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A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa, May 14, 2013.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

After the whistle

Re “Why I blew the whistle on Chinese interference in Canada’s elections” (March 18): An enormous debt of gratitude should be owed by Canadians to the whistle-blower who is risking everything. A massive campaign should be mounted to ensure this individual is protected.

A tribute should also be owed to The Globe and Mail for having the journalistic courage to publish the circumstances surrounding this government scandal.

Gary Pryce Winnipeg

What a breath of fresh air compared with the excessive secrecy that obscures many of the pronouncements and activities of our national-security agencies. Nevertheless, the decision to publish this cri de coeur, while arguably in the public interest, may well trigger unfortunate consequences that echo Max Weber’s classic 1919 statement on political responsibility.

My sense is that much of the “debate” over Chinese interference in Canadian elections is largely a conversation within the dominant society, as opposed to a conversation – and solidarity – with the Chinese-Canadian community, the alleged target of this interference. The end result risks becoming the alienation and isolation of this community, and ever-increasing hostility toward all Asian diaspora communities in Canada.

Canada’s history (for example, the treatment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War) is surely a cautionary tale of the dangers of targeting visible-minority communities.

Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.

Anonymity is sometimes necessary, if the best interests of the public are to be served.

The same argument should be applied to sources the Canadian Security Intelligence Service relies upon to determine that unacceptable Chinese interference is happening. They should be protected by anonymity in any investigative hearings. There can be no guarantee of that if hearings are fully “public.”

Certain information relevant to the matter should only be heard confidentially by trusted individuals with appropriate security clearances. This is the sort of thing for which David Johnston should be setting parameters.

Peter Love Toronto

It is baffling to me that Canadians are expected to believe in the integrity of an unnamed whistle-blower, who broke all the rules in the book by revealing secret documents. It is my understanding that these revelations could be subject to criminal investigation – if the perpetrator is ever found.

Even more baffling to me is that we are then exhorted to be suspicious of David Johnston’s impartiality in conducting his investigative work (”David Johnston is a man of high integrity. But as rapporteur? We should be in high dudgeon” – Opinion, March 18). Conservative politicians, in particular, seem awfully keen to impugn Mr. Johnston’s integrity, solely on the basis of his association with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. I have no doubt this is the only part of an honourable and brilliant career in legal circles, academic institutions and public service with which they can take issue.

I see only partisanship in play here as predictable, polarizing rhetoric is trotted out, yet again, in the guise of “debate.”

Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.

Another way?

Re “Justice Russell Brown’s absence will be felt in an environmental law hearing” (March 20): Isn’t there a simple solution to the dilemma of how to structure the Supreme Court in the absence of Justice Russell Brown?

Or shouldn’t the presumption of innocence prevail until the Canadian Judicial Council completes its investigation? Let Justice Brown back on the bench to avoid the messy debate of whether eight or seven judges should hear important upcoming cases.

Richard Boriss Peterborough, Ont.

Aid, now

Re “Ottawa is set to finally allow Canadian aid to reach Afghanistan. What took so long?” (Opinion, March 18): Canada should work across party lines to enact, without delay, Bill C-41 “providing or supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance,” as well as health care and education.

My recent participation as a delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women brought home the urgency of this situation. No country in the world banishes its girls and women from education, yet in Afghanistan they are now shuttered in their homes and often fearing imminent danger.

Education is a moral imperative and economic necessity. Afghan women have voices and we should listen and act. They have hope, but education is their only tool.

Hally Ruth Siddons Ottawa

Deeper problems

Re “The Trans Mountain pipeline purchase has been a (necessary) failure” (Editorial, March 18): The cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline and it being saved are only a glimpse of what has dictated Canadian oil and gas policies for decades.

The gift of oil, in relatively raw form, to our primary customer to the south has cost Canadians hundreds of billions of dollars in potential revenue over the past half-century. Raw oil, when compared with refined and downstream products, offers a fraction of its full value.

Why have federal and provincial policies allowed this to happen? That should be a more significant issue than the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Walter Petryschuk Former president, Sun-Canadian Pipeline; Sarnia, Ont.

2 for 1

Re “For improving air travel, WestJet’s Sunwing acquisition is a step forward” (Report on Business, March 16): It is claimed that neither increased competition, especially foreign, nor penalties for bad behaviour will improve outcomes for beleaguered airline passengers. It seems a stronger duopoly is the cure for all the industry’s shortcomings.

Sounds a bit like the cynical rationalization for closing bank branches in small towns: “to improve customer service.” Since, in many cases, fares are essentially the same between WestJet and Air Canada, why not eliminate the illusion of competition and go for the ultimate merger?

Too bad the Aeroflot name is already spoken for.

Stephen Shevoley Vernon, B.C.

Ride with me

Re “After a lifetime of memories, it may soon be time to change up my ride” (First Person, March 17): I can sympathize with the emotional attachment to a car.

Shipping my then-12-year-old car to Alberta, when we moved here 11 years ago, was deemed crazy by my friends. It’s now 23 years old and so far, with diligent servicing, it is still humming along. But there will come a day when it will expire.

Young men often ask if I want to sell my five-speed hatchback, presumably to juice it up. But I can’t part with it yet. I have been through so much with my little car that we are now firmly bonded.

Don’t let anyone say we can’t be in love with a hunk of old metal. My tin soldier will be impossible to replace in my heart.

Nancy Marley-Clarke Cochrane, Alta.


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