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Clouds pass by the parliament buildings on Aug. 19, 2020, in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Power and prorogation

Re The Centralization Of Power In The PMO Is Now Complete With Freeland’s Appointment (Aug. 19): For those of us who worked in the public service during the years of Pierre Trudeau, the current centralization of power in the Prime Minister’s Office is simply more of the same.

Mr. Trudeau was the first prime minister to bypass the structure and machinery of government. The Privy Council Office became a clearing house for official papers and cabinet documents; major decisions were made by Mr. Trudeau’s inner circle.

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The late Jean-Luc Pépin said wisely that “public servants must be political, but not partisan.” The role of the bureaucracy is to give options to politicians, not to offer partisan advice. But why bother with public servants at all? Quicker and easier to just do it all in the PMO and damn the torpedoes.

But if the inhabitants of the PMO think they are fooling the Canadian public, they would be wrong. The electorate is much smarter than what those in the inner circle are banking on.

Nancy Marley-Clarke Calgary

Re Prorogation Halts WE Charity Hearings, Ends China Probe (Aug. 19): I am left to wonder if we have two sets of moral compasses in Canada, and how that will play in any attempt to unify the country in a coming election.

On one hand, we appear to have developed zero tolerance toward any institution, university or business that trips over a wide spectrum of faults relating to racism, history, bullying, sex, gender, climate or financial misdeeds.

Yet ethics violations, embarrassments on world stages and the prorogation of Parliament are swept away as quickly as possible. Why rant about other world leaders when we have our own glass house to protect?

Chris Tworek Calgary

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Re With Morneau’s Exit, The Liberals Lose Their Voice Of Moderation (Report on Business, Aug. 19): Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative finance critic, is aghast that Chrystia Freeland might call for higher taxes.

The pandemic has starkly revealed society’s deficiencies. To redress these crucial needs, the government would have to increase tax revenue. It should be what we want, assuming that we want a country that attends to the well-being of its people.

For many years I’ve explained why I’m not a politician: My campaign slogan would be, “Vote for me for higher taxes.” However, I’ll happily vote for someone who understands that taxes are returned to citizens – with interest.

Richard Bachmann Burlington, Ont.

Re The Math On Morneau’s Exit Doesn’t Add Up (Editorial, Aug. 19): Many wonder why people become susceptible to the rhetoric of demagogues, as if it happens in a vacuum with little or no cause. But witness the machinations behind the sudden departure of Bill Morneau.

Citing Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit is both audacious and well-timed. I found that Justin Trudeau and Mr. Morneau were both disingenuous in their explanations, wasting precious time in reciting well-rehearsed talking points.

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It seems the rules don’t apply to political elites as they do to ordinary folk. Mr. Trudeau’s résumé of missteps would have resulted in harsh discipline for a run-of-the-mill Canadian. This is what enrages many, and makes them susceptible to candidates who appeal to that anger.

Moses Wuggenig Toronto

Re Freeland Gets The Hardest Job In Canada (Aug. 19): While I have immense respect for Chrystia Freeland and her accomplishments, appointing her as Finance Minister, with no economic background, is questionable in my opinion.

It would be akin to a hospital chief executive appointing an employee of the year to chief of surgery. Surely there is someone in Canada better qualified to be finance minister (or perform surgery) at this critical time.

Cecil Rorabeck MD; London, Ont.

It’s a situation familiar to many working women: The male boss gets the title, paycheque and perks of the job, while the actual work is done by a woman in the background.

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Enough. Can we just have Chrystia Freeland as prime minister already?

Michelle Gage Toronto

Why we help

Re From WE To Why: Revisiting The Purpose Of Charities (Aug. 17): Leaving WE Charity aside, it seems to me the fields that contributor Adam Parachin believes charities should be engaged in – patronage of the arts, medical research, religion etc. – go well beyond what reasonably deserves to be called charitable activity. I believe this thinking is why so many so-called charities are often nothing more than organizations run more for the benefit of a close-knit group of entitled promoters than for helping those in need.

It is an irony that in our capitalist societies, the veritable plethora of charitable organizations – with huge overhead expenses, overlaps and inefficiencies – were formed to fill gaps left uncovered by our adversarial systems of government. In a country with a well-administered, co-operative and egalitarian society, private charities should not be needed – it would all be government.

I am not talking of such organizations as the Red Cross or Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders). They, for humanitarian reasons, fill gaps in countries where we can offer assistance, but cannot improve the systems in the short term.

Hal Hartmann West Vancouver

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Charities provide services that governments can’t or won’t. As much as the Conservatives may want Canadians to believe otherwise, charities are not out-of-control money-laundering machines. People who work for and with charities are not money-grubbing criminals. People who volunteer are not scab labourers working for less than minimum wage.

The Prime Minister made a mistake. He admitted it and apologized. He has not gained in any way from his transgressions. Yet the message from the opposition seems to be: “Don’t cozy up to those nasty philanthropists.”

Do we hate politicians so much that we are willing to undermine the foundations of liberal society for revenge?

Rosco Bell Regina

Re WE Charity Registers To Lobby Ottawa, Lays Off Staff (Aug. 14): What exactly did Sofia Marquez, WE Charity’s former director of government and stakeholder relations, think was her job?

To suggest, as she has, that she did not think WE’s collective lobbying efforts required anyone to register as a lobbyist, seems to defy credibility.

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Methinks that WE thinks the law does not apply to friends of the Liberals and celebrity charity leaders.

Bruce Cox Toronto

Does not equate

Re Counterpoint (Letters, Aug. 19): I found a letter-writer’s notion of equivalence between Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and Meng Wanzhou to be offensive. For Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, inhumane conditions; for Ms. Meng, bail.

William Lauriston Toronto

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:

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