In your editorial Justin Trudeau Needs Rivals (Oct. 9), you say you're concerned that Justin Trudeau will face little competition in his bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. You then name three former provincial premiers as possible competitors: Frank McKenna, Jean Charest and Gordon Campbell, all well known for their conservative brand of politics.
Yes, let's hope Mr. Trudeau is put to the test, but you appear more interested in the party's getting a leader that would move it to the right. Canada doesn't need another Conservative Party; it already has one too many.
John Harvard, Winnipeg
I'm relieved that someone has finally included Jean Charest in the list of potential candidates to lead the federal Liberals. At 54, he's in his prime, with years of excellent public service still left on the warranty. There's no one out there with his experience at running a party, running an election or running the country.
Lawrence Creaghan, Montreal
Of course dying is peaceful (How We Die – letter, Oct. 9); that's why the terminally ill are so desperate for it.
Paul Budel, London, Ont.
E. coli update
Re How Canadians Have Been Let Down On Recent E. Coli Response (Oct. 8): Since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency first detected E. coli on Sept. 4 at the XL Foods facility in Brooks, Alta., we have acted without hesitation to protect and inform consumers. The Sept. 4 finding was traced and it was determined there were no products that had tested positive for E. coli in the marketplace.
Our investigation uncovered deficiencies in the plant. On Sept. 16, the CFIA and XL Foods sent out alerts warning the public of potentially contaminated foods. The CFIA has since issued 16 more alerts. It also has issued four statements and updated its website daily. In addition, the Agriculture Minister has held two news conferences.
The CFIA strives to ensure the safety of Canadian food 24 hours a day. Canadian consumers expect and deserve nothing less.
George Da Pont, president, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
It seems to me that more testing of products at the end of the process is all very well, but the cure is at the other end of the animal.
Inasmuch as the E. coli problems arise from fecal matter, what's needed is a car wash-type shampooing and pressure hosing of the animals before they enter the plant's food processing area.
Ron Staughton, Calgary
A matter of fact
Thank you for publishing Jim Stanford's illuminating review of the negligible benefits of Canada-U.S. free trade (Did This Historic Deal Help Canada? No – Oct. 8).
Most of the empirical evidence on trade liberalization around the world mirrors the evidence on free trade for Canada; and when you factor in job losses or wage cuts due to foreign competition, the net benefits are frequently negative.
It's interesting that Trade Minister Ed Fast has appropriated the term "deniers" in a bid to discredit critics of free trade. Unlike climate-change deniers, whose positions seem largely to be based on faith, free-trade deniers base their views on the facts.
Roy Culpeper, Ottawa
A matter of faith
A Suncor-funded study says the impact of its operations is minimal because scientists didn't find elevated levels of contaminants beneath the bottom of lakes 200 kilometres away (Study Finds Little Impact From Oil Sands – Oct. 9). Well, my teenagers say their rooms are clean because there's no popcorn under the floorboards 10 metres down the hall.
Bart Hawkins Kreps, Port Hope, Ont.
A matter of suffix
It's amazing that people have time to fight over the suffix "man" as an issue of political correctness (Sexism Or Tradition? The Deep Divide Over Winnipeg's Wesman – Oct. 9).
In Old English and Anglo-Saxon, the suffix "man" was sex neutral. It had the same meaning as "person." To denote sex, it had to be qualified: A man was called a waepman, a woman a wifman.
This sex-free use of "man" gives us modern words such as chairman, or fisherman – meaning a person of either sex who engages in a denoted work. No need for "chair" or "fisher." No need to excise "Wesman."
Roger Phillips, Regina
Sic transit gloria
The Board of Trade's Carol Wilding says the public is "a bit ahead of the politicians" on the subject of GTA gridlock (Residents Divided On Best Route For Funding – Oct. 9). That's like saying the Pope's a bit Catholic.
While policy wonks take yet another Uh Duh poll confirming that getting around Canada's economic engine is worse than ever, the public already knows what it wants: a fully integrated regional transit and road plan, tying everything into one system (parking lots, bike rental, all of it).
We want subways but will live with light rail, we expect all funding options to be on the table, and we want it yesterday. So stop polling and get digging.
Mark Slone, Toronto
Why is it all funding proposals never include "let the user pay"?
Ted Hutchison, Toronto
It was refreshing to read Robert Harris's opera review (Okay, There's Batman. But Where Is Strauss? – Arts, Oct. 6) making the point that a production should respect the composer's gift for theatre. This isn't to box in the director; by all means, let him "deepen the power of the original" if he can.
What's anathema, as Mr. Harris documents, is a cute attempt to introduce contemporary themes that do nothing but work against the spirit of the original. Evidently, the singers in the Canadian Opera Company production of Die Fledermaus realized what Strauss had written; too bad they weren't supported by the director's egocentric staging.
Roy Turner, Toronto
Re What's On A Bat's Mind? (Social Studies, Oct. 8): Who hasn't fibbed, on their online dating profile? Bats probably don't.
Through echolocation calls, the female communicates her vital information to lonely boy bats in distant caves. That harem members are described as husky doesn't necessarily point to any scheming misrepresentation by the ladies. Our fetishization of skinniness may not be a bat thing.
Farley Helfant, Toronto