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April 10: 2018: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves his office with his then-principal secretary Gerald Butts.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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:


Butts out, Butts in

Re PM’s Former Principal Secretary Joins Liberal Re-Election Campaign (July 22): Notwithstanding warm feelings that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may enjoy welcoming back his disgraced university buddy and former principal secretary, that he would run more risk in the face of his record of prior bad choices shows more poor judgment. Any chance that the SNC-Lavalin debacle might be forgotten or be less damaging during the upcoming campaign has been lost. And for what?

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Surely the Liberals have other, untainted advisers available.

Michael Robinson, Toronto


It is no surprise that the opposition parties are digging up any reason they can why Gerald Butts should not be returning to the Liberal ranks. No doubt it’s fear that motivates them.

As a key Liberal strategist and one who made a significant contribution to the party’s election victory in 2015, Mr. Butts has the potential to make their lives miserable over the next several months.

Their campaign to discredit his appointment says more about them than it does about him.

Monica Cullum, Ottawa

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How we do things

Re This Is How We Do Things In Canada (Opinion, July 20): There is no disagreeing with Glynis Ratcliffe that the internment of Jews shipped from Great Britain to Canada was wrong.

Nor should one doubt anti-Semitism at various levels of Canadian society, including its public life, accommodated their mistreatment.

The wonder is the extraordinary accomplishments of the detainees after their release. In “No Ordinary Campers” (Maclean’s magazine, May 15, 2000), Sonja Sinclair (my mother), herself a 1939 Jewish refugee, summarized their accomplishments and the recognition they received – 70 university professors, two Nobel prize winners, nine Orders of Canada, countless honorary degrees and dozens who made a contribution to Canadian cultural life as authors, musicians, and scientists. Beyond brains and sheer grit, conditions in Canada made their later success possible.

No, we are not immune. Acknowledging that fact is critical. So is celebrating and entrenching what we are learning to do well, better than most in fact – integrate a small but growing slice of the world’s 24 million refugees into a well-functioning society.

Helen Sinclair, Toronto

Let loved ones know

Re Is Canada’s Dementia Strategy Set Up To Fail? (July 22): A key element of Canada’s dementia strategy should be raising awareness about advance directives. I work in residential care, and one of the hardest, most heartbreaking issues is decision-making around goals of care. When loved ones, the de facto substitute decision-makers, have received no direction from their family member, it is difficult to refuse life prolongation at all costs. The person they knew was perhaps a “fighter,” but nobody ever asked the person whether they would want to continue to “fight” if they no longer knew who they were.

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Jyothi Jayaraman, Vancouver

Meaningless gesture

Re Louvre Removes Name Of Sackler Family, Which Is Tied To Oxycontin Maker, From Its Walls (July 18): By removing the name of the Sackler family from its walls, the Louvre becomes nothing more than a whited sepulchre. This institution chooses to remove the name of a tainted donor but keeps the donor’s money. The gesture is meaningless. Return the donation. Now that would be a genuinely significant gesture.

Marshall Pynkoski, Co-Artistic Director, Opera Atelier; Toronto


Re Time To Get Tough On Obnoxious Car Noise (July 20): I live in the downtown core. Cars, taxis, bikes, streetcars, buses move hundreds of people as they drive past, day and night. Virtually no noise. But motorcycles often provide not only sudden but deliberate noise pollution. Construction noise can be a nuisance, but at least it has definite start and stop times, and you know it will be over in a year or two. Motorcycle noise is 24/7, year after year.

Funny thing, but when police are patrolling, drivers of motorcycles and souped-up cars don’t feel the need to put on the full vroom-vroom-vroom.

Noise-boosting modifications for vehicles should be illegal, and not available for purchase. Why is it so easy for these 24/7 deliberate noise-polluters to disturb so many people?

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Sheila Vandenberk, Toronto


I don’t understand why we continue to tolerate this form of assault, this vandalism of our neighbourhoods and shared spaces. If noise junkies want noise, they should buy headphones and play engine sounds as loud as they like. Unfortunately, the narcissistic purpose of noise is to assault others.

Claude Daley, St. John’s


So Marcus Gee thinks obnoxious vehicle noise is “all good fun on a race track or remote country road”? I happen to live on a somewhat-remote country road. We get the loud exhausts here and it is not all good fun.

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Booming music systems are often as bad as the exhaust noises. Imagine hearing the “music” long before we hear the motorcycle that is conveying it down the quiet country road.

Even some “silent” cyclists can be obnoxious – at least the ones who carry on shouted conversations with each other as they pedal by. How one experiences any noise is relative to the background, and we are certainly getting the obnoxious experience here. Toronto is not alone.

Keith Rasmussen, Campbellville, Ont.

Family feud

Re A Family At War (July 20): For a family that has done extraordinary well, it is truly pathetic to see the Stronachs unable to solve family matters on their own.

The lawyers involved must be salivating at all the billable hours. For the rest of us, this reads as greedy rich people playing dirty games with each other.

Robert Kennedy, Toronto

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Last April, I sat in a room with Ontario Superior Court Judge Glenn Hainey and more than 20 self-assured major litigators representing every side in the family dispute over the Stronach trust. (Our purpose for being there seemed insignificant: We were trying to get the movie and book rights on behalf of an international client.) All the high-powered buzz stopped when Frank Stronach’s lawyer showed up.

Unfortunately, Mr. Stronach, 86, seems to believe he is going to live forever. If he had hoped for a better outcome, and a long-time legacy, he should have donated his money to well-deserving charities. Since many of the parties involved in the case have posted retainer and exclusivity agreements, this dispute will likely go on for many years. Wait for the movie and the books.

Mark Borkowski, Mercantile Mergers and Acquisitions Corp., Toronto


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