Step up, speak out
We are a nation of sheep, content to allow an unelected, unaccountable appointee to suspend our democratic processes at the whim of the party in power (The Legislature That Should Resume – editorial, Oct. 23). Each successive prorogation draws less public outrage. Nowhere in this process is the Lieutenant-Governor (or the Governor-General) required to explain his or her decision, despite the fact that, if there is any reason for the existence of these jobs, it is to safeguard our democracy from the abuses of power.
Lieutenant-Governor David Onley ought to explain to the voters of Ontario why he granted Dalton McGuinty his prorogation. If he cannot do so, he should exercise his authority and recall the legislature.
J.C. Henry, Mississauga
The Liberals are telling us prorogation was necessary to get a deal done with teachers and civil servants. It’s tempting to take them at their word when they tell us they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
Your editorial suggests the Liberals’ true motive may have been a faint hope that this would make various problems, such as the gas plant closures, simply melt away.
There are members of the Liberal caucus who are not at all comfortable with what Dalton McGuinty has done, either because they’re ethically opposed or because they’re hearing from constituents. But where are the potential leadership candidates? Why have we heard nothing from them? Are the Ontario Liberals so wanting for leadership that no one will come out and say that the legislature needs to get back to work? Why is it left to the opposition parties?
Someone in the Liberal caucus needs to step up to the plate.
Steve Soloman, Toronto
Big-boy story time
Absent from the litany of devastating consequences of Jeffrey Delisle’s perfidy is any indication that those of us not involved in the spying game will notice anything as a result (Confessions Of A Traitor With A Broken Heart – Oct. 23). We read that some players in the game might have been exposed, and that the other teams now might spurn our team.
But the overwhelming message is that John le Carré was right in his cynical view of “intelligence” matters – that they matter only to the players, who spend careers swapping useless information, and stories about each other.
Douglas P. Wiens, Edmonton
The tainted-eggs crisis that broke out in 1988 in the British food chain exposed the laissez-faire inadequacy of Conservative stewardship. The problems at XL Foods expose a similar dependence on ideology over practical management of the food chain – and likely much else – and the abrogation of what surely must be one of the most basic duties of any government (Bad Meat Is Your Problem – Life, Oct. 9).
The core issue remains the same: ideology trumping good sense and a hundred years of advances in basic sanitation.
David Weatherston, Toronto
The lesson of XL isn’t that business comes first, but that science comes last. If we irradiated food, there wouldn’t be an E. coli problem – and I could have a medium rare hamburger instead of a hockey puck for a meal in Ontario.
Derek Nelson, Ajax, Ont.
It’s a bad deal
Canada is about to move one step closer to being a resource colony for China. With the focus in the media and the business world on the Chinese oil company CNOOC’s takeover of Nexen and the recent failings of major foreign takeovers, there is a deafening silence on the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Thank you to Lawrence Martin for addressing this issue (Why No Debate Of The China Investment Pact? – Oct. 23).
There has been no national public debate, no debate in the House of Commons, scant committee review, no negotiations or consultations with the provincial governments, no transparency. Nothing for a trade deal that has the potential to challenge our democratic laws and policies when we move to improve labour rules, environmental standards, and add economic value, because these could threaten Chinese profits. This is a bad deal for most Canadians, and one that merits genuine scrutiny and debate.
Nikki Skuce, ForestEthics Advocacy, Smithers, B.C.
Fair to Armstong?
The president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) now says Lance Armstrong deserves to be forgotten in cycling. Methinks the president doth protest too much (Armstrong’s Dilemma: Fess Up Or Shut Up – Sports, Oct. 23).
Many, if not most, top riders in the Tour de France during that period were doping. Most everybody – riders, coaches, officials – knew it. Doping was the de facto standard of the day and the UCI and Tour benefited from these cyclists who took performance-enhancing drugs and turned in superhuman feats of endurance.
In this light, I’m not so sure it is fair that Mr. Amstrong should be made the convenient scapegoat of a governing body that looked the other way, and be demonized for doing something that was commonplace in cycling.
Jon Heshka, associate professor specializing in sports law, Thompson Rivers University
That the EU improves its treatment of Roma citizens is a necessary but insufficient solution to the problem of Roma refugees (It’s Up To The EU – editorial, Oct. 22). The guidelines for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees state that discrimination can be considered persecution if it is repeated or if authorities are unable to offer protection from it. This is clearly the case for European Roma.
To assume things are better for them in France, Germany or Italy can be disproven by any news search. Claimants withdraw not because of criminality, as your editorial implies, but because they can no longer live with the uncertainty of when they will be deported, separated from their families, living in shelters, unemployed, dependent upon food banks, and now without health services. They are not responsible for the fact that their withdrawals are central to our government’s calculation of the “safety” of a country.
Evoking the “integrity” of the system is policy-speak for justifying the legal and political instruments aimed at keeping out these asylum-seekers. Do we want to be complicit with the EU’s exclusion of the Roma?
Cynthia Levine-Rasky, Kingston
It’s so bad that …
Here’s the best indicator I’ve seen of the declining state of the economy (Study Finds Canadians Aren’t Feeling Economic Growth In Their Daily Lives – Oct. 23). The person who broke into my car a few years ago at the height of the recession left my circa-2003 iPod on the seat in plain view – but the person who broke into my car this week was so desperate, he took even that priceless bit of tech.
Peter Drobac, Toronto
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