Your article describes the PQ’s decision to hike income taxes as a “bold move” (PQ Acts On Pledge To Tax The Wealthy – Sept. 25). There is nothing bold about it. It is the laziest and most obvious instinct of a government that sees no way to pay for the outlandish promises it and past Quebec governments have made.
Eventually, someone will have to do the only thing that will get Quebec out of its fiscal mess – for example, promoting economic growth. Someone will have to stop Quebec’s morphine drip of dirigiste economic policies, cut taxes and encourage investment.
But nobody proposed that in the last campaign. Perhaps it was too bold.
Joseph Bricker, Oxford, U.K.
As democratic as …
I don’t concur with Lawrence Martin’s criticism of Stephen Harper and his government (Our New Normal: The Mockery Of Democracy – Sept. 25).
Canada is probably as democratic or more so as any other country. I would say “moderation” describes the leadership of the Prime Minister and his party; this has given the country some kind of equilibrium. Mr. Harper deserves the statesmanship award.
James Marvin, Toronto
Bravo to Lawrence Martin for reminding us the emperor has no clothes. Even my conservative friends decry the cynicism and hypocrisy with which we are governed. Our younger son refuses to vote for these reasons. I despair.
Hope Smith, Calgary
The explanations offered by Margaret Wente seemed so familiar to me (A Columnist Defends Herself – Sept. 25). No wonder: I’ve encountered all of them many times in four decades of marking undergraduate papers, from “I put it in my notes, then put it in my column,” to “I read that column before I wrote my own on the subject” to “I moved in and out of quoted material too freely” and, of course, “I often am … a target for people who don’t like what I write.”
Something more original might have been more appropriate.
Len Doucette, Toronto
Any number of self-serving “apologies” will not change the fundamental question any future column of Margaret Wente’s will raise: Who wrote that?
Judy Malone, Toronto
The news media have a dismal record of owning up to their many transgressions, so it was encouraging to see Margaret Wente and The Globe and Mail deal with the issue of plagiarism and respond to the accusations (Globe Takes Action On Allegations Against Columnist – Sept. 25).
We accept Ms. Wente’s mea culpa at face value, and believe her lapses are not serious. We also believe that much of what motivates the attacks on her character and credibility are rooted in a dislike of what she writes. This, sadly, is a growing trend. People who don’t like what other people write or say are becoming adept at destroying the person, rather than the argument. Virtually all political discourse reflects this trend.
We are frequent readers of Ms. Wente’s columns, and frequently disagree with her. But exposure to ideas that conflict with our own spurs us to think more deeply and expand our horizons. We would hate to see this episode mute her enthusiasm for spirited discourse.
Don and Diane Whiteley, North Vancouver
It is refreshing that there is still such huge demand for French immersion (Lottery May Decide Who Gets Into French Immersion – Sept. 25). Acquiring a new language is a rich learning experience that broadens a child’s cognitive, social, emotional and cultural realms.
The key is in the teaching. Early French immersion is but one road on the path to bilingualism. School districts are scrambling to find fully bilingual (and bicultural) teachers trained to teach early French immersion. Late French immersion, intensive French, core French, with quality teaching, are highly effective programs that put much less of a burden on school systems.
Janet Brine, New Westminster, B.C.
Could it be worse?
Mike Moffatt (No Defence For Economic Nationalism – Report on Business, Sept. 25) calls Canada’s prospective buy-Canadian defence industrial policy “economic nationalism run amok.”
Au contraire: Following our foreign buys of wonky submarines, overpriced jets and hapless helicopters, could Canada do any worse?
Dave Moores, Oakville, Ont.
Centre the pendulum
It is disregard for the public purse that led to the Rob Ford movement, but the pendulum has now swung too far. In the recent trade mission to Chicago, city councillors Michelle Berardinetti and Jaye Robinson shared a hotel room to cut costs (‘Delegate Fee’ Helps Foot Bill For Chicago Trip – Sept. 25).
Name another industry where professionals are forced to share a hotel room to arbitrarily lower the bill? Business travel involves hectic, packed schedules to take maximum advantage of the time. Retiring to an empty hotel room provides the only solitude after a long day of the opposite.
Our city councillors are professionals. It’s time we treated them as such. Like members of any other organization, they have to answer for unreasonable expenses (i.e. Savoy room upgrades).
Have we lost the ability to judge what is reasonable?
Paul Rasbach, Toronto
‘Cattle’ on ice
Hockey players have been described as “cattle” by a Red Wings executive (Bettman Finds Timely Diversion – Sports, Sept. 24). The players association should use the cattle factor in negotiations: Never mind money, what players need to bargain for is a larger ice surface.
It doesn’t have to be Olympic size, but a bigger surface would extend most players’ careers by five years, eliminate head injuries and boring clutch-and-grab hockey. The message in cattle metaphor is simple: Owners, when the show cattle are too big for the corral, don’t send them to the economic slaughterhouse. Build a bigger corral.
Thaddius Hatte, Halifax
As time goes by
I remember Sam the Record Man – the store, that is (He Owned The ‘Best Chain Of Record Stores’ – Obituaries, Sept. 25).
As a teen, I remember walking into Sam’s almost every Saturday for a good decade. Pop music on the first floor, more exotic kinds of music upstairs. I also remember the creak in the stairs, and always trying to keep that creak to a minimum.
If only Sam Sniderman could play it. Again. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa
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