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Newly minted Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks to media in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, April 15, 2013. (The Canadian Press)
Newly minted Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks to media in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, April 15, 2013. (The Canadian Press)

What readers think

April 16: Justin Trudeau and the middle class, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Bullying laid bare

It didn’t take long for the Harper Conservatives to resort to schoolyard bully tactics with attack ads on Justin Trudeau (Will Trudeau Attack Ads Spur Backlash? – online, April 15). One ad shows him doing a striptease. What the ad doesn’t include, of course, is that he was at a charity event and that Mr. Trudeau raised $1,900 for the Canadian Liver Foundation.

During the next two years, most Canadians want to engage in discussions about the issues that concern them, such as health care, the economy and the environment, and they want to hear how each political party intends to tackle those issues. Attack ads are disgusting and should have no place in a respectful, positive political debate.

Linda Hume-Sastre, St. Catharines, Ont.

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Just days before the first attack ads on Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister publicly condemned bullying tactics. Quite the role model.

Heidi Reid, Vancouver

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Trudeau, the middle

Justin Trudeau is on the mark in his article Why It Is Vital To Help The Middle Hold (April 15) when he highlights the fact that Canada’s middle class has not benefited proportionally from the growth agenda that saw the Canadian GDP more than double in the past 30 years.

The same point was also reinforced by two Nobel laureates in economics, Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with French economist Jean-Paul Fitoussi, who argued in a recently published book that, by relying on GDP growth as an indicator of success, we may end up “mismeasuring our lives.” They concluded that, instead of GDP growth (production), the focus should be on income and consumption.

Mr. Trudeau has got the message right by highlighting the lack of growth in middle-class incomes in Canada, a fact that has remained overshadowed by our concerns for growth in productivity. If we’re to succeed as a people, the economic growth has to be inclusive of all.

Murtaza Haider, Toronto

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Justin Trudeau demonstrates cogently that both poverty prevention and poverty reduction are necessary elements in helping the middle hold. But he needs to show more clearly how his ideas will accomplish this.

How will low-income youth benefit from increased postsecondary capacity if privation has denied them high-school graduation and if they don’t have the resources for postsecondary education? Why will more trade and foreign investment result in higher-wage jobs? Is this magic? The details of policy architecture are as important as the bold ideas.

Sid Frankel, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba

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Failing Rehtaeh

Re Did We Fail Her? (April 13): We, as in the average person, did not contribute to Rehtaeh Parsons’s suicide. The people who did should be the ones held accountable: the teens accused of sexually assaulting her; everyone who laughed at the picture of the incident and then forwarded it to others. Everyone who sent her a derogatory message, electronically or otherwise. These are the people who caused her so much pain.

Spreading the blame among the collective “we” seems to be an attempt to lessen the guilt that should be placed on those who are responsible.

Eileen Herbert, Barrie, Ont.

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Perhaps we could mull over the question in front of our television/computer/smartphone screens watching a modelling reality show, or a celebrity-chef reality program, or one of the incarnations of Survivor, or the like. We consume for our pleasure the prepackaged humiliation, discomposure and disappointment of others. And then we wonder why our children haven’t learned empathy.

Susan Cantlie, Toronto

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Experience Canada

David Goldstein of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada says the industry needs foreign workers (Foreign Labour Pains – letters, April 15). Really? So we’re inviting tourists from abroad to come over and enjoy Canadian experiences provided by workers from abroad? Not meet Canadians on their home turf?

Are tourist operators advertising to the student sector, offering training, experience and opportunities to relocate to other locations in their chain? Are they offering, say, daycare to attract local workers? Only after such efforts should a foreign worker program enter the picture.

Janet Doyle, Victoria

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I’m a 25-year-old university graduate who works at a drugstore earning minimum wage. I’ve been struggling to find meaningful employment since 2011.

While most recent graduates don’t have five years of experience, they do have skills that can’t be outsourced: local market knowledge, language skills and the passion to give back to Canada. Our job market suffers from structural underemployment; the long-run consequences are dire if we don’t act.

My message to employers and the government: Give Canadian grads a chance.

Ariel Rochman, Toronto

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Simple test

There’s an easy way to determine whether our overseas soldiers need danger pay (Danger’s Price – letters, April 15): If the Prime Minister needs an armoured car when visiting that nation, pay them.

Alan Jackson, Ridgetown, Ont.

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Race, on stage

Re Not So Black And White (Arts, April 13): At the end of J. Kelly Nestruck’s review of Race at the Canadian Stage, he says: “Toronto audiences have had the opportunity to see several provocative plays about race in America this season. … Are we too polite to produce any of our own?”

There is, in fact, a broad diversity of new, provocative plays about race developed by Toronto artists. I will just refer to three in the past six months at Theatre Passe Muraille: Shakespeare’s Nigga, Body 13 and Fare Game, a play that a Globe review described as looking “at both the accusations of racism in the city’s taxi bylaws and some very clear racist attitudes within the business.” Examining issues around race is important to us in Toronto theatre.

Andy McKim, artistic director, Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto

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Tough measures

Re Canada Ranks 8th In The World (Travel, April 13): Your article on Canada’s ranking as a destination contained a very interesting sentence: “While the country’s policies are relatively strong, the report said tourists do not believe they are being executed as effectively as they could be.”

I suggest we start executing tourists more efficiently and get our ranking up.

Jo-Ann Fellows, Fredericton

 

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