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Montreal MP Justin Trudeau fields questions during a plenary session at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Jan. 14, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Montreal MP Justin Trudeau fields questions during a plenary session at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Jan. 14, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

June 15: Next up for the Liberals? and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Never to be PM

It used to be said of Robert Stanfield that he was “the best prime minister we never had.” The same could be said of Bob Rae (Liberals Search For A New Voice As Rae Opts Out Of Race To Lead – June 14). Like Mr. Stanfield, Mr. Rae is a decent and very capable individual who has served Canada with distinction.

His political swan song deserves a better fate than the slings and arrows and general nastiness of a leadership race. At least for a few years Canadians can still witness one of our great parliamentarians in action, a man who can quote Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas at will.

Andrew van Velzen, Toronto


I respect Bob Rae’s decision not to seek the Liberal leadership, but wonder if it was the party’s dilly-dallying that made him throw in the towel. These are indeed sad times for the Liberal Party, which has shrunk to a small third party.

Good luck to the Liberals in trying to find a leader of Mr. Rae’s intelligence, compassion and incomparable experience.

V. Tony Hauser, Toronto


No mania required

Perhaps Gary Mason (Trudeaumania II? Not in the West – June 14) should check with the younger generation of voters in Western Canada before making sweeping predictions. Will younger voters really make their decisions based on a party’s unpopular policies from a generation ago? Or will they instead vote for a party and a leader who speaks to them today and offers them a better vision of the future?

There’s no logical reason that the next Liberal leader, whoever that may be, won’t have the ability to appeal to Westerners – no mania required. And only the most rigid of minds would judge Justin Trudeau based on his father’s government from three decades ago.

Pundits and pollsters predicted Alberta would take a hard right turn in the last provincial election. Instead, a decidedly more progressive conservative government was elected, perhaps reflecting a change in attitude of a new generation.

Suzzanne Fisher, Calgary


Pierre Berton once stated Canada should be proud of having a relatively dull history. He meant, of course, that we solved our difficulties by avoiding extreme positions and finding solutions in what is often referred to as the Mushy Middle.

Given new and effective leadership, plus a platform that adjusts to changing national realties, the federal Liberals may well regain power sooner than expected. They can do this by exploring – and exploiting – the Mushy Middle with initiatives such as supporting oil sands development with fixed guidelines on environmental standards; establishing political and economic ties beyond those with the U.S.; rejecting vitriolic attacks on regions and personalities; accepting that all Canadians, even those with differing views, seek to enhance the nation and its people.

A federal Liberal leader who can establish these and similar goals in the minds of the electorate, who can regenerate Canadians’ intense pride in their country, that leader – regardless of his or her last name – will succeed.

John Lawrence Reynolds, Burlington, Ont.


As a long-standing Liberal supporter, I think Bob Rae’s decision not to not seek the leadership creates an opportunity to relieve ourselves of the curse of Conservative government. That opportunity does not lie in an attempt to revivify the heady years of Trudeaumania, but rather to talk turkey with Thomas Mulcair and his party.

This does not have to be a merger, although it could be. The Grits and the Dips have a common enemy, as do the majority of Canadians (60 per cent of us) and can come to rapid agreement in any number of policy areas, ranging from the environment through foreign policy to economic policy.

An alliance that leaves both parties intact could be sold to more militant members of both as the best way to rid us of the right-wing, Republican-like radicalism we are currently “enjoying” under the Harper regime.

David Smith, Halifax


I’m entirely in favour of Justin Trudeau becoming the Liberals’ next leader – provided he convinces Stephen Harper to enter a boxing ring.

Steve Soloman, Toronto


Gender and pay

Gender equality in Canada has a long way to go yet (Canada Ranked Best In The G20 For Women – June 13). The Globe just listed the top 40 CEOs’ compensation – not a woman among them. How about listing the top 40 women’s executive compensation? Then let’s do some comparisons of gender equality.

Jennifer Shore, Victoria


The stats seem to pose a rosy picture for women in Canada in comparison to other countries. But which Canadian women? Aboriginal, immigrant and elderly women are still subject to poverty, violence and lack of opportunity; single mothers struggle, some use food banks. Generalizations do not paint the full picture.

Diane Sullivan, Toronto


Rohinton Mistry, too

Not to take anything away from Margaret Atwood (Acclaimed Author Piles Up The Honours – June 13), but Canada has other great writers, too. I hoped in vain for at least a mention that Rohinton Mistry was also honoured by Ryerson University, in his case with a Doctor of Letters from the Faculty of Communication and Design.

The professor character in Mr. Mistry’s brilliant convocation speech – a once-upon-a-time political fable – remonstrated: “Did I demonstrate that it is not so much a matter of learning to think but learning not to think rubbish?”

What great advice for the once-upon-our-time inhabitants of Parliament Hill.

Martina Hedley, Montreal


Fracking frustrations

Margaret Wente writes “I’m no expert on fracking technology, and I’m in no position to evaluate the risks” (Let’s Frack More – And Faster – June 14). A few sentences later, however, she concludes that fracked gas is “cleaner, greener” and asks for more of it, faster. She’s bang-on in describing that thought pattern as “a no-brainer.”

Bart Hawkins Kreps, Port Hope, Ont.


Having travelled through North Dakota several times lately, it is obvious that fracking has been a boon to the economy. Hotel rooms are scarce; a desk clerk told me the state has not really felt the recession of the past few years.

I could regret the endless fields of crops now covered with temporary storage and housing units, but they may return to their former use in a few years. More troubling were the signs indicating where to dispose of the “sour water” from the fracking procedure, and the danger of leaks from so many units and pipelines.

Let’s carefully weigh the price before fracking any more in Canada.

Marjorie Windover, Oshawa, Ont.


In her endorsement of fracking, Margaret Wente enthuses, “Best of all, the U.S. will become less dependent on nasty authoritarian petro-states.”

Bad news for Stephen Harper’s Canada.

Geoff Read, London, Ont.

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