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View from the West
I am a fourth-generation Canadian who has lived in Vancouver for most of my almost 80 years. I have always believed that I resided in a place that represents the world’s best geography: one of the largest land masses, thinly populated, resource-rich. It is next to the world’s most powerful nation and yet far enough from the squabbles of Europe and the travesty that is occurring in the Middle East. We are also among the freest countries in the world, including freedom of religion, assembly, movement and trade.
Considering our preferred positioning, Canadians should ask themselves a few questions. Why is investment rapidly fleeing Canada? Consider that in the past five years, the amount of Canadian business capital invested abroad has exceeded the amount of foreign capital invested into Canada by more than $150-billion.
Why is economic growth so low? The average annual rate of economic growth since the Liberals formed government is 1.8 per cent – barely above population growth – and the Bank of Canada projects an annual GDP growth of just 1.3 per cent this year.
Why are politicians celebrating disastrous job numbers? While Statistics Canada announced more than 80,000 new jobs last month, nearly three-quarters were part time, with full-time employment actually decreasing by 7,500 jobs for those over 25. Worse still, nearly 35,000 women lost full-time employment.
Internationally, because of respect earned over a century, Canada belongs to many international organizations such as the British Commonwealth, NATO, G8, G20 and the Organization of American States. As a result, when we have a respected and qualified prime minister attending, we are able to punch above our weight and contribute positively to the discussions of the day, to the pride of Canadians. (To include examples from both major political parties, take Lester Pearson and Brian Mulroney.) Unfortunately, our present foreign affairs team seems to have failed to perform to traditional standards and, in the case of India, brought Canadians ridicule and embarrassment. Our leader’s recent international contributions seem to have denigrated our nation in the eyes of many in the global community.
With all our natural advantages, Canadians are seemingly mismanaging a wonderful opportunity. Our citizens are Canada’s shareholders, and clearly they should vote for a change at the top so we can restore our economy, our unity and our spirit.
Peter M. Brown Founder, Canaccord Genuity; Vancouver
Re Press Freedom Applies To Everyone – Even The Rebel (Sept. 16): The Rebel is a publication that has vilified Muslims and demonized immigrants.
After the Quebec City mosque shooting, an act of terror by Alexandre Bissonnette, The Rebel asserted that the attack was committed by Muslims as part of an elaborate cover to elicit sympathy for the community. When a motion was put forward in Parliament in the wake of the shooting to condemn Islamophobia, The Rebel ran a campaign claiming that the motion was “a direct, sharia-style attack on western values.”
In an era where hate crimes are on the rise and far-right terrorism has emerged as a major national security threat, The Rebel should not be entitled to journalistic protections, as it does not seem to function like the press in its objectives and how it operates.
Avnish Nanda Director, Everyone’s Canada; Edmonton
I read Ezra Levant’s comments about The Rebel’s unfair treatment with genuine amusement. I recalled his appalling rant against Romani people from a few years ago; his use of the word “slut” to describe a former prime minister; the number of libel suits against him; and the judge who admonished him for having a reckless disregard for the truth.
Then, The Rebel’s Katie Hopkins came to mind, weirdly running around North York a day after the tragic van attack, inexplicably rueing the fact that she couldn’t find anyone who looked “Canadian” – whatever she thought that meant, and whatever she thought it had to do with the attack. Then my memory jumped to a Rebel reporter denying that he ever called Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna a “climate Barbie,” when he really had done so, and then … well, then I realized that this list would end up longer than a large-print critical edition of Moby Dick.
If Mr. Levant wants to be treated seriously, he seems out of luck – deservedly so.
Robert C. Ruttan Barrie, Ont.
A matter of life or death, Part 2
Re Let’s Not Forget About Living With Dignity (Sept. 16): A few years ago I was struck down by Guillain-Barré syndrome, which resulted in a total shutdown of my peripheral nervous system. My life was totally dependent on a ventilator, a nasogastric tube and, without getting more graphic, other catheters. I was being cared for in a highly specialized neurological institution where I had worked as a physician for 40-plus years.
In short, I had the advantage of gold-plated care. Had my condition become chronic, you can be sure that I would continue to have had high-quality care. How many people with conditions as described by contributor Tom Koch would receive this level of care?
And yet, if my disease had gone on to chronicity, I would not have wanted to be denied the option of a medically assisted death. So, as columnist André Picard argues elsewhere, it’s about time for changes in our current laws concerning assisted death.
Dean Chamberlain MD, Toronto
As a polio survivor, I can’t walk in my own shoes. Tom Koch shouldn’t presume that he can.
Jean Donaldson Port Moody, B.C.
Re An American Debate, About Canada (Editorial. Sept 16) and Editorial Cartoon (Sept. 16): The illustration of the United States as a lumbering tortoise, compared to Canada’s nimbler hare, should remind us of the growing limitations to the great American experiment in democratic capitalism.
A country of nearly 330 million people may not be able to remain fully democratic, especially when the folkways of areas such as Appalachia and the Deep South are so far removed from the values of more urbanized areas such as New York and California. That such a populous country has only two viable political parties speaks to the power of its lobbies, and it has been no more able to expand to having two official languages than it was able to go metric.
The U.S. Electoral College acts as a symbol of that country’s lack of flexibility when it comes to evolving democratically, as does a seeming conflation of democratic socialism with communism and other systems deemed incompatible with individual rights.
Ron Charach Toronto
When the Americans “debate Canada,” it is about them, not us. Canadians need to be less thrilled and influenced by foreigners’ smiles (and frowns) at a distance.
When Democratic debates put Canada on a pedestal, we are merely a foil for their internal arguments, especially health care and gun control. After all, when Donald Trump criticizes Canada, do we really believe he knows what he is talking about? Instead, during this election cycle, we should look at ourselves and focus on what really works, what needs to change and why.
Kerry Anderson Ottawa
At least I know who I would vote for in the U.S. election. The Canadian election, in what I see as an absence of important issues, is still proving a conundrum for me.
Dan Lichtman Markham, Ont.
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