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Political games on the Hill
Re PM Rebuffs Calls For Return To Normal House Sittings, Decries Rejection Of Bill C-17 (June 12): Canada is a parliamentary democracy, and yet our Prime Minister, leader of a minority government, has dispensed with Parliament during the worst financial and health crises in Canadian history. In its place, we have a daily one-man show announcing billions of dollars of government spending, unencumbered by parliamentary oversight.
What is most shocking is the Prime Minister’s brazen expression of contempt for the parliamentary process when he accused members of the Official Opposition of playing politics in not supporting the passage of Bill C-17, when these members were fulfilling their constitutional duty to scrutinize and debate government legislation.
The Prime Minister is constitutionally accountable to Parliament. It is not accountable to him. Similarly to U.S. President Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau does not appear to understand or respect the limitations on his executive power. If Canadians value their democracy, they should be outraged by the Prime Minister’s behaviour.
Kathryn Vogel Toronto
There is no doubt that our Prime Minister deserves enormous credit for his leadership during these unprecedented and difficult times. However, in order for the country to return to normal, the government must also return to normal. Returning to normal includes the role of the loyal opposition to ensure accountability.
We are no longer in the first stages of this emergency. Strategies, including the use of technology, make shortcuts around full debate untenable. It is time for Justin Trudeau to rethink his approach to House sittings.
Suzette Blom Toronto
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected Conservative calls for a return to normal House of Commons sittings Thursday and blamed a Parliamentary defeat this week on 'political games’ by opposition parties.”
Ah, the irony. Mr. Trudeau seems to object to Parliament performing its function. Just who is playing “political games”?
Jeff Breukelman Richmond Hill, Ont.
Trump’s re-election bid
Re It Should All Be Over For Trump. But He’s Not Finished Yet (June 12): Gary Mason misunderstands Donald Trump’s voter appeal. It has little to do with economics or incomes per se, and more to do with innate American mistrust of authority combined with a spirit of rugged individualism. Think of the rebellion against the British. Think of Rambo.
Think of the scores of Hollywood movies that depict government as the enemy of the common man. Think of widespread resistance to COVID-19 measures. Mr. Trump’s attitude toward established norms of behaviour perfectly align with a large swath of American sentiment – indeed, of American values, meanings and norms. That’s where his appeal lies.
Ron Freedman Toronto
The real naïveté is among those who believe that if Donald Trump loses the election in November, he will accept the result. Anyone who thinks that he will admit defeat and go quietly has not been paying attention. Hold on to your hats – we’re in for an incredibly bumpy ride.
Michelle Gage Toronto
Minister should refinance
Re Freeland Defends Minister’s Bank of China Mortgages (June 12): Of course François-Philippe Champagne must now refinance his two London apartments. He should have done so immediately upon being appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Equally important, the Ethics Commissioner should now resign for having then given him a pass on this obvious conflict of interest, plus the potential for it to be used to put pressure on him by an autocratic state.
Michael Robinson Toronto
In defence of Chief Saunders
Re Amid Stormy Waters, Toronto’s Police Chief Drifts Away (June 11): I couldn’t disagree more with Neil Price’s assertion that Chief Mark Saunders was “out of his depth ever since he became leader ...” His tenure has been marked by an even-keeled, steady-hand-on-the-rudder approach.
Policing will have to undergo a transformation. That’s clear. You can’t rely on cops to deal with mental-health issues, domestic violence, drug overdoses, guns, gangs, petty crime, traffic, patrolling the beat – just about everything. And you can’t expect one cop – the chief – to remedy all that’s lacking on the force and in the community.
Chief Saunders is even criticized for not playing the race card – something that should be respected. He was concerned about policing for all residents of the city and not selected communities. No single person can alone solve the broader issues of racism, poverty, education and community engagement. Who could’ve handled it better?
Jim Hickman Bracebridge, Ont.
B.C.'s overdose crisis
Re B.C. Records Its Deadliest Month For Drug Overdoses (June 12): Close to 1,000 British Columbians died last year of drug overdoses and poisoning and the rates of death by illicit drug poisoning continues to increase. It is time for provincial and federal governments to develop a drug policy that includes decriminalizing possession and consumption of all illicit substances, provides access to safe supply and substitute treatments, expands injection sites and drug consumption facilities as well as after-care. Focusing on the person using drugs and their well-being, with a holistic understanding and assessment of a person’s socio-economic situation, is a key part of a strategy that has been proven to reduce harm and save lives.
E. Wayne Ross Vancouver
Issues are deeper than names
Re Mayor Open To Renaming Dundas Street Over Concerns of Namesake’s Racism (June 11): I understand renaming Toronto’s Dundas Street. But Henry Dundas is only one historical representative of officially sanctioned racist colonialism, English or other. Should there even be a King or Queen Street, in any city?
As has been noted, the town of Dundas, Ont., also should be renamed. What about names such as Vancouver, Regina, Hamilton, Laval, and Fredericton? Most province names would also have to go, for their references to colonial invasion.
Despite genuinely unwanted names, the real problem needs more realistic solutions than that.
Paul Rapoport Ancaster, Ont.
Don’t punish young Olympians
Re Former Envoy Urges Boycott Of Beijing Olympics (June 11): With less than two years to go before the Beijing Winter Olympics, there should be just enough time to visit every Canadian winter sports club and tell every aspiring hockey player working drills, every speed skater burning laps, every figure skater refining those jumps and spins, every biathlete taming the heart rate on forest trails, and every curler aiming for gold that they should just quit. Or that they can go ahead and have their fun, but shortly they – the youth of Canada – will be required to pay the price for a political problem that can be dealt with right now, and with far more effect, through trade policy.
Ask cyclists Gordon Singleton, Louis Garneau, and Steve Bauer if they remember how effective that political play was in 1980 when Canada joined other countries in boycotting the Moscow Olympics.
Kim Saravanamuttoo Ottawa
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