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Governor General Julie Payette nods giving royal assent of a government bill during a ceremony in the Senate chamber in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldAdrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Do we still have a job?

Re Morneau’s Job In Jeopardy, Sources Say (Aug. 11): As a 30-year veteran of the investment industry, I came to understand a few powerful axioms, such as “there is no such thing as one cockroach,” and “leopards do not change their spots.” These truisms underpin a general industry practice of “one strike and you’re out” when it comes to financial impropriety.

After ethics challenges on personal investments, an undisclosed French residence and a $41,000 expense reimbursement, the headline should not be “Morneau’s job in jeopardy,” but rather “Morneau ousted as Finance Minister.”

John Budreski Vancouver

Re Liberals Turn Over 5,000 Pages On WE Decision (Aug. 10): So the WE Charity documents being handed over by the Liberals are first going to be examined by government lawyers for redactions. I hope many Canadians will join me in expressing outrage that it would even be suggested that Canadians be subject to U.S.-style subterfuge when it comes to determining ethical behaviour by taxpayer-funded employees.

In fact, everyone with a responsibility for these documents should be reminded for whom they work.

Alison Dennis Kingston

Coming to a head

Re Trudeau’s Payette Problem Lacks An Easy Fix (Aug. 10): I’m baffled as to how being an astronaut, an impressive achievement no question, would logically transition into the role of governor-general. Wouldn’t diplomatic experience or at least a record of public service make more sense? How had Julie Payette served her community? It’s arguable that Ms. Payette lacks passion for the privilege of the role, given her poor attendance record and an allegedly toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.

Columnist Campbell Clark laments that there’s no easy solution here. On the contrary, the solution seems obvious: Ms. Payette should return to pursuits at which she excels and that bring her joy. And Canada’s next governor-general should assume the office with unwavering commitment and enthusiasm.

David Brooks Toronto

I watch in anguish the attacks upon our Governor-General.

Last fall, I was a guest at an awards ceremony at Rideau Hall, where my cousin in the RCMP received an award for bravery. There were many awards given that day, with a real cross-section of Canadian society in attendance, and Julie Payette was a breath of fresh air.

Her speech was funny and historical and sombre in turn. She stood with each award winner, guided some who were in difficulty and spoke quietly to each. Her gaze was always directly to the person with whom she was speaking.

After the ceremony, more than 100 people shared tea and snacks, and I was amazed to see her moving through the room speaking to, and having pictures taken with, every person in attendance. She was a perfect host and I believe she is a good Governor-General.

Ross Gordon Cantley, Que.

The Liberal decision to select an astronaut as Governor-General seems an example of a good plan executed incorrectly. Instead of selecting Julie Payette, they should have chosen Chris Hadfield.

David Morgan Ottawa

Are we the villains?

Re If We’re Cancelling Historical Villains, Why Not Norman Bethune? (Aug. 10): “How,” future generations may wonder, “could those primitives back in 2020 allow the slaughter of animals for what they cynically termed the ‘meatpacking industry'? How could they drive gasoline-powered cars knowing that the climate was collapsing around them? Why did they take so long to wake up to police racism? Why were they such greedy consumers of unneeded goods, filling the oceans with plastic wrap, when the wealth squandered could have provided every citizen a life of secure shelter and food?”

Isn’t some of the answer that people are prisoners of current culture, the lubricating but inertial assumptions of each era? One can look back and feel morally superior to Sir John A. Macdonald or Norman Bethune, but they, too, were immersed in a culture. Certainly, let’s reflect on how their ideas seem wrong from our vantage point, but I am not sure we are entitled to be too vindictive or sanctimonious about it.

John Goyder Oakville, Ont.

Spy vs. spy

Re I, Spy: CSIS Has An Identity Crisis (Aug. 10): Contributor Alistair Hensler seems to have missed the point of the May 15 Federal Court decision; it addresses the legality of directing human sources in certain cases and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s lack of candour toward the court. I find this is not about an identity crisis within CSIS, nor is this related to the conduct of foreign operations.

While CSIS must account for its actions, the court’s reference to “systemic, governance and cultural shortcomings and failures” identifies cross-government failures, particularly within the Department of Justice. It’s a history of failed opportunities, reactive policy making and questionable governance across the federal government. Having led CSIS operations in the post-Sept. 11 era, I can attest to the challenges of adjusting to an evolving threat environment, and a massive shift to a digital world, without an adapted legislative framework and with inconsistent legal advice.

The task of conducting an external review, as per the Federal Court decision, will fall primarily to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. Because NSIRA is not limited to reviewing the activities of CSIS, their examination should serve to expose systemic failures across government, not simply within CSIS.

Luc Portelance Former assistant director and deputy director for operations, CSIS; former president, Canada Border Services Agency, Ottawa

Far from the tree

Re Why Don’t We Fit? (First Person, Aug. 6): My husband and I are grandparents of multiracial children living in Montreal. I was moved to tears by writer Deepa Pureswaran’s experience at her child’s daycare. How sad that in 2020 we are reading about such deep-seated racism in a fine province like Quebec.

The lack of respect demonstrated to the writer was bad enough. However, for parents to transfer such hatred and bigotry to children makes us wonder about our future as human beings.

Stephanie MacGregor Bradford, Ont.

Hey, must be the money!

Re As Currently Comprised, The Leafs Do Not Have What It Takes To Win (Sports, Aug. 11): I‘m not sure it’s realistic to expect twentysomethings to care much about a shiny cup when they’re paid more than some CEOs.

Players make a bazillion dollars, with the only consequence for losing being a trade to another team that also pays a bazillion dollars. With all sports today, the contract – not winning – seems to have become the prize.

Alas, another loss and another year that players will cry all the way to the bank.

Art Dewan Kentville, N.S.

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