The PM as CEO
Whatever skills Stephen Harper brings to the job of CEO of this rather large and complex country, management expertise does not appear to be among them.
We might reflect that by now, a manager who waited as long as Mr. Harper waited to deal with and excise the problems arising from the dubious behaviour of some senators, and the apparent machinations of his own staff, would be long gone.
Unless he owned the company, that is.
Chris Marston, Toronto
If Stephen Harper had been in the private sector and his hires had done as much damage to a company’s reputation as Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have done to our Parliament, what does he think would have happened to his own job security?
Justin Acton, Calgary
Is this an appropriate time to suggest that Stephen Harper appoint Rob Ford to the Senate (Police Have Alleged Crack Video; Ford Friend Charged With Extortion – online, Oct. 31)?
Marty Cutler, Toronto
A PM’s promise
A long time ago, a young Prime Minister promised transparent, ethical and responsible government. With Senategate, what a sorry farce we are now forced to watch: Mike Duffy plays the victim, the PMO plays to the Conservative base, Nigel Wright plays the éminence grise.
As a Canadian, did I ever want to pay for the likes of Mr. Duffy, Pamela Wallin or Patrick Brazeau? Of course not. I wanted, I still want, honest, transparent and accountable government.
And yes, I still believe it’s a legitimate aspiration.
Iris Lonergan, Ottawa
Next boss in line
High-profile Conservative cabinet ministers with ambitions to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada have kept very low profiles while Prime Minister Stephen Harper is roasted during Question Period. They must be laughing each night when they get home to share the day with their spouses. As they sit back and watch, Mr. Harper continues to fiddle while the PMO burns.
Joe Spence, Kanata, Ont.
This series of unfortunate events puts one in mind of the old fable of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.
We know how that ended for the wolf.
Janice Middleton, St. Marys, Ont.
I hate to say it, but I hope the Conservatives, their cronies in the Senate, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford remain in power at least a while longer (Toronto Has Had Enough. Rob Ford Must Resign – Oct. 31). The entertainment value is priceless.
Thor Kuhlmann, Vancouver
Re OPG Asked Non-profits It Funds To Back Burial Of Nuclear Waste (Oct. 31): Shawn McCarthy writes that I said OPG sought municipal and non-profit support for the burial of nuclear waste “without regard to the safety of the project.”
What I said was that the geoscience studies provide no assurance that burial can be done safely. And further, that in approaching non-profit groups, OPG was in effect looking for character references because of the numerous financial benefits it offers to the community.
The real issue is not OPG as a corporate citizen, but whether the waste can be buried safely, or even should be buried.
OPG would have been better advised to spend its time seeking more international expertise and experience with deep geological repositories to support the safety case, than asking for character references from – as Shawn McCarthy stated from Freedom of Information material provided to me – “a women’s shelter, a youth basketball association, and a beach volleyball league.”
Peter L. Storck, Southampton, Ont.
Fries with that?
Re Student Debt Crisis? No, Crisis In Expectations (Oct. 31): One usually has to wait for letters to the editor to see Margaret Wente’s column refuted. This time, Ms. Wente did it to herself. She mentioned that the first job she got when she graduated was a low-paying job, then casually added that the job of alphabetizing a catalogue was before the days of computers.
Well, students with a BA don’t get that job today because it does not exist. Further, the job of managing that student does not exist, and even further, if the job has not been eliminated by computers, it can probably be done by a BA or BSc in Bangalore.
It is devastating to our youth to tell young people in debt to climb the ladder one rung at a time, when the bottom three or four rungs have been cut off or shipped abroad.
The only response to Ms. Wente’s column is a chorus of, “Would you like fries with that?”
Eric Mendelsohn, Toronto
In the wind
Re Why Preserving The View In Canada Is Not Just Tilting At Windmills (Oct. 26): The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) launched their winning bid to prohibit wind turbines on Ostrander Point to protect the numerous endangered and at-risk species that inhabit and migrate through the South Shore of the county. Not just the Blanding’s turtle, but birds and the rare alvar habitat are affected. The fact that “turbines would really ruin the view” had nothing to do with the appeal.
Over a hundred years ago, the federal government had the wisdom to form a national parks system because it knew wildlife habitat and places of significant historical and cultural value need to be preserved. Because of that, we have them still. PECFN and several other organizations have been advocating for years for the creation of a national marine park along the South Shore.
We need to think carefully about where to place our future industrial complexes, regardless of whether they are considered “green” or not.
Once you destroy habitat, it is impossible to put it back.
Amy Bodman, Wellington, Ont.
The real issue for many in the powerful anti-wind lobby is that they don’t want to look at turbines. I have visited wind farms in several provinces; they are truly inspirational sights.
The Ostrander Point project is a relatively small (nine turbines) development on Crown land in a remote part of Prince Edward County. There are few homes near the site, previously a bombing range for the Armed Forces.
If we can’t build a renewable energy development there, where can we possibly go to help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels?
Don Ross, Prince Edward County, Ont.
Ouch. Ouch again
Re Red Sox Win First World Series At Home Since 1918 (Oct. 31): As a diehard Blue Jays fan, I don’t know which is more painful – their dismal season, or John Farrell’s winning the World Series.
Lyman MacInnis, TorontoReport Typo/Error
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