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Stéphane Dion: ‘The Clarity Act protects the rights and interests of all Canadians.’ (REUTERS)
Stéphane Dion: ‘The Clarity Act protects the rights and interests of all Canadians.’ (REUTERS)

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Feb. 5: Clarity and confusion on the Clarity Act, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Clarity, confusion

When all the candidates for the Liberal leadership, except one courageous woman, announced they opposed co-operation with the NDP in the next federal election, voting NDP seemed the best option (Clarity Of Secession, Confusion Of NDP – Feb. 4).

Then came Bill C-470, the NDP’s proposal to replace the Clarity Act. It took the party from its founding convention in 1961 until 2000 to clear its mind of confusion about Quebec’s place in the Constitution. Now, led by an otherwise promising leader, that confusion has resurfaced. Voting Liberal in the next election means voting for the position stated by Stéphane Dion who, once again, has clarified the conditions established by the Supreme Court, for the constitutional secession of a province. He would have made a fine prime minister – if only his party had supported him.

Ramsay Cook, Toronto

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Richard’s press

I am an Englishman on a short visit to your fine country and am intrigued by the Richard III media coverage (Richard’s Bones Would Be Worth A King’s Ransom – Feb. 4). Surely the (now confirmed) discovery of the lost remains of the king sadly slain at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 after two years on the throne has far more impact than bringing in tourism dollars.

The reburial in a tomb befitting of a king, a focal point for Richard’s ancestors and a further celebration of our nation’s long and rich history, makes a negligible rise in revenue pale into insignificance. Indeed, most museums and historical artifacts in England are available free of charge.

Matthew Harding, Guildford, England

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Guns, marriage

The Globe has expressed an opinion on the U.S. Constitution in which it illogically conflates insinuated violent civil disobedience in the U.S. with an evident Canadian injustice (All Rise For The Utah Sheriffs – Feb. 4).

Marriage commissioners in some parts of Canada were forced to resign; their constitutional right to freedom of religion thrown to the wind by government authorities that chose to ignore the Supreme Court’s clear statements that there is no hierarchy of rights in regard to fair treatment of Canadians, and that religious marriage officiates should be protected from being required to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs. The Paul Martin government’s effort to reinforce protection of those rights by embedding in the Civil Marriage Act (2005) recognition that no one be forced to perform civil marriages contrary to their religious beliefs was similarly ignored by those provincial governments.

In other provinces, the religious beliefs of marriage commissioners were accommodated without compromising the change in civil marriage requirements that permits marriage of same-sex couples. If you’re talking about guns, stick to your guns.

Don Hutchinson, vice-president, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

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The spy’s bosses?

What of the incompetence of the people charged with overseeing our spy Jeffrey Delisle (Navy Scandal Overshadows Threat From Cyberspying – Feb. 4)? Will these people just continue on, business as usual?

Bob Bird, Thornhill, Ont.

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Vote – or else

Two emeritus professors wrote (Mandatory Voting – letters, Feb. 4) regarding Michael Ignatieff’s comments (Ignatieff: It’s Time To Fix Parliament – Focus, Feb. 4). One asserted that Parliament is not dysfunctional, contrary to what Mr. Ignatieff says, that Parliament has always been this way during the professor’s lifetime. He is correct: It is not Parliament that is dysfunctional, it is the current system of democracy that is the problem.

The other suggests the solution is compulsory voting, even if ballots are left blank. A properly functioning democracy requires the active participation of an informed, involved electorate. With governments that insist on secrecy, half-truths and even lies, no electorate can be informed; citizens are not interested in involvement under these conditions. Compulsion will not change this. The professors will have to dig deeper if they are to resolve our current malaise.

Peter Weinrich, Victoria

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Parliament is always dysfunctional when the party you disagree with is in power.

Mark Thornton, Toronto

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I won a handful of loonies in the last election by betting Michael Ignatieff would not only lose for the Liberals, but would lose his riding. I based this on his absences in the House, his decision not to live in his own riding, and on his expressed belief that party-organized “town hall meetings” were an important way for him to get valid input from ordinary Canadians.

My experience is that Canadians who care enough to vote are proud of their Parliament and proud to have an MP representing their community, regardless of party. They can also become strongly loyal to the MP who lives among them, regardless of both party and leader.

Canada has one of the most open, successful democracies in the world, holding together one of the most diversified collection of citizens. Our Parliament can take the credit; I’d be curious to know what other Mr. Ignatieff thinks has done better.

John Bryden, former MP, Lynden, Ont.

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I have voted in every election since I became eligible to vote, but if voting becomes mandatory, I will never vote again. I’d rather go to jail than allow any government to take away my right to abstain.

Elizabeth Woods, Victoria

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A restless wind

Margaret Wente (McGuinty’s Legacy Is A Green Nightmare – Feb. 2) is right about the plague of wind turbines infesting North America. The “green” rationalization for these bird-killing, landscape-spoiling machines recalls the infamous explanation of a military operation in Vietnam: We had to destroy the village in order to save it.

Don Robinson, Vancouver

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Wind-derived energy is widely used in many countries that have higher ecological standards than Canada’s. We should be able to make use of this renewable, non-polluting source of energy to overall benefit, whether Ontario has the execution quite right yet or not.

Hal C. Hartmann, West Vancouver

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Copper tones

Goodbye, sweet sweet penny (The Penny’s End – Report on Business, Feb. 4). You have been a scratch-ticket device and a great finger-hockey companion. I will miss your copper tones and your maple leaves. Now make way for … the nickel!

Chris Sellon, Gravenhurst, Ont.

 

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