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Stéphane Dion championed the Clarity Act. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Stéphane Dion championed the Clarity Act. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Jan. 12: Cabinet ins and outs. 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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In, out, rout?

Re Head to Head (Folio, Jan. 11): The matchup between the Trump-led U.S. representatives and the Trudeau-led Canadian cabinet ministers has the pending doom of a mismatched game between the NFL and the CFL.

Neil McLaughlin, Burlington, Ont.

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Maryam Monsef was rightly fired from the Democratic Institutions portfolio; her arrogant dismissal of the electoral reform committee and its excellent report showed how out of her depth she was. The Trudeau government has mishandled the whole process of electoral reform. We don’t have to look far outside our borders to see what a flawed electoral system can do. Let’s get this done.

Mark Jeffers, Victoria

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You report that Maryam Monsef was “demoted to status of women” (Freeland’s Challenge Will Be Trump Negotiations – Jan. 11). If being appointed Minister for the Status of Women is considered a demotion, perhaps Sophie needs to have a chat with Justin.

Allan Q. Shipley, Parksville, B.C.

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Merci, M. Dion

I first saw Stéphane Dion on Radio-Canada in the final days of the 1995 referendum (Dion To Leave Politics After Cabinet Ouster – Jan. 11). He had been invited to debate the federalist case (while not yet an MP) and was matched up against a seemingly more suave, polished Daniel Turp. I recall feeling trepidation that he was going to be no match for the much more telegenic separatist.

I could not have been more wrong. The debate wasn’t even close. Mr. Dion aggressively and convincingly made the federalist case at a time when it was decidedly unfashionable in Quebec intellectual circles to do so. Much has been said recently of his poor communication abilities. This is simply not the case in French.

His invitation to cabinet in 1996, and his creation and championing of the Clarity Act, which became law in 2000, has given Canadians peace on the unity front. While we are now hearing whispers of his shortcomings – stubborn, difficult to work with – it is precisely those qualities matched with his intellect that have served Canadians so well over his career.

Merci beaucoup, M. Dion.

David Roy, Toronto

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Obama’s legacy

Re Obama Ready To Say Farewell To The White House, But Not To His Legacy (Jan. 11): Barack Obama’s extraordinary farewell speech made it clear that we will very soon come to miss his measured rhetoric, his informed wisdom, his warm humour, his human decency. Even in the act of leaving, he was still giving.

It seems as though a million candles of hope flared one last time, but are now flickering into darkness all over America.

David Gillett, Orillia, Ont.

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Writing about President Barack Obama’s legacy is not complete without mentioning the increased number of drone deaths of civilians under his watch.

Hans Berkhout, Calgary

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Protest, on stage

In the discussion surrounding Meryl Streep’s eloquent remarks about Donald Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter, something important has been overshadowed – and overshadowed from the moment he attacked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski: the fact Mr. Kovaleski challenged Mr. Trump’s outrageous lie that he saw “thousands” of Muslims celebrating 9/11. As soon as Mr. Trump engaged in his mocking behaviour, his lie became old news. He certainly is a master at getting people to take their eye off the ball.

Also noteworthy is Mr. Trump’s reaction to Ms. Streep’s statement when compared to Barack Obama’s reaction to Ted Nugent calling him a “mongrel.” Where Mr. Trump predictably exploded on Twitter, Mr. Obama did the adult thing and ignored Mr. Nugent.

Robert C. Ruttan, Barrie, Ont.

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We should not be forced to endure the non-expert political opinions of highly paid actors and athletes on either side of arguments. They may all have valid points, but I disagree with the format. It is their fundamental right to protest but they should use the usual venues that all of us have available to us, such as the traditional press, interviews and social media.

Irv Salit, Toronto

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Health-care models

Re The Real Health-Care Change We Need? Strong Leadership (Jan. 10): I’d like to offer a counterpoint to André Picard’s position that “we don’t really have any idea what the best management structure is for a health system, and for patients.”

Alberta Health Services (AHS) came into being in 2009 and immediately became the first and largest provincialized health-care system in Canada. With more than 108,000 employees and almost 10,000 physicians working in 106 acute care hospitals and more than 500 other health-care facilities, AHS understands the importance of accountability and clear lines of authority. Transitioning from 12 separate health entities to a single, fully-integrated health-care system was a massive task. But despite the myriad challenges, we know it was the right thing to do.

The evidence? Better patient care, taxpayer savings estimated at $600-million upon amalgamation and administrative costs about 25 per cent lower than the national average. Where once separate staff and processes created barriers, we have significant co-operation and sharing of best practices between health-care providers and sectors. AHS’s co-ordinated efforts in undertaking the largest medical evacuation in Canadian history during last year’s Fort McMurray wildfire is a case in point. We still have much to learn but the best opportunity of achieving a highly integrated, quality and sustainable health-care system is with a provincialized model like AHS.

Verna Yiu, CEO, Alberta Health Services

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silence@gonesouth

Re Winterpeg Beckons, Mr. Premier (Jan. 11): Gary Mason reports on a controversy that has been swirling around Manitoba along with the snow: the decision of our Premier to spend an inordinate amount of time at his tropical retreat in Costa Rica.

But the real controversy here is the revelation that Brian Pallister does not use e-mail (and rarely uses his laptop). In this increasingly “paperless” age, how can a government leader even begin to effectively carry out his responsibilities without using e-mail, regardless of whether he is sitting in his office in the legislature or on a tropical beach?

Elizabeth Comack, Winnipeg

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Rather than criticizing a politician who eschews e-mail and other forms of instant communication, we should be holding Brian Pallister up as a paragon of virtue and e-economy. Not tending to his e-mail provides relief for the Premier, the legislative staff and most importantly, the people of Manitoba. We could only hope his economy of e-communication would be adopted by the ever-tweeting president-elect.

Clay Atcheson, North Vancouver

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