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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford outside his lawyer’s office in Toronto on Jan. 25, 2013. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford outside his lawyer’s office in Toronto on Jan. 25, 2013. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

What readers think

Jan. 26: Rob Ford’s stage, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Rob Ford’s stage

Marcus Gee opines that Torontonians should be pleased that Rob Ford is being allowed to stay on as mayor (Ford Victory Should Come As A Relief – Even To Mayor’s Enemies – Jan. 25). We are told that the mayor’s conflict of interest involved a relatively small sum, and his ouster would have left the city without an effective leader.

This Torontonian is not at all pleased, and is unable to resist pointing out that we have been without effective leadership for two years. As to the dollar amount involved, surely ethics ought to be absolute, with no dollar-figure attached.

This decision will only serve to buttress Mr. Ford’s belief that the rules that apply to others do not apply to him. It is deeply troubling to see this decision applauded.

Steve Soloman, Toronto

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Oh! that Gilbert and Sullivan were still around to give us an operetta with Rob Ford as the main character, a strange but oddly lovable character. The court’s decision in Mr. Ford’s favour was the right one. And one for the history books.

Bernard McGrath, Gibsons, B.C.

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The respect due her

It was sad and disquieting to see the word “extortionate” (The Hunger Strike Did Not Feed The Debate – editorial, Jan. 25) used in decrying Chief Theresa Spence’s motivation. Definitions of extortion include the obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence or fear. There is no way Chief Spence could be accused of any type of extortionate act.

We should be looking more closely at the actions of our Prime Minister. He has provoked deep-seated anger among Canadians by his imposition of an omnibus bill that attacks treaty rights and undermines environmental protection. What should we call that – bullying, dictatorial, extortionate?

Chief Spence stood up to a power structure that refused to listen. Give her the respect that is due her.

Don Kossick, Saskatoon

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Your editorial was quite correct that Chief Theresa Spence’s “hunger strike” damaged first nations’ interests. It quite rightfully brought attention to how much money is being poured into Attawapiskat, and how little it has done to improve the situation for most of the people living there.

Taxpayers have every right to know what the money was spent on: From April, 2005, to November, 2011, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs transferred $104-million to Attawapiskat alone. Even more so, these answers should be demanded by the people of Attawapiskat who – despite the money – are still living in deplorable conditions.

Alfhard Brandl, Mississauga

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Nations, democracy

In a democracy there is such a thing as the Tyranny of the Majority. Where the (legitimate, I believe) demands of the few strike up against the will of the many, we need to move beyond the narrow view expressed by Tom Flanagan that the “political process of the nation of Canada” is always the rule of the game (Why the Native Fixation on Meeting with the Crown? – Jan. 25).

Aboriginal communities are right to seek legitimation for their demands elsewhere. Because like it or not, in a democracy, there are losers. And in Canada’s system, it is routinely the aboriginals who get the dregs of our democracy.

Graham Denyer Willis, Rio de Janeiro

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Unity of state does not mean there is only one nation in the territory of Canada. One merely needs to look to the circumstances of Quebec to illustrate the point.

James C. Morton, Toronto

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Constitutions transmogrify as circumstances change. What is needed now is a convergence. First nations’ concern that their heritage is being raped by a government that ignores treaty obligations finds convergence with other Canadians’ concern that the government is systematically undermining democratic processes.

The great Eugene Forsey has asserted the necessity for governors-general acting as umpires who must not “rubber stamp” demands made by a prime minister. That idea, he wrote, “is undemocratic.” Perhaps the G-G, like the Speaker, could be used as the formal monitor of discussion.

Nicholas Tracy, adjunct professor of history, University of New Brunswick

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Cirque will adjust

When Cirque du Soleil announced it was eliminating 400 jobs and cancelling a fifth show, it caused a stir (8 Problems Cirque Must Address For The Show To Go On – Jan. 18).

There is nothing surprising about a global corporation readjusting its operations. What is exceptional is that Canada is home to a cultural organization with billion-dollar revenues and 5,000 employees. Cirque brings together more than 100 trades that create at the cutting edge, and acts as an enormous artistic, technological, logistical-research and development laboratory.

Many of our directors, playwrights, set and costume designers, musicians, production specialists and creative companies provide the talent to fuel the Cirque’s growth; our cultural sector receives, in turn, tangible and constant benefits.

Cirque du Soleil will adjust and reinvent itself. We have a collective interest in its swift success in these endeavours, because Canada’s artistic community cannot do without its contributions and global impact.

Simon Brault, CEO, National Theatre School of Canada

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Not for sale

You report that Toronto councillor Maria Augimeri and NDP MP Olivia Chow spoke out “against the federal government’s interest in possibly selling Downsview Park’s land” (Olivia Chow Weighs In On Toronto Casino, But She’s Not Campaigning – Jan. 23). There is no intention to sell the parkland at Downsview. We value Downsview Park as a community resource within the Greater Toronto Area. I have asked Canada Lands to report back to me with their proposed vision for Downsview Park; their corporate plans will continue to be tabled in Parliament. As an independent Crown corporation, Canada Lands has an impeccable record of community consultation.

Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works

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Just wondering

Britons, fearful of flash floods from rapidly melting snow, have been advised to build an “army of snowmen,” compacted snow melting more slowly (Raise An Army Of Snowmen, Britons Advised – Jan. 25). But what about the cost, financially and environmentally, of the energy to dry all those wet gloves and mittens?

Langevin Coté, Montreal

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