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One reader commended 'the high quality of service Canadians received in the SNC-Lavalin file from Kathleen Roussel, a woman I find to be of good judgment and integrity.'Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

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Deal or no deal

Re No Deal Offered To SNC Due To Severity Of Charges: Prosecutor (Feb. 28): After crafting a prosecution that resembles to me a deferred prosecution agreement in all but name, it seems evident that there was bowing to advice from some corner of the process that wanted a DPA.

Bruce Henry Waterloo, Ont.

I commend the high quality of service Canadians received in the SNC-Lavalin file from Kathleen Roussel, a woman I find to be of good judgment and integrity. One way for Justin Trudeau to close this file politically would be to acknowledge her contributions with an Order of Canada.

Shaul Ezer Vancouver

One of the hallmarks of parliamentary government is the impartial administration of our courts and judicial conduct. However, we have already seen attempted interference by Justin Trudeau and his staff with decisions made by the director of public prosecutions and the attorney-general in the SNC-Lavalin affair. In most Commonwealth nations, I believe the Prime Minister would have been forced to resign.

Now there are reports of partisan involvement in judicial appointments. I find this politicization of our courts unacceptable. And through further failure to adhere to the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and its guidance on Indigenous territories, it seems we are ignoring the core principles of our government and seeing an increasing Americanization of our system. The government has no mandate for such conduct.

Thomas Wardle Parksville, B.C.

Please stand up

Re Subchief Lashes Out At Coastal GasLink (Feb. 28): Hereditary subchief Freda Huson compares Coastal GasLink to a vacuum salesman who won’t take no for an answer. All very well if Ms. Huson were the sole householder. What if there were others in the home, and most of them wanted the vacuum?

In the ongoing imbroglio over this pipeline, the desires of the Wet’suwet’en are not clear to me. Twenty elected band councils support the project. To what extent do they represent the will of the majority? That’s the missing piece of the puzzle, and the government should take further steps to find out.

James Duthie Nanaimo, B.C.

In understanding this dilemma, we should be careful about cultural relativism. While some culturally rooted institutions are adaptable to universal values, others are not. Human rights, for example, are widely held as a universal value. And these rights can only be guaranteed under rule of law, which can only be consistently upheld in representative democracies. Thus for anyone who believes in universal human rights, elected leaders should have more legitimacy than hereditary ones.

In constitutional monarchies, these competing leadership traditions have been resolved by giving elected governments the power to govern, while keeping hereditary rulers as heads of state. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation has in fact adopted this model, and provides a useful template as to how this conflict can be resolved.

This is not to say that any of these systems are perfect. For example, there is no perfect electoral system and yet we elect our representatives. So how First Nations councils are elected and how they function should not be carved in stone, but they should not deviate from basic principles of representative government.

Manuel Mertin Calgary

Continuing education

Re The Saga Continues (Letters, Feb. 28): Let’s hope that Ontario has higher aspirations for its education system than to match Texas, which ranks 33rd in the U.S. News and World Report education rankings. The top U.S. state for education, Massachusetts, pays an average teacher wage of US$78,591 (about $105,400).

But why compare Ontario to the U.S.? Finland often tops education rankings and, perhaps not coincidentally, values their teachers and pays them commensurately. They also have smaller class sizes and no standardized testing. We should aim for excellence.

Angela Eady Hamilton

Ottawa and Tehran

Re Ottawa Urged To Resume Diplomacy With Tehran Amid COVID-19 Outbreak (Feb. 28): Seldom has the case for renewal of fundamental diplomatic relations with Iran looked clearer. Whether pursuing critical evidence regarding Flight 752 and assisting affected Canadian families, or responding adequately to the coronavirus threat, Canada remains handicapped by its lack of onsite consular services, as the Iranian Canadian Congress testifies.

Lacking ongoing representation in Tehran also handicaps Canada over the long haul. There are many other difficult issues to be addressed, such as the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows for the seizure and sale of Iran’s Canadian properties. However, events such as Iran’s admission of fault regarding Flight 752 provide a significant advance. A positive response from the Trudeau government to the Iranian Canadian Congress, and the pursuit of bilateral talks, would be a useful followup.

John Foster Nepean. Ont.

Carbon alternatives

Re Canada Must Boost Foreign Aid For Feminist Agenda To Have Sustained Impact, Experts Say (Feb. 26): I wonder if people realize how powerful education for girls and funding for family planning can be in fighting climate change. In Paul Hawken’s 2017 book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, he researches the top 100 substantive solutions for addressing carbon in our atmosphere. Of all the solutions he studied, it was the combination of educating girls and family planning that ranked No. 1 (in gigatons of avoided or sequestered carbon).

Canada’s policy of feminist international assistance seems right on – it’s actually a climate policy and we didn’t even know it. I hope it continues to be funded well.

Jenny Allen Midhurst, Ont.

Tax season

Re Yes, You Can Invest Too Much In An RRSP (Report on Business, Feb. 27): The example of a 65-year-old retiree with $2.5-million in an RRSP having to take out the minimum of 4 per cent when it is converted to an RRIF (about $100,000), and thus having his OAS clawed back, is not a hard-luck story. He should be happy to not be taking unnecessary government handouts; to, in fact, contribute more to the running of the country by paying taxes.

He should be thankful for his good fortune to be, just based on income from an RRIF, in the top 10 per cent of Canadian earners.

Tony Bull Ottawa

Re RCMP To Stop Providing Security For Prince Harry And Meghan (Feb. 28): It’s tax time again and I am missing a couple of tax slips: One for my charitable donation to keep Harry and Meghan safe while living here, and another for my contribution to that pipe dream – pardon me, pipeline. The one that was a goodbye – pardon me, again, a good buy.

Joe Spence Ottawa

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