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David Johnston, Independent Special Rapporteur on Foreign Interference, leaves after presenting his first report in Ottawa on May 23.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

In trust

Re “Public inquiry would restore trust in Ottawa’s handling of Beijing election meddling, legal experts say” (May 25): In 2018, David Johnston published the book Trust, which made 20 recommendations about how to solve the precipitous decline in trust Canadians feel for our institutions.

Does Mr. Johnston really believe that rejecting a public inquiry will increase the public’s trust?

George Lancaster Toronto

Re “The essence of Johnston’s report: Trust me, there’s no story here” (May 24): “Suppose someone finds fault with his conclusions. How are they to make their case, being bound by oath? To whom? With what evidence?” My answer is that, like David Johnston, they would have to rely on public trust.

Do we have a politician who the public should trust more than Mr. Johnston? Lacking that, a politician may be better off refusing to review the facts and continuing to make ill-informed criticisms.

Jon Baird Uxbridge, Ont.

Re “I met with David Johnston for his report – here’s what happened” (May 24): Erin O’Toole asserts that I did not speak to anyone from the Conservative Party in preparing my report assessing the 2021 Critical Election Incident Public Protocol. In fact, I met with the party on Aug. 30, 2022, at its offices in Ottawa.

An important element in reviewing the protocol was to understand how parties viewed briefings provided to them during the election campaign by the national security agencies. We requested interviews not with party leaders, but with party representatives designated to be briefed during the campaign.

In the case of the Conservatives, these representatives were Trevor Bailey, director of membership, and Walied Soliman, chair of the party’s election campaign. Mr. Bailey attended the meeting. Mr. Soliman was invited but did not attend.

I stand by the content of my report, which reflects comments I received from party representatives during these interviews.

Morris Rosenberg CM Ottawa

Whole of it

Re “CBC English TV has lost its relevance. It’s time to talk about that” (Editorial, May 20): The Globe and Mail’s editorial board repeats criticism – which we find contradictory – that some make about the public broadcaster these days: that it’s a waste of money because its television audiences are low, and that it’s too successful because its digital audiences are high. That’s like judging The Globe by counting only people who buy physical papers.

How about this? If you’re going to judge us, judge our value to Canadians across all our platforms. Because that’s how we serve all Canadians, who tune into award-winning Canadian shows on our TV and radio stations, or watch and listen to them on demand on our streaming services, CBC Gem and CBC Listen. More than 22 million Canadians use our digital services each month.

For more information, readers can visit CBC/Radio-Canada’s corporate website.

Claude Galipeau Executive vice-president, corporate development, CBC/Radio-Canada Toronto

En français

Re “Francophone minorities should worry about the Liberals’ language plans” (May 20): Bill C-13′s impact on minority language rights feels like an omen of things to come.

Shameful: It would undermine the pillars of bilingualism and multiculturalism established by Pierre Trudeau. Shameless: All parties voted in favour, hoping to appeal to Quebec nationalists in the next election.

The bill effectively endorses the notwithstanding clause and accepts that Quebec’s Charter of the French Language does not guarantee access to English services. Any exercise of provincial power to restrict minority rights cannot be stopped if camouflaged as a defence of French.

What will other provinces be tempted to do when it comes to their official language minorities? Unless the Senate thinks otherwise, it seems that Parliament has decided to step back from its longstanding commitment to protect and promote official language minorities across Canada.

David Powell Toronto

Peer to peer

Re “The peer-review process is in need of some scrutiny” (Opinion, May 20): Peer review of scientific journals does need a review, and I find the new company Peer Premier laudable and interesting – but unrealistic. It might make a bunch of money, but it will likely do nothing for the peer-review system and instead damage it.

As founder, owner and publisher of Pulsus Group, I published Canadian medical scientific journals for more than 30 years. Peer review is not the end-all. Doctors and scientists can be perennially bad writers; we used to spend countless hours rewriting studies that were scientifically correct, but made no sense to readers.

There is also the importance of the impact factor (the number of papers in important journals) on publication.

Robert Kalina Oakville, Ont.

Tough sell

Re “Copyright loophole for education should be plugged” (May 20): There have been significant decreases in school funding to buy current materials.

Check out any bookroom in a B.C. public school to discover dog-eared copies of (mostly American) novels at least a decade old. School libraries, once huge purchasers of Canadian literature, have lost much of their budgets. Public libraries, held hostage by the inflated costs of “leasing” e-books, are also grappling with declining purchasing power.

Anecdotally, my child in a francophone public school is reading American novels translated into French, despite Quebec’s incredible publishing sector for children and young adults. It saddens me that we do not better value Canadian stories told by Canadians.

To blame photocopying – of which I see less and less, as educators are more likely to provide links rather than copies – for the financial hit in publishing would ignore the bigger issue of a country that does not properly value its own stories.

Katharine Shipley Vancouver

Better than anyone

Re “ ‘Simply the best’: From Mick Jagger to Bryan Adams, the music world remembers icon Tina Turner” (May 25): In 1989, I was vice-president of marketing for HMV. The record industry had a gala reception for Tina Turner at the top of the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.

Ms. Turner walked in and shook hands with everybody, starting with me. I said how delighted and amazed I was to meet her, and that my name was Mark.

She circled the entire room. When she came back to the end of the line, the next person was, of course, me. She looked up and said, “Oh my gosh, you’re Mark. This is where I started.”

I have no doubt she could remember the names of everyone that afternoon. Ms. Turner must be the epitome of a grounded celebrity who truly cared about her work and the people she met.

I never forgot the moment. I am so sorry to see this marvellous woman gone, but her oeuvre and kindness remain.

Mark Christian Burgess Cobourg, Ont.

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