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Next to govern?

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No one should assume that, if no party wins a majority in the next election, the party with the most seats will automatically form a minority government (Predicting The Next Federal Government – Folio, July 9). By granting or withholding its support, it is Parliament that decides which party (or combination of parties) forms the government, regardless of which party won the most seats.

The clearest example of this occurred in Ontario after the 1985 election. The incumbent Progressive Conservative government won the most seats, but lost its first vote in the Legislature and was succeeded by a minority Liberal government, which crucially had the support of the NDP.

This is an important part of the unwritten rules of our Constitution.

Joseph Wearing, professor emeritus, political science, Trent University

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Three of the six random examples show "Conservative minority" scenarios, outcomes that would never stand. It would be political suicide for the Liberals, and especially the NDP, to co-operate in any way, shape or form with the Harper Conservatives in a minority relationship. Realistically, the Liberals and NDP will co-operate with each other to form the next government.

Edward Carson, Toronto

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Trained, certified?

Re Senate Committee Recommends Training And Certifying Imams (July 9): What a gloriously amusing suggestion. I wonder if the committee considered training and certifying themselves first, to see if it worked.

Douglas A. Tod, Ancaster, Ont.

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I can scarcely think of a better way to radicalize people more than by treating their religious leaders like de facto thought-criminals.

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John Kurt Edwards, Calgary

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Congratulations to the Senate for proposing a crackdown on imams and potential terrorism. This has little to do with the religious aspect of Islam, but a lot to do with its political and social objectives. Canada must protect itself from all forms of terrorism.

Jonathan Usher, Toronto

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Triple-A 'Palefaces'

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Re Judge Cancels NFL Redskins Trademark (July 9): On the breaking-news front, I offer the following: A confederation of native American tribes has announced that the name of their new Triple-A baseball club will be the "Continental Palefaces."

Asked about the propriety of the name, a spokesman said: "I am confident that all Americans know the name symbolizes the degree of respect that we hold for our European-American brothers and the inspiring relationship that has always existed between our two cultures."

Chief Tongue-In-Cheek declined further comment until the team's logo, which evidently shows a cartoon-like profile of General George Custer, is unveiled.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.

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Dogged by debt

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne shouldn't lose sleep over Ontario's credit rating: Standard & Poor's has been wrong before (Ontario's Credit Rating Downgraded Over Concerns About Debt – July 7).

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission appointed by the U.S. federal government concluded that bad assessments by the big three credit-rating agencies were key enablers of the 2008 financial crisis. As the Inquiry Commission aptly put it: "The failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction. … This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies."

Perhaps their assessments have improved?

Doreen Barrie, Department of Political Science, University of Calgary

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Re It's Not About Debt Any More (July 9): The sociological and political motivation of the Greek crisis is a challenge to the neoliberal capitalism supported by governments. It most likely will spread.

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In Spain, Podemos (We can) has won the local municipal elections in most of the big cities, and is poised to change the balance of power in the fall general election.

A sign of this social paradigm shift could be seen in the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years ago. The striking thing here is the geographic location of this challenge to capitalism: Greece, the birthplace of democracy.

Is this an omen?

Juan E. Muñoz, Ancaster, Ont.

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Greece has a GDP of $250-billion versus a GDP for the euro zone of $17-trillion. It has a population of 11 million, versus 335 million for the euro zone. It's 2 per cent of the EU's economic output; Germany, France, Italy and Spain together represent 76 per cent.

Greece's Prime Minister says Greeks already have endured five years of austerity. True, but they got themselves into this mess by excess spending in the first place.

EU members must be careful what they give Greece or face similar demands from other countries. Either Greece takes the terms it's offered – or it leaves.

Germans appear to be increasingly fed up with footing the largest part of the bill. It could be political suicide for Angela Merkel to give Greece's debt the haircut Greece wants.

Athens has already looked to Russia, and Vladimir Putin is nothing if not an instigator against the West (Greece Could Find Support Elsewhere – July 9). The West needs to deal with the Greek situation once and for all and stop kicking the can down the road.

Gary S. Raich, Toronto

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Advice: all aisles

Re Today's Special: Advice (Life & Arts, July 7): There is a clear distinction between registered dietitians (RD) and other "nutrition experts."

To clarify, RDs are regulated health professionals, such as registered nurses or occupational therapists. In-store RDs help customers; we deliver evidenced-based care in consultations, and practical, friendly advice on tours.

As a registered dietitian who works for a grocery store, I am not your "dinnertime doula," nor am I your "helicopter parent in the grocery aisle." I urge readers to take a grocery store tour with an RD and judge for themselves.

Emily Foster, registered dietitian, Halifax

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Dummie and dumber

Re Driver Allegedly Giving Dummies A Lift Nabbed In HOV Lane (July 9): The picture with this article about high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) doesn't reveal the driver's face, but the information with the photograph says "two" mannequins are shown.

After rereading the article, it's apparent to me that the offending vehicle in fact contained three "dummies." The number of "dummies" in Rob Ford's lone-occupancy vehicle is, in my estimation, also open to conjecture.

Ray Cadorette, St. Catharines, Ont.

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I immediately thought that this headline must be referencing the Queen's Park brain trust that conjured up this convoluted scheme.

Vic Bornell, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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