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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre rises during Question Period, in Ottawa, on Sept. 29.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Earlier …

Re Tory Leader Denounces Threat Made Against Wife (Sept. 27): I couldn’t believe Pierre Poilievre’s comment that “until about a month ago, I had never heard of Diagolon and these losers.”

Along with many thousands of Canadians who paid attention to various media during the so-called freedom convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa, I learned, with some dismay, about Diagolon and other right-wing extremist groups.

At the time, Mr. Poilievre – media-savvy Ottawa-area MP and prospective Conservative leader – actively courted the support of such people, who generally distinguish themselves as racist and misogynist. But he didn’t know anything about their political backgrounds?

Brian O’Neill Boutiliers Point, N.S.

Well spent?

Re Ontario Posts $2.1-billion Surplus After Expected Deficit (Sept. 24): While it’s good news to not be so much in the hole, just how much human harms to the less well-off have there been from the choices made by the Ford government, including the multitudes of stresses to health care? Or is it another instance of being penny wise, but Ford-foolish?

Hamish Wilson Toronto

Quebec votes

Re Commuter Tunnel A Sign Of Quebec’s Complicated Environmental Record (Sept. 27): I’m 18 years old, and I’ll be voting for the first time on Monday in the Quebec election.

With so many parties and so many issues, it’s not easy to choose. But I decided to put all that aside because we’re in a crisis: climate change. Look no further than Hurricane Fiona which, according to police, was “like nothing we’ve ever seen.”

As a young person, to say I’m anxious about my future would be the understatement of the century. Last Friday, 15,000 Montrealers and I marched to demand decisive action from all political parties. The climate crisis is not a partisan issue. It’s a matter of survival.

But until all parties start taking it seriously, it’s up to us to vote for those who do. Most of Quebec’s politicians seem busy bickering about peripheral matters. It’s time to get serious.

I’m voting for planet Earth.

Shirley Barnea Montreal

Cities vote

Re 37 Unopposed Mayoral Candidates Win By Acclamation (Sept. 13): I live in the small municipality of Saugeen Shores in Ontario. I see an interesting catch-22 situation in the upcoming municipal election.

There are nine seats on council: six ward councillors and a vice-deputy mayor, deputy mayor and mayor. If an incumbent ward councillor opts to “step up” for a mayoral position and fails, they are then denied a position on council. I cannot imagine anybody applying for a promotion in the business world, if they were cast aside for failing.

This year, only one mayoral position is being contested by one incumbent councillor. There seems to be no incentive for the best to rise to the top.

I propose something entirely different. Elect six ward councillors plus three councillors at large. Now leave it to these nine councillors to elect a mayor and deputy mayor. There would be the best of the lot in all council positions.

Gerard Walsh Saugeen Shores, Ont.

Can you settle a bet? I think John Tory’s refusal of televised mayoral debates is a travesty, using his incumbent status to coast on name recognition and avoiding candidate Gil Penalosa’s realistic but exciting visions for a thriving, modern Toronto.

My friend says that it’s good that Mr. Tory is not being televised during this election campaign, because it would give him a larger stage to misrepresent his accomplishments and allow him to sell middle-of-the-road pronouncements as big deals (while hiding a penny-pinching austerity that seems to underfund everything he’s ever promised).

Who’s right?

Brian McLachlan Toronto

Come together

Re The Drug Crisis Is Everyone’s Problem (Opinion, Sept. 24) and Loneliness And The Importance Of Belonging (Opinion, Sept. 17): When he was U.S. president, Barack Obama entrusted surgeon-general Vivek Murthy to look into drug overdoses. Dr. Murthy soon discovered that the culprit behind overdose deaths was the erosion of meaningful human connections among Americans, a point he later crystallized in his book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.

For a problem so widespread in North America and Europe, it would behoove us to look at it from a humanistic lens. While we are invited to ditch the use of the word “addict” and be “seen,” we should also heed warnings that social disconnection can lead to the death of democracy.

Meaningful connections enrich each side; we only need sincere desire for truth. It’s free and we all can get on with it right now.

Arif Uddin Toronto

Still me

Re The ‘Me Generation’ Grows Old: Are Baby Boomers To Blame For The Ageism They Face? (Opinion, Sept. 24): A 2021 study from Mount Royal University’s Institute for Community Prosperity calls ageism “arguably the last form of prejudice and embedded discrimination yet to be considered taboo.” I think it’s safe to say it will take a little more than sheer force of personality to move us in the right direction.

Regardless, I’m up for the fight. I am 75 and gainfully employed, and I do not in the least feel powerless or unattractive. That has a great deal to do with the many people around me. Not least, and not last, are my granddaughters, the sparks that light my fire.

Mary-Ellen Turnbull Edmonton

Please stand up

Re Let’s Stand Up To The Petty Tyrants (Sept. 24): I have certainly run into petty border tyrants, having driven through nearly every country in South America in the 1970s.

I had a memorable run-in with one in the foothills of the Andes, en route from Bolivia to Chile. He alleged that he was a border guard, though there was no visible border to guard. His only uniform was a fringed white leather jacket and a pair of pearl-handled chrome pistols in his belt. He pulled one, and finally backed down when I broke out laughing.

I want to compliment the border guard I met at the Peace Bridge when returning from my 50th reunion at an Ohio university in 2019. I had been counting pro-Trump signs, which was depressing. She asked where I’d been, smiled broadly and said, “Sir, welcome home!”

Peter Martyn Toronto

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