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Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives to address the Knesset on Monday, Jan.20, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives to address the Knesset on Monday, Jan.20, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Jan. 23: Mr. Harper disagrees – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Mr. Harper disagrees

Re Harper Says He Will Disagree With Israel – Just Not Publicly (Jan. 22): When the Prime Minister states, “when somebody is a minority, particularly a small minority in the world, one goes out of one’s way to embrace them,” perhaps he could practise this at home. For example, he could recognize the inherent treaty rights of First Nations.

Don Kossick, Saskatoon

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Stephen Harper declares that those who characterize Israel as an apartheid state (vis-à-vis its policies toward the Palestinians) are guilty of “anti-Semitism,” acting with “outright malice” and “sickening” (Harper Tells Knesset Of Steadfast Support – Jan. 21.

The PM didn’t name names but readers will recall that among the people to whom he is referring are, of course, Nobel Peace Prize laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

Vincent Calderhead, Nairobi

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In your list of people who are part of Stephen Harper’s entourage to Israel is the name Julius Suraski, whom you identify as an “event co-ordinator” with the Jewish Defence League of Canada (In The Company Of The Prime Minister – Jan. 21).

Surely this demands some comment. The JDL is an extremist fringe group banned in Israel; it was once classified in the U.S. as a terrorist group. The JDL has publicly supported the white supremacist English Defence League, for which they were condemned by the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Yet Mr. Harper is treating this group as if they are legitimate representatives of the Jewish community. To Jews of conscience, this is outrageous and insulting.

Jason Kunin, Toronto

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Booze, videotape and Rob Ford

Re Rob Ford: Booze, Lies And Videotape (editorial, Jan. 22): Why can’t the image-bashing press leave Rob Ford to do his job as Toronto’s mayor? I’m reminded of a conversation between Lincoln and a military advisor during the Civil War.

Told that General Ulysses Grant had a serious drinking problem, Lincoln is said to have replied: Find out what brand of whisky he drinks and send a case of it to each of my other generals.

Mike Howe, Milton, Ont.

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I have never been a Rob Ford supporter but I think I understand some of his appeal. He is, despite his inarticulate nature, the squeaky wheel who gives voice to disgruntlement. He speaks to people who feel the party is somewhere else and they haven’t been invited. His is the narrative of the idea that others are getting perks on your dime and he will put an end to it. He is the dishevelled Everyman superhero who will set the world aright.

This is nothing new. People often vote against their own self-interest when they are seduced by shallow rhetoric that has little basis in reality. My hope for the next election is a clear choice; my fear is that the hubris of too many councillors will result in a crowded field of candidates that may bring Mr. Ford back.

Moses Wuggenig, Toronto

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What Rob Ford does outside of being mayor is no one’s business.

Atefa Rastagar, Ajax, Ont.

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I had the pleasure of taking five children on an outing. Our walk took us past a large statue of Winston Churchill. Thinking it a good teaching opportunity, I asked if they knew who the statue was. Without hesitation, the 12-year-old replied, “Rob Ford.”

I burst out laughing, but later reflection made me sad. How many kids in Canada know the names of other cities’ politicians while not knowing of a major global figure? My guess: Too many. And this was before Mr. Ford’s latest nonsense.

I’d like to think I speak for most Canadians by hoping Torontonians will take care of their em-barrassment in the next election.

Peter Bowyer, Bedford, N.S.

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The “major controversy” for New York’s mayor (Mayor And Governor Take City A Step To The Left – Jan. 22)? Eating pizza “with a knife and fork.”

Gee, Toronto – imagine that!

Marcella Draak, Guelph, Ont.

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Billions wasted

Re A Long Line Of Procurement Failures (Jan. 22): Jeffrey Simpson’s excellent summary of defence spending makes me think we need a federal minister of procurement, reporting directly to the PM. His or her department would be charged with placement and monitoring of all government contracts above a certain amount, say $10-million.

We simply can’t afford to continue wasting billions of dollars, albeit for badly needed goods and services.

Jeff Daw, Burlington, Ont.

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Gold-plated others

Re Gold-Plated Pensions (letters, Jan. 21): Ken Georgetti, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, compares Gwyn Morgan’s $1.7-million pension to $24,000 public-sector pensions.

Mr. Georgetti should consider that Mr. Morgan earned his pension in the private sector, where free markets and competition determine income levels. Mr. Morgan rightly pointed out these conditions don’t exist in the public sector.

It rankles me to watch my children struggle in the working world and have to contribute to public sector wages and benefits that are far greater than they are ever likely to enjoy.

Talk about inequality!

David Horner, Kelowna, B.C.

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Bryan Adams? No applause

Re Bryan Adams Show Sparks Fears Of Legitimizing Mugabe Regime (Jan. 21): I was surprised and disappointed to read that Canada’s pop/rock ambassador has decided to play a live show in Harare.

This event, which legitimizes Robert Mugabe’s despotic regime, is eerily similar to Mariah Carey’s reported cash grab of $1-million in December for performing in front of Angola’s authoritarian ruler.

Funny, I didn’t think Bryan Adams needed the money that badly.

Gerry Young, Toronto

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Clashes in Ukraine

Re Canada Considering ‘All Options’ After Clashes In Ukraine’s Capital Kill Three (online, Jan. 22): Human rights abuses and corruption by leaders, their families and their syndicate backers are turning Ukraine into a police state.

The Yanukovych regime must not remain immune. It has been complicit in the beating or jailing of journalists, opposition leaders and demonstrators. Three protesters have died. It is time we banned their travel here, restricted their Canadian ventures and froze their financial accounts.

Steve Andrusiak, president, Ontario Council, Ukrainian Canadian Congress

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Calling Earth

Re European Scientists Cheer As Dormant Craft Wakes Up (Jan. 21): On hold since 2011? Now that’s what I call, “Call Waiting.”

David Hykle, Fergus, Ont.

 

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