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(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

WHAT READERS THINK

Feb. 12: The Pope quits, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Pope: I quit

Kudos to Pope Benedict XVI for having the courage to acknowledge his frailties and step down from his job, just as any ordinary CEO might do in similar circumstances (Pope Benedict To Resign – online, Feb. 11). This nod to modernity might signal a reformation of thinking that, one hopes, could even include allowing priests to marry, like any ordinary man.

Dave Ashby, Toronto

.......

Joseph Ratzinger was at the heart of the Vatican’s response to the child abuse scandal under John Paul II, and it demonstrated his fundamental belief that the organization and its reputation were more important than the suffering of countless children and the moral corruption of clerics at every level. Both he and John Paul were also instrumental in preventing the use of condoms in Third World countries being devastated by AIDS.

Whatever other pastoral efforts Benedict made, and whatever his personal qualities, his pontificate must be considered a profound failure. Sadly, he stacked the hierarchy, including the College of Cardinals, with company men who share the same mindset, offering little prospect for spiritual and institutional reform.

Mike Hutton, Ottawa

.......

Now that the head of the Catholic Church has resigned in favour of a successor, perhaps the head of the Church of England might take counsel from her Roman counterpart and do likewise.

Eric Mendelsohn, Toronto

Chambers of horror?

How do a couple of scandals create the impetus for Senate reform (Time To Change Senate’s Club Culture – Feb. 11)? There’ve been more scandals involving MPs than senators, yet no one’s talking about reforming our elected chamber.

Eric de Vos, Canmore, Alta.

Not ‘knee-jerk’

In your editorial Treason And The Naturalized (Feb. 7), you say “taking away citizenship is not something we do. It is something more often associated with countries like the Soviet Union …” This is historically inaccurate.

The 1947 Citizenship Act included the power to revoke citizenship from those guilty of treason. The removal of this provision in 1977 made Canada’s citizenship law an aberration, as virtually all other liberal democracies have the legal authority to strip citizenship for such crimes as treason and terrorism. In Australia and the United Kingdom, for example, a person can be stripped of citizenship if it’s in the public’s best interest – a much lower and vaguer standard than what MP Devinder Shory or I have suggested.

You suggest that Canadian citizenship is inalienable, but, in fact, it can be renounced voluntarily, or revoked from those who obtained it fraudulently. Like the 1947 Citizenship Act, the premise of Mr. Shory’s Bill C-425 is that citizenship is predicated on reciprocal loyalty. If a Canadian passport holder maintains another nationality while waging war against Canada, this should be construed for what it so obviously is: a clear and deliberate renunciation of one’s citizenship.

The question I’ve raised is whether this principle of deemed renunciation of citizenship should also apply to Canadian passport holders convicted of terrorist acts. Given that Canada is an enemy of terrorism generally and proscribed terrorist organizations in particular, it’s reasonable to suggest that participation in terrorist crimes be considered a voluntary renunciation of one’s loyalty to Canada, and consequently of one’s citizenship.

Obviously, there should be a high legal threshold for triggering deemed renunciation of citizenship. And given our international treaty obligations, it can only be applied to those who hold dual or multiple nationalities, to avoid creating stateless persons. This would send the message that Canadian citizenship has real meaning, and can’t be used as a flag of convenience by terrorists.

Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ottawa

End times

Jean Echlin (Final Choices – letter, Feb. 11) believes that she still has much to offer despite her advanced years and chronic pain. That’s wonderful for us, and her.

But my understanding of Ruth Goodman’s position (Her Last Choice – letter, Feb. 8) was that she felt she no longer wished to make that offer and, instead, end her life while fully in control of the process. The sadness is that she had to do this alone.

Penelope Hedges, Vancouver

Get a grip

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper works for years on a book about hockey, then sells it to a U.S. publisher. He does so knowing full well that his own government will prohibit the book being printed in Canada (Policy Shuts Out PM’s Book From Canadian Printers – Feb. 8).

No doubt Mr. Harper made such a bizarre decision because he hoped to take advantage of the supposed huge markets for NHL commisioner Gary Bettman’s favourite franchises, such as Phoenix, Florida, Columbus, Dallas, Colorado, the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. That is if any of them are still in business much longer.

Then again, perhaps Mr. Harper was worried that Canadian publishers were just too busy and making too much money to properly handle his big book.

This, of course, is the very same man who’s now supposed to be protecting Canada’s interests in the two major trade deals he’s been negotiating.

Mel Hurtig, Vancouver

Safety risk?

As the only legally deaf player to play in the NHL, I’d like to thank Gloria Galloway for bringing to light Nicolas Sorrell’s struggle in pursuing his dream of becoming a professional jockey despite being deaf (A Rider, Thrown From His Mount – Feb. 9).

All too often, people make uninformed assumptions about other’s abilities. Mr. Sorrell has experience with horses and is fully aware of the dangers of his chosen dream profession.

Alberta’s Olds College should be enabling students to pursue their dreams, not preventing them. As Albert Einstein said, “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”

I encourage Olds College to reverse its decision and give Mr. Sorrell the opportunity to succeed, or fail, in the jockey training program.

Jim Kyte, Ottawa

Moose steps

Re Why Did The Moose Cross The Road? (Feb. 5) and Hoofing It (letter, Feb. 11): Are the moose doing a study to find out why human beings lay wide strips of pavement across their trails?

Jim Reynolds, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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