The China debate
We have been a resource colony for the U.S. for decades (It’s A Bad Deal – letters, Oct. 24). I trust that any steps to temper China’s influence or stripping of our resources will also apply equally to the States, whose non-state-owned corporations have been perfectly willing to put U.S. interests in front of Canada’s. And I hear Brazilian voices in the background.
Ted Syperek, Toronto
Re Why No Debate On The China Investment Pact? (Oct. 23): In the past, international treaties and agreements were entirely the jurisdiction of cabinet – a jealously guarded prerogative. Only in the rare case where a treaty required a change in Canadian law, did Parliament get a say.
We introduced a new process that, for the first time, gives Parliament a say over international agreements. The Tabling Treaties in Parliament Policy allows the opposition parties to hold a debate and a vote on a treaty. They simply need to ask for such a debate on a supply day in the more than four sitting weeks that follow. In the case of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, the opposition have had four such opportunities to debate it – but chose not to.
Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader
So hide nothing
After battling for months to get 60-plus federal government departments (including Jim Flaherty’s own Finance Department) to respond to a request to provide details of budget cuts, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page is putting the matter in the hands of a judge (Budget Watchdog Takes Feds To Court – Oct. 22). As Dr. Phil says, “People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.”
John Ellis, Toronto
Other guy’s terrain
While I certainly agree with Jeffrey Simpson (Obama’s Edge: Muscularity With Restraint – Oct. 24) that, during Monday’s U.S. foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney “displayed the hubris of the powerful and the ignorance of the uninformed,” I must disagree with his claim that President Barack Obama’s debate performance and policy suggest otherwise.
Even accounting for each candidate’s perceived strategic need to co-opt the other’s political terrain, Mr. Obama’s posture – marked, for instance, on Monday by a pandering for pro-Israel votes, as well as by the overriding presupposition that, from the Arab world to China, the world properly awaits the moulding hand, or at least wagging finger, to say nothing of the circling drone, of the sole indispensable nation – is, indeed, much the same as Mr. Romney’s.
Andrew M. Wender, Victoria
Conrad Black (Former Media Baron Lashes Out At British Television Journalist During Interview – Oct. 24 ) is so funny, so pugnacious when confronted by obnoxious journalists, so willing to fight the good fight, and simultaneously both refreshingly articulate and colloquial … I wish he was on our side.
Robin Collins, Ottawa
The Lance Armstrong headline (Ignoring Ignominy: Why The Disgraced Can Still Sell – Oct. 24)) would have been a much better fit on the Conrad Black story. Priggishness notwithstanding.
Ellen Flookes, Calgary
What editorial cussedness – what petty, perverse populism, as he himself might say – makes The Globe continue to refer to Conrad Black as “Mr. Black”? He’s a crook and a scoundrel but he’s a bona fide peer, Lord Black of Crossharbour. Deal with it.
Ted Gale, Ottawa
The West, the rest
Brian Mulroney pooh-poohs Preston Manning’s successful political mantra that the “West wants in” by claiming “The West was already in” when he took office (‘The West Was Already In’: Mulroney Defends Legacy – Oct. 24). True, he killed the hated national energy program and had many high-profile Westerners in his cabinet, but their power to protect Western interests was fatally undercut when Mr. Mulroney overruled his own officials to award the $100-million CF-18 aircraft service contract to Canadair of Montreal, instead of Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, despite Bristol’s cheaper, technically superior bid. Westerners were universally outraged.
An Environics poll found 84 per cent of Westerners then felt Ottawa didn’t treat them fairly. Within a year, Mr. Manning rode this outrage to the founding convention of his Reform Party, held appropriately in Winnipeg, and Canadian politics would never be the same.
Claire Hoy, author of Friends In High Places: Politics and Patronage in the Mulroney Government, Toronto
Despite its present woes, Douglas & MacInyre made an extraordinary contribution to the literary culture (The Demise Of Douglas & MacIntyre Ends A 40-year Dream – Life & Arts, Oct. 24). Its loss will be a monumental one for authors and readers alike. But it is nonsense to suggest that the “dream” for an independent industry is at an end simply because its largest player couldn’t make ends meet.
What of all the wily, tenacious, innovative little literary presses that are the backbone of our publishing culture? Perhaps they are not small merely because they are bad at being big, but rather because their smallness is a model for true sustainability, independence and cultural impact? Whether it’s in farming, banking or publishing, we must get over this obsession with “biggest knows best” and foster diversified economies and industries with players of all sizes.
Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press, Kentville, N.S.
Not a lawyer joke
Removing the articling requirement for student lawyers will simply eliminate a useful bottleneck in the system and flood the market with lawyers with no job prospects (The End Of Forced Articling On The Table – Oct. 23).
It reminds me of the situation with teachers in this province – a superfluity of young grads sit idle while veteran teachers keep going until they’re 67 or older. In France, they only accept the number of teachers into training that the public system is sure to absorb. Even though it sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, maybe what we need is fewer law students, not more lawyers.
Marco Chown Oved, Toronto
Incoming in Italy
It is not hard to see why so many hunting accidents are occurring in Italy if hunters are allowed to use grapeshot (Rise In Hunting Victims In Italy Prompts Calls For Reform – Oct. 23). Our hunters are limited to birdshot or buckshot, which is fired out of hand-held shotguns. Grapeshot is fired out of artillery pieces. A tad unsporting perhaps, but I bet that meat just falls off the bone.
Steve Pitt, Rutherglen, Ont.