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March 28: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Photo op

Gotta love that front-page photo of Stephen Harper with a sandwich in his pocket (Minority Man - March 26). Nice relief from the images we see each week of him buttoning his jacket.

Gail Starr, Richmond, B.C.

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Gotta love that picture of Michael Ignatieff flanked by six members of his caucus (Team Approach Crucial For Ignatieff Campaign - March 26). They look like a rich aunt just died and left them nothing in her will.

Wilf McOstrich, Toronto

Election reflection

In the Middle East, the people force governments to hold elections. In Canada, governments force elections on the people.

Holly James, Port Hope, Ont.

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On the first day of the election campaign, your Saturday paper contained many sobering reminders of Canada's need for committed and ethical leadership. No report, however, was more jolting than the statement from economist and UN special adviser Jeffrey Sachs (Economist's Outlook Darkens On Food Prospects - March 26) that "we used to depend on Canada as being the conscience of North America but we don't depend on it any more."

My hope is that the Canadian electorate will remember the times when justice was denied, power abused, ethics ignored and compassion withheld. Those actions have had a barbaric effect in Canada as well as abroad.

Jim Sinclair, North Bay, Ont.

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This election gives Canada a real choice - between a parliamentary democracy where decisions are made openly with information sharing and respect for debate and a style of leadership that clings to power at all costs, hoards information, makes decisions behind closed doors and sets the attack dogs on anyone who objects. Democracy can be awkward, but it's the best we have. I hope we choose wisely.

Denis Lyons, Mulhurst Bay, Alta.

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I'm turning off all news channels for the next six weeks and watching Soprano reruns so I can see how the professionals run things.

Bill Jaine, Westport, Ont.

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Would it be fair to say our political leaders have put Canada in a state of electorile dysfunction?

Vipin Bery, Toronto

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By the time we're finished with this election, the country will be due for a colonoscopy. Given what we'll be digesting, there'll be plenty of flushing.

Leo J. Deveau, Halifax

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Here's how to start each day during election season: (1) Open a new file in your computer. (2) Name it "Stephen Harper." (3) Send it to the recycle bin. (4) Empty the recycle bin. (5) Your PC will ask: Do you really want to get rid of "Stephen Harper"? (6) Click yes.

Or you could just vote for the other guys.

Beverly Akerman, Montreal

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Given this unnecessary election, I'm faced with a decision that, in my almost 30 years as a teacher of civics and citizenship, I've always abhorred: I won't vote. And I'm encouraging every other Canadian to do likewise.

I figure it this way. If no one - not a single solitary soul - votes, we'll be sending a message that will resound throughout the entire democratic Western world. We, the electorate, demand that those who supposedly represent us stop the childish games and the mudslinging our polarized politics has become. We won't vote, because that will give credence to this excruciating waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

The adolescents who caused this will then realize they have no mandate for anything other than to do what we asked them to do last time: Run the country, for the good of the country. This boycott may be our only chance.

Andy Blackwood, Simcoe, Ont.

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The erosion of our democratic system is at stake. No matter how Stephen Harper colours it, he's the reason for this election. So let's stop complaining. Democracy is at stake. We must vote.

Armida Spada-McDougall, Vancouver

Coalition interruptus

Can we please have a grown-up conversation about coalition governments (Coalition Would Sow Instability, Harper Warns New Canadians - online, March 27)? Four of our most important Commonwealth allies - Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India - currently have coalition governments, and they haven't died of illegitimacy. Coalition governments have long ruled in Germany, and no one accuses it of lacking democracy or ignoring economic fundamentals.

Michael Lynk, associate professor of law, University of Western Ontario

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There's one sure way to alleviate Conservative fears of a coalition government: Don't elect Conservative candidates.

Ian Kellogg, Toronto

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Strange you should mention Charles I in your editorial Coalition Of Four (March 26) - Charles seems to have many qualities in common with Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff. Their personalities are even similar; British author Ralph Dutton, for example, could have been describing either politician when he wrote: "In spite of his intelligence and cultivation, Charles was curiously inept in his contacts with human beings. Socially, he was tactless and diffident. … In public he was seldom able to make a happy impression."

In addition, Archbishop William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645, noted that Charles was a man "who knew not how to be, or how to be made, great." Again, Charles sounds like Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff. And we all know what happened to Charles.

Roger Smith, Lantzville, B.C.

Quake aftershock

Re The Big 50 That Will Steer The Country (March 26): If you're correct that my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis is "leaning Bloc Québécois" - where it finished fifth in 2008 with 5.74 per cent of the vote - then the Japanese earthquake did, indeed, knock Earth off its axis.

Don Sancton, Beaconsfield, Que.

Jewish surprise

Jeffrey Simpson (Pedalling Furiously, Going Nowhere - March 25) says "the conservative forces have large elements of evangelical Christian groups on board and, courtesy of the Harper government's Israeli policy, the Jewish community." I'm quite certain that many fellow Jews were as surprised as I was to read such a statement, which seems to portray the "Jewish community" as a homogeneous group that has swung to the Conservative Party.

And I find the suggestion that our political positions as committed Canadians are determined by the government's position on a single foreign policy issue to be offensive.

Stanley Greenspoon, North Vancouver

Warrior queens

Margaret Wente (Blame R2P: The Intellectuals Go To War - March 26) sure does make one's head spin when she inveighs against the "warrior queens" such as Barack Obama adviser Samantha Power who make the case for enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

Is this not the same Ms. Wente who beat the war drums in favour of George Bush's invasion of Iraq?

Reg Whitaker, Victoria

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