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Newfoundland and Labrador Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie's sense of humour is under attack. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Newfoundland and Labrador Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie's sense of humour is under attack. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Nov. 5: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Ha ha or uh-uh?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper knew that John Crosbie, the 80-year-old Tory warhorse, had a tendency to put his foot in his mouth when he appointed him as Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Crosbie’s sense of humour, which includes making jokes about Pakistani call centres deploying suicide bombers, may be tasteless, even appalling, but he was a known quantity when he was appointed (Colourful Crosbie To Tame The Zingers – Nov. 4).

The issue here is not John Crosbie. There is a larger issue – the peril of patronage appointments.

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg

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Did you hear the one about the has-been Newfoundland politician who, in a virtuoso display of boorishness, cracked a joke about suicide bombing just days after a young Canadian soldier was killed in such an attack? It isn’t the least bit funny.

A Pakistani joke is one thing. An insult to our war dead, delivered the week before Remembrance Day, is quite another. No one is asking John Crosbie to be boring. Just worthy of the office he occupies.

Tariq Alvi, Toronto

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I suppose it had to be expected that The Globe (Next Time, Bore Us – editorial, Nov. 4) would jump on its white charger and deliver a typical holier-than-thou, politically correct, sanctimonious slap on the wrist to John Crosbie for his joke. Pakistan’s link with suicide bombers, by the way, has received some pretty bad front-page coverage in your newspaper. Please stop being so oversensitive. As for Mr. Crosbie, Canadian public life needs more characters just like him to liven up the national scene.

Reg Harrill, Calgary

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John Crosbie has a sense of humour, how very refreshing for a public figure. All he needs to do now is to polish up on his sensitivity.

As someone who was born in Pakistan, I know for a fact that Pakistanis love to laugh at themselves. Pick up any newspaper and you’ll see satire and humour directed at all aspects of society.

However, what Mr. Crosbie appears to have failed to comprehend is that terrorist attacks are constantly killing innocent Pakistanis, men, women and children, and their suffering and pain is not funny.

Shahina Siddiqui, Winnipeg

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John Crosbie’s joke about the call centre in Pakistan touched on two points many Canadians find annoying, at the least: offshore call centres staffed by people who can barely speak English, or otherwise respond effectively to the topics in question; the perfidy of the country that is supposedly an ally, but harbours those responsible for some of the deaths of our people in Afghanistan.

If comments such as Mr. Crosbie’s hit a little “too close to home,” so be it, and the more power to him.

David Hannaford, Barrie, Ont.

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Goodness gracious, holy moly, aren’t some people’s knickers in a knot over John Crosbie’s remarks? It seems in his attempt to lighten up a swearing-in ceremony for a new cabinet, an event that had all the trappings of being politically correct, he delightfully put some noses out of joint.

Leo J. Deveau, Regina

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Seriously reconsider

Our police chief in the Region of Durham just gave his annual report to Regional Council. He stated: Property crimes and crimes against persons are down significantly; elimination of the long-gun registry and destruction of the data collected deprives police of a major tool in reducing gun crimes; and several provisions of Bill C-10 indicating mandatory minimum sentences will lead to fewer pleas, more trials and increased costs not just for provincial courts and jails but for municipal police forces.

I suspect many police chiefs across the country would say the same thing. Taxpayers would be better served if the Harper government truly got “tough on crime” and seriously reconsidered these measures (Expensive, Counterproductive, Politically Motivated – Nov. 4).

Steve Parish, Mayor, Town of Ajax, Ont.

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Not good enough

Tom Flanagan (The Best Seats In The House – Nov. 4) suggests that Ontario might have “some minor cause for complaint” in remaining underrepresented despite the proposed changes to seat apportionment. The cause for complaint is more than minor. A vote from Ontario should be equal to a vote from anywhere else in this country. If it isn’t, then Ontario will continue to be denied fair representation. If parity isn’t really important, should Ontario then collectively pay 3 per cent less than its share of federal taxes? I doubt that would be considered minor or reasonable.

This bill makes things a little closer to equal, but better is not good enough.

Christine Speer, Toronto

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He deserves better

NDP justice critic Joe Comartin claims he “can’t speculate” about how he came to believe that Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein had “promised” to become bilingual (Judge Rebukes NDP MPs For Claim He Broke Vow To Become Fluent In French – Nov. 3). Yet, this lack of proof did not prevent either Mr. Comartin or Françoise Boivin from accusing him of breaking this alleged promise.

Judge Rothstein is a distinguished jurist who deserves better than to be the subject of false accusations made in the name scoring partisan points and media attention.

Michael Kaczorowski, Ottawa

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Strung along

I am boiling mad after reading Margaret Wente’s column (A Nice Idea Until The People Got In The Way – Nov. 3). The Greeks and Italians are not proving that “every cultural stereotype has turned out to be true,” they were the (willing) victims of Western European prejudice themselves. They were admitted to the euro zone for ideological reasons (ancient Greece, “cradle of Western civilization”; Renaissance Italy, “home of modern man”), not on solid financial grounds, and then they were strung along by major banks.

Offered the kind of very low interest loans German and French industries need to survive in the global marketplace, Greece (as well as Portugal, Ireland and Italy) jumped at the chance to build infrastructure (and lard up the pork barrel, yes) at the lowest borrowing cost those states had ever seen. No wonder Greek governments built schools, playgrounds and patronage structures all over the countryside. (Look at what our own minister in charge of the Treasury Board did before the Huntsville G8 summit.)

As a friend who is now in the Bundestag said: How could Europe come together around a common currency without including its birthplace, Greece? The positive prejudices of highly educated Eurocrats will have proven almost as destructive as the negative ones Ms. Wente presents about Greeks and Italians.

Andrew Gow, professor of history, University of Alberta

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Aren’t things bad enough in Europe without making minced meat out of the “good burgers of Hamburg”? Surely, across their country, perplexed Germans are scratching their heads wondering what the burghers of that fair city did to so offend your columnist.

Marion James, Montreal

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