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Re Newfoundland And Labrador Liberals Re-Elected, But With Minority Government (May 17): The people of Ontario, and likely much of the rest of Canada, can only look to Newfoundland and Labrador with envy over its minority government.
With the balance of power held by neither the governing Liberals nor the opposition Tories, there will be at least five elected members who can voice an opinion independent of both parties to a Premier who will have to listen – unlike Justin “My Way Or The Highway” Trudeau in Ottawa, and Doug “Personal Vendetta” Ford at Queen’s Park, each of whom rules like a monarch, with their caucus sheep along for the ride.
Newfoundland and Labrador will have a legislature working the way the parliamentary system was intended, which is not a Party of One. Well done.
Stuart McRae, Toronto
Pension. Salary. Pick one
Re Why Are Professors Allowed To Double Dip? (May 17): It is heartbreaking to read that “more than 1,200 new PhDs could have been hired” if Ontario universities had been able to replace professors 65-plus with junior scholars.
This problem of grey greed extends far beyond universities. To be fair to older workers and the young, society should mandate 70 as the compulsory age of retirement, and not just for professors. Too many young people’s careers in too many fields are being blocked by geriatrics who don’t know how or when to let go.
At the very least, no one 65-plus should be allowed to collect a pension and a salary. That is a financial obscenity whose ramifications society cannot tolerate – financially or morally.
May Norman, Halifax
Foreign policy, M.I.A.
Taken together, last Saturday’s columns by Konrad Yakabuski and Doug Saunders offer a searing indictment of the Trudeau government’s approach to foreign policy (The Vacuum In Our Foreign Policy Is Killing Us; How The Liberals Got Trapped Without A Policy In The Middle East).
That said, the two columnists didn’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of former prime minister Stephen Harper’s approach, or what Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has on offer.
As a former Canadian diplomat, whose career included reopening our embassy in Tehran in 1988, I was initially bewildered by the Liberals’ eagerness to secure a seat on the UN Security Council. Foreign policy is about identifying and pursuing our country’s interests, not just our values, and working with others to get results. As suggested in the columns, we seem to have reached a stage where neither main party is capable of articulating our national interests, only pandering to the interests of the numerous diasporas that suggest they can deliver votes in Mississauga and Surrey.
But maybe I shouldn’t be bewildered. When a government thinks foreign policy is about issuing pious platitudes and arranging wardrobe-driven photo-ops for the ethnic media and election advertising back home, then it also likely thinks photos and B-roll video of sitting at the table at the UN with the big boys and girls is what it’s all about. I suspect Justin Trudeau may be in for the same surprise with the upcoming Security Council vote as Mr. Harper was.
Scott Mullin, Toronto
Winnipeg 1919, 2019
Re The 1919 General Strike Was A Battle for Winnipeg’s Soul (Opinion, May 11): The Winnipeg General Strike was a reign of terror. Fanned by the inflamed rhetoric of not only R.B. Russell but also J.S. Woodsworth, the strikers’ aim was revolution, inspired by workers’ success in Russia. The unionists set up a provisional government, controlling critical food supplies that were given only to permitted supplicants. Many among the Winnipeg police and returning veterans sided with the unionists. The city was lawless.
Mobs roamed Wellington Crescent, choosing which houses they would live in after the capitalist occupants had been “eliminated.” How do I know? My mom lived in one of them.
In the absence of Ottawa’s willingness to intervene with force, A.J. Andrews organized the Citizens Committee of One Thousand to restore order. It took great courage. The pictures of Market Square show strikers in the thousands, with up to 30,000 having been on strike at various times. The famous picture of men in fedoras resolutely marching up main street shows citizens in the hundreds, setting out to challenge revolutionaries potentially outnumbering them by 10 to 20 to one.
A.J. Andrews was my great-uncle. He is a Canadian hero. The story of the “Boy Mayor” of Winnipeg (1898 – 1899) should be known to all Canadians. The Winnipeg General Strike was not labour’s shining hour. It was an act of futility. Today’s peaceful prosperity in Winnipeg is proof that social progress is always best achieved by democratic process, not by revolution.
Robert Richards, Toronto
Hovering over the Winnipeg General Strike was the ghost of Joe Hill, “Wobbly” (Industrial Workers of the World) organizer, songster and martyr. He was executed by a Utah firing squad in 1915 for a murder likely done by another. He’s best known now for his songs, notably his Pie in the Sky parody of In The Sweet Bye And Bye.
The Wobblies were banned during the First World War for giving comfort to the enemy by interfering with war work. After the Winnipeg strike, Canadian labour got more organized, industrial and political with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the forerunner of our present-day New Democratic Party.
As Alfred Hayes’s song, I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night ends, he “never died” but lives on – no matter how we still try to kill him.
Guy Mersereau, Hamilton
A Black mark
Re Black Says U.S. Pardon Is Vindication As His Prosecutor Laments ‘Sad Chapter’ In Justice (May 17): This headline is as close as you are likely to get in terms of balanced presentation by The Globe and Mail. How about a headline that says: Pardon Is Fodder For Trump-Bashing By Black’s Prosecutor?
Kope Inokai, Toronto
If Lord Black honestly believes that writing a complimentary biography of Donald Trump had nothing to do with the grant of a pardon, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell him.
Ronald Carr, North Vancouver
Imagine being pardoned by Donald Trump? Surely, a black mark on one’s character?
Douglas Parker, Ottawa
My goodness, what a collection of negative letters on Friday about Donald Trump’s pardoning of Conrad Black (Pardoned).
Can’t anybody see the positive side to this? Mr. Black is now is free to travel to the United States. Let’s hope he does. Permanently.
Ken Dixon, Toronto