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: email@example.com
LCBO: Explain, please
Re Ontario Liquor Board Criticized Over Move To Return Norman Hardie Wines To Its Shelves (Dec. 6): Many are demanding to know why the LCBO is resuming sales of Hardie wines. It’s easy to understand the anger, because it’s hard to understand how the LCBO made the delisting decision in the first place. For sure, strong allegations of sexual misconduct were made, but did all the other products on LCBO shelves pass some ethical screen or process?
Is there a policy or process? A committee? A responsible person? An eligibility criteria list?
And if people wanted to apply that “process” to other LCBO products based on moral criteria, what other liquor products could/should also be delisted? For how long? And how, or when, to resume their listing?
Vodka from Russia perhaps? Gujinggong from China? Bourbon from the United States?
On what basis? For how long? Why? Why not? Until we get those answers, why is the LCBO rushing to restock Hardie wines?
Eric Pelletier, Toronto
Just wondering, Mr. Ford
As a volunteer mentor, I help newcomers to Canada find jobs. We counsel them to make their résumé and approach results-oriented, instead of activity- or experience-oriented. In a job market where many have the experience, actual achievements and a mindset that focuses on outcomes can be a critical differentiator.
So I wonder what our newcomers think of Premier Doug Ford’s comments in support of Ron Taverner (Ford Says He Didn’t Need To Recuse Himself From Hiring Of OPP Head – Dec. 5). How would they reconcile the challenges they face in a highly competitive job market, if the seemingly strongest hiring rationale is that Mr. Taverner “has given 50 years of his life to policing.”
Would they doubt the openness and depth of deliberation in the selection process? Would they be a little skeptical of the ascension of a candidate who did not rise to equivalent levels of responsibility as a a Toronto Police Service superintendent?
“If Ron Taverner wasn’t qualified, he wouldn’t be there” – words spoken by someone widely perceived as unfit for his current job, so perhaps a fitting, if circular, concluding statement.
Chester Fedoruk, Toronto
Here are some questions that would help get to the bottom of the controversy surrounding Ron Taverner’s appointment to head the Ontario Provincial Police.
Who were the other candidates? How do their qualifications compare to those of Mr. Taverner? What questions were asked during interviews by the selection committee? Were candidates asked the same questions or did they vary for each? What responses did they give?
If the search committee was aware of a Taverner/Ford friendship, did they ask Mr. Taverner how he might deal with any potential conflicts of interest? What process did the search committee use to reach its recommendation?
Martin Birt, Uxbridge, Ont.
In the 1930s, Ontario was governed by the populist premier Mitchell Hepburn. He tarnished the reputation of the Ontario Provincial Police by ordering the force to hire several hundred special constables to, in the view of many, break the strike of workers at General Motors in Oshawa. The special constables were derisively referred to as “Sons of Mitches” for their role in ending the strike.
Eight decades later, Ontario is again led by a populist Premier. In recent days, the Ford government has chosen Ron Taverner, a friend of the Premier, to lead the OPP after the terms of reference for the position were quickly rewritten, ensuring Mr. Taverner could apply (Meet The New Ford, Same As The Old Ford – editorial, Dec. 5).
What will the OPP become known as in light of what appears to be cronyism? Taverner’s Toadies?
John Ferguson, Ottawa
Investing in Maple Leaf
Re Why Government Cash Won’t Create Jobs Or Make Maple Leaf Foods A Global Player (Nov. 30): We hope – for the good of the Canadian economy long term – that few people will align with the perspective articulated in Barrie McKenna’s column, for it is this point of view that has impaired investment in critical, productivity-enhancing investments in our country for decades.
According to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards’ “Income and Productivity Data” report (2017), Canadian labour productivity, compared to the U.S., has declined to 74 per cent, compared to 95 per cent in 1992. A report in September by the C.D. Howe Institute found that Canadian businesses will make capital investments equal to $13,900 per worker, compared to $23,200 in United States. These facts are the largest long-term threat to Canadian prosperity we face.
In contrast, in the United States, where governments routinely compete for risk capital at materially higher levels than in Canada, Americans view it as a long-term economic investment. They support this behaviour with government investments commonly more than two times what is practised here, recognizing the long-term benefits.
In the case of Maple Leaf, we are investing more than 20 per cent of our market capitalization in a world-class, high-technology poultry facility. Construction costs in Canada are 20- to 35-per-cent higher than in the U.S. and direct government support for productivity-enhancing risk capital is less than half. Recognizing this, Ontario and the federal government demonstrated a willingness to invest alongside Maple Leaf in making the largest, productivity-enhancing, single-site investment ever in the future of the Canadian food sector.
Very unfortunately, productivity-enhancing investments by definition come with fewer near-term jobs. That’s why they are productivity enhancing. However, they are materially more secure jobs, and importantly we expect to grow well past the current employment levels after the facility opens. This time-tested axiom is true: Sometimes you must employ a few less today, to employ a lot more tomorrow.
It is the difference between productive growth, and unproductive decay. Canada has seen – all too often – the risks attached to insecure, unproductive jobs; we need to truly value investment in secure, productive and sustainable jobs.
Michael H. McCain, CEO, Maple Leaf Foods
Maple Leaf Foods has weighed the business pros and cons of closing its poultry plants in Brampton, St. Marys and Toronto, and is rebuilding in London. Bravo for London. The result is not so good, financially and emotionally, for all those people who will now be unemployed. Never mind the ripple effect. However, business is business. I understand.
So what’s the problem? Our governments are providing Maple Leaf Foods with more than $60-million of the taxpayers’ money (not chicken feed) to support this already profitable business. If this is such a good idea for Maple Leaf, then why is government even involved? It’s hard to believe that this is the best use of our taxes. It is just astounding how our governments continue to use/waste our money with deals that don’t meet the governments’ own objectives for jobs or expansion.
Lorne Ireland, Toronto