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Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer rises to announce he will step down as leader of the Conservatives, Thursday December 12, 2019 in the House of Commons in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Exit stage right

Re Scheer Resigns As It’s Revealed Party Donors Paid For School Tuition (Dec. 13): Andrew Scheer’s resignation seems a good thing for the Conservatives. If the last federal election has taught us anything, it should be that the Conservatives need a leader who is socially progressive and fiscally conservative.

There is a large group of voters who will vote either Liberal or Conservative depending on party circumstances. Last election, I believe Mr. Scheer pushed many of these voters back to the Liberals.

Dan Petryk Calgary

Conservatives looking left to find their new leader should face the other way. I believe the next election will be won or lost in Quebec, where Justin Trudeau’s losses and the provincial government show that right-wing nationalism of a traditional kind once again has a home here.

This is fertile ground for the Conservatives. In the meantime, Quebeckers have parked their vote with the Bloc Québécois, waiting for the Tories to get their act together.

Conservative leadership felt like an oxymoron under Andrew Scheer’s tenure. If facing the right way, they may see Stephen Harper in the distance. He’s a closer, and they should want him to get closer.

Howard Greenfield Montreal

It’s reasonable that the Conservatives would want to rid themselves of a leader who allegedly used party money to pay for private-school tuition. Especially given the presence near Stornoway of the excellent Rockcliffe Park Public School, but that’s another matter.

Still, this American accustomed to hearing of political misdeeds of much greater proportions has to applaud the enforcement of such stern Canadian political discipline. If only we were half as tough on politicians in the United States. Or even a quarter.

Mary Stanik St. Paul, Minn.

I believe Andrew Scheer has rightly resigned the leadership of his party, having only secured 34.4 per cent of the popular vote in the recent election. Should we expect Justin Trudeau to follow suit, having secured only 33.1 per cent?

Peter Zaduk Toronto

‘The most anti-democratic act ever perpetrated on the citizens of the province.’ Readers check in on Doug Ford’s Ontario, plus other letters to the editor

‘Alberta’s determination to prohibit the learning process when the topic is oil-sands development is appalling,’ plus other letters to the editor

‘Québécois need no declarations of love, only to be called racists the day after.’ Readers react to Brian Pallister and Bill 21, plus other letters to the editor

Canadians in Italy

Re Canada’s Veterans Tell Stories Of Heroism, Loss (Dec. 7): Thanks very much to columnist Eric Reguly for writing about the less well-known Italian campaign during the Second World War.

My father fought in the Canadian infantry battles in Ortona, Liri valley, Cassino and the Gothic and Hitler lines, earning two military crosses. I have a favourite photo of him, enjoying a cobbled together 1943 Christmas dinner with “2 bottles of beer” rationed each.

In 1988, I was fortunate to visit Italy with my parents, to follow the battle route he took. I saw him weep, for the only time in my life, as he viewed the tombstones of childhood friends in the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery near Ortona. In a world now seemingly at growing risk of not learning from the past, attention to these brave men and women’s experiences is very important.

David Smith Mississauga

High horses

Re SUVs Are Killing The Planet – And Pedestrians. Why Do Canadians Continue To Drive Them? (Dec. 7): I fear Naomi Buck does not understand the Canadian auto market, which is not the same as that in the United States, and assumes that what may be case there is the same here.

Because gas is much more expensive here and because there are not as many people with higher incomes, Canadian generally buy smaller (pickup trucks aside) and cheaper vehicles than Americans. So far this year, all our bestselling cars and SUVs are compacts, whereas in the U.S. a much greater portion tend to be full-size vehicles. That means that most of the SUVs sold in Canada are not much larger than the bestselling cars, other than in height, and are not “gas-guzzling behemoths."

But indeed they offer an aging demographic "easeful entry and exit.” I used to own a Honda Civic, but no longer would be able to get in and out with any comfort; thank goodness for my Subaru Crosstrek small SUV. Down with ageism!

Mark Collins Ottawa

In my view, light trucks are not meant for transportation. Instead they seem to assuage some of the darkest urges of the human soul. The buyers can sit high and give themselves the illusion of self-worth. Everyone is higher now. If they built London-type buses and put the driver on top, they would probably sell millions.

I drive a manual 2017 Nissan Micra S devoid of any option. Price tag at the time? $9,998. Please note the four figures.

Alain Gingras Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Que.

Good reads

Re How Can We Save Canadian Non-fiction? (Opinion, Dec. 7): As a former history teacher, I was somewhat saddened at reading contributor Kenneth Whyte’s article on the plight of Canadian non-fiction.

Mr. Whyte adds a list of worthies of Canadian writing – however, Tim Cook’s extensive work on Canadian military history is glaring in its omission. Thus far I’ve read six of Mr. Cook’s books and I’m looking forward to his next publication.

As for my nomination of the best work of non-fiction ever published by a Canadian, that would be Modris Eksteins’ Rites of Spring.

Allan Scanlon Toronto

Contributor Kenneth Whyte makes a number of things clear about writing, among them that he very much admires writers who write out of a personal voice based in facts. For a variety of reasons, he sees this voice losing presence. He also lists almost 30 writers he admires and, to my astonishment, Barry Callaghan’s name does not appear. How can this be?

The man has been given a host of honours for journalism, including one given by a jury chaired by Mordecai Richler, who knew a thing or two about writing. I believe Mr. Callaghan’s non-fiction is unmatched for not just its range, but for exactly what Mr. Whyte admires: a personal voice of clarity and intensity rooted in the factual world – the kind of non-fiction he worries is dying out.

David Sobelman Oakville, Ont.

Golden age

Re Home Alone (Opinion, Dec. 7) Contributor Susan Pinker’s article on older women not living with men indicates that social connection may be a main reason for women living longer than men and retaining their cognitive faculties.

Perhaps society should pay more attention to this male health concern. Men are often expected to “tough things out” by themselves. Perhaps it is time for this attitude to change.

Adrian Stonell Oakville, Ont.

Kudos to 86-year-old Marilyn Schiff, who chooses to live separately from her 94-year-old beau. But I wish she hadn’t mentioned that she cooks dinner for him three or four nights a week. Hope my boyfriend doesn’t read that!

Esther Schrieder Toronto


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