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Demonstrators chant pro-ISIL slogans in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul on Monday, June 16, 2014. Sunni militants captured a key northern Iraqi town along the highway to Syria early on Monday, compounding the woes of Iraq’s Shiite-led government a week after it lost a vast swath of territory to the insurgents in the country’s north. (AP)
Demonstrators chant pro-ISIL slogans in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul on Monday, June 16, 2014. Sunni militants captured a key northern Iraqi town along the highway to Syria early on Monday, compounding the woes of Iraq’s Shiite-led government a week after it lost a vast swath of territory to the insurgents in the country’s north. (AP)

WHAT READERS THINK

June 17: Seeds of Iraq’s chaos – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Seeds of chaos

Re This Disaster Was Not Inevitable (June 16): The editorial board is correct that “the seeds of Iraq’s current chaos were planted years ago,” but they were sown in 2003 by a so-called “coalition of the willing,” not by Nouri al-Maliki’s premiership.

You say “some fault Washington for leaving Iraq prematurely,” but I and many others fault Washington for invading in the first place. Surprisingly, you make no mention of George W. Bush or Tony Blair, two prominent cheerleaders for a war they promised would prevent exactly ISIL’s kind of extremism from taking hold.

This reader remains puzzled at your eagerness to blame Mr. al-Maliki – whose term has indeed been “disastrous” – but allow his former allies to take up portraiture and public speaking undisturbed.

Alexander McPherson, Peterborough, Ont.

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Election sages

Re Ontario’s Way Ahead (letters, June 16): Rather than engage in his ritual hand-wringing over Ontario finances, it would be more useful if Preston Manning, writing as the sage of the West, were able to suggest something useful on the score of giving the provinces taxing powers commensurate with their responsibilities.

Colin Read, London, Ont.

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So we will now have the Ontario Premier with about 39 per cent of the popular vote butting heads with the Prime Minister and his about 39 per cent of the vote, each claiming a clear and strong majority mandate to speak for the province and country. Our electoral system is a farce. No wonder so many don’t bother voting.

Bill Gillies, Oakville, Ont.

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Praise for a judge

Re PM Moves Judge From Federal Court To Quebec Court (June 14): I welcome Robert Mainville’s appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal. He represented the Cree Nation and numerous other aboriginal nations in Quebec for most of his career as a lawyer.

In the mid-1970s, few lawyers would have taken the professional risks he did and made the sacrifices required to do the job properly. He notably fought with the Crees to successfully stop the massive Great Whale hydroelectric project proposed by Hydro Quebec. He negotiated the historic Paix des braves agreement between the Cree Nation and the Quebec government; the pact has allowed us to establish a peaceful, successful new relationship with both Quebec and Canada.

Judge Mainville’s professional profile is not one that is concordant with the conservative policies of the Harper government. It is therefore a testament to the high opinion held by all who truly know him that he was appointed by that government to the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and now the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Some people are simply respected for what they have accomplished and who they are.

Few aboriginal lawyers and non-aboriginals who have defended First Nations have been appointed to the courts, none to the Supreme Court of Canada. Should Judge Mainville some day be appointed to the highest court in the land, I would applaud this.

Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief, Cree Nation of Quebec (Eeyou Istchee); former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations

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Progress? It depends

Re In Mennonite Country, An Unlikely Fight To Save No Frills (June 16): I grew up in Elmira, Ont. – population 10,500 – when it had far fewer residents. In the 1970s, there were five grocery stores, all in or near the downtown. Now there are two, neither downtown. Missing, too, are well-remembered clothing stores, shoe stores, fabric shops, a feed mill, and a couple of five and dimes. This is all the result of changes that can hardly be described as progress.

Keith McKee, London, Ont.

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The good burghers of Elmira would be no happier to wake up one morning to realize all their shopping options were controlled by the same company.

The Competition Bureau is presented as a secretive, scary institution that rules by fiat; instead, Ottawa could be lauded for actually trying to protect small communities such as Elmira, whose interests are as often ignored by big business.

Nikiforos Iatrou, Toronto

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Eyebrow-raiser

No Safe Use (Focus, June 14) superbly documents Canada’s dismal record in support of the asbestos industry at home and abroad. It contained an eyebrow-raiser: Kellie Leitch’s assertion that concern about exposure to asbestos had not arisen during her tenure as federal labour minister. This is remarkable, given the extent of the problem identified in the article, and given the prolonged controversy and advocacy arising from Canada’s warm embrace of asbestos.

For example, in August, 2011, The Globe printed details of an open letter signed by over 250 Canadian and international medical and health experts. The letter called on a newly elected Conservative MP to protect health and promote a Canadian ban on the use of asbestos, out of respect for her obligations as a doctor.

The recipient of that letter?

Dr. Kellie Leitch.

Kim Jarvi, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, Toronto

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A national tragedy

Why was the horrific attack on a native woman in Prince Albert not front-page news (Brutal Attack On Native Woman Spurs Renewed Calls For Inquiry – June 14)? How is it that we continue to tolerate such outrage?

Would a picture of her mutilated body perhaps move the government to take the issue of missing and violated native women for the national tragedy it is?

Jean Harris, Hubley, N.S.

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Help the living

Re $83-Million Set To Honour Military History (June 16): If they could speak from the grave, I have a feeling our heroes from wars past would prefer that the $83-million the Harper government plans to spend on commemorating them be redirected toward supporting a dignified existence for their brothers- and sisters-in-arms who are alive today.

Daniel Lahey, Ottawa

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How rude is that?

Marcus Gee’s list of rude people was right on the mark, but he left out one particularly odious group – those folks who can’t be bothered to lock their cars as they leave them, then push their key fob from across the street, which locks the car while sounding the horn (Discourteous Dog-Owners And Shameless Seat-Hoggers: My List Of Toronto’s Rudest – June 14). Woe to any startled pedestrian walking beside the vehicle as the horn announces impending death.

My theory goes beyond the rudeness factor: People who can’t lock their car without honking the horn aren’t bright enough to drive.

Dan Turner, Ottawa

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