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June 13: Ah, democracy – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Voting: Ah, democracy

We’re forced to leave our home or workplace to vote. That’s a major impediment to voter participation. We must make democracy accessible for those who take digital access for granted.

Without it, we’re disenfranchising a whole generation. Everything else is online. Why not voting? Digital democracy now!

David Schatzky, Toronto


Re Who Needs Democracy, Anyway? (June 12): Konrad Yakabuski mentions Winston Churchill’s remark that democracy is the worst system except for all the others. I believe Churchill also said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

So, perhaps we all deserve what we get when we vote?

Chris Gates, Pickering, Ont.


Due process, M.I.A.

Re Controversial Commons Committee Says New Democrat MPs Owe $1.17-Million (June 11): I won’t pretend to be an expert on the arcane (and possibly flexible) rules dealing with legitimate expenses by political parties.

For that matter, I’m only an occasional and, at best, lukewarm supporter of the NDP. But I am incensed to see a politically stacked committee of Parliament meet in secret to declare the NDP guilty of crimes valued at a million-plus dollars. If a similar story came out of Beijing or Moscow, what would Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have to say?

John Steeves, Sussex, N.B.


Too easy for banks

I’m surprised the federal government covers 100 per cent of losses on most insured mortgages (OECD Highlights Canadian Inequality – Report on Business, June 12). Where’s the incentive for banks to lend responsibly? They have much to gain, little to lose.

In addition to increased risk to the financial system, this policy may also be partly to blame for our unsustainably high housing prices. If banks were less eager to issue mortgages to as many people as possible, there would be less demand for overpriced real estate, and fewer bidding wars.

High housing prices raise the cost of living for everyone, including people who have never – and may never – own a home. It’s like a tax on being born later than the majority of current homeowners.

Publicly funded mortgage insurance should cover a much smaller percentage of a bank’s losses.

Andrew Cichocki, Toronto


Citizens. Period

Re Treason’s Price (letters, June 12): David Brewer gives no reason for stopping at treason when it comes to revoking citizenship for new Canadians. If they promised to “faithfully observe the laws of Canada” and are caught speeding, why have they not “broken that part of the bargain”?

Citizenship judges tell new Canadians they now have all the rights and privileges of any Canadian. That is not true if they are subject to citizenship revocation and deportation.

It is especially not true in the context of a crime like treason when Canada pursues wars as nebulously defined as a “war on terror.” The Mideast is full of shifting allegiances where today’s ally is tomorrow’s enemy. In that situation, a person motivated solely by considerations of justice and rights can easily be construed as a “terrorist” and as “treasonous” to Canadian interests.

Citizenship should not be like the Order of Canada, which can be taken away for behaving badly.

Randal Marlin, Ottawa


Sexual pathology?

Citing the fact that millions of young Egyptian men have no jobs or prospects of marriage, or other sexual outlets besides marriage as a reason for their outrageous behaviour – described as “deeply pathological” – is inexcusable (Egypt’s Shame: Violent Assaults On Women – June 12).

Lots of people in the world are in the same situation and they aren’t beating and raping women to feel better about themselves!

Kelly Adams, Ottawa


Logic of sex

Lysiane Gagnon says the Sex-Worker Bill Defies Logic (June 11): Well, no it doesn’t.

As anyone who receives the Conservative Party’s e-mails will know, every time they are thwarted by officers of Parliament, institutions such as the Supreme Court or any other organization that tries to get in their way, the Conservatives e-mail their base excoriating their opposition and begging for funds, warning of dire consequences should these funds not be forthcoming. One might even think that their proposals are crafted in order to fail.

Leslie Lavers, Lethbridge, Alta.


Stephen Harper has stated that prostitution laws are necessary and required to protect women and children. Marriage laws protect women and children. Rape and child-abuse laws protect women and children. Mr. Harper’s prostitution law does not protect women and children. It creates a criminal act and contributes to a culture of crime by writing a law about what is a normal act.

It is difficult to consider anything more consensual than when one person agrees to pay a predetermined fee for a service offered by another person. The exchange is one of a sale of a service, not the sale of a person.

Lorine Besel, Montreal


Social media, privacy

Re Nine Tips For Using Social Media To Make The Right Hire (online, June 9): There are significant privacy risks when an em-ployer collects personal information about a candidate through Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Political views, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and information about third parties could all be gleaned from public posts. Such information goes beyond what is reasonable for vetting employees.

Our offices have published guidelines to help organizations navigate social media background checks and privacy laws. Candidates applying for work in the digital age haven’t dispensed with their right to privacy. Employers need to understand privacy laws and act accordingly.

Jill Clayton, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta; Elizabeth Denham, Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C.


I will not forget …

As the tragic events in Moncton unfolded, I was thinking about a Mountie who entered the life of my family many years ago. One of our children was rushed to Moncton in an ambulance, gravely ill at the age of six weeks.

We followed in our car and were somewhat behind when we spotted a Mountie who was at the exit from the Trans-Canada Highway. We asked if he could escort us to the hospital. After leaving my wife at the main entrance, I waved our thanks to the Mountie and headed for a parking lot.

Hurrying to the hospital entrance, I realized the Mountie hadn’t left. Instead, he waited, said he hoped for a miracle and gave me a hug.

The miracle happened. We have been grateful ever since, and I will not forget that hug.

Alex Fancy, Sackville, N.B.

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