Bob Rae’s legacy
It has often been said that Robert Stanfield was the best prime minister Canada never had. Ditto Bob Rae (Range Of Liberal Hopefuls Eye Rae’s Empty Seat – June 21).
Howard M. Greenfield, Montreal
One of the happiest days of my life was the announcement by Bob Rae that he was resigning as an MP. Mr. Rae is an intelligent and well-read man who, as a former premier of Ontario, created one of the most significant welfare societies in Canada. His legacy was massive government debt.
I wish him good luck and hope he never comes back to government.
Mark Borkowski, Toronto
Parliament will be a lesser place without Bob Rae’s wit and debating skills, his intellect and his integrity. The Liberal Party’s loss is great. Canada’s is greater.
And no, I am not a Liberal. I have voted for all three parties. When so many in politics leave us with little to admire, in Mr. Rae’s hands to be a politician was an honourable calling. Would that there were more like him.
George Stewart, Winnipeg
There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days relating to the wearing of military uniforms by retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces (Let Them Wear Blues – editorial, June 21). This rule applies only to uniforms currently in service. Second World War or Korean War vets’ wearing their old uniforms is completely legal. The current fuss does not apply to them. Veterans can continue to wear those uniforms with pride if that is what they desire.
If the veteran is from a more recent conflict and their uniform is one that is still worn, the sad reality is that no, without specific permission, they are not allowed to wear it. This is not meant to discriminate against younger veterans, it is meant to prevent people who are not current members of the military from misleading others that they actually are.
There are also no rules against wearing medals or head dress with civilian clothing (as we often see veterans do).
This is not an attack against veterans, nor is it a case of current members of the military “cracking down.” This is a reminder to retired members of the Canadian Forces about current laws – which are civilian laws. It is a criminal offence in Canada to wear a military uniform if you are not a current serving member: Section 419 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifically deals with this.
If veterans want to wear a uniform that is currently in use, there are rules to follow. You wouldn’t expect an old cop to put his uniform back on and take a stroll down the road, would you?
Let’s all just take a breadth and move on from this sad story.
Russel MacDonald, Ottawa
Your editorial is on the right track, but not for a particularly good reason. I served during the war, am proud of my naval service then and for 20 years after in the Reserves. But I don’t need personal “honouring” or recognition – for that I have medals.
What is vital is the Royal Canadian Navy’s (in particular) great lack of visibility. With only five Reserve Divisions and a few Regular Force stations, the navy is almost never seen except on the odd parade. They are all far too busy doing their “day jobs” to be visible. For a month, a couple of small warships visit in the summer – at ports.
Rear Admiral Walter Hose got it right when he established the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1923: to make the navy visible and connected across the hinterland of this vast country. That is why all retired servicemen and women, particularly naval ones, should be strongly encouraged to wear their uniforms, on every possible appropriate occasion, where they will be seen and recognized.
Has no one in in headquarters any understanding of PR? That’s what all this is about.
Fraser McKee, Commander, Reserve, retired, Toronto
Re Down With Balconies (June 20): I live in a grove of older downtown apartment and condominium buildings. In my neighbourhood, we celebrate summer and fall with revolving balcony parties. We have flowers, herbs and vegetable gardens on our balconies. So why is my neighbourhood just the opposite of what is expounded upon in the article?
The older buildings are surrounded by landscaped lawns and trees, and not built up to the edge of the sidewalk. The balconies are wider and deeper, allowing for furniture and container pots. Best of all, they are not all glass. We are not perched outside in a fishbowl with room only for two chairs.
If developers didn’t cover every inch of the property with their towers and gave buyers a building with good-sized balconies and landscaped property, more people would be using their balconies like a downtown verandah.
Martha MacLachlan, Toronto
Mr. Baird’s favours
Re Baird’s Lodgings Were Friendly Favours (June 21): John Baird’s office claims that the Foreign Affairs Minister’s vacation with six buddies at the official residence of Canada’s Consul-General in London “did not cost taxpayers a dime.” Mr. Baird and his friends stayed there from Boxing Day through New Year’s Day. We’re told that “no staff were present.” So did the minister and his buddies wash the sheets, scrub the toilets and do the floors before leaving?
Richard Brown, Manotick, Ont.
On Scottish soil
Thank you to essayist Chris Holdham for Diamonds And Dust (Facts & Arguments – June 20), which expressed so well the sentiments surrounding the scattering of a loved one’s ashes.
Last year, eight members of my family met in Scotland, after much research and angst about how to accomplish the same thing for our mother, worrying about the legalities and the transporting of the ashes through security and customs. It was our mother’s request to be returned to her homeland to a place that held much meaning for her where she was stationed with the WAAF during the Second World War. With the help of a fantastic tour guide, we found a beautiful garden on the ocean near Oban, and he played a lament on his fiddle while we scattered her ashes among the bluebells of Scotland.
Like Chris Holdham, we never looked back; we toasted our mother and grandmother with a wee dram of whisky before we continued on our family tour. The essay brought back many memories. I am happy to say that, like author, I feel very much at peace having taken our mum home. We’ll never forget it.
Christine Berkhout, Welland, Ont.
Re Tim Hortons Pressured By Another U.S. Hedge Fund (Report on Business, June 19): So now that Scout Capital Management has joined Highfields Capital Management to pressure Tim Hortons, would that qualify as a “Double, Double”?
Murray Pratt, Tsawwassen, B.C.