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Bombardier chairman Pierre Beaudoin: A public uproar has erupted over a nearly 50 per cent pay increase for senior executives at Bombardier, which accepted government bailouts and laid off hundreds of workers. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Bombardier chairman Pierre Beaudoin: A public uproar has erupted over a nearly 50 per cent pay increase for senior executives at Bombardier, which accepted government bailouts and laid off hundreds of workers. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 7: Paid. To Bombardier. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Paid. To Bombardier

Perhaps the suits running Bombardier should consider adding a new line of business to trains and planes: producing tin ears. Bombardier appears to have significant expertise in the field (Pay Packets Away – editorial, April 6).

Brian G. McKeown, Windsor, Ont.

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Executives at any company are just employees, like everyone else. They serve at the board’s pleasure. Hit your numbers or you’re history. Executive compensation is defined and agreed by the compensation committee of the board of directors. The board is single-mindedly focused on creating shareholder wealth. Performance parameters are defined quantitatively. So are the rewards.

Employees are just factors of production at the Bomber, and any other big company, as a VP HR once told me. I, too, was shocked but that’s how it works. I learned not to fall in love with any company because it never loves you back. That’s why terminating 15,000 employees at the Bomber or any other company is no big deal to its leadership.

We should not criticize CEO Alain Bellemare for negotiating the best deal for the Bomber, himself and his team. That’s his job. He and his team – with one exception – earned their bonuses. They hit their numbers. (The executive chairman as a representative of the controlling shareholder should not have accepted any bonus, as the very survival of the Bomber depended on government bailouts. His leadership skills are clearly wanting.)

The government’s complaining about the bonuses now is too little, too late. The press and the public should have complained about the handouts before the fact. The press, in general, failed in its duty to criticize the hand-outs and the governments which gave them. The band plays on …

Mr. Bellemare cannot not help it if our governments are just incompetent. Governments need to stick to filling the potholes.

Gordon Birnie, Stouffville, Ont.

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I was caught up in tax difficulties that were not of my making. Still, I always  paid my staff and suppliers without going into bankruptcy and continue to do so without help or relief for the hundreds of thousands of dollars involved.

For more than six years, in order to pay back what I owe, I have been unable to fly home to see my family, take a vacation or save for a home. The thought of the money I paid in taxes handed out as corporate wealth-fare to the rich and well-connected disgusts me.

My business lives or dies on my decisions and I suffer or succeed on those merits, so I ask: Why should my taxes go to pay for a failed business when the government wants every penny from me, regardless of the situation?

Travis Cutler, Vancouver

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Justice delayed

You suggest a potential conflict exists between the Supreme Court’s judgment on trial delays in R. v. Jordan and the right of the accused to choose their own lawyer (Take Your Pick: Speed Or Fairness, editorial, April 6).

But if the delay is caused solely by the unavailability of that chosen lawyer, doesn’t such delay fall squarely within the “carve out” of delay attributable solely to the defence? The court did state that the defence should not be permitted to benefit from its own delay-causing conduct.

John Weale, Beaconsfield, Ont.

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Home truths

Re Pressure Mounts To Slow Toronto’s Housing Prices (April 6): House prices make great headlines, but deflect attention from the real problem people are facing: affordable housing based on income and living requirements. Most civilized countries have factored in affordable housing, we’ve fallen far short. Housing is a right; it ought not to be a privilege.

Catherine Orion, Caledon, Ont.

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All those painting a scenario that Toronto’s housing bubble will soon pop and that we’ll all be flushed down the financial toilet would do well to consider what is happening in comparable countries. In Sydney and Melbourne, prices keep rising alarmingly, although resource-based Perth, like Calgary, is down. In Auckland, prices keep rising as well.

If this is an international tsunami, it has to understood in a global, not myopically local, context and it will be hard to stop.

Walter Schwager, Toronto

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Stand up to them

Re U.S. Poised To Hammer Canadian Lumber With Big Tariffs (Report on Business, April 6): The Canadian government should immediately announce its intention to impose identical tariffs on all U.S. products made of wood.

This should start on the same day, with the same percentage tariff and deposit requirements, as their proposed U.S. softwood lumber tariffs and should last until the issue is settled.

Items would include all furniture, all forms of cabinets, windows and doors, building siding (both external and internal) and metal or plastic building studs and metal trusses.

The U.S. thinks we don’t have the bottle to stand up to them. Show them that is not true. This is a matter for national unity.

Peter Butler, Kingston

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Scarred by history

As a historian of both South Africa and Canada, I’m mystified by your pique at Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s assertion that Canada can learn from South Africa (The Way Forward, editorial, April 4). Both countries have histories of Indigenous populations drastically reduced by colonial violence, land loss and disease (in South Africa, first the San and Khoekhoe; in Canada too many to name); both have centuries-long histories of dispossession, oppression and segregation of colonized peoples; both countries are deeply scarred by those histories and both sought some remedy through Truth and Reconciliation commissions. Canada’s TRC was modelled on South Africa’s, but lacked a comparable level of public engagement.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould wasn’t proposing we mimic South Africa. Yet it seems even the comparison strikes a nerve.

Back to the history books.

Elizabeth Vibert, associate professor, Department of History, University of Victoria

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Offended. That’s us

At a time when Syria is using chemical weapons on its own citizens, North Korea is testing its nuclear weapon delivery systems and, in either case, we have no real idea how Donald Trump is going to react, it is strangely comforting to know that one of the most contentious issues in Canada right now is the cleanliness of the clothing that the characters in CBC’s Canada: The Story of Us are wearing, in particular “the depiction of Samuel de Champlain as badly needing a bath.” O Canada, indeed (When History Airs, Politics Follows, April 6).

Adam Plackett, Toronto

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What could be a more symbolic tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday than a TV series with which multiple regions are able to take umbrage? Hockey may be our national sport but it’s seasonal. Finding something to be offended with is our year-round pastime.

Paul Bennett, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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