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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, left, and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, right, hold a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 23.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Report card

Re “Trudeau won’t overrule David Johnston’s recommendation for no public inquiry into foreign interference” (May 24): If the “intelligence” is so serious as to prevent its airing in a public inquiry, how did such highly classified information not attract enough attention from relevant cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister himself to even read it, let alone act upon it?

Serious shortcomings in the communication and processes of government there certainly are. It looks like they start with the Prime Minister.

Greg Schmidt Calgary


Too many times our political system is unable to get definitive answers to troubling questions.

Chinese scientists kicked out of a high-level infectious disease lab at the beginning of a pandemic? Why? Who knows.

WE Charity involvement with the government? Let’s call an election and halt all hearings.

The legal opinion for the invocation of the Emergencies Act? It may or may not exist, but if it did, the government can’t tell us because it’s confidential.

The list goes on. Now add to that critical questions surrounding Chinese interference in the politics of our country.

The sad part is that this decision just continues a pattern of not providing full answers to legitimate concerns.

Colin Lockhart Carleton North, N.B.


David Johnston’s report should be graded a failure.

The Liberal government might not be deliberately corrupt. The government’s incompetence as reported, I find, rises to the level of incredible‚ almost willful, negligence.

Intelligence reports, which surely should have demanded some modicum of attention and action, were sent not to individuals but departments. We don’t even know who might have received, much less read, these reports.

These faults, Mr. Johnston writes, are “systemic.” This reads to me like code that will insulate specific individuals, ministers and senior civil servants from being identified and held to account.

I do not expect these people to be identified through Mr. Johnston’s public hearings this summer.

Martin Birt Uxbridge, Ont.


Re “Sorry, Mr. Johnston: Public hearings into foreign interference are inadequate to the task” (May 24): The controversy surrounding foreign interference is highly politicized. Unfortunately, the blaming and name-calling has risen to the forefront.

What is obvious to me is a lack of basic knowledge about democracy and the word “inquiry.” An inquiry is thorough and the outcome may be very specific. Because it would involve classified material, to hear and see that material would mean being sworn to secrecy.

In my humble opinion, Canadians have a responsibility to educate themselves. The rhetoric about foreign interference reveals to me that we should all stop talking and start finding solutions.

Kathleen Szabo Vancouver


Yes, please, a public inquiry.

Beijing would like to know everything that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service knows about Chinese interference, and exactly what they know nothing about.

Ian MacKay Rosetown, Sask.


Re “Parliament has spoken: We need an independent public inquiry” (Editorial, May 24): I believe your call for an independent public inquiry is correct.

David Johnston should not have accepted the assignment of rapporteur because he knew, or ought to have known, that, rightly or wrongly, he would not be seen as impartial. A perceived conflict of interest can be as damaging as a real one. That all three opposition parties are in agreement on this point is compelling.

Mr. Johnston should acknowledge an error in judgment and recuse himself from any further involvement in this matter.

Tony Manera Ottawa

Time served

Re “How to get tougher on bail without violating the Charter of Rights” (May 23): Bail reform on its own, even to a draconian level, would do nothing to improve public safety. It may take offenders off the street sooner, appearing intuitively beneficial, but this would only result in earlier completion of sentences and releases into the community.

Upon sentencing, criminals receive credit for time served on at least a one-for-one basis, although judges routinely exercise discretion to weigh pretrial detention at 1.5 times. Longer pretrial detention can only lessen total time behind bars from arrest to eventual release.

As well, short-term remand centres don’t offer rehabilitation and other programs – not a formula for safer communities. There should be reform of the entire penal system, including bail, sentencing, various remission schemes and parole.

James McLeod Toronto

Lesson plan

Re “Survey shows widespread reluctance to accept senior positions at Ontario school boards” (May 23): I see education as a bloated bureaucracy filled with too many consultants and administrators.

As a homeroom teacher in an Ontario school board, I have no sympathy for management not making more money. These administrators sometimes make twice as much as teachers and even four times as much as educational support staff.

If I had my way, I would cut the bureaucracy in order to properly fund classrooms, reduce class sizes, offer more academic supports for at-risk students and raise wages for and hire more vital support staff, those working with our most vulnerable kids.

David Moore Georgina, Ont.

Buy in

Re “If Russell Peters is bidding for the Senators, we should all have a go” (Sports, May 23): Multiple individuals, including celebrities, and groups are in the running to buy the Ottawa Senators. So why can’t regular folks, or perhaps all Canadians, own the team?

Mage, the winning horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby, is owned in part by Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, a partnership of around 400 people. Investments were available for as low as US$50. For most of these micro-investors, return on investment is likely not as important as the fun of being part of the action.

Commonwealth is reported to be expanding its interests from horseracing to golf and other sports. There is already precedent for assembling large groups of small investors who love a sport. A Canadian version of Commonwealth would likely have no problem attracting investors.

Dan Lyon Toronto

Safety first

Re “Having an encounter with three orcas was poetic, UBC student says” (May 22): People need not worry about being an orca meal. Southern resident orcas are salmon eaters, which is why nearby porpoises probably knew they were safe.

Whale researcher Alexandra Morton’s 2004 book Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us provides wonderful insight into these amazing creatures. She notes that misunderstanding the ecology of various orca populations led to captive mammal-eating orcas being fed salmon, with many starving to death.

We have to learn more about our fellow inhabitants on this planet.

Gerry McKenna Clarington, Ont.


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