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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in Ajax, Ont. on Nov. 30, 2023.CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

Canadian divide

Re “Surrendering to the provinces doesn’t bring peace to the federation. It only emboldens them” (Jan. 10): In Alberta, a populist threatens to ignore any law she disagrees with. In Saskatchewan, another one threatens to break a law and absolve the bureaucracy from legal exposure.

Ontario has normalized use of the notwithstanding clause. Quebec is expert at exploiting language laws. New Brunswick has cynically introduced “parental rights” legislation.

Arguably all of this falls outside the responsibility of provinces to honour the rights bestowed to Canadians through our Charter. Perhaps we get the governance we deserve. But it is dismaying to see the inability of leaders, often guilty of mismanagement of their responsibilities, to look beyond parochial concerns and consider the greater good.

Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.

We have premiers openly defying laws they don’t happen to like. And the federal response? Crickets.

We once had a prime minister named Trudeau who dared to ask, “Who speaks for Canada?” Then, I had no doubt.

Today, I have no idea.

Michael Kaczorowski Ottawa

Lost in the chatter about the federal carbon levy is the fact that it is a backstop used only when a province has not instituted an equivalent greenhouse gas reduction measure.

Any province can emulate British Columbia or Quebec should it choose. If Alberta or Saskatchewan felt sufficiently aggrieved by the present situation, there are legal ways out. Silly gamesmanship is not required.

R. A. Halliday Saskatoon


Re “Conservatives say other parties blocking committee hearing on treatment of Rebel News personality by RCMP” (Jan. 11): Context seems to mark Pierre Poilievre’s intervention on behalf of Rebel News particularly absurd.

The Rebel personality briefly arrested at an event attended by the Finance Minister, who is regularly targeted with threats, was also arrested in 2021 after an encounter with Melissa Lantsman, now Conservative Party Deputy Leader. In 2019, he was removed from an event with Andrew Scheer. And in 2017, Rebel News was widely denounced for fundraising off its inflammatory coverage of the Quebec City mosque shooting.

The denial of truth, a deficiency of decency and the disposal of principle in pursuit of power are threats to Canada’s democratic stability and the freedoms Mr. Poilievre claims are under assault. His actions should be forcefully condemned.

Christopher Holcroft Toronto

Bad look

Re “Paid vacation” (Letters, Jan. 10): Several letter-writers have come to the defence of Justin Trudeau’s gifted $9,340-a-night holiday. I think what is missing in this view is that there are a lot of Canadians depending on food banks or living in shelters, and plenty who have hard jobs that pay minimum wage.

So a “let them eat cake” attitude emanating from our leaders and their followers looks like poor optics, to say the least.

Michael Dettman Vancouver

Personal experience

Re “For Jewish Canadians, the number of places we feel unwelcome keeps growing” (Jan. 10): As a Jewish Canadian, I have overheard casual antisemitic remarks for many years before the current crisis, and they mostly came from folks infamously labelled “old-stock Canadians.”

As a Jew critical of Israeli government policy, I am part of a group labelled by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as antisemitic, and many public bodies have been happy to agree with this assessment.

If all opposition to Israeli policy is defined as antisemitism, why is anyone surprised that some demonstrators have seized on real antisemitism as a way to express such opposition?

Harriet Lyons Toronto

C’est impossible

Re “Queen’s University tackles French-teacher shortage with innovative program for learners” (Jan. 5): There has been a shortage of French teachers for a long time and the Ontario Ministry of Education even has a strategy to address it. However, I find it is based primarily on recruitment and not retention.

French teachers are often asked to teach without many resources. They often have the lowest priority when it comes to room assignment, so most move from room to room every day.

French teachers often have to teach classes of more than 30 students with varying language skills. They work hard, but they cannot do magic. The expectations placed on them feel anything but realistic, and often push them out of the job.

Unless school boards and government recognize the need to improve working conditions for French teachers, they will likely never solve the French teacher shortage.

Brian Tsui, French teacher Richmond Hill, Ont.

Adds up

Re “Take care” (Letters, Jan. 10): A letter-writer observes that many emergency-room patients with respiratory concerns are guilty of some form of moral turpitude.

My husband and I are seniors and at higher risk for respiratory syncytial virus. We find it equally disrespectful and fiscally foolish that Ontario does not cover the RSV vaccine for everyone.

It cost a hefty $500-plus to keep us out of the ER. It’s difficult to rationalize taking the high road when we are charged for choosing that path.

Sandra Blazier Mississauga


Re “MPs call for House study of Rogers, Bell plans to raise wireless prices” (Report on Business, Jan. 10): It has been less than a year since Ottawa approved Rogers’s $20-billion takeover of Shaw.

At the time, there were assurances that the accessibility and affordability of wireless services would not be compromised. Now we learn that wireless prices will be increasing, and several MPs are now asking for a House study to look into this.

Maybe these same MPs should have better studied the potential cost to subscribers before allowing the takeover to proceed in the first place.

Michael Gilman Toronto

Prime time

Re “Jean Chrétien at 90: Still driven, always optimistic” (Jan. 11): At the most recent celebration of Canada’s Walk of Fame, one table sat two former prime ministers, with only Jean Chrétien welcoming fans like a rock star.

Before giving one of the most positive and clear-minded messages for the promise of Canada and its heroes, Mr. Chrétien validated one of the longest standing ovations of the evening, in the middle of which he said, “You better stop, or I’ll come back!”

Shaking his hand was on my bucket list. Happy birthday to Mr. Chrétien.

Peter Keleghan Toronto

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