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After the Duffy trial

Re Duffy Cleared Of All Charges As Judge Excoriates Harper's Office (online, April 21): So Mike Duffy succumbed to pressure from Nigel Wright and the Prime Minister's Office to take the $90,000 to pay back expenses, and the judge found that Mr. Wright, Stephen Harper and the PMO benefited from this payment to make the fiasco go away. So should Mr. Wright et al. be charged with bribery?

Guy Jones, Toronto


Truthiness shortage

Re Ottawa Killed Appeal Of Settlement Ruling (April 21): Seems to me that Canada's new government has started to be somewhat "economical with the truth," to put it charitably.

First, this government claimed it had no choice but to honour the contract for the export of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Then it had to concede that it gave the substantive approvals for the export permits.

Next, the government claimed that the Justice Minister only attended a Liberal fundraiser at a law firm as a basic MP, yet somehow her senior policy adviser was in attendance.

Then the government claimed it couldn't appeal the ruling that let the Catholic Church out of more than $20-million in unpaid financial obligations to residential school survivors. But now we find that the appeal was abandoned by this very government.

Even for a government in its honeymoon period, "truthiness" is a finite commodity; a shortage looms.

David Beattie, Chelsea, Que.


No options on the Saudi military deal, no options on the unpaid Catholic settlement appeal.

I've never seen a majority government with so few options.

John Van Sloten, Calgary


A taxing response

Re B.C., Alberta Discuss Deal To Swap Pipeline For Electricity (April 20): I had to laugh at Premier Rachel Notley's position on the controversial question of introducing a provincial sales tax in Alberta.

Apparently Ms. Notley – whose NDP government introduced a sweeping carbon tax that was not discussed during the 2015 provincial election – believes that it would be disrespectful and ignorant of the culture in Alberta to bring in a tax without campaigning on it.


Jonathan Skrimshire, Pincher Creek, Alta.


Measuring a reign

Re: A Royal Tour De Force (April 21): A startling measure of Queen Elizabeth's longevity as our Monarch is that her first British prime minister, Winston Churchill, was born in the 1870s, while her current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was born in the 1970s. Another is that Canadians born in 1952, the year she ascended the throne, will be eligible for Old Age Security next year.

Eric Bender, Kirkland, Que.


It's not about desire

Re Why Is Ottawa Still Defending Disenfranchisement? (April 21): In this discussion, I don't think we need to spend time considering expats' "desire to continue voting." I learned as a youngster that my "desires" were tempered with a combination of privileges and responsibilities.

A visit every five years to reset voting privileges seems minimalist at best. Any expat who pays Canadian taxes, in sufficient amounts, could be eligible for voting privileges: That would be a rubber-hits-the-road test.

We need periodic reminders of incidents, such as the war in Lebanon, when we paid to bring thousands of threatened "Canadians" back "home." Half of them are reported to have returned to Lebanon within six months.

A cynic might also suspect that ex-pats will return to their Canadian home when health care requires it.

David Cramer, Toronto


Conscience rights

Re The Heart Of Dying: A Personal Journey (Focus, April 16): In 1980, when a special joint parliamentary committee studied a draft of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there was a formal request for a clause to protect "conscientious objection to the taking of human life."

As the director of the Ottawa Office of Mennonite Central Committee, I prepared a brief reviewing the history of such protections in relation to military service, starting with the 1793 provision in Upper Canada, through to those in the two World Wars. We then stated: "A conscientious objector clause in the Charter might have implications for areas other than military service … The areas of euthanasia and abortion are examples but because of technological and other changes the number of areas may increase."

Our proposal was not accepted but the then-justice minister, Jean Chrétien, who wrote to us on Feb. 3, 1981, stating: "I believe that the Charter as it is presently drafted could provide the protections you request … I believe that 'freedom of conscience' as provided in Section 2(a) is sufficiently broad to be interpreted by the courts to permit conscientious objection.

"Also, as your submission to the special joint committee points out, the exemption accorded to the Mennonites and others has been respected over the years, to the extent possible, without constitutional protection."

Bill Janzen, Ottawa


Say/don't say sorry

Re Taking Responsibility In Short Supply (April 19): Among the many apologies that have been given to so many people by the Canadian government, one significant group has been missed. These are the British Home Children, approximately 100,000 of whom were shipped to Canada, Australia and elsewhere from the mid-1800s into the 1930s.

Few were actually orphans, and they became essentially indentured servants in Canada. Most never knew what happened to their families in Britain.

Thousands of Canadians are descendants of these children, including my husband's family. The Australian and British governments have apologized for the abuse many of these children suffered. Our last federal government, unlike the more progressive governments in Britain and Australia, refused to formally apologize. Then-immigration minister Jason Kenney felt it wasn't necessary.

Maybe our new federal government might reconsider. Because it is 2016.

Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines, Ont.


If we continue to apologize for wrongs done years ago, Canada will soon run out of "unwronged people" to make the apology.

My uncle and father were both sent from Britain to Canada as orphaned "Home Boys" at age 7 and 9 – indentured to Ontario farmers until they were 14. Britain has apologized, but not Canada.

Our family is not seeking and does not want an apology for something done under a quite different cultural and social environment. In fact, we are most fortunate to now have extensive roots in Canada.

Ted Best, Calgary

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