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The supreme choice

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Re Why Canada Has A New Way To Choose Top Court Judges (Aug. 2): Will future prime ministers be bound to follow the process Justin Trudeau writes about putting in place for himself? After all the independent, professional vetting procedures Mr. Trudeau described, why does he feel that he must make the final selection?

Would it not make more sense to have the final selection made randomly from the excellent candidates vetted in the manner he has outlined? By requiring the prime minister to appoint an excellent candidate whose selection was made randomly, no one could ever claim that our judges were somehow beholden to the PM who appointed them.

Patrick Cowan, Toronto

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It appears we need a bilingual, lesbian, aboriginal lawyer from Halifax. How many of those do you suppose there are?

Greg Cooper, Toronto

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Given that three of its seven members are appointed by the Liberals, it would be more accurate if Justin Trudeau had described the new Supreme Court appointment advisory board as "partially" independent and non-partisan.

While the proposed process is more open and transparent than before, involving consultation by the Justice Minister with the Chief Justice, provincial ministers and House and Senate committees, it is still partisan because the Prime Minister is not required to choose from the advisory board's list of nominees and can still appoint whomever he wants to the court.

The Liberals should give up their power to make patronage, crony appointments by (as the Ontario government did 20 years ago for provincial court appointments) requiring by law that the PM appoint someone from the advisory board's list of nominees.

Every government across Canada should follow Ontario's lead by establishing a fully non-partisan or multipartisan appointments board for all cabinet appointments, especially judicial and quasi-judicial appointments (including all government watchdogs), and by requiring cabinet to choose appointees from the board's list of nominees.

Duff Conacher, co-founder, Democracy Watch; Ottawa

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Scrap the terror law

Re Bill C-51: Why The Liberals Aren't Moving On Changes (Aug. 2): The Liberals need to start governing, and stop worrying what the Conservatives think. We need to scrap Bill C-51 and abolish most of the crime laws the Conservatives passed. I want my country back, which is why I voted Liberal in the first place.

Ken Erickson, Airdrie, Alta.

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Utilize pharmacies

The Globe's excellent investigative reporting on marijuana provides an important public service in highlighting the questionable quality of some medical marijuana (MM). Armed with this new evidence, it's time governments cracked down even harder on illegal "pot shops" and instead considered making MM available through pharmacies.

A physician for more than 30 years, I've prescribed MM and have observed extremely positive results. These patients deserve a convenient means of accessing this legitimate medication, while also ensuring they are getting a quality product that won't jeopardize their health.

Patients using MM are often on a number of other medications, resulting in an increased risk for negative drug interactions. For this reason, they need a trained professional like a pharmacist who can advise them on potential interactions between MM and their overall medication regime.

Pharmacies are also set up to ensure the safe storage and handling of MM, from the manufacturer to the patient.

This month, the federal government is planning to amend the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, the MM guidelines set out by Health Canada. It's time the federal government included pharmacies as official "dispensaries" for MM and leveraged the legitimate network that already exists across the country.

Vincent Maida, MD, consultant in palliative medicine and wound management, Toronto

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Cartoon insights

Looking at Monday's editorial cartoon of the zombie apocalypse backing Donald Trump, I assume it was meant to imply that Republicans don't have a coherent thought in their little ole zombie heads (Mind You, Coherent Thought Isn't For Everyone).

This reminds me of the not-so-good old days when our then prime minister, Stephen Harper, was a prime target of cartoonists and he and his Conservatives were ridiculed on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure there are kind, decent and intelligent people in both of the U.S. political parties.

Val Stephanson, Calgary

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Your cartoon depicting the walking dead figures representing Trump supporters was brilliant. What is even more scary than "The Donald" is the extent of the American electorate that supports him.

Chris Keogh, Burlington, Ont.

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Ghosts in the 'hood

It's not just Vancouver: In Richmond, B.C., heavy off-shore investment has left some neighbourhoods nothing more than affluent ghost towns (Taxing Real Estate – letters, Aug. 2).

The affordable housing and property pricing problems that we face are not related to actual immigrants, but to wealthy off-shore owners who have no interest in becoming Canadian citizens and who are using properties in our country as nothing more than safe-deposit boxes and tax havens.

When you have on the one hand thousands of empty multimillion-dollar houses, many with overgrown lawns, dead gardens, and mouldy flyers piled up at their entrances, and on the other, Canadian families who could never afford to buy such edifices and cannot even find places to rent, it is pretty obvious we were never farsighted enough to recognize that these kinds of conditions and outcomes would result from our lax foreign-ownership laws.

A letter writer suggests we deal with the issues co-operatively, but as we have learned here, it is impossible to co-operate with any-one when they are not the least bit interested in having a conversation with you in the first place.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.

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Out of the mouths …

Donald Trump needs to learn the rules of engagement when dealing with a Gold Star family: They get to say what they feel, and you get to take it (Attack On Soldier's Parents Backfires – Aug. 1). As our moms said, better to be silent and considered a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Tom McAllister, Toronto

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Many of Hillary Clinton's enemies have trouble expressing why they hate her. However, we don't always need a reason for disliking someone. Tom Brown is thought to have said it best in 1680: "I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, the reason why, I cannot tell, but this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Dr. Fell."

William Bedford, Newmarket, Ont.

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