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Shachi Kurl moderates the 2021 English-language debate.SCREEN CAPTURE: THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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Not enough

Re Bishops ‘Unequivocally’ Apologize For Residential School Abuses (Sept. 25): Sorry, but too little, too late. Bishops are now speaking as one voice – the “collective” voice of the Catholic Church in Canada – having denied for months that such a voice even exists, since every diocese is “independent.”

They are going to discuss the “possibility” of a papal visit, after discussing the possibility of having an Indigenous delegation visit Rome (far from the same thing) for four years, then using COVID-19 as an excuse for delaying even that. The head of the Assembly of First Nations is just using her common sense when she refuses further humiliation for her people by deciding to give that visit a miss.

When will devout Catholics learn that shoring up the so-called Christian leadership of bishops (not just in Canada but worldwide, to be sure) is only delaying the structural change I believe our church so desperately needs?

Paula Monahan Former major superior, Discalced Carmelite order; Toronto

Stand by me

Re I Stand By What I Asked In The Leaders’ Debate (Opinion, Sept. 25): And so she should. The question should not be why she asked it of the Bloc Québécois, on behalf of Canadians, but why every other party leader failed to ask it of them.

Jim Young Burlington, Ont.

Count me as among the 53 per cent of “older men” (is 55 older?) who found the English-language debate engaging, and who thought Shachi Kurl did a fabulous job in every respect as moderator.

She was tough, exacting and dynamic. Enough of “aggressive” and “shrill” already, when a woman is competent and strong.

David Harrison Toronto

As a sports fan, I appreciated contributor Shachi Kurl describing politicians’ tendencies to “run the clock and rag the puck” if not reined in appropriately.

Unfortunately, her performance as moderator in the English-language debate drew to mind a different analogy: that of the referee who blows the whistle incessantly, thereby putting themselves – and not the players – at the centre of the story.

Manu Rangachari Quebec

While I respect contributor Shachi Kurl’s opinion that she shouldn’t apologize for asking that question, it could have been worded to be less offensive to many Quebeckers.

A Léger poll conducted after the debate showed that 65 per cent of Quebeckers felt the question was inappropriate, while 69 per cent of Canadians living outside Quebec felt it was appropriate. Given that the debate became a debate about its moderator and organizers, Ms. Kurl should perhaps publish a French version of her argument in a leading Quebec newspaper, to make her case en français to many who only got one side of the story.

It might not change minds, and obviously won’t change the fact that the Bloc Québécois benefited from the outcry, but it could make for a healthier, less personal debate.

Éric Blais Toronto

Contributor Shachi Kurl looks to a Scottish man who died centuries ago for astute and cautionary words on liberty and corruption. Then a few paragraphs later, she compares the opinions of older men with those of women 18 to 34, writing: “Past, meet the future.” The diverse voices of the past, present and future do really meet, and with goodwill, in the best democracy.

The present met the past when Ms. Kurl met Alexander Tytler, and the future can be better if we all engage courageously and compassionately with important questions such as those asked of the religious-symbols ban. If we make room in our minds for the good in every one, we can reverse that slide into corruption that Tytler thought inevitable and enjoy a better democracy than he thought possible.

I’m with the hotel bellman who spoke to Ms. Kurl: I’m really glad she asked that question.

Stewart Britton Belleville, Ont.

Hands tied

Re Ottawa Won’t Publicly Support Taiwan Or China Joining TPP (Report on Business, Sept. 24): “Rules in the renegotiated NAFTA, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement … effectively gives Washington a veto over trade deals that Canada or Mexico sign with nonmarket economies, a category that would include China.” With USMCA we are no longer a sovereign country. I’m sickened.

Alison Dennis Kingston

Next steps

Re Two Michaels Are Home, But China Rift Runs Deep (Sept. 27): The resolution of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case and the return of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are superb demonstrations of Canadian quiet diplomacy and steadfast respect for the rule of law.

We stuck to our principles. The talented lawyers and patient judge upheld their duties, and our government and its representatives effectively used international diplomacy.

This is an occasion to be proud of this great country, thank all of those involved and embrace the return of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig to their homes and families.

William Trudell Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers; Toronto

I hope it hasn’t escaped public notice that it was a deferred prosecution agreement, that much-maligned legal tool, and application of a great deal of “political pressure” that secured the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Much tribute to all for their willingness to be flexible in achieving justice.

Barbara Sulzenko Ancaster, Ont.

My retired Cold War veteran friends and I sat around the television, drinking warm tea with toast, to watch the arrivals of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. There were lots of smiles among the old men. It was good to see them home.

One of the vets commented that he knew this is how it was going to end from the very beginning: a Cold War-style prisoner exchange. That is precisely what happened.

China is a communist country that still seems to live in the age of the Berlin Wall. Nobody is ever going to mess with them.

When the TV was turned off, everyone turned to the vet who made the comment. We all smiled in complete agreement.

Clayton Donoghue Barrie, Ont.

It’s fortunate that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor’s journeys didn’t end in Ottawa. Had that been the case, at the bottom of the escalator in the airport’s domestic arrivals area, they would have seen a large sign advertising the Chinese telecommunications firm at the centre of this sorry saga.

Bill White Gatineau

What a relief, no longer having to read the number of days that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been imprisoned in China. Thank you for publishing this painful daily reminder to focus our attention on this grave injustice – with day 1,019 being the last of those terrible days.

Reg Zima Picton, Ont.

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