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Justice Malcolm Rowe of the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has been nominated to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. His application stated: ‘The Supreme Court judges ordinarily make law, rather than simply applying it.’ (Picasa/Action Canada)
Justice Malcolm Rowe of the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has been nominated to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. His application stated: ‘The Supreme Court judges ordinarily make law, rather than simply applying it.’ (Picasa/Action Canada)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 19: Supremely disturbing viewpoint. 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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Deeply disturbing

Re PM Makes Judicial Activist First Supreme Court Nominee (Oct. 18): When Justice Malcolm Rowe writes that “Supreme Court judges ordinarily make law, rather than simply applying it,” he is expressing an opinion that is both profoundly undemocratic and deeply disturbing.

The essence of responsible government is that those who make the laws are elected by the people and accountable to the people. Supreme Court judges are not elected by anyone and are accountable to no one but themselves. Legislators make laws, not judges. Judge Rowe’s condescending remark invites the response: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

David Beattie, Chelsea, Que.

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Words, in 2016

How surprising and disappointing to see your headline, Indians Push Blue Jays To The Brink (Oct. 18). Isn’t it 2016? How easy, yet so meaningful, it would be to use “Cleveland” to refer to the team.

Alanna Rondi, Toronto

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Yet. More. Studies

Re Solitary Confinement Review Accomplishes Little, Critics Say (Oct. 18); Justice Delayed (editorial, Oct. 18): Both of these articles are about protracted and repeated studies needing to be completed before any action is taken, according to ministers in the Ontario and federal cabinets.

In Ontario, it’s about the long- simmering issue of the overzealous use of solitary confinement; in Ottawa, it’s about refusing to appoint jurists despite the inability of the courts, due to a growing shortage of sitting judges, to handle the volume of cases.

Studies are one of politicians’ most-used tactics to give the impression of doing something while doing nothing. Usually, studies are launched with great fanfare, as if they are the first steps in a plan of action. All too often, they simply delay any true action, perhaps indefinitely.

In Ontario’s case, the next study is exactly that, another study after years of studies. In Ottawa’s case, it is the suspension of an effective appointment system with some nebulous hope a better system can be crafted in the future.

Prisoners deserve humane treatment and accused criminals need timely justice. The respective ministers need to step away from the comfort of endless studies and get on with their real jobs serving the public.

David Kister, Toronto

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Seductive logic

Premier Brad Wall is rightly concerned about the effects of the federal carbon price on Saskatchewan, but he inaccurately portrays the dialogue as a trade-off between technology and pricing (The Simple, Seductive Logic Of A Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax – Report on Business, Oct. 14).

Canada’s emissions are about 18 tonnes per person; Saskatchewan’s are almost 70 tonnes. A simple carbon tax could cause some dislocation in Saskatchewan’s economy. But there are other ways to approach carbon pricing, as shown in a Deep Decarbonization Pathways Canada report, “Canadian Carbon Pricing Pathways,” which compares a national B.C.-style carbon tax and one that includes an Alberta-style cap-and-trade for large emitters.

Mr. Wall is right that Saskatchewan, Canada and the world need the capture and storage (CCS) technology being developed in his province, and that Saskatchewan residents deserve credit for punching above their weight in the search for solutions.

As the IEA acknowledges, to stay under 2 C we need CCS – but we need carbon pricing, too.

Richard Adamson, CMC Research Institutes, Calgary; Chris Bataille, Deep Decarbonization Pathways Canada, Vancouver

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Ethnic cleansing?

Re The Uphill Battle For Mosul (Oct. 18): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not only claims Mosul as part of Turkey but after its liberation from Islamic State, he wants to leave the city to the Turkmen, Arab and Kurdish Sunnis only, ridding it of any remaining Shiites, Christians and Yazidis.

Isn’t this known as ethnic cleansing? Isn’t Turkey a member of NATO and a Canadian ally?

Brian Caines, Ottawa

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Shades of politics

I have long been an avid admirer of Brian Gable’s brilliant and mordant cartoons. He has the unfailing ability to capture a moment or a situation with rapier wit and oh-so-subtle accuracy. His attention to the smallest detail, reminiscent of the late, lamented Giles from British newspapers, requires the reader to dwell upon the scene in order to absorb the depth and incisiveness of the point that he is making.

I have to admit to having been taken in, again, by the depth of Mr. Gable’s tricky subterfuge on Tuesday (Fall Colours), when I gradually saw the uninspired and colourless group of contestants in the Conservative Party’s leadership race pale in comparison to the vivid autumnal colours around them. It was a wonderful moment and I burst out laughing.

Alison Kyba, Guelph, Ont.

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Re Poisoned Chalice (Oct. 17): Contrary to a letter writer’s opinion, there’s never been a better time to compete for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Allparty leaders and voters are potentially on the cusp of positive change. If proportional representation is introduced, voters will have equal and effective representation. The time and talents of all MPs will be put to work; party leaders will no longer waste their time searching for wedge issues that might appeal to a few swing voters in a few swing ridings.

Policy lurch will become obsolete as a democratically elected majority of parliamentarians is required to enact every bill put forward.

Debra Rudan, Kingston

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Culture war

Re A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall On The Nobel Committee (Oct. 15): It’s disingenuous to suggest the measure of Bob Dylan’s opus can be taken in Blowin’ In The Wind and Talkin’ New York. It’s as much as to say the reputation of John Keats rests upon lines such as: A bush of May flowers with the bees about them / Ah, sure no tasteful nook would be without them.

Keats quickly advanced his craft and the young Bob Dylan did the same. His protest and folk songs soon gave way to poetic outpourings that call to mind Keats’s own seemingly effortless magic of phrase. Consider Dylan’s: Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand / Vanished from my hand / Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping ….

I applaud the Nobel committee for acknowledging the accomplishments of a truly great artist of modern times.

Paul Rowe, St. John’s

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Not exactly that fateful shot fired in Sarajevo, but the decision to award Bob Dylan a Nobel prize in literature may have ignited a war in its own right – a culture war.

Dylan freaks, hipster post-modernists, Albanian-Lit aficionados – we are all thinking and arguing ferociously about words.

Had anyone else won, what fun we’d be missing.

Farley Helfant, Toronto

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