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From the top down
Re The Problem With The PMO (2) (Editorial, Aug. 25): The only effective way to empower elected MPs is to first empower voters. Voters will be empowered when their votes count – not when only a small percentage of votes count. Once Parliament is comprised of members who were actually elected by voters, we will have a government that represents the will of the people. That kind of government is automatically equipped with the checks and balances so desperately needed.
Replacing one unaccountable Prime Minister's Office with yet another does not solve our problems. We need fundamental reform that includes the appropriate checks and balances at the PMO level, the PMO's executive level, and at the legislative level.
What exactly is this fundamental reform? It's changing from our current winner-take-all voting system, to a voting system based on proportional representation. It's the elephant in the room.
Debra Rudan, Kingston
I am writing this letter with trepidation as I reflect on the similarities between the present governing of Canada and a parliamentary system ruled by a dictatorship. For some of us born and raised under a dictatorial regime, the behaviour of the Prime Minister and his office evokes memories of experienced practices: secretiveness, absolute authority, control, moral relativism, deception, a figurative parliament, the utmost protection of fundamentalist regime servants, the coercion of the judiciary, etc.
Over the last decade or so Canada has been transformed into a vertical and hierarchical country rather than the plural and democratic society I encountered almost 40 years ago. It is sad. A ground-based "we won't take it any more" or a truly ideological transformation of the political institutions might be needed.
The Gomery recommendations could be a good starting point.
Juan Munoz, Ancaster, Ont.
The Prime Minister rarely meets or talks with the premiers to discuss their concerns and needs. Provinces are often ignored or are favoured based on their political leanings. It is my hope that the coming election will result in a government that is willing to work with the premiers and provinces instead of imposing governance from the bastion called the PMO.
Deborah McLean, Napanee, Ont.
The most important change needed to be made to make the budget process transparent is to eliminate the legality of omnibus bills. Neither the general public nor, it seems, MPs have any idea of what is being voted on when a "budget" is being accepted or rejected. What an underhanded way to make and change policy and laws!
Ann Sullivan, Peterborough, Ont.
Fit for seniors
David Naylor refers to the increase in the number of senior citizens as a "grey tsunami" (Doctors Call For National Seniors Strategy, Aug. 25). This implies a disaster of enormous proportions. Moreover, it objectifies a certain group of people and is a negative generalization.
In my neighbourhood, I see older people who lead active lives. Some carry on with their work. Others look after grandchildren while their parents work. Others are keeping physically active through exercise, such as running. What you might have asked Dr. Naylor is how he keeps fit. Then we might all have an example to follow and his comments would be more convincing.
Barbara Michel, Toronto
This is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive plans I have seen to date. An actual seniors strategy for Canada! It would be a huge step forward in our society. Policy makers and politicians listen up, and act! Those who are running for office, get going on seniors' issues. We may be grey, but we are here to stay.
Andrea Marcus, Toronto
Up for debate
In three editorials in the past week, The Globe has endorsed or restated Green Party positions on democracy, accountability and climate change (The Problem With the PMO (1), Aug 20; Which Party Is Right On Carbon? Aug. 21; The Problem With the PMO (2), Aug. 25).
In light of this, isn't it strange to exclude Green Party Leader Elizabeth May from The Globe's Sept. 17 leaders' debate? Or does accountability only apply to politicians, not newspapers?
David R. Boyd, Burnaby, B.C.
Re Destroying Their Way Back To The Garden (Editorial, Aug. 24): One empathizes with The Globe's attempt at making intellectual sense of the horrors wrought by the Islamic State.
However, reducing "modernity" to the supposed good actor in a struggle between those who adopt an enlightened view of historical progress, and those who pine for some mythic, bygone ideal is a dangerously misleading and self-aggrandizing rehash of the false dichotomy between "civilization" and "barbarism."
Within the overall context of Islamic history, and in some respects world religious history more broadly, the brutal chauvinism and narrow scriptural literalism practised by IS militants are a quintessentially modern emergence. The history of modernity has often enough been typified by "secular" ideologues (the French revolutionaries' reign of terror, Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism) invoking progress toward eternal truth as justification for bloodshed rivalling or exceeding that wrought by any theocrat.
Andrew M. Wender, Victoria
An app for that?
Re Woodcock 'Didn't See' E-Mail Line, Aug. 25: Does anyone know how I can get a copy of the e-mail app used by the PMO? I mean the one that warns you not to read an embarrassing e-mail. Will the new version have a logging function so that you can prove that you did not read the e-mail in case you have to testify in court? Does it work through keywords, like "cheque," or does it use some other more powerful technology?
Blair P. Dwyer, Victoria
First Ray Novak, now Chris Woodcock. It seems Stephen Harper is just not ready to have staff who will read their e-mails.
William Glover, Winnipeg
During the Watergate scandal, an infamous gap of 18 and a half minutes was found in the audio tapes Richard Nixon was forced to hand over to investigators. His loyal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, took the blame and demonstrated how, in answering the phone, her foot slipped onto a different pedal control, resulting in at least some of the erasure. The body position was so improbable it became known as the "Rose Mary Stretch." Thank you, PMO, for giving us our very own "Woodcock Stretch."
Ted Bradley, Montreal
I have never donated to the Conservative Party but recent events have prompted me to send it a cheque. My donation will be earmarked to cover "literacy training for senior political staff." Pity that men in those positions are unable to read simple e-mail in this day and age.
Fred MacDonald, Nanaimo, B.C.