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Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says she wants to have a ‘thoughtful discussion’ about Canadian values. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says she wants to have a ‘thoughtful discussion’ about Canadian values. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 8: Canadian ‘values.’ 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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Canadian ‘values’

Re Leitch Defends Immigrant Screening Plan As Way To Promote Tolerance (Sept. 7): I have been a Conservative federally for 20 years, and supported Stephen Harper’s party when he was leader. I was also a recipient of the survey sent by Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch. I found her questions very thought provoking. Provocative. Controversial even.

These are not days when our successful politicians are controversial, except in a hopeful way. (For example, our PM’s visit to China suggested to Canadians that we are stepping onto the world stage and being respected for it, and therefore, free trade deals with China and advice on its human rights issues. Well, we will never allow China to buy every company or property it wants and China is too busy being aggressive in the South China Sea to worry about our opinions on its rights record.)

I admit to answering on the survey that we should include “Canadian values” in considering new immigrants. I am offended that Ms. Leitch is being tarred and feathered for addressing frightening issues. I am also being tarred and feathered.

If we want something substantial from our political hopefuls, we cannot whack them whenever someone raises their head above all their peers.

David Cramer, Toronto

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What do Kellie Leitch’s Canadian “values” really amount to?

She claims that her proposal is “about ensuring that every one of us respects the rights of each other.” Two of her “values” – equality of opportunity and tolerance – do indeed relate to rights that can be promoted and enforced through legislation and the courts. Immigrants to Canada would have to respect them anyway.

Two others – hard work and generosity – are certainly desirable qualities in family members and fellow citizens. But it’s perfectly permissible for Canadians, old and new, to be lazy and selfish, and it’s our right to be so.

As for freedom, considered as a “value,” what does it actually mean? Rejection of slavery? Okay, a given. Or the right to live as one pleases, without infringing on that same right in others, or breaking the law? Okay, but that’s already taken care of under tolerance. So, apart from tossing around feel-good words, what is Kellie Leitch talking about?

Robert Fothergill, Toronto

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The idea of testing potential immigrants on their acceptance of Canadian values has been percolating among Quebec nationalists and Conservatives.

Recently, it has been put forth by Kellie Leitch. By her account, Canadian values, on which every potential immigrant will have to be tested, are equality of opportunity, hard work, generosity, freedom and tolerance.

Will anyone aspiring to come to Canada not subscribe to these values?

Presuming there are some who don’t, won’t they quickly learn they have to say “yes” to get selected for immigration? Why does this fact seemingly escape the understanding of those offering to lead us?

Are they so naive or do they have some other agenda?

Mohammad Qadeer, Toronto

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Judging judges

Re Camp’s Rape Remarks Provoked Self-Hate, Complainant Testifies (Sept. 7): In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and company are awed by the Wizard’s might and power – until Toto pulls back the curtain to show the small man running the show.

With the hearing into the conduct of Justice Robin “Why didn’t you just keep your legs closed?” Camp comes the opportunity to pull back the curtain on how the legal system really operates.

It’s a lucky thing that this case even made it into the public consciousness. The cost of transcripts alone prohibits any systematic attempt to uncover similar cases by any but the most interested observers.

The cause of justice and the work of the many ethically responsible people involved are thoroughly compromised by individuals who abuse their authority in this way.

The independence of the judiciary from government interference is especially important to our democracy. But with cases like this (and the likes of Judge David Ramsay), it’s time to pay closer attention to the men (and women) behind the curtain.

Ian Poole, Nanaimo, B.C.

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If Judge Robin Camp was so supportive of his daughter Lauren-Lee Camp when she was raped, but spoke to the 19-year-old homeless addict as he did in 2011, it raises another question.

Was his daughter supported as a young woman of “good family” who had been victimized, whereas a 19-year-old homeless addict could be treated dismissively?

Ms. Camp, who decided not to press charges, had a built-in support system. The homeless young woman had none.

I am reminded of Anatole France’s words: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”

M.J. Devereux, Halifax

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Unemployed MDs

Re Private Vs. Public: B.C. Case Could Reshape Medicare (Sept. 6): According to the Canadian Orthopedic Association, 178 fully qualified surgeons were unemployed in Canada last year. Some 78 per cent of ENT residents who graduated in 2014 could not get positions. Meanwhile, patients wait two years for sinus surgeries. Saying there are not enough surgical specialists to manage a private and a public system is flagrant fear mongering.

Government controls costs by controlling the supply of surgical services: MRIs and CT scans, ultrasounds, labs, OR time. If I choose to spend my money to get a hip replaced faster rather than taking a vacation, why should anyone be able to tell me I can’t? Others would get to move up the public list more quickly with me out of the way. We pay millions of dollars to train medical specialists, then straight-jacket them and ourselves into a system that does not address the real needs of people in a timely manner.

Canada does an amazing job at managing critical illness and my family has been very lucky to experience this. But quality of life is often severally impacted by non-urgent surgical needs and is no less critical to millions of us.

I wish Brian Day and doctors like him every possible success.

Christine O’Leary, Victoria

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Bye, Mr. Mansbridge

Re It’s About Time: We’ve Put Up With Mansbridge And His Pompous Ilk For Too Long (online, Sept. 6): I agree. It’s high time for someone else’s pompous ilk.

Ron Freedman, Toronto

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Peter Mansbridge deserves much more respect than John Doyle gave him. If the anchor of CBC’s The National and the network want to take most of a year to say “goodbye,” I say amen to that. Peter Mansbridge will be missed.

Donnalyn Mantini, Toronto

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Peter Mansbridge has been one of the most respected journalist/broadcasters in Canada. He ranks with Canada’s top newscasters.

Gregory Boudreau, Halifax

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Harsh. Did Peter Mansbridge borrow John Doyle’s lawnmower and forget to return it or something?

Grant Hoe, Calgary

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