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Russian President Vladimir Putin: Sochi’s venues were due to host the G8 summit in June, but will now sit idle until a Formula One race in October. (REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin: Sochi’s venues were due to host the G8 summit in June, but will now sit idle until a Formula One race in October. (REUTERS)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 26: The G8, minus 1 – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

G8, minus 1

Re G7 Bars Russia, Eyes Economic Sanctions (March 25): It is important for law-abiding countries to voice their outrage at Russia’s expansionist actions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s characterization of the G7 + 1 is helpful to show the world that there is a rogue member in the group, but to expel them may be counterproductive.

As the old adage goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Ultimately, the invitation to include Russia in the G8 is not an invitation to Vladimir Putin, but to Russia. Leaders come and go, as will Mr. Putin, but to exclude a country from such a multilateral forum could take decades to reverse. The ability to meet, discuss and disagree is preferable to not meeting.

Vahan Kololian, chairman, Mosaic Institute

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In fact, unfair

Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre wants us to trust that the Fair Elections Act is, in fact, fair and dismisses “critics’ hysteria” (Why The Fair Elections Act Is, In Fact, Fair – March 24).

This is rich coming from a representative of the governing Conservative Party, whose data base was used for robocalls and which has given us: in-and-out campaign financing, selective prorogation, Duffygate, single-bid fighter-jet acquisition, the Nadon selection, multipage omnibus budget bills and Afghan detainee handovers. Oh, and lest I forget, it is the only government in the history of our parliamentary democracy to have been found in contempt of that august institution. Hysterical, indeed.

Chris Phillips, Ancaster, Ont.

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Pierre Poilievre refutes accusations that he selectively quoted Harry Neufeld’s report by, well, selectively quoting from Mr. Neufeld’s report.

He stays true to this government’s form by demonizing Mr. Neufeld – author of the compliance report upon which the government relied in drafting the Fair Elections Act – as a “devout supporter of vouching” and faults Elections Canada for doing a poor job of getting people to vote (while offering no indication how that situation would improve if they made less of an effort to get the vote out, as this legislation proposes). He wraps up his weak defence of the act by claiming Canadians will instinctively understand these changes are fair.

I suppose in the absence of evidence, instinct is all he’s got left.

Dave McVean, Toronto

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Pierre Poilievre is wrong when he writes that “Canadians instinctively understand that these changes are reasonable and fair.” A poll done for the Council of Canadians, Canadian Federation of Students and LeadNow.ca by Ekos Research found the opposite:

- 70 per cent of respondents said Elections Canada’s inability to publicly report on voter complaints, including about fraudulent calls, makes them less supportive of the legislation;

- 61 per cent said the elimination of the voucher system used by over 100,000 people makes them less supportive of the bill;

- 63 per cent said that forbidding Elections Canada from engaging in research and education about the state of democracy in Canada, including the Student Vote program, makes them less supportive of the legislation.

The more Canadians know about what’s in the bill, the more they oppose it.

Garry Neil, executive director, Council of Canadians

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Will Canadians have to look to the courts yet again to protect our most basic rights?

Suzzanne Fisher, Calgary

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Wrong analogy

In Paper Soldiers In A Losing Battle (Facts & Arguments, March 24), Sophie Kohn identifies something we don’t like to acknowledge: that the “battle” analogy doesn’t always fit a cancer diagnosis, and that sometimes peaceful co-existence is the only possibility. Exquisite writing, honest and moving. Thank you.

Judy McFarlane, Vancouver

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Bribed with taxes

Re Wynne To Lean Left In Budget To Dodge Spring Election (March 25): Unbelievable. Despite Ontario’s debt and deficit, Premier Kathleen Wynne will beggar the province unto eternity to mollify the NDP and buy another season in power? Just how far does Ontario have to sink before someone reins in this profligate Liberal vote-buying with our own taxes?

Chris Mills, Fort Erie, Ont.

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Song of seven

Re Parents Push Alberta Back To Math Basics (March 25): At the British primary school in Kathmandu, Nepal, during the 1970s, teachers taught times tables by getting the children to sing them. We often heard our young son singing his multiplication tables around the house.

Fun for children and grown-ups and easy to remember. I recently heard the seven-times table sung to the tune of Waltzing Matilda – seven ones are seven, seven twos are 14 …Sharon Thompson, Toronto

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Bravo, Mr. Galati

The double page report on Saturday on the Supreme Court decision that rejected Marc Nadon as a member of that court because he did not have the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution was splendid (A Legal Marker & Political Blow – Folio, March 22).

I was dismayed, however, that there was no mention of Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati, without whom none of this would have happened. A man who loves the law and the Constitution, Mr. Galati was the one who recognized the deficiency in Mr. Nadon’s nomination and started the action to have him disqualified on his own initiative, on his own time and at his own expense.

Later, of course, he was joined by others. But his integrity and foresight should be recognized.

Paul T. Hellyer, Toronto

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Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati. Bravo, Mr. Galati, and thank you.

Ron Chaplin, Ottawa

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You’d swear that …

Re Divisive Toronto Island Airport Proposal Packs Council Chamber (March 25): To listen to Porter Airlines head Bob Deluce, you’d swear that all he wants is to improve the lives of Torontonians, the convenience of travelling and jobs jobs jobs.

To listen to some of our city guardians, you’d swear that they’ve forgotten the promises of just a few years ago not to open the island airport to jets.

To listen to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, you’d swear that … well, you’d just swear.

John Cadiz, Toronto

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Fashion crime?

Re Supreme Setback (March 22): This may seem shallow, but when it comes to the outfits worn by the members of our Supreme Court, I ask: How can we respect the judgment of adults dolled up to look like Mrs. Santa Claus?

Anne Lane, Toronto

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