Adieu, Mr. Charest?
I’m curious. How long do you think it will take before someone writes a letter to the editor urging The Globe and Mail to back Jean Charest as the next leader of the federal Liberal Party?
After three recent years living in Quebec, it sure won’t be me. There are many things I miss about la belle province. Mr. Charest isn’t one of them.
Alison Pelletier, Toronto
The Progressive Conservative Party that Jean Charest left no longer exists. Since he stepped away from federal politics, the Liberal Party has taken over much of the ideological space the PCs once occupied.
Mr. Charest says he is leaving politics, but in politics, “never say never” is a given. Aren’t the federal Liberals looking for a leader? The Globe could do worse than to recommend Mr. Charest for the job.
Martin Saunders, Calgary
Canada and Quebec owe Jean Charest a great deal, and it is to be hoped that we will see him, still young, serving us in a capacity worthy of him. National Liberal Party leader?
Barry McGrory, Toronto
Relating to Quebec
I was particularly incensed by your editorial, Over To You, Mr. Harper (Sept. 5). Stephen Harper has recognized the Québécois as a nation, often starts speeches in French and is generally respectful of Quebec. But unlike previous Liberal administrations, he does not bend himself out of shape pandering to Quebeckers. For much too long, Quebec has been at the centre of power in Canada.
Quebec sucks up equalization payments funded by Western Canada, while adding constantly to its provincial debt, expanding unaffordable social programs and systematically discriminating against non-Francophones. If this country is so bad (and I know it isn’t), then Quebec should leave.
Bob Wayte, Calgary
The horrific shooting during PQ Leader Pauline Marois’s acceptance speech, and the alleged perpetrator’s cry “The English are waking up!”, while the act of a lone individual, may nonetheless provide more incentive to some Québécois not previously so inclined to join the sovereigntist camp (Montreal Shooting Suspect ‘Sick, But Never, Never Violent’ – Sept. 6).
As one very awake Anglaise, I simply wish for all Québécois to hear more from those of us who cherish them. I was born in Toronto and live in Ottawa, but have worked in Gatineau for more than 25 years in a largely francophone milieu.
Let me say, loud and clear, that it is Quebec that allows my soul to breathe.
Julie Hughes, Ottawa
At the minimum
One can only hope that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s trial will help Canadians from across the political spectrum to understand how overzealous mandatory minimum sentencing, whether for mayors or common criminals, can result in justice being perverted (Baffled By Rules: Toronto’s Mayor Reveals His Blind Spot – Sept. 6).
If convicted, Mr. Ford will face a punishment that is extremely disproportionate to his crime. It should serve as a stark warning for all who wish to see the hands of justice tied ever tighter.
Graham Adria, Edmonton
Let’s not be hard on Rob Ford for not reading the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Clearly, his drive to work just isn’t long enough.
Wendy Fredricks, Toronto
While, no doubt, the media loves the antics of the Ford brothers, Toronto suffers the high cost of having an ineffectual mayor. I am also left to wonder why the McGuinty government has not amended the democratically challenged Municipal Elections Act to prevent related parties from holding two or more positions on a city council.
Rick Munro, Kingston
Old order, new order
Maybe the old order is finished, as Margaret Wente says (Hope And Change Won’t Cut It Now – Sept. 6). But it’s not just because of the increasing strain on our fiscal resources. The state’s legitimacy and capacity to act in a bewilderingly complex society is also eroding.
The notion of the highly centralized, controlling state, like many ideas bequeathed to us by the Enlightenment, is pretty much tapped out. Maybe it’s time for collaborative approaches to governing through creative partnerships with community groups, non-profits, service clubs and churches, mosques and temples, too. Let them share the burden our public institutions seem increasingly unable to bear.
The state has a role to play in protecting our rights and safeguarding our freedom. But a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work any more.
Neil Macdonald, Toronto
Protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed does not necessitate the eradication of other options (Staying Abreast – letters, Sept. 5). Many mothers are unable to produce a full breast-milk supply, regardless of how much support they have or whether the formula is kept under lock and key. Reasons for not breastfeeding are many, ranging from the mother’s medication to postpartum depression. By supporting and educating parents without resorting to shaming, obstetrics wards can be pro-breastfeeding, not anti-bottlefeeding, and can give new mothers what they most need: a vote of confidence.
Catherine London, Kingston
Trash at sea
Having crossed the Pacific from Japan to Alaska in my Canadian-registered sailboat this summer, I was very interested in reading Tracking Debris From The Other Side Of The World (Sept. 5).
Volunteers tracking this debris are to be congratulated – one piece of debris is one too many – but readers might be forgiven for concluding from this article and others like it that the North Pacific is suddenly awash with garbage. Following the same route as the volunteers, my wife and I saw no more trash than we’ve seen in many other parts of the world: several plastic fishing floats, the odd fragment of Styrofoam, a couple of plastic bottles. This was actually less than we saw crossing from Hawaii to B.C. some 20 years ago.
What we have noticed after a cumulative nine years at sea and some 60,000 nautical miles is fishing boats (longliners and seiners) in ever more remote corners of the oceans, many nations’ coastal waters now having been “fished out.” Predatory and largely unmonitored fishing of this kind is far more pernicious to the health of marine ecosystems than the garbage generated by last year’s tsunami in Japan.
Nicholas Coghlan, sailing vessel Bosun Bird, Victoria
That finger of his
Watching Bill Clinton give his speech at the Democratic convention, I kept noticing that wagging finger of his (Clinton Makes Pitch To His Party’s Middle-Class Core – Sept. 6). Over and over and over again, it just kept on wagging. It was the same wag he gave when he told the world, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
He’s going to die wagging that finger of his. He cannot help it. Once a wag … always a wag. God bless him.
Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa