Members of Pen Canada, undoubtedly familiar with Kafka’s The Trial, will appreciate how hard the Canada Revenue Agency is working to keep the central theme of his writing alive and well (CRA Refuses To Divulge Audit Tactics – Aug. 1).
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of this work, the CRA is playing the role of the remote, inaccessible authority, while assigning to charities the role of the man prosecuted – with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor to his readers.
Apparently explaining the rules clearly to charities would allow them the advantage of knowing how to follow them, and subsequently make it harder to catch them in violation.
Makes perfect sense. Why waste time with investigations of offshore tax cheats? After all, that might turn up embarrassing political connections.
It’s so much easier to lay traps for charities that, among other antisocial activities, are involved in trying to prevent poverty.
Craig Hall, Kingston
As has been said, the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. Leave it to the Conservatives and the CRA to prove the point.
Jack O’Neill, St. John’s
Ten years is enough
Re Explanation Required (editorial, Aug. 1): You couldn’t be further from the mark in suggesting the Toronto Police Services Board should be more forthcoming with reasons for deciding not to renew Chief Bill Blair’s contract.
More reasonably, the board should set a maximum term of office for chiefs, with the provision that any chief who serves 10 years without cause for termination has an option of accepting a job within the force until age 65.
Ten years is a sensible limit for the head of any police force.
Patrick Cowan, Toronto
Not always enemies
Dominique Moisi’s contention that French Jews of North African origin resent the fact that they are still surrounded by Arabs needs some contextual unpacking (The Enduring Trauma Of France’s Jews – July 31).
The belief that Jews and Arabs have always been enemies is a myth. For more than a millennium, both groups co-habited peacefully in the Maghreb – until the French colonization of the region in the 19th century when Algerian Jews were granted automatic French citizenship and Arabs were not. The mid-20th-century forced-expulsions of Palestinians from their homes in Israel exacerbated tensions, as did the Franco-Algerian war of 1954-1962, during which most indigenous Jews sided with the French.
Thousands of Algerian Jews and Muslims emigrated to France after Algerian independence in 1962 and naturally the group that already had citizenship fared better. France, to its discredit, has never properly integrated its Arab population, which is still rejected as “foreign” a half-century later.
The corrosive Occupied Territories and the recurring Palestinian intifadas, including the present war in Gaza, continue to inflame Jewish-Arab relationships in France. They will continue to do so until a brokered peace that includes dignity and justice for both parties brings reconciliation.
Erna Paris, Toronto
War has its price
Letter writer Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan rightly points out that Palestinians in Gaza, in particular, are reacting with increasing frustration to the stifling circumstances under which they live (Across The Solitudes – July 31).
We have watched as Palestinian armament has evolved from stones, fire bombs, suicide vests and rifles to rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, tunnels and long-range missiles. What will be next? Guided missiles, drones, dirty bombs? In such a constrained economy, where do the hundreds of millions come from for such developments?
The money and human resources would be better spent on “building” an economy, but that would mean negotiating and monitoring. Are the people of Gaza really proxies and fodder in the millennial conflict between Wahhabists and/or Iranian Shiites and Israelis?
Even if there were a miraculous arrangement tomorrow, it would take generations to wash out the mounting hatred.
Reap what one sows.
Brian Yawney, Toronto
We’re quick to apply sanctions against Russia, hoping to get the Bear’s attention, hoping to make the Bear behave according to internationally accepted norms.
Yes, Israel has a right to exist; so, too, do Palestinian civilians. Where are the sanctions against Israel? Where are the boycotts of Israeli products? Israel must be made to stop this slaughter.
Alice Nguyen, Vancouver
Eureka! A solution to the devastation caused by war on people, property and commerce: “Rent a battle field.” The Sahara (well south of the coast) would make a magnificent playing field. It could be divided into three areas for large, medium or small battles. The UN could referee, only volunteers allowed. The armies could fight ’til they dropped, surrender or just say, “The Hell with it, we’re going home.” Simple.
Sheila Barnum, Kingston
It’s progress that there’s a board for the new Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (Windsor-Detroit Bridge To Go Ahead: Raitt – July 31). Although each board appointee has credentials, there is nobody from the auto sector or Windsor.
Many talented people have been excluded who are competent and who know the huge economic importance of the bridge to Windsor and Ontario.
It defies logic why two people from the same Toronto company would be appointed when Transport Minister Lisa Raitt can select from the entire country.
It would be interesting to learn how many times any of the new board members have been stuck in traffic on Huron Church Road when trucks have been lined up for miles, or have had to wait for auto parts to arrive because they have been delayed at the border or have stayed in Windsor for more than several days.
Ms. Raitt should be ashamed of herself for showing such blatant political favouritism.
Pete Mateja, Office of Automotive and Vehicle Research, Odette School of Business, University of Windsor
I’m sure Caroline Mulroney Lapham – yes, that Mulroney’s daughter – was put on the Windsor-Detroit bridge authority by the Conservatives for one reason only. And it’s not hard to guess.
Shame on you, I was thinking talent. What were you thinking?
Fred Douglas, Windsor, Ont.
Calling Mr. Big
Re Neutralize The Threat (letters, Aug. 1): I think we would have been far more reassured about the protection of our privacy if John Foster, the chief of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) had closed his letter to The Globe by telling us the CSE does not act unlawfully, rather than saying it has “never been found to act unlawfully.” Perhaps it’s time for a Mr. Big sting?
Esther Shannon, Vancouver