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Pay less? Not once

I have been a member of the compensation committee of the board of directors of a public company, and I have been around many such committees as a financial adviser (Barrick Vote A New Low For Say-On-Pay – Report on Business, April 26).

Typically, a consultant presents data on compensation of "comparable" executives. How often do you suppose the committee argues for below-average compensation? For an executive who had a role in putting them on the board? Who is often in attendance and almost certainly knows the contents of the report? In my experience, never.

And the prospect that responsibility to society should reign over the new executive's ego in relation to their peers? Even when the signing bonus is enough to feed a village for a lifetime ($11.9-million for Barrick Gold co-chairman John Thornton)?

Never came up. Not once.

Darryl Squires, Ottawa


Committing why

Re PM Steps Up Attack On Trudeau Over 'Root Causes' Of Terrorism (April 26): In seeking to explain the behaviour of terrorists, let's be certain not to "commit sociology" – or the study of psychology, history, culture or mental health. Instead, let's commit instant judgment and willful ignorance.

Paul Axelrod, Toronto


Prime Minister Stephen Harper is right.

If you've got water streaming into your kitchen from some pipe, you keep mopping it up. You don't stop, for heaven's sake, to find the leak. Next thing you know, Justin Trudeau will want us to commit initiative rather than reaction.

Constance Moore Gardner, Toronto


No matter how hard I try to commit sociology, I fail to understand why Canadians elected Stephen Harper.

Roberta Hamilton, Kingston


One coin, two sides

The collapse of the Bangladeshi clothing factory and the corruption scandal in Montreal are two sides of the same coin (Hope Fades For Trapped Workers; Police Ignored Report Of Bribe, Ex-Mayor Says – April 26).

In both cases, people overseeing local conditions are accused of either willfully or neglectfully allowing dangerous and/or illegal conditions. North American retailers say they have established standards of operation for their Bangladeshi suppliers, but standards are ineffective if, for whatever reason, they not enforced. Allegations of corruption and the mafia's role in Montreal have been an open secret for years, with bribery seen as the cost of enterprise.

What is the best we can say of those who plead ignorance of the situations in Dhaka or Montreal? That they are disingenuous?

Sheila Dropkin, Toronto


Bumper-sticker transit

Re Doug Ford's Message To Ontario's Premier: Take Your $50-billion Transit Plan To The People (online, April 26): I have long suspected that the Ford brothers have no real ideas on how to fund transit in Toronto. Doug Ford has just helpfully proven it with his idea-free article, where his proposed policies consist of meaningless bumper-sticker slogans: The provincial government must "look internally at its inflated budget," "engage the private sector" and "exhaust every other available avenue."

What are these other avenues? Doug Ford isn't saying. In short, his plan appears to be to shout slogans, build nothing and watch Toronto choke in eternal gridlock.

Luke Murphy, Toronto


'Somebody' includes us

Re Genocide: America Says 'Never Again,' But Keeps Turning A Blind Eye (online, April 25): The commentary by Gerald Caplan, Samuel Totten and Amanda Grzyb is highly critical of U.S. failures to honour its "never again" pledge.

Interventions of the kind required to thwart regimes bent upon genocide are a collective responsibility of nations. It necessarily requires robust armed forces and a willingness to deploy. Unless we are prepared to send our own people into what amount to ethnic wars, are we not simply scolds? Yes, "somebody" should do something about it, but "somebody" includes us.

Perry Mack, Calgary


Mastery of small

Don't underestimate the stress a child feels about a combination lock (Just Wondering – letters, April 26). A few days before our youngest was off to middle school, she had some restless nights and tears. We couldn't understand it – until she confessed she was fretting about her first locker. Her older sister had tried to show her how to use a combination lock and she sobbed, "I don't get it."

Sure, there are much bigger issues in the world, but to an 11-year-old, the perceived inability to open her locker, which she feels everyone else can do, makes dealing with those bigger issues even more overwhelming.

We sat down and coached her until she got it. But if we dismissed it or laughed at her needless fear, would her anxiety have disappeared? It is by recognizing what is making our children worry, and showing them how to cope with it, that they acquire the confidence to tackle the bigger issues. It starts with mastery of the small things.

Anne Mullens, Victoria


Urgent question

The urgent missile defence question is not if Canada should co-operate with the U.S. on it (Conversation About Missile Defence Not Dead – April 25). The question is: Will the U.S. co-operate with Russia?

Were missile defence unambiguously defensive, Russia could be ignored and the debate could focus on whether it's a technology that will ever work reliably. But we ignore Russia, for which U.S. missile defence is definitely not defensive, at our peril.

Missile defence becomes a problem when it generates uncertainty and vulnerability among those who have the capacity to do something about it. What Russia can do about it is refuse all further nuclear disarmament; when the U.S. and Russia refuse further reductions, other nuclear powers will follow suit.

And when current nuclear powers collectively commit to indefinite retention of their nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons will be legitimized for all. And when that happens, prospects for preventing the further spread of these weapons of heinous destruction – a word used a lot lately, and properly so, to describe crimes of much, much lower orders of destruction – become a lot dimmer than they already are.

Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.


Committing cartoons

About the Harper-Trudeau farce up on Parliament Hill: I see Stephen Harper as Wile E. Coyote and Justin Trudeau as the Road Runner.

Beep. Beep.

Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa

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