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Minister of Finance Bill Morneau answers a question in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on July 8, 2020.

Patrick Doyle/Reuters

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Who paid?

Re Morneau Repays WE Over Travel Expenses (July 23): So three years ago, Bill Morneau forgot to repay WE Charity $41,000 for travel expenses? And this is the man responsible for Canada’s finances?

Marty Cutler Toronto

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The Prime Minister and his Finance Minister are caught up in the growing thicket of yet another scandal. Meanwhile, the Governor-General has been outed for allegedly lording it over her staff (Privy Council ‘Concerned’ About Claims Surrounding Julie Payette – July 23). Sadly, both these news stories seem symptomatic of a much bigger, more unsettling malaise that affects life inside the Ottawa bubble.

I’m talking about a sense of privilege and expectation of entitlements that seem to pervade our federal government and motivate too many politicians and our ruling elites. Small wonder that so many Canadians – the hardworking taxpayers who pay the government’s bills – are disillusioned by the motivations of politicians and many bureaucratic enablers.

Ken Cuthbertson Kingston


It appears that WE Charity was not asking Bill Morneau to pay the amount he owed? A well-run organization does not let its accounts receivable go unpaid for years. Was there something else going on?

T. Gerard Sheehan Toronto


Re The Trudeau Government’s Big Distraction (Editorial, July 22): The Globe’s editorial makes the disturbing suggestion that the federal government cannot combat a pandemic effectively while its former arrangements for the Canada Student Service Grant are reviewed. What a dismal truth it would be if our government could not simultaneously undertake great things and participate in reviews of its own performance.

From 1941 to 1948, the U.S. Truman Committee successfully investigated military spending and war production for waste, inefficiency and profiteering. It did so despite the opposition of the under secretary of war, who complained that working with the committee would impair the government’s ability to respond quickly to wartime needs. It did so led by a faithful Democratic senator who investigated a Democratic administration: future U.S. president Harry Truman.

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The committee’s work is said to have saved between US$10-billion to US$15-billion. These efforts contributed greatly to the successful prosecution of the Second World War.

Does The Globe’s editorial board really believe that our government is incapable of comparable introspection? Worse still, do they not expect that our government can walk and chew gum?

Jonathan Weisman Vancouver


Re Free Time (Letters, July 18): A letter writer describes the time generously donated by herself, her husband and other celebrities to charity, and reflects what was my assumption whenever I saw famous names attached to a cause. But the WE Charity affair has made me question the authenticity of all charitable celebrity appearances.

One can hardly live in a major city without seeing celebrity-studded billboard solicitations for donations to local hospitals, homeless shelters, animal refuge centres, etc. Just as political parties must advise viewers that they have paid for advertisements, I suggest that charities be required to inform the public when endorsements or images in solicitations have been purchased.

The next time I see a billboard of a celebrity asking for contributions to a worthy cause, I want to know if part of my donation will go toward compensating that individual.

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Ronald Macfarlane Chateauguay, Que.

Who’s watching?

Re I Spy (Letters, July 22): A letter writer finds there is no credible public evidence that Huawei technology is a danger to Canada. I find that it is readily available to anyone who wants to look.

Since 2010, the British National Cyber Security Centre has published annual reports on the progress of their investigation into Huawei’s development of next-generation telecom equipment. The 2019 edition excoriated the company’s use of outdated third-party software and its attempts to cover up, rather than correct, numerous flaws found in their system.

Even more damning was a detailed report from the U.S. company Finite State, which specializes in telecom supply-chain issues, highlighting not only firmware and software faults, but the discovery of “backdoors” in Huawei equipment by the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service. And in 2009, Vodafone identified backdoors in their Italian networks. Huawei promised to fix them, but Vodafone discovered even more security vulnerabilities as late as 2012.

I think columnist Andrew Coyne is right: Why is there even a question about giving this company access to any of Canada’s telecom networks ?

Colin Lowe Nanaimo, B.C.

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Who pays?

Re Restaurant Industry Warns Future At Risk Without Relief (Report on Business, July 21): It is great that Canada is providing support for workers in the restaurant industry who are unable to work as much as they need. But to have restaurant owners requesting relief, with taxpayer money, is a bit rich for me.

It has been reported that over a recent three-year period, the Canada Revenue Agency audited about 6,190 bars and restaurants and found $344-million in unreported income, resulting in a recovery of $200-million in taxes plus interest and penalties.

A reluctance to pay taxes should not go hand-in-hand with a plea for tax-funded subsidies.

Mikael Jansson Victoria

Who leads?

Re Nathalie Bondil’s Firing From Montreal Arts Museum Splits Country’s Cultural, Corporate Leaders (July 22): I believe that the board of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts acted rashly in firing general director Nathalie Bondil. A slow approach of reprimand, and opportunity for education and relearning, would have been better for all concerned. (The side issue of what the museum exhibits could be handled by continuing discussions within the board.)

The evil that prompted Ms. Bondil’s harsh treatment of her colleagues and employees will likely not be tamed by heavy-handed moves. A gentler approach of allowing Ms. Bondil to correct her management skills would have promoted an atmosphere of forgiveness and made for a healthier institution in the long term.

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Wendy Board Toronto


I find it interesting to see reactions in the halls of power to reports of toxic environments allegedly created at Rideau Hall and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In each case, defenders have spoken in support of the “strong woman” in charge. While strength in women leaders is desirable, it should not blind their defenders to accusations coming from staff, who inevitably see the underside of power and sometimes pay the price.

In my view, a few complaints from staff can be safely ignored by the outside world. But when employees risk their careers to rise up en masse, as in these two cases, we should listen to what they have to say instead of reaching for platitudes or blaming the messenger.

Diana Nemiroff Ottawa


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