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Liberal literature

Re Morneau’s Office, Kielburgers Described As ‘Besties’ In Newly Released Documents (Aug. 20): Ferreting out dishonesty in the government’s 5,000 pages on the cancelled volunteer program will demand an uncharacteristically assiduous team of well-diggers. Like the philosopher Diogenes, who went amongst the people holding a lantern, seeking an honest man at noon hour, the opposition is in dire need of a dishonest government to expose.

It is true that the process which earmarked millions of dollars for WE Charity was hurried, and short on identifying other worthy organizations to administer the funds. On the other hand, no one has been shamed, because no self-interested functionary has laid hands on public funds.

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I believe it was an ethical brain cramp, but it was not corruption.

Hugh McKechnie Newmarket, Ont.


Re Who Needs Parliament? Not Trudeau (Editorial, Aug. 20): Reading Chrystia Freeland’s 2012 book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else was like being a voyeur, gleaning tidbits on the rich and famous and the glories of capitalism.

Ms. Freeland provides numerous insights into how and why the global elite identify only with themselves. She also highlights how Ivy League graduates are flocking to jobs in finance because it’s easier to rearrange other people’s money than create their own.

Every time Justin Trudeau and his Liberals open their mouths, I’m reminded of the disconnect between those with silver spoons and those of us who are polishing the silverware.

Paul Baumberg Dead Man’s Flats, Alta.

Inside the box

Re Class Sizes Capped In Areas Hit Hard By COVID-19 (Aug. 21): I am a teacher who is extremely nervous about going back to school.

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I am slated to be in a portable with 26 students in a split class of grades 4 and 5. It will be impossible to put 26 desks at two metres apart. My board’s policy says that portable doors are to remain locked at all times, and COVID-19 protocol is for fans to remain off to prevent possible spread.

Imagine what it is going to be like wearing a face mask for 300 minutes a day in these conditions. I cannot. If the Ontario government still feels it is unsafe for all MPPs to return to Queen’s Park, how can it be safe for 26 children and one teacher to be confined in such a small space?

We are not asking for more money for ourselves. We need it so that a return to school is as safe as possible for everyone.

Lisa Wolfman Toronto

Undeliverable

Re Trump Is Targeting A Cherished Piece Of American History (Aug. 19): The efforts of the Trump administration to disable mail-in voting includes blocking the rights of U.S. citizens in Canada. To vote in U.S. elections, we must register in our previous voting district and mail in our ballots.

I am not surprised by this move – Donald Trump seems to have never shown any care for Americans outside his core electoral college states.

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Thomas Kane Vancouver

Dream on

Re Never Be The Same Again (Opinion, Aug. 15): In my experience, the past is always irrecoverable; COVID-19 has made that reality global. Like the Trump presidency, it has enabled an unsought mass civics class in how our economies and societies work.

Those who are “just about making it,” as Theresa May boldly identified them, were numerous before COVID-19, are more numerous now and will quite likely be more numerous again as things unfold. This should be an indictment of what we are as a society.

Conditions for most Canadians have visibly and statistically deteriorated over my lifetime. In the 1960s, when Canada rejoiced in a short-lived primacy after the Second World War, it was possible for my generation to imagine (with John Lennon) a better world, one with growing and spreading prosperity and dignity. But San Francisco was not about social justice, then or now.

As governments continue to drive spiralling collective spending to support collective survival, we could usefully consider and act on our responsibilities to fellow citizens.

Peter Richards Victoria

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Contributor Lori Fox dreams of an idyllic life sustained by her writing. She suggests that it is capitalism that keeps the dream out of reach.

A world where each of us contributes by participation in our favourite activity would be wonderful. However, most of the work that needs to be done is not anyone's first choice for a career. That is a fact that resource redistribution cannot change.

We don’t dream about what we have. We dream about what is out of reach. When we fail to attain it, we might look to the system or to ourselves for an explanation. Both may provide answers, but looking at ourselves is less comfortable.

The truth is that most of us lack the talent to be paid to do what we love most. The appeal of such professions makes them so competitive that many talented people can’t make the cut.

Shortcomings and dreams are hallmarks of the human experience. They are not unique to an economic system. Neither is the importance of finding contentment in the compromises we live.

Mike Zhao Ottawa

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Time is a flat circle

Re Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (Opinion, Aug. 15): During the pandemic, space and time have compressed as we remain at home, with only the internet connecting us to the outside world.

Decades ago, before the internet, our experiences of time were influenced by the schedules and geographic boundaries of our workplaces and homes, or by travel and recreation. Laptops and smartphones erased such boundaries, creating a world of anytime, anywhere. That has efficiencies, but comes at the loss of geographic distinctiveness and temporal independence.

When we make ourselves available anytime, anywhere, we no longer control time – it controls us.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Signed and delivered

Re Past Due (Letters, Aug. 21): I stood outside the Chinese embassy in Ottawa from 3:45 p.m. until almost 5 p.m. on Monday this week, holding a sign that read: “Hostage Diplomacy is Beneath Contempt.”

With traffic flowing in both directions, I would guess that as many as 800 vehicles drove by in that time. A handful of drivers honked their horns or waved to me. Sadly, the vast majority of commuters seemed to avoid looking my way.

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I’ll be back again in September. With any luck, a greater number of motorists will show that they, too, are worried about Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

Martin Stockton Carleton Place, Ont.

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