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Prime Minister Stephen Harper tours the site in Inuvik on Jan. 8, 2014, of a new all-weather road linking Canada’s Arctic coast to the south. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper tours the site in Inuvik on Jan. 8, 2014, of a new all-weather road linking Canada’s Arctic coast to the south. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Jan. 9: Mr. Harper’s Canada – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Mr. Harper’s Canada

Re It’s Too Late For Harper To Change Course (Jan. 8): “The party Mr. Harper sought would be more tightly focused on fewer voters…” Resulting in, as Abraham Lincoln might have phrased it, government of the minority, by the minority, for the minority.

Louis Desjardins, Belleville, Ont.

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Stephen Harper’s great personal accomplishment over the past quarter century was not in consistently committing himself to the creation of jobs and opportunities, the support and protection of Canadian families, and the placing of Canada first. After all, which Canadian, let alone which Canadian politician, would claim to be against any of that?

His great accomplishment – and he’s had a little help – has been the sales job: the successful advance of the conceit that he’s been the only leader who’s really been interested in a short list of what are motherhood values.

And that is what great advertising is all about, isn’t it? Kind of like Coke convincing consumers that it is a better drink than Pepsi because it alone is committed to the fight against thirst.

Andrew Bell, Toronto

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Grounded in T.O.

Re Deep Freeze At Pearson (Jan. 8): Many Canadians are unsympathetic to the decision by the country’s largest airport to shut down, affecting flight schedules across the rest of Canada.

Yes, it is winter across this country. Based on the rationale given by the managers of Toronto’s Pearson International, there’d never be any flight operations out of Western Canada or the Territories during the winter months.

Toronto should get its act together and prepare for winter operations. At least it didn’t call in the army to bail it out this time.

Jeff Gilmour, Calgary

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Given this week’s weather, it seems that Toronto should call in the Royal Canadian Air Force rather than the army. It’s flown for decades in the Arctic.

Don McGill, Toronto

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$430,000 annually

Re Loss Of Aquatic Research Called ‘National Tragedy’ (Jan. 8): This government says Canadians cannot afford the $430,000 per year required to maintain taxpayer-funded irreplaceable scientific research. On the other hand, we find that it was quite willing to spend $20-million a year on the Prime Minister’s personal security (we’ve seen this week how that’s worked out), and tens of millions promoting itself through the Economic Action Plan and Canada Job Grant advertising campaigns.

The public money spent on just a handful of Action Plan ads aired during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs would have more than covered the $430,000 the government says it can’t find to preserve critical scientific research.

Chris Marriott, Chelsea, Que.

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Poor will lose out

Re Ottawa Stresses Trade Prospects In Foreign Aid Decisions (Jan. 8): In my 18 years as a program officer, then director of the Canadian Hunger Foundation, and 10 years as a senior UN diplomat, I have witnessed the failure of economic diplomacy.

The evidence is that trickle-down development doesn’t work. The policies that determine economic development are in the hands of the powerful non-poor. Poverty-reduction programs must be targeted if they are to enable the poor to develop sustainable livelihoods.

Bruce H. Moore, Ottawa

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Master the basics

Re Petitions Urge Greater Emphasis On Basic Math Skills (Jan. 8): Creative math will only be scuttled by strong-willed parents who have learned first-hand through their kids that teachers cannot obtain top-notch results without insisting that their students first master the basic skills.

Creative math and Whole Language (sometimes known as the “guess-and-by-golly” method of teaching beginners to read) are surefire ways to produce math and reading illiterates.

Jim McDonald, Dundas, Ont.

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CBC: Timing is all

If TV columnist John Doyle hadn’t been on vacation, he surely would have lambasted the CBC (as he is wont to do) for running The Best Laid Plans, its new series based on Terry Fallis’s Leacock award-winning novel, opposite the season opener of Downton Abbey, another favourite Doyle target (Downton Abbey Serves Up New Season To Ravenous Fans – Jan. 2).

Perhaps the Mother Corp decided to run a stealth PR campaign in homage to the novel? Its plot centres on an eccentric candidate in a federal riding who refuses to campaign. No canvassing, all-candidate meetings, media interviews or baby-kissing for him, since his defeat by the incumbent, “the most popular MP in the country,” is assured.

In a similar vein, the CBC did little to promote this series, rich in Canadian acting and writing talent as it is. Such a waste. So far, it’s almost as funny as the book.

Since the CBC isn’t telling Canadians to watch, allow me to.

Shelley Pleiter, Kingston

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Banking brouhaha?

Re Canada To Face Pressure To Raise Interest Rates In 2014, Flaherty Says (Jan. 6): The problem with politicians is that they don’t learn policy lessons from history. John Diefenbaker and his finance minister picked a fight with then Bank of Canada governor James Coyne about the appropriate stance for monetary policy. The resulting brouhaha caused the governor’s resignation and subsequently the acceptance by the government of the accountability/responsibility regime drafted by Mr. Coyne’s successor, Lou Rasminsky. That regime is enshrined in the Bank of Canada Act.

Jim Flaherty ought to reread the act and carry a copy in his pocket, so when the Finance Minister next gets the urge to talk about matters he either doesn’t understand, doesn’t know or has no responsibility for, he can refer to it and then have cause to stay quiet.

Unless Mr. Flaherty is proposing to issue a directive to the Governor about the appropriate policy the bank should pursue, he should leave comments about monetary policy to the Governor and the senior staff. His present activities risk another brouhaha.

Stephen L. Harris, adjunct research professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Centre for Monetary and Financial Economics, Carleton University

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Loonie’s landing

Re The Loonie’s Overdue Landing (Jan. 8): Economists know that all news is bad news for some – and good news for others.

Jim Stanford says the loonie’s decline is good news. I look forward to further instalments of this story, bemoaning the loss of consumer purchasing power for imports and the manufacturing sector’s inability to upgrade equipment due to the high price of imported components.

This might be an example of the old joke that states that if you lay all economists end to end, they will still point in every direction.

Kevin Riemer, Pointe-Claire, Que.

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