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Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand: Mr. Mayrand, the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the author of a key Elections Canada report last year all say they weren’t consulted on the Fair Elections Act. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand: Mr. Mayrand, the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the author of a key Elections Canada report last year all say they weren’t consulted on the Fair Elections Act. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 15: Fair Elections Act is about trust – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

It’s about trust

Blame for falling voter turnout lies, first and foremost, with Senator Linda Frum’s own Conservative Party – for turning people off politics (Elections Canada’s Conflict Of Interest – April 14).

On the same page, Elizabeth Renzetti, in her column When MPs Hate Politics, It’s Time For Change, tells us that according to the book Tragedy in the Commons, Canadians’ trust in government, which was nearly 60 per cent in 1968, is now 28 per cent.

By unfairly attacking the Chief Electoral Officer, people like Ms. Frum are working hard to reduce that trust further.

Masud Sheikh, Oakville, Ont.

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Linda Frum’s perceived conflict of interest for Elections Canada serves more as an interesting mirror for her simplistic and partisan viewpoint than as a thoughtful and balanced analysis of factual information.

Elections Canada may well have to strengthen the voting process, but this hardly excludes it from motivating Canadians to exercise their right to vote and be responsible citizens.

Pierre Soucy, Carrying Place, Ont.

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If Stephen Harper truly believes that the Fair Elections Act is good for Canada, he should have the courage to shelve the bill and run his next campaign on its merits.

Jim Hardy, Ottawa

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State funeral?

Re Details Of Flaherty Services Released (April 14): Fiscal responsibility and austerity were values that Jim Flaherty embraced. Considering that the cost of a state funeral enters six-figure territory, one wonders if this is really something that he would have wanted.

Paige Winthrop, New Westminster, B.C.

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Queen and country

Re I Swear (Or Affirm) – letters, April 14: Sergio Marchi suggests our citizenship oath “could be much improved and brought in line with the times we live in” by no longer mentioning the Queen.

I wonder, rather, if it would be more honest to bring our daily lives closer in line with the realities of our country.

For starters, we might consider better education in our schools pertaining to the nature of our constitutional monarchy, not only in textbooks but also in practice – for instance, perhaps God Save the Queen should be sung more often, perhaps more pictures of the Queen of Canada should prominently adorn our schools and public spaces.

A better understanding and appreciation for the Crown could be engendered among us if its reality were more prominent in our daily affairs. Our problem is not “changing times,” but an inadequate appreciation for effectively timeless foundational stability (despite changing partisan politics) spanning all generations.

To salute our sovereign is, indeed, to salute Canada.

Andrew Nussey, North Bay, Ont.

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Grade inflation

Re Citing Grade Inflation, An Elite Program Ups Its Marks (April 14): In Ontario, we have teachers who teach the course, set the exams, then mark those exams.

Until standardized exams, marked anonymously, are returned to Ontario, university admission will never be fair. That won’t happen, because it would also shine a light on individual teachers’ ability.

Judi Annan, Mississauga

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Unfrozen North

Re The Unfrozen North, Circa 2067 (Focus, April 12): Peddling doomsday scenarios, based on the controversial science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) actually undermines the planet’s health. Whether AGW stands up to scientific scrutiny or not, its self-generated hyperbole has succeeded in diverting precious resources from other more deserving environmental agencies, while increasing general skepticism for anything “green.”

It’s more practical to focus on straightforward ecological issues that laypersons can connect with.

Clearly, we “get it” that clean air and water benefit everyone, and that unchecked population growth places greater demands on the planet. But unfortunately, we’re being led down a path where more tangible environmental concerns are being marginalized because of an agenda that’s being engulfed by Hollywood playwrights and celebrities who, for the most part, lack the scientific credentials to safely light a Bunsen burner.

Michael Strath, Ottawa

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The Unfrozen North Circa 2067 paints a picture of flooded cities, arid prairies and climate refugees, a scenario that reminds me of another great challenge to Canadians. During the 1980s and 1990s, there was serious concern about the health of the cod fish stocks.

Cod were diminishing with each passing year. Fishermen, companies, unions, provincial governments, the federal government, scientists, “experts” from across the country all proposed various changes, policies and rules.

Everyone blamed everyone else. No one took responsibility to make the tough decisions. The result was almost the extinction of a valuable resource.

This time around, with climate change, there are the familiar players and actions. Governments, big business, unions, experts, deniers all contribute to the chatter without meaningful action being taken. I call it the “cod fish mentality,” driven by money and politics. It seems that only after catastrophic disasters will action be taken.

I fear for our children’s future.

David Gladstone, Toronto

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CBC ‘rethink’

Re The Rethink (April 12): Any “rethink” or “contemporization” of the CBC comes down to a single hard truth: Canada needs a national public broadcaster, not a semi-private service. That’s where the conversation must begin.

Peter Kent (former CBC correspondent and host), MP, Thornhill, Ont.

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Getting the CBC out of sports is an excellent idea; next it should get out of advertising and rediscover itself as a public broadcaster. Since the loss of revenue to the CBC represents a bonanza for private broadcasters, they should relinquish some of their public subsidies to compensate the CBC.

The CBC workforce seems huge, but people forget that the CBC owns and operates radio networks in both official languages, and an extensive network of television broadcast and production centres, again, in both languages.

Many of the problems of the CBC originate with uninformed meddling, often from the top. It is rare for a CBC president to have had any broadcasting experience before taking the top job.

Richard Nielsen, president, Norflicks Productions Ltd., Toronto

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Incoming!

Swell. We had Richard Reid and since then we’ve had to remove our shoes before boarding a plane. Now, Alison Michelle Ernst throws one at Hillary Clinton (Woman Who Threw Shoe At Hillary Clinton Released From Jail – April 11). Will we have to remove our shoes from now on before all political meetings and pick them up after the event?

Douglas Pape, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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