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John Thornton attends the Barrick Gold announcement of the corporation’s poor first-quarter results in Toronto on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Mr. Thornton’s $17-million compensation package has some shareholders very angry. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
John Thornton attends the Barrick Gold announcement of the corporation’s poor first-quarter results in Toronto on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Mr. Thornton’s $17-million compensation package has some shareholders very angry. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

April 25: Market math, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Market math

I continue to be puzzled by why a labour shortage should be grounds for discounting wages by 15 per cent (Carney Flags ‘Overreliance’ On Temps – Report on Business, April 24). I thought that the laws of economics dictated that scarcity bids prices up, not down.

The temporary foreign workers arrangement reminds me of a market intervention by the first Mr. Trudeau, at the start of the 1980s, in the form of price controls. In those days, the “E” in NEP stood for Energy. Now, perhaps it stands for Employment.

Susan Cantlie, Toronto

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So Barrick Gold is paying the new co-chair of its board, John Thornton, $17-million in compensation (Barrick’s Board Needs To Learn How To Say No – Report on Business, April 24): Wouldn’t a temporary foreign worker be a lot cheaper?

Craig Sims, Kingston

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Root-causes riposte

Justin Trudeau’s “root causes” remark is being analyzed and overanalyzed by a press that ironically is itself obsessed with the background and psychology of the now-known Boston Marathon bombers (Trudeau’s Terror Gaffe Is A Winner For The Conservatives – April 24).

Was his unprepared comment really that enormously different from Barack Obama’s “We will find out why they did this”? If Thomas Mulcair (who had far more foolish things to say after Osama bin Laden was killed), or the Prime Minister himself had uttered something similar, would anyone have noticed?

Janis A. Kraulis, Vancouver

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Le Carré touch?

Re Alleged Train Plot Foiled As Ottawa Debates Terror Law (April 23): The timing of the revelation of an alleged al-Qaeda-linked train plot – coming as it did on the heels of the Boston bombing and Stephen Harper’s chastising of Justin Trudeau from a funeral and the Commons’ debate over the terror law – has an interesting John le Carré spy novel touch to it.

Or should I say Cheney-esque quality?

Graham Watt, Sackville, N.B.

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Terrorism is an abomination. We need to defend ourselves against it at all times, but do we need to regress to the Middle Ages? Imagine Torquemada asking you to agree to be tortured and telling you that if you decline, you’ll be tortured until you agree!

Bill S-7 states that you can be arrested (on suspicion) and held without charge for three days, and if you are questioned at an investigative hearing and refuse to answer (because perhaps you might incriminate yourself?) you could be jailed. What happened to being deemed innocent until proven guilty?

Magnus Kilian, Limehouse, Ont.

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Common cause

Eradicating polio won’t be easy (One Final Push Will Make Polio History – April 23). The eradication of smallpox, more than 30 years ago, took a unique combination of national leadership, bureaucratic co-operation, scientific innovation and the deployment of countless community workers. The final phase of polio eradication will need all that in addition to money – $5.5-billion. Canada has a leadership role to play in all those areas, not least as a major funding source.

International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino has a unique opportunity to show just that kind of leadership at the Global Vaccine Summit. It’s only the second time in history that we have a chance to come together as a human family to eliminate a common enemy. Let's make it happen.

Chitra Ramaswami, Calgary

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Partner in revenge?

Your editorial Robbery That Ends In Impunity (April 20) decries as inadequate the sentence of house arrest and probation imposed on Patricia O’Byrne for “abducting and concealing her daughter for 18 years.” You argue that deterring others “should be paramount” in such cases.

I don’t question the intensity of the father’s distress, or the judge’s view that the father is a fine person who would’ve been a good dad. Nor would I try to excuse Ms. O’Byrne’s extended commitment to breaking a custody order.

However, your statement that child abduction is “arguably the worst horror one parent can inflict upon another” seems not just to ignore the agony of domestic tragedies like adultery and desertion, but also – along with much else in your editorial – to follow the distressingly common media practice of promoting private grief as public spectacle, and thereby demanding justice be a partner in revenge.

The judge in her sentencing successfully resisted dumb retribution. The most desirable outcome of this sad story is surely a bonding of father and daughter.

James Jackson, Victoria

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Back at you

Justin Trudeau has been demonizing Stephen Harper for years, accusing him, in effect, of destroying the Canada we all know and love (Stings Like A Pillow – April 23). We know little of what Mr. Trudeau stands for, except that he is the anti-Harper, come to lead us out of the Tory wilderness. Given that vilification of Mr. Harper, it’s a bit rich to hear complaints now that big, bad Stephen is bullying that nice young Justin.

I am no fan of Mr. Harper or his party, but yes, politics sometimes is a blood sport, and it’s not just the stupid and ill-advised Conservative attack ads that are at fault.

Jerry Ezekiel, Victoria

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Lawrence Martin says Justin Trudeau “stings like a pillow.”

Based on the reaction to Mr. Trudeau’s ad, Channel Change, produced in response to the attack ads, I would paraphrase Winston Churchill and say “some sting, some pillow!”

Michael Edwards Bloomfield, Ont.

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Re Trudeau Counters Tory Ad That Demeans With Liberal Ad That Uplifts (online, April 24): The genius of the ad is that it actually opens with a clip from the Conservative spot. Where the Tory post seems cruel and snide, the Liberal response appears calm and reasoned.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. So I won’t.

Natalie Martinelli, St. John’s

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Lie back and ...

I’d like to thank 32-year-old letter writer Rob Reid for expressing the thoughts of this 62-year-old: It is time for the progressive parties of Canada to “collaborate, institute electoral reform, and fix the democratic deficit” (Generational Change – letters, April 24).

If Justin Trudeau truly loves Canada as he says, but finds the thought of jumping into bed with Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair just too ghastly for words, I offer some slightly paraphrased advice given to a previous generation: “Lie back and think of Canada.”

Allan Ross, Toronto

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