Oui, non, peut-être
You say that Stephen Harper’s government must end its insouciance toward Quebec (Over To You, Mr. Harper – editorial, Sept. 5). The government does not exhibit a lack of care or concern, but rather, like the rest of the country, fatigue. We are tired of the sovereignty issue. We keep asking ourselves: With all of the benefits of being part of Canada, what threats or insults, real or concocted, could drive Quebec to secede?
During the 1995 referendum, panic gripped the rest of Canada. Quebec stayed in Canada due, in no small part, to heartfelt overtures from coast to coast. Today, the mention of Quebec sovereignty elicits a yawn and “good luck.”
As for Mr. Harper facing his “defining test,” I thought that was winning a majority government without carrying Quebec.
Darcy Charles Lewis, Calgary
Lost in the election results is the great service to Quebec and Canada of Jean Charest, who helped mollify separatist forces and bring Quebec closer to the rest of the country, while upholding many of its ideals (Marois Makes History, But Fails To Win Majority – Sept. 5). Mr. Charest should leave the stage with his head held high. His personality overtook his party, not leaving a viable successor. In that, he failed. But the results for the Liberals are nothing like the spectacular fall of the national party. His efforts are worthy of our country’s respect.
Don White, Vancouver
Bravo to François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, a 10-month-old party, for attaining 27 per cent of the popular vote. If the CAQ maintains English on its website, stays focused on the key elements of its program – corruption, education, the economy, health care – I’m convinced it will resonate with the citizenry.
Quebec Election 2013 started Wednesday.
Chris Eustace, Montreal
John Ibbitson recently asked if we care if another tussle over Quebec sovereignty occurs (Do We Care If Another Tussle For Quebec Sovereignty Happens Now? – Sept. 1).
The answer, it seems, is not much.
But if a referendum results in a yes vote for Quebec sovereignty, boy will we start caring. Not because Quebec will leave Canada, but because the divorce will have to be negotiated – and without benefit of a pre-nup. Stephen Harper versus Pauline Marois: God help both Canada and Quebec.
Robert Lake, Nepean, Ont.
Me to you, and me
The similarities between my own beginnings and that of Aayushmaan Rana (New Country, Language And Life – Sept. 4) are truly eerie: Coming here as an immigrant at age 11, placed into Grade 6 despite having missed Grade 5, interviewed by a newspaper as part of a piece on immigration and, to top it all, we even look alike.
Twenty years on, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer some words to Aayushmaan and, in essence, to my younger self: 1) Don’t put too much pressure on your parents, they’ve already given you a winning lottery ticket; 2) Realize that you’ll have many obstacles in your way, don’t be one of them, and 3) Do stuff, lots of stuff.
Michael Ahmadi, Toronto
Re University Is Still The Surest Path To Prosperity (Sept. 3): While it is true that some professionals, such as partners in law firms, earn more than the typical college graduate, it is equally true that those professionals earn more than the typical university graduate.
Apple-to-apple comparisons of university and college grads tell a different story. For example, graduates from a typical liberal arts degree program at a university and from a degree program at a college have starting salaries that are about the same, at about $40,000 per year.
More university graduates are pursuing college education to improve their attractiveness to future employers. The number of university graduates applying to Ontario’s colleges has increased more than 40 per cent over the past five years.
Linda Franklin, president, Colleges Ontario
Four more years
It is interesting that Lucy Di Nunzio (In Canada’s Interest – letters, Sept. 5) puts the blame for the current economic situation squarely on the shoulders of Barack Obama. Mr. Obama inherited a bit of a mess, taking office after the Bush administration had embroiled the U.S. and some of its allies in a pointless, lengthy war in Iraq, a colossal waste of human life and money.
The crisis with banks, insurance companies and the financial establishment at large, which has destabilized the global economy, has its roots to a substantial degree in president Ronald Reagan’s deregulation policies, still widely espoused by the Republican Party today.
Considering all this, as a Canadian, I hope Americans give Mr. Obama another four years.
Vivienne Utriainen, Toronto
Re Canada Must Refuel For Cultural Creativity (Sept. 3): We need to not only invest in creativity and technology, we need to teach our teachers, our parents, our leaders of all stripes, that creative thinking, abstract thinking, daydreaming and self-expression are not something to be afraid of, they’re not a waste of precious time.
Rather, they are the forces that will lift us more than any others and help us to convince the world that Canada is the land of the future, not the past. If we don’t create proper frameworks for the imagination (even if that sounds contradictory), if we don’t encourage our best and brightest to think and act like trees reaching for the sun, not lemmings desperately following whoever is in front of them, we will not be fulfilling the incredible promise of this incredible – but sometimes halting – country.
Many of the tools and institutions for this are in place. They need to be celebrated and enriched, not shoved in a corner and punished like recalcitrant children.
John Van Burek, artistic director, Pleiades Theatre, Toronto
There’s bologna, and then, there’s the “the king of bologna”: mortadella (Maybe The Rap Against Bologna Is A Bunch Of Baloney – Life, Sept. 5).
After all, bologna gets its name from Bologna, Italy, where it was called mortadella and where it started. Mortadella is delicious, and it comes as regular or light (less fat). Mortadella, sliced thin on fresh, crusty, white Italian bread with a little mayo: delectable! (As a nod to luncheon-meat sodium, perhaps best eaten just once a week.)
Marie Medoro, Mississauga
Your feature on bologna sandwiches brought to mind an old friend, a former lighthouse keeper’s daughter. At school, she was teased mercilessly because she brought home-caught lobster sandwiches for lunch every day. Then her family came into some money, so she could brag that “now we can afford bologna sandwiches!”
Peter Ward, Ottawa