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Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivers the throne speech in the Senate chamber in Ottawa on Sept. 23, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Bigger picture

Re Ottawa Lays Out Plan To Fight Pandemic, Revitalize Economy (Sept. 24): The Throne Speech focused almost entirely on COVID-19. I think this is wrong. There is a far bigger crisis in the offing: a breakdown of our financial systems.

Free money cannot last forever. Near-zero interest rates facilitate short-term spending, but it must be repaid at some stage. The government has the power to print money and buy bonds, but it does not have the power to restrain borrowing, except by raising interest rates.

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Sooner or later, defaults happen: a credit cardholder, homeowner, business or province may run into a brick wall. Then a domino effect kicks in. When that would happen is a matter of scale; thanks to COVID-19, it may be sooner.

Boudewyn van Oort Victoria

Meanwhile, at Rideau Hall

Re The Only Explanation For Julie Payette (Sept 24): Wouldn’t it be nice if the voting public could somehow have input into who becomes governor-general?

If the public can’t easily be involved, then could Parliament, which represents the people, vote on a candidate before they are approved by the Queen (even though that process is mostly ceremonial)? This way, it might be possible to avoid a nightmare appointment to the position.

There is no perfect governor-general – although some have come close – but there should be ways to avoid embarrassing ones.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa


How disappointing to read this opinion of Julie Payette. I’m sure, over the years, there have been many demanding male governors-general. But here is a woman being called out.

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How sad, in this day and age. I would have thought she was ideal. Bilingual, smart, a mother, an astronaut! Give her a chance to grow into the job.

Jo Scott Mississauga


In 2012, I took a heli-hiking trip in B.C.'s Bugaboos mountain range. Roberta Bondar was the guest host and keynote speaker.

Ms. Bondar appeared at breakfast every morning, sitting at various tables, always engaging her tablemates in conversation. She accompanied us daily on hikes and nightly shared fascinating stories of her adventures in space.

I found her to be modest, humble, mature, stable, compassionate and sincere. Not once was she arrogant or entitled, nor did she display a prima donna persona. She might be an excellent choice for governor-general.

Jeannie Coleman West Vancouver

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Progressive report

Re In Expert Hands? (Opinion, Sept. 19): Contributor Brian Lee Crowley is against experts, progressives and liberals who have been misleading the “rest of us." One wonders who the rest of us are – certainly not those of us who voted for the NDP, Green Party, Liberals or, in some provinces, Progressive Conservatives?

Mr. Crowley doesn’t think we should defer to experts in their fields, such as doctors who plead for sacrifice and co-operation, yet he does not seem to suggest a viable alternative. He also does not acknowledge the enormous debt Canadians have incurred to our medical professionals and remarkably united politicians.

Their dedication and expertise have spared the country from the wanton destruction of lives and jobs that our neighbours to the south, who seem to share Mr. Crowley’s opinion, have suffered.

Robert Eisenberg Toronto


Contributor Brian Lee Crowley certainly has no time for “progressives” or “experts” when it comes to Canada’s response to COVID-19. Nor does he have confidence in government taking an effective leadership role. Does he truly consider it damning that there has been some disagreement among experts during the pandemic?

Is it wrong that recommendations have evolved about matters such as masks and testing, as more experience is gained with the virus? Is that not a reflection of open-mindedness and adaptability? As for individual decision-making from the “bottom up” – where have we seen that work well over the past six months, the United States?

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While we can, as Mr. Crowley suggests, be truly proud of much that Canada has achieved and represents (“a rich inheritance to be enjoyed”) we should also acknowledge the significant work yet to be done to eliminate fundamental inequalities, so that this “inheritance” can be enjoyed by everyone, rather than just a privileged group.

Brian Schnurr Toronto


While contributor Brian Lee Crowley makes some excellent points on the perils of relying on experts and governments to make Canadian society better, he seems to also ignore some challenging realities.

Although I am one of the progressives he sneers at, I recognize the best ways forward are unknown, that we should be careful about making sweeping changes in a crisis and of experts who say they know “the way." I also observe that reliance on one expert, Milton Friedman, has created societies across the world that have increased wealth for the few and impoverished the many – Mr. Crowley could have cited that as a good example of overreliance on expertise.

It shouldn’t take so much to understand that capitalism, while the best we’ve got, needs to be tempered. Government is one of the only tools we have for that.

Peter Crosby Toronto

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Taxing theory

Re Is Modern Monetary Theory Revolutionary Or Imaginary? (Report on Business, Sept. 19): Columnist Ian McGugan suggests that the worst issue critics have with Modern Monetary Theory is the likelihood our politicians will lack the courage to raise taxes and calm surges in demand and prices. I suspect they’d just as soon bravely jump the gun on lowering them, too.

The solution seems easy enough: Take the power to manipulate this particular issue away from politicians. Perhaps we could make the GST the lever against inflation and largely set it on automatic, with the Bank of Canada in charge of the reset button.

I’ve long since come to the conclusion that the only viable alternative to redistributing wealth is to redistribute power.

Scott MacDonald Ucluelet, B.C.

Up in arms

Re Canada Violated Arms Trade Treaty: Report (Sept. 23): The Arms Trade Treaty offers “provisions” for the international trade of military goods and equipment. I find this to be patently hypocritical nonsense – there should be no international trade in these deadly products in the first place.

Mark Leith MD, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada; Toronto

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Here’s Johnny

Re For The Sake Of Our Sanity, We’d Better Warm Up To Winter (Opinion, Sept. 19): As a devout snowbird, I dread the winter ahead. My wife has been warned that we could end up in a live production of The Shining.

I’ve noticed the axe I keep in the garage has gone missing.

Norman Rosencwaig Toronto


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