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Re Queen Of Our Dreams (Opinion, Sept. 17): In June, 1939, my parents took my sister and me to see King George and the Queen Mother in Hamilton. I was hooked. I have since crossed the Atlantic to witness royal events, and also crossed the English Channel to Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany to see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
On March 26, 2015, the Queen arrived at Folkestone Central railway station to visit the National Memorial to the Few. I was able to greet her with, “Your Majesty, today is the first time I have seen a living queen and a dead king on the same day.” (Richard III’s rediscovered remains were reburied that day.) She couldn’t stop laughing.
Coming out of the memorial, she pointed to me and my Canadian flag while she and Prince Philip were still laughing. That royal vitality leaves me mourning them both.
Long live King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort.
Margaret Kittle Hamilton
Re Poilievre Wages War On The Media (Sept. 16) and Poilievre Needs To Get Serious About Business (Report on Business, Sept. 16): I wonder why? I don’t see his reaction as that of a paranoid person, but that of someone who is simply reading the room.
Brian Johnston Toronto
Re The Rise Of The Unserious Politician (Editorial, Sept. 16): I could not agree more. We are in desperate need of serious politicians. But I am also inclined to believe that voters get the politicians they deserve.
If we want serious politicians, we should have serious voters. We should have an electorate that takes its responsibilities seriously, starting with a willingness to actually vote, not to mention boning up on civics and the real issues facing us and our politicians.
We should also resist the urge to simply “throw the bums out.” We should vote for something, not against something. Otherwise, we will continue to elect people such as Rob Ford.
And who knows, maybe even Pierre Poilievre.
Nelson Smith Toronto
It is the era of populism, which is really a movement triggered by emotion.
In electing Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and soon perhaps Pierre Poilievre, people in the United States, Britain and Canada engage in emotional voting. On the surface, words carry more power than emotion. But to the vast majority of people, power comes in the emotion buried in words.
They have strong needs, related to feeling ignored and unimportant, that are often unmet by politicians. But when listening to politicians who address those needs, they think or vote from this emotional state, not using reason to handle complex situations.
The major concern here is that emotions don’t think.
Bruce Hutchison Retired clinical psychologist, Ottawa
In our current environment of extreme polarization, obsession with individualism and misinformation turbocharged by algorithm-driven social media, it is hard to read your plea for responsible leaders without feeling considerable cynicism.
Winston Churchill famously said that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.” In the absence of serious political leaders, I fear we are steering closer to experiencing firsthand one of those “other” forms of government.
We would then understand, to our dismay, what Churchill meant.
Michael Herman Toronto
When we see Chrystia Freeland, a genuinely serious, experienced and capable politician, subjected to the public taunts of foul-mouthed hooligans, we may well ask ourselves why anyone would want to put themselves in that kind of situation.
When we place Ms. Freeland’s experience alongside the relentless hounding of other female politicians and progressive public figures on social media (and, it must be said, in some “mainstream” media as well), how can we avoid an obvious conclusion: that there has been a chilling effect on those who see – or want to see – politics as public service rather than rabble-rousing, as serious work rather than reckless pandering to the lowest common denominator.
Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.
Re Laurentian Restructuring Package Passes In Vote (Sept. 15): The Auditor-General’s interim report on Laurentian University identified major mistakes leading to the destruction of careers and livelihoods. Many people in Sudbury continue to wonder why, aside from replacements on the board of governors and the departure of two senior administrators, more people in high offices have not been held accountable for this debacle.
My practical suggestion toward restoring the university is to identify and hold accountable the remaining leaders who created the mess. Only by direct admission from the present board that they are distancing themselves from these leaders and listing their irresponsible actions (most provided by the Auditor-General) can the air be cleared, and confidence restored.
Only by clearly defining where they see the university in 10 years will they get everyone on board who wants to work toward it. Francophone and Indigenous roles also need to be clearly laid out.
Dieter Buse Professor emeritus, former director of graduate studies and research (1992-97), Laurentian University; Sudbury
Re That ‘72 Hockey Series And The Sum Of Us, In A New Context (Sept. 13): I grew up in Kingston, incubator of stars like Stanley Cup champion Wayne Cashman of the Boston Bruins.
That year, in 1972, I was a referee at the hockey school where Mr. Cashman was an instructor. He was chosen to play for Team Canada and arranged for staff to watch a practice and intersquad game.
We headed to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to see the greatest Canadian sports team ever assembled. I was in hockey’s temple, by the players’ bench, in the dressing room and at ice level as they practised with skill I had never seen that closely. I remained in tongue-tied awe, lest I be shown the exit as a nuisance.
Players’ spirits were high in those confident days before the heart-stopping series with the Soviets. Like so many Canadians, I was convinced of our imminent victory, based on the unforgettable experience I was so lucky to have had.
Tom Nesmith Winnipeg
Friends like these
Re My Friends Are Like Trees (First Person, Sept. 13): Girlfriends. Lady friends. Women friends. They also are my strength and sometimes my treehouse escape.
I could not survive pain and loss without them. They know who they are. I hope they know what they mean to me.
Deborah Allan Toronto
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