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An ‘F’ for diplomacy
Re China Warns On Huawei (Jan. 18): I was under the naive impression that diplomats were supposed to be, well, diplomatic, and possess at least a modicum of understanding of the countries they were posted to. After Ambassador Lu Shaye’s comments, there is no possibility any Canadian government will ever be able to approve Huawei’s participation in 5G.
Geoff Holter, Vancouver
Our PM needs to tell China’s Ambassador that Canada does not pay ransom to kidnappers, even if the kidnapper is a foreign state.
Hubert Hogle, Napanee, Ont.
Why are we contemplating doing business with a country that says, “Do business with us – or else!”
Lawrence Scanlan, Kingston
Tuition ‘for the people’?
Re Ontario Rolls Back Student Aid In Postsecondary Shakeup (Jan. 18): So Doug Ford is scrapping what amounted to free tuition for lower-income brackets, after he scrapped the minimum wage hike, and after giving Maple Leaf Foods millions of dollars to have fewer jobs. Our autism services are severely underfunded, while money is spent for signs saying Ontario “is open for business.”
Things are really looking great “for the people.”
Phil Marambio, Oakville, Ont.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, shuffled
Jody Wilson-Raybould denied that her move to Veterans Affairs was a demotion (With Wilson-Raybould’s Demotion, Trudeau Gets His Priorities Wrong, Jan. 17). Yet her lengthy letter defending her record – unusual to say the least for a departing minister – makes it abundantly clear what she thinks of her new assignment.
That does her no credit. More importantly, it sends the worst possible message to veterans who have grown tired of seeing the ministry which is supposed to be devoted to defending their interests treated as little more than a political dumping ground.
Michael Kaczorowski, Ottawa
Some media have reported that Jody Wilson-Raybould was hard on staff. I disagree and I worked for her from 2016-2018 as her Judicial Affairs Adviser. She was a wonderful boss. More importantly, she was an inspired leader.
Without a background in politics, I interviewed for a job with her in 2016. During the interview, I expressed concerns regarding a recent government decision. While I thought that I had talked myself out of the job, the minister hired me precisely because I gave her a candid, non-partisan answer. This wasn’t unique to me.
Jody (or MOJAG as we called her) expected unflinching advice . She listened, always respecting informed opinion. It is that ability that distinguishes her from so many in the world of partisan politics. MOJAG created a non-judgmental space for her team. She pushed us to question the status quo, peel back the layers of analysis to understand the underlying concerns that a law, policy or program should address.
I have been lucky enough to work for extraordinary bosses, from former chief justice Beverley McLachlin to Ms. Wilson-Raybould. They taught me that excellence requires courage and commitment. MOJAG expected the best from us because Canadians expected the best from her. With her new role in cabinet, veterans will get nothing but the best.
Katie Black, partner, CazaSaikaley; Ottawa
Reading the newly appointed Veterans Affairs Minister’s statement makes it clear that her removal as Justice Minister has nothing to do with Justin Trudeau’s disappointment in her – and everything to do with her disappointment in him.
Her written statement is full of thinly veiled jabs at her own government, particularly on Indigenous affairs. She also asserts that she has been “always willing to speak truth to power” and will “ensure [her] voice is heard” – statements that would be out of place for a minister satisfied with her experience in cabinet.
Jody Wilson-Raybould wasn’t removed because she was unsuccessful at playing Liberal games. She was shut out because she was unwilling to do so.
Catharina O’Donnell, Canadian Politics editor, McGill Journal of Political Studies; Montreal
Justin Trudeau has just corrected an unfortunate error in the composition of his original cabinet by appointing a new Minister of Justice who is literate in both official languages, including the complex array of legal jargon, expressions and terminology that can be unique in French and English. This kind of high level bilingualism is not easy to find but, if we Québécois are to stay in the Canadian federation, the francophone community deserves at least that much consideration.
Beyond that question, there is Jody Wilson-Raybould’s “contribution” to the law concerning medical aid in dying by including – wrongly, in my view – the stipulation that death must be “reasonably foreseeable” as a criteria for access to MAID. The result of this has been that many Canadians have been forced to live in agonizing pain and suffering unless they were able to commit suicide on their own (not an easy thing to do). With the appointment of David Lametti to Justice, it would seem justice may finally be done with MAID.
Michael Hendricks, Montreal
Taxing high earners
Re Little Evidence Supports A 70 Per Cent Marginal Tax Rate On The Rich (Report on Business, Jan. 17): Allan Lanthier, the former chair of the Canadian Tax Foundation, describes a prospective med student to make us sympathize with the high earners whose interests he defends – which would have been more convincing had the example been at all relevant.
The 70 per cent marginal tax rate proposed by U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would only apply to those making more than US$10-million a year. The average U.S. doctor’s salary? That’s US$294,000, according to Medscape (Canadian doctors averaged $339,000 CAD in 2016).
Moreover, people don’t actually think the way Mr. Lanthier pictures: Romer and Romer (2011), the study proposing a top marginal rate over 80 per cent, found that even large changes in marginal rates had minimal effect on business decisions with long-run impacts – such as investments in machinery and construction.
Zhenglin Liu, Toronto
What could go wrong?
The recent federal cabinet shuffle of five ministers into new roles got me wondering if we should try this in the private sector. My proposal, as a bookseller with more than 40 years of industry knowledge, is to become president of the dentistry association. The dentist I replace will now be in charge of the milk farmers’ co-operative. That farmer is moving on to run the Tesla car company, and its lead engineer will now be the big cheese at McDonald’s. Its top dog, with an impressive understanding of fast food, is going to have a whack at running Suncor’s fracking division. The oil executive will complete the shuffle and run the bookstore, poor soul.
What could possibly go wrong?
Michael Neill, Kelowna, B.C.