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Michael Kovrig waves to media after his arrival at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Sept. 25.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press


Re Two Michaels Coming Home (Sept. 25): Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are standard bearers for a self-disciplined and brave Canadian democracy.

The government did not compromise our principles of justice. Though it tried in earnest to secure their release, it was always restrained by a retributive superpower.

Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor did better. They survived the cruelty and torment of the Chinese state and showed that they, on behalf of all Canadians, are more powerful than China.

We should all be grateful.

Philip Berger OC, Toronto

Re Meng Flies Away, Leaving A Hard Lesson Behind (Sept. 25): I could understand why the Huawei decision was never made or really discussed during the election, given the huge ramifications that would have resulted for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Now that it is clear their capture was a direct result of the Chinese government’s displeasure over the Meng affair, perhaps our government will have the backbone to support other Five Eyes countries in rejecting Huawei’s technology.

It wouldn’t do anything for our returning Canadians, but it would send a message that Canada, as small as we are, will not be bullied.

Stew Valcour Halifax

Regardless of what one thinks of Meng Wanzhou, one has to admire her gracious statement after her court appearance. (Though it’s beyond ironic that she thanked the Canadian government for upholding the rule of law – the very thing for which the Chinese government was excoriating us.)

Which makes me wonder: What does she think about her own government’s actions in all this? She’ll have watched the news these past 1,000-plus days. She knew how terribly Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were being treated, in gross contrast to her own treatment by Canada.

I would love to hear her thoughts on that. A fond hope, no doubt.

Neil Macdonald Buckhorn, Ont.

Alberta leadership

Re Jason Kenney Should Resign (Sept. 24): Alberta’s COVID-19 deaths now include the first person under 20. Jason Kenney, Deena Hinshaw and former health minister Tyler Shandro should be held accountable for the deaths of hundreds of Albertans.

I find the shuffling of Mr. Shandro to another portfolio and the United Conservative Party agreeing to a leadership review “next year” to be laughable consequences.

I am embarrassed, dismayed and disheartened to witness such displays of uncaring in the politically expedient sacrifice of Albertans.

Mike Priaro Calgary

In the difficult balance between individual rights and liberties with individual responsibility to collective society, conservatism that strongly favours the former leads most often to disaster. Challenging situations such as a pandemic or other common threat require a recognition that co-operative sacrifice, driven by scientific facts, provides the greatest chance of success.

Other conservative premiers were able to, at least in time, ignore the vocal right-wing elements of their bases and develop more effective policies. Jason Kenney failed to do this and many Albertans paid the ultimate price.

Mark Roberts Calgary

Our house

Re Welcome To The Age Of Minority (Editorial, Sept. 22): “Government bills face little meaningful opposition on their journey from conception to royal assent.” Yet in Emmett Macfarlane’s Constitutional Pariah: Reference Re Senate Reform and the Future of Parliament, the author notes that, following a new appointment process and the release of Liberal senators from caucus, 33 per cent of legislation forwarded to the Senate between 2016 to 2019 was returned with amendments, “a significant increase in modern practice.” Further, the average time for Senate reviews has doubled from the 2011-2015 Parliament.

While Mr. Macfarlane states that the Senate has not been obstructionist, his statistics suggest that bills meet meaningful opposition in the house of sober second thought, whatever their journey through the lower body with a government majority.

True absence of meaningful review of majority government legislation would have been the result of Stephen Harper’s attempt to abolish or starve the Senate, a policy which also finds favour with the NDP.

Peter James Vancouver

Get out

Re How To Get More People To Vote (Editorial, Sept. 24): Great idea to have an election week. There should be a law making a 36-day campaign the maximum duration. Our somewhat cruel and adversarial system is too hard on politicians and voters for any longer than that.

I find the campaign period is the worst time to make a decision on how to vote. I base mine on what good work candidates have done in the past, rather than what they are promising for the future.

I also pay attention to media I trust and mull year-round. I cast my vote as soon as an election is announced, then spend campaign time reading good books.

It’s disappointing to hear that 40 per cent of eligible voters in Canada do not vote.

Thelma Fayle Victoria

Online voting is one addition that has the potential to increase voter turnout, particularly among two-income families and people with disabilities. Many municipalities have had a combination of phone and online voting for more than a decade.

Canadians have long embraced online banking. Perhaps Elections Canada should contract with a consortium of Canadian banks to handle this obvious alternative.

Jim Sanders Guelph, Ont.

Labour lows

Re Restaurants Face Labour Shortages As workers Leave Industry (Report on Business, Sept. 21): We are suffering from soaring housing costs, slow economic growth and now inflation. Soon we will have rising interest rates to compound the problem.

Labour has been the biggest problem affecting supply and construction. Today our expanding middle-class population seems unwilling to supply our industries with the labour they need to continue. Some are starting to blame Liberal incentives that subsidize lifestyles to the extent that they do not need to return to work.

We need labour and we might have to look outside our country to find it, among the masses of anxious immigrants who would be quite happy to bake doughnuts, serve coffee and build buildings.

Neil Mclaughlin Burlington, Ont.

Dry spell

Re Nunavut Remains An Internet Desert, Affecting All Aspects Of Residents’ Daily Lives (Sept. 23): I live 45 minutes from our nation’s capital. Having just paid $40 for an additional 50 gigabytes of satellite data for the second time this month – bringing my cost to over $200 this month – I’d like to know if the satellite serving Nunavut could be pointed down south once in a while. Thanks in advance.

Tim Poupore Balderson, Ont.

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