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CBC’s biopic Jack tells the story of former NDP leader Jack Layton. (Allen Fraser)
CBC’s biopic Jack tells the story of former NDP leader Jack Layton. (Allen Fraser)

What readers think

March 13: Jack, the sequel – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Jack, the sequel

Your editorial (Layton’s Premature Canonization – March 12) criticizes Jack, the CBC’s recent biopic on Jack Layton, as unduly flattering to its subject.

Mr. Layton connected with Canadians in his final campaign as few political leaders ever have. Canadians saw authenticity in him – a politician who genuinely cared for people, especially the most vulnerable among us. You complain that the movie was made too soon, but waiting would have lost the insights into what made that last campaign so special.

We need more such examinations of major Canadian figures, and what makes them tick. I hope there is a sequel in the works: Stephen, exploring the character and formative influences on our Prime Minister. That, too, would be interesting.

Myer Siemiatycki, Toronto

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From the political point of view, it would be hard to disagree with what you wrote about Mr. Layton’s premature canonization. Personally, however, I can’t wait for “Jack, The Musical.”

Charles Morton, Manotick, Ont.

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Your editorial blasting the CBC for its recent Jack Layton biopic was unbelievably churlish. You wrote, “Canadians don’t need the public broadcaster to decide which of its recently deceased politicians merit a mythology.” Who are all of these recently deceased politicians? Did I miss something?

You allow that CBC’s mandate is to tell Canadians stories about Canadians. That is exactly what CBC did. Whether or not you agree with Mr. Layton’s politics (and you obviously do not), his ascension to the leadership of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was clearly an historic breakthrough for the NDP and a story that most Canadians would be interested in.

If you wanted to be cynical about the timing of this production, you might want to see it as a stalking horse for Olivia Chow’s candidacy for mayor of Toronto, but that’s a different story.

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg

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Papal possibilities

The papal conclave: So many from whom to choose, yet so little choice (The Politics And The Glory – March 12).

Mark A. Roberts, Calgary

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The cardinals who are choosing a new pope ask us to believe that the grace of God will be exercised through the Holy Spirit. This is such a wonderful idea to contemplate that one cannot help but ask why it is done in secret. Or, perhaps all this is more like the old joke about sausages: Enjoy the taste but don’t ask too much about how they’re made.

Martin Birt, Markham, Ont.

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Extra Royal Companion?

I was delighted to read The Globe’s fine tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh (Philip For OC – editorial, March 11) and his unfaltering service to Canada, a country he has visited more than any other. I wholeheartedly support the call for the government to confer the Order of Canada upon His Royal Highness. However, as HRH declined the Order in 1982, it is essential that the government first amend the poorly thought-out section of the constitution of the Order that restricts substantive membership to Canadian citizens.

In 1982, as the husband of the Queen of Canada, a member of the Canadian Privy Council, a recipient of the Canadian Forces Decoration (with bars), the colonel-in-chief of six Canadian regiments, the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and the Admiral of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, he might understandably have been surprised to discover he could not become a substantive member of the Order of Canada but, instead, would have to be content with the “honorary” membership conferred upon foreigners.

His Royal Highness accepted substantive membership in the national orders of Australia and New Zealand many years ago – the lack of an equivalent Canadian honour is a glaring omission that must be rectified, particularly now that HRH is a general of the Canadian Army, a general of the Royal Canadian Air Force and an admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy.

In the short term, an amendment to the constitution of the Order to permit the appointment of members of the Royal Family as “Extra Royal Companions” would provide a swift solution to enable Canada to honour the oldest member of the Royal Family to have stepped foot on Canadian soil.

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, co-editor, Burke’s World Orders of Knighthood & Merit

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What it is/isn’t

My compliments to Conservative Senator Leo Housakos for speaking the truth about multiculturalism and hyphenated Canadians (Multiculturalism’s An Outdated Insult – March 11). He has recognized multiculturalism for what it is: a ploy for gaining votes, an insult to all Canadians, particularly new Canadians, and an impediment to their integration into Canadian society.

Rais Khan, Winnipeg

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Sentator Leo Housakos calls for the replacement of the “demeaning” policy of multiculturalism with one of integration that rigidly expects immigrants “to uphold our fundamental liberties, to respect the rule of law and to respect human rights.” This presumes two equally demeaning conditions: that immigrants do not naturally adhere to these principles, and that multiculturalism is opposed to integration.

Deepak Awasti, Kingston

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Two for one?

Let me get this straight: If Toronto city council votes yes to a casino, they’ll have a second chance to say no? (OLG Head Argues Case For Casino With Chance For Second Thoughts – March 12). Does this mean that gamblers get a second chance when the cards don’t come up in their favour, too?

Maureen Lynett, co-founder, No Casino Toronto

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Under a hau tree …

As a doctoral candidate writing her thesis on Robert Louis Stevenson’s South Pacific fiction and non-fiction, I eagerly perused Alec Scott’s literary tour of Hawaii (A Book Lover’s Guide To Island Life – Life & Arts, March 12). Unfortunately, commentators often fall into the trap of conflating Stevenson’s actual presence in the Pacific with a romanticized, bohemian vision of the beloved author.

Stevenson was extremely disparaging about Honolulu’s increasing Americanization, and lamented the ubiquity of glaring electricity. It is unlikely that he lay in the shade of a hau tree, “comparing the actual tropics with those he’d dreamed up earlier in Treasure Island.”

In fact, Stevenson’s exchange with a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald demonstrates the gap between what his readers expected he would write in the Pacific, and his own departure from the conventions of adventure and romance: “ ‘I suppose,’ said our representative, ‘that you will utilize your experience in the South Seas in your next work of fiction? By the by, did you visit Treasure Island?’ Mr. Stevenson smiled humorously. Treasure Island, he said, ‘is not in the Pacific.’ ”

Carla Manfredi, Kingston

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