2013 was …
The year of political scandals. From the Rob Ford circus at the municipal level, to the costly cancelled gas plants at the (Ontario) provincial level, to the Senate spending scandal at the federal level. It was all just soooo disappointing.
Brenda Pullen, Oakville, Ont.
2014 will be …
The year politicians-behaving-badly repent of their errant ways and do better. (Okay, I can dream can’t I?)
Samantha Pelletier, Montreal
Power to the people
Re Thousands Across East Enter Second Week Without Power (Dec. 30): As an Ontarian who only lost power for four hours, I am embarrassed to read of the thousands who have had to go without it for more than a week.
Meanwhile, we have an enormous resource sitting on the sidelines. The armed forces have substantial manpower and expertise which might have been employed to assist with debris clearance, easing the task for our dedicated hydro and city workers.
Why wasn’t a state of emergency declared and why wasn’t the army asked to assist?
Martin Shelley, Guelph, Ont.
Terror in Russia
Re Suicide Bombing At Train Station Stokes Olympic Terrorism Fears (Dec. 30): It is perfectly clear why suicide bombers have now twice targeted the city of Volgograd. It used to be called Stalingrad. Stalin was the “breaker of nations,” many of them Muslim.
Since Stalin is much admired as a leader by many in today’s Russia, it is no surprise Russians are now reaping what Stalin sowed.
Lubomyr Luciuk, professor, Department of Political Science, Royal Military College of Canada
Out with the old PM
Re This Is No Way To Choose A Leader (Dec. 28): Tom Flanagan notes that Michael Chong’s proposed Reform Act would enable the Conservative caucus, by a majority vote, to dump Stephen Harper as leader.
Mr. Flanagan claims that such a move would be a “Third World tactic” and that “Canadians would be rightly appalled.”
I don’t think so. Canadians are unhappily familiar with such regular shenanigans as sending Parliament home for a convenient prorogue when things get tough, or Senate scandals that appear from under a blanket of conflicting stories. And the list goes on.
No, we would not be appalled – applauding, more likely.
Don Macpherson, Saskatoon
Sometimes a leader must be dumped in a hurry, and MPs must exercise their judgment. If a majority in caucus has lost confidence in the leader, then that leader must go. It’s brutal, but it’s democracy.
If, let’s say, we found out that a prime minister had smoked crack, ranted about killing someone with his bare hands, rampaged about the House knocking over colleagues, and discussed his sexual proclivities on live TV, you can be pretty sure his caucus would dump him pronto. Would Tom Flanagan have them wait for the annual party convention?
George Patrick, Oakville, Ont.
Re Cold Warnings To Be Overhauled (Dec. 30): News that the feds are “working on a new way to warn Canadians about the need to protect themselves from the dangers of frigid weather” left me simultaneously icy with disgust and hot with anger.
If the Harper government were truly concerned about the public weal, it would be warning Canadians about the escalating perils of a warming planet and re-engaging, in international efforts to respond to the urgent imperatives of climate change.
Gaye Taylor, Ottawa
Next: PMO ethics?
Re The Senate And The Press Gallery (Dec. 27): Preston Manning has provided an interesting argument to shift the issue of ethics in the Senate to the ethics of the Press Gallery.
Can one expect a subsequent article from Mr. Manning to give an account of ethics within the Prime Minister’s Office, with particular attention to the events of 2013? After all, Mr. Manning was the founder of the Reform Party that advocated so strongly for accountability, transparency and ethics in government.
Murray D. Thom, Vernon, B.C.
Ants go marching …
Re Dare To Be An Optimist! (Dec. 28): The assertion that biodiversity is flourishing due to the discovery of new species is absurd; biodiversity continues to decline globally and within Canada due to habitat loss and degradation.
The fact that 38 new species of ants were discovered last year neatly accords with the fact that, as we continually press forward with resource extraction and land conversion, we leave almost no stone unturned.
Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation
After Rob Ford?
Re Who Will Succeed Rob Ford? (editorial, Dec. 28): It’s a bit rich of The Globe and Mail to implore that Toronto’s politics “move beyond tired, left vs. right clichés” when The Globe often characterizes city councillors as belonging to one of two artificially balkanized left- or right-wing halves (the former in particular). Perhaps you could set an example for us.
Matt Cahill, Toronto
Nightmayor on Queen Street. Act II: 2014. Genre: farce.
Karen Carstairs, Regina
The problems at Toronto City Council do not all lie at the feet of Rob Ford. He has only one of 45 votes on council.
No matter how great a vision the next mayor may have for the city, the size and divisiveness of council may not allow such dreams to be realized. Therein lies an even greater problem.
Don Forsey, Toronto
Torontonians need to think of one thing when they vote: Who will represent the city at the opening of the Pan Am Games?
Whoever wins the 2014 election will be giving the speeches, waving the flag and standing on the dais for all the world to see.
Toronto needs a mayor who will not attract detailed descriptions of past indiscretions before every international newscast of the results of athletic competitions.
Doug Mills, Mississauga
You recommend the city “finally produce a pan-municipal candidate worthy of the diversity of diversities that makes up Toronto.”
You then say it “should be about finding a candidate for mayor who is able to transcend the tired downtown/suburbs and left/right divides that [Rob] Ford exploits so gleefully and effectively, and which his predecessors failed to manage.”
God is already fully employed.
David Vallance, Toronto