It must be confusing for political operatives like Dimitri Soudas, who were once hired by Stephen Harper for their demonstrated success in getting Conservatives elected by any means (Soudas Ousted After Party Probed Nomination Intervention – April 1). Who knew that using the same data base and tactics developed to give an edge against your opponents outside the party would, when applied to fellow Conservatives, get them all shirty?
Craig Hall, Kingston
Dimitri Soudas’s ousting from his job as executive director of the Conservative Party for trying to pressure Tories in Oakville-North Burlington into accepting his fiancée as their candidate in the next federal election raises serious questions only she can answer: Does Eve Adams, MP for Mississauga-Brampton South, have any loyalty to the voters who sent her to Ottawa? Does she feel a sense of obligation to the people of her riding?
Or is she just a touring MP?
Ray Argyle, Kingston
Such blatant interference in selection processes is symptomatic of the “anything goes” attitude in certain conservative circles. What is needed is some sort of regulation of the selection process – a “Fair Elections Act” comes to mind as a suitable appellation.
Ian Guthrie, Ottawa
Cake, Ms. Marois?
Re PQ Vows To Use Charter Protection For Religious Ban (April 1): I just don’t get it. Maybe some some lawyer can explain it to me. I know that Quebec has on occasion invoked the notwithstanding clause. Now, the PQ, should it be re-elected, plans to do it again to protect its so-called secular charter from any legal challenge, says Pauline Marois. However, Quebec is not a signatory to the Canadian Constitution. To my mind, by invoking the notwithstanding clause, the Quebec government is either acknowledging the legitimacy of the Constitution – or its invocation is moot. Or is this the constitutional equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too?
Brian Caines, Ottawa
Care, not its origin
Re Toronto Hospital Courts Wealthy ‘Medical Tourists’ (April 1): Politicians need to step into the 21st century and accept that what is important is the quality and timeliness of care, not whether it is provided by the public or private sectors. From 1991 to 1996, I was CEO of a leading teaching hospital in London, England. Within the hospital, one ward of 22 beds was used in part by Britons with private insurance, but mainly by overseas patients. The profit from private patients was used to pay for the costs of treating more English patients than the National Health Service could afford. A win-win for everyone, I think. It created employment and reduced waiting lists.
If we allowed hospitals to reopen closed wards or beds and use them to treat private patients, we would be able to help reduce waiting lists for Canadians by using the profit from the private patients for that purpose.
Not every hospital will have spare capacity, but doesn’t it make sense not to preclude what may be a sensible decision simply because of a knee-jerk reaction to “private” care?
Bill Bain, Toronto
Failing Soviet-style system seeks foreign currency to stay afloat: Do Sunnybrook’s administrators have Fidel on speed dial?
Eric Pugash, MD, Vancouver
Let’s talk ‘fair’
It’s time for Stephen Harper to withdraw this UnFair Elections Act and create an all-party committee to draft a bill that will be cognizant that we live in a highly mobile society, where people move frequently, where there is soon to be no door-to-door postal delivery and most people use e-banking to pay bills and receive government cheques (If Evidence Voted, This Bill Would Die – editorial, April 1).
Such an all-party committee must be willing to go out and talk to Canadians about proposed legislation that is fundamental to our democracy. The committee might even consult with officials from Elections Canada to understand how to truly draft a bill that will make Canadian elections fair.
Kathy Moggridge, Halifax
If Justin Trudeau has his wits about him, he should be trumpeting that if the Liberals win the next election, they will can the Fair Elections Act.
Colin Proudman, Toronto
Re Ford, Lohan And The Disappearance Of Truth (Life & Arts, April 1): In Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed, Oxford historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto argues that in our media-saturated, celebrity-obsessed, instant-gratification society, the fundamental nature and importance of “truth” eludes us and we have no reliable technique to help us determine what is true and what isn’t. He warns that what tends to count as truth in a culture (and therefore guides its interests and defines its values) is very much determined by those he calls “the victors” – those forces, agencies or elites adept at manipulating and exploiting people for reasons that have nothing to do with helping us separate fact from fallacy, the authentic from the superficial, the real from the artificial.
As a society, we have to care about doing such things if we are ever to stand a chance of overcoming the powerful influence of these truth-hijackers.
But, the more we continue to celebrate, accommodate and enable the publicity-creating machinery behind the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen, the further we get from ever being concerned about what counts as the truth and reality of our lives.
Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.
Alcohol for sale
LCBO kiosks in food stores would be convenient but do not address the core issue: We no longer need the government to control every aspect of our alcohol purchases (Ontario To Uncork Plan For LCBO Kiosks In Grocery Stores – April 1). Governments can still make money from alcohol in the form of taxes (cigarettes generate large tax revenues but there are no government-run tobacco stores). The LCBO should be wound down and private industry allowed to take its place.
Charles Pick, Kingston
Justin Trudeau shouldn’t be criticized for using an expletive (Justin Trudeau Shrugs Off Criticism Over Dropping F-bomb At Charity Boxing Match – March 31).
He should be criticized for using the wrong expletive. With so many choice, new expletives available, he should be looking to enlarge his vocabulary.
For example, “Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservative members will be voting in favour of a duffing omnibus bill that they haven’t even read.” Or, “With this Fair Elections Act, Mr. Harper is clearly saying that he doesn’t give a poilievre about democracy in Canada.” The possibilities are, unfortunately, endless.
Dave Hare, Waterloo, Ont.