Re Gift Of Gab (editorial, June 18): We seem to be forgetting that initially, the New Brunswick charity that hired Justin Trudeau as a speaker was perfectly willing to pay him $20,000. That’s not about price or worth, that’s about demand. Justin Trudeau is a popular politician right now. If he were to refuse a fee from any charity, every charity would be hounding him to speak. In other words, he’d be a scarce resource in high demand. As it happens, economics has a way of deciding who gets the resource in such situations: whoever can pay.
If MPs stop accepting fees from charities to speak, the charities will soon complain of having no avenue in their attempts to attract the member they want.
Keith Hannaford, St. John’s
The mea culpas aside, all I can say is, so much for the “just” in Justin Trudeau: Taking speaking fees from organizations that can least afford it is pretty low, especially for someone with his income. His father must be rolling over in his grave. Speaking of which, a grave is exactly what the Liberals have dug for themselves by picking a Justin (Bieber) phenom as their leader.
Andrew van Velzen, Toronto
A year after speaking to a New Brunswick charity and a few months after addressing a Saskatchewan literacy group, Justin Trudeau is willing to refund his fees? Canadians should make this man prime minister as quickly as possible: He comes with a money-back guarantee.
Don Macpherson, Saskatoon
Enough already. Please leave the poor MPs and senators alone. Not only do they have to sit on boards, attend speaking engagements and do party campaign work, they also have to try and fit in whatever it is we actually pay them for.
Craig Gordon, Fonthill, Ont.
The mayor thing
The interim mayor of Montreal, who replaced the previous mayor on a promise to tackle corruption, faces corruption charges himself and resigns (Mayor’s Arrest Deepens Montreal Crisis – June 18). Last month, the former mayor of Laval was charged with bribery, fraud and gangsterism. The mayor of Toronto is accused of smoking crack cocaine. Pork-barreling senators are in the news every day, and now we learn that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau charged $20,000 to speak to a charitable group.
Question: Why does everyone always pick on Stephen Harper?
Jerry Amernic, Toronto
You mean there’s a worse mayor than Toronto’s? Unbelievable.
Bruce Reid (head hanging down as he types), Toronto
Ritalin and boys
Asking whether Ritalin helps is secondary to understanding the reasons for the ADHD diagnosis pandemic and the abuse of unnecessarily medicating children, particularly boys (Does Ritalin Really Help? – June 18).
Preliminary results from my own doctoral research show that normal boyhood behaviours have been declared an illness that needs treatment.
Boys’ non-cognitive skills – time management, attentiveness in class, willingness to ask for help – are less developed than in girls of the same age. Such behaviours cannot be imbued through medication. Instead, we must make a concerted effort to teach these skills.
Feminization of the curriculum – introduction of girl-friendly pedagogy – over the past 25 years has made boys’ learning more tedious, creating classroom environments that are foreign to boys’ natural learning mechanisms. The reduction of physical activity has them “climbing the walls.”
Our reticence to acknowledge that boys may need their own, single-gender environments needlessly relegates them to also-ran status.
Patrick Tierney, PhD candidate, education faculty, Brock University
Paul Heinbecker, former ambassador to the UN Security Council, greatly overestimates the capability of a “coalition of the willing” to impose a no-fly zone in Syria (Every Day, The Costs Of Inaction Grow – June 18). Without the active participation of NATO, particularly the U.S. Air Force, such an undertaking is a non-starter. The Obama administration does not seem interested in this type of operation; the EU nations even less so.
One has to be careful not to rely on past military operations, such as the Libyan air campaign of 2011, as a predictor for future success. An air campaign in Syria would require much larger, more robust capabilities. With the continuing decline in Western air power resources, the capability to mount such a campaign requires more than simply a willingness to do so.
Bertram Frandsen, Major (Retired), Ottawa
Run to stay put
Re EU Squabbling Slows Free-Trade Deal With Canada (June 18): In case anyone is wondering how important a Canada-EU free trade agreement could possibly be, they should read a new study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, “TTIP: Who Benefits from a Free Trade Deal?” According to this study of the potential ramifications of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the U.S., Canada could lose 100,000 jobs and its per-capita GDP could drop by an incredible 9.5 per cent.
It seems to me that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had better iron out any issues he may face in his negotiations with the EU. The U.S.-EU horse has left the gate. We will need to run hard just to stay where we are.
Nelson Smith, Toronto
The classy thing
Re Thanks? No Thanks (letters, June 18): Common courtesy, grace and respect are sorely missing in politics today. To thank someone for the sacrifices that all politicians make when signing up for public service does not mean you are agreeing with all of their decisions, but it is a classy thing to do when someone is stepping down.
Good leaders see the pros and cons of all alternatives, recognize the trade-offs they have to make, respect that others are entitled to their opinions and have the humility to recognize they are not perfect. Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty was not perfect by any means, but he had far more class and professionalism than PC Leader Tim Hudak ever will.
Katherine Sheridan, Thornhill, Ont.
I would like to be a senator. Is there an application form? I live in Ontario but I’m willing to represent any province that needs a senator, for example Newfoundland and Labrador. I would buy a cottage there and that could be my permanent residence.
I would need help from the staff in the Prime Minister’s Office with the down payment. But that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, should it?
Malcolm Stott, Kingston