. What would Quebec’s reaction have been if Couche-Tard’s recent acquisition of Statoil convenience stores had been prevented by government action in Norway?

While I have some sympathy with the notion of “poison pill” legislation, I agree that this proposal was hastily slapped together as a populist response that ideally will be defeated, allowing Quebec companies to continue growing globally.

Joe Martin, director of Canadian business history, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Your round-up of Olympic medals (Know Your Olympians: Canadian Medalists By The Numbers – Aug. 13) missed the gold earned by Rona for the best commercials of the Games.

Neil Sutherland, Richmond, B.C.

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Dividing the dividers

Re Marois Takes Aim At Charest: ‘You Never Win By Dividing Quebec’ (Aug. 11) – a surprisingly candid, if unintentional, assessment of the Parti Québécois’s long electoral slide since 1995.

Brian Lowry, Fredericton

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Judging the judges

I can think of two important reasons why a cabinet minister should not be appointed to the bench: impartiality and separation between the courts and government. The inadmissibility of political cronies to the bench is one of the few safeguards left standing between our frail democracy and failed democracy (Politicians Should Not Be Ruled Out For Judicial Appointments: Justice Minister – online, Aug. 13).

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has been the subject of many controversies. That he is the potential judge in this case makes me question Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s personal judgment.

Linda Leon, Whitehorse

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Truth in fiction

It’s heartening to know psychologists have figured out that fiction has the power to change attitudes and offer new perspectives (Social Studies – Aug. 14). Readers and audiences, of course, have known this for 2,500 years.

Peter Miller, PhD candidate, classical studies, University of Western Ontario, and Carla Manfredi, PhD candidate, English, Queen’s University

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Hypocritical

Response to the behaviour of the female punk band in an Orthodox church has been hypocritical (The Canonization Of Pussy Riot – Arts, Aug. 13). Perhaps the Russians take such things seriously, unlike in the West, where it has been perfectly fine to mock Christianity for many years. Imagine the reaction if the victim of their mockery were one of the various “communities” so sacred to Canadians, or if the stunt had been performed in a mosque – outbreaks of indignation all round and perhaps a hate-crime charge in the offing.

John Shaw, Dartmouth, N.S.

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Total discretion

John Ibbitson has asked the wrong question in his column, Why Is Senate Reform Stalled? Ask the PM (Aug. 11).

It’s a mistake to believe that Bill C-7, the Senate Reform Act, will “implement [the government’s] long-standing promise to have senators elected to fixed terms.”

It will do no such thing. It will force provinces and territories to hold elections (under different rules for financing campaigns and for running elections from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) and then provide the names to the Prime Minister for consideration. The Prime Minister will still have total discretion as to who is appointed to the Senate.

The bill is a dog’s breakfast of messy outcomes largely because it attempts to do indirectly what it cannot do directly. Without opening the Constitution, the measures proposed by Mr. Harper are less about real reform and more about political posturing. Those in the Senate who have trouble with C-7 are doing their job – sober, second thought.

Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada

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Gender myths

Re Division of Labour (Life, Aug. 10): The main point of view accepts the belief that household chores are the woman’s domain, and that treating husbands differently will result in more “help” around the house. But it’s a myth that any job belongs to any gender.

We have women in construction, medicine, landscaping, law, military and government. Considering all these accomplishments, it might just be okay for men to wash dishes without being asked. My three sons know there is a bleach for unbleachables. Their father told them.

Miles Buckman, Vancouver

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Being a Susan

Re Alena Schram’s Facts and Arguments essay, Why, Oh, Why, Couldn’t I Have Been A Susan? (Aug. 10):

Oh, Alenka, I am living your dream! I am a “Susan” born to immigrant parents. The only problem is that by the time I was born, in the late 1970s, most Canadians were naming their daughters “Jennifer.” Being a “Susan” from my generation is practically a marker of an immigrant offspring – especially when friends called and my mom would holler, “Suzanka, phone!”

Susan Vukadinovic, Calgary

 

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