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On Irish soil

Having served at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin under two non-career-diplomat ambassadors – a prominent labour leader, the other a major Tory fundraiser – I understand the Irish concern for Ambassador Kevin Vickers's actions. Sadly, in the years since the Second World War, both main Canadian political parties have used the Dublin Head-of-Post position as a "reward."

All Canadian representatives serving in Ireland should be aware of the extremely delicate political/religious situation there. Despite a most welcome easing of centuries-old tensions between the U.K. and the Irish people, both before and since independence, the situation remains sensitive. This is particularly so concerning the sad history of the Easter Rising of 1916 – one commemoration of which was the occasion for Ambassador Vickers's extraordinary behaviour.

One cannot help wonder what possessed him. As an invited guest at the ceremony, his duty was to represent Canada. Irish police (the Guarda) were there in force. It was their duty and theirs alone to ensure the ceremony proceeded without disruption.

We have been poorly served in this instance by bad judgment on the part of our senior Canadian representative. This was a time to observe, not act like a security guard. The Irish will probably not overreact because that is not their way, but the event will certainly get heads shaking and is not likely to be forgotten easily.

Richard Noyes-Roberts, a former counsellor and consul, Canadian Embassy, Dublin


It looks like Justin Trudeau's GTFOOTWay diplomacy is becoming an international movement.

Alban Goddard Hill, Belleville, Ont.


What sense of entitlement would cause an ambassador to assume the right (or responsibility) to behave like this? What did he achieve anyway? He gave the protester and his cause (which might indeed be a just cause) far more publicity in Ireland and internationally than he could ever have hoped for. The ambassador was out of line and should be recalled for "consultations."

Burris Devanney, Halifax


Kevin Vickers should be required to apologize to Ireland and Brian Murphy, who had every right to protest. Mr. Vickers is an embarrassment to Canada who should be removed from his position.

Maria Walsh, South Surrey, B.C.


Ambassador Kevin Vickers, photographed demonstrating the "Shawinigan Handshake" in Dublin, appears to be a student of the Jean Chrétien School of Protest Management. He's got the trench coat and the grimace, but loses marks for missing dark shades, for turning to look into the camera and for leaving far too much distance between his face and his victim's. Bonus points for taking it overseas, and leaving teeth intact. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Lisa Snyder, Toronto


Riders wanted

Re Why Aren't There More Riders? (Folio, May 27): Because our so-called leaders – local, provincial, federal – are either too slow or just plain lacking in the ability to connect the dots and initiate policies encouraging (or forcing) people to take transit.

We need to focus on some of humanity's day-to-day activities which create the climate crisis, policies which could be enacted now, such as limiting the number of cars on the road (by even/uneven licence plate numbers?). Yes, there would be chaos for a while, adjustments to be made – but nothing compared to the calamity that climate change is creating.

Carolyn Ferguson, Calgary


Transit operators from across the country met and couldn't figure out why there aren't more riders. They threw mud on the wall concerning lower gas prices, Uber, walking, cyclists, even free-loading riders on streetcars.

Please don't tell me they can't figure out what the problem is. Do they ride their own systems? I'm no transit guru, and I figured it out while sandwiched between armpits on the subway: When the sausage is stuffed, it is stuffed.

Toronto has failed miserably to keep pace with its growth. We The People are tired of being treated like cattle. We The Cattle are tired of hollow talk. You cannot extend systems that are at capacity. Parallel systems need to be built. Not everyone works in the core.

Transit systems need a constitution at arm's length from meddling politicians. In the past 50 years, mayors have played Whac-A-Mole with transit, resulting in stalemates that have left the system in a shambles. Some transit should be built every year. Build, and growth will follow the lines.

Money? There never seems to be any until someone proposes Olympic Games or the like. Getting the workforce to work and back should be a major priority.

Norman Coutts, Toronto


I can seldom get on the overpacked streetcars on my route. As well, if you go to any of the bus terminals on the subway line, you have to take care not be knocked over by people entering the terminal through the bus exit to avoid paying.

Alex Doulis, Toronto


A speech unspoken

Re Harper's Motivational Farewell (May 27): Wouldn't it be refreshing if we heard the straight goods for once when a politician quits?

Imagine the script: "I know I promised to represent you in Parliament, but that was just a stupid election promise. It will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to find my replacement, but I don't care.

"It's no fun sitting in the Commons now that I'm no longer PM and I can make a lot more money in the private sector. Choosing between putting my constituents first and putting myself first is an easy choice. So goodbye, all you gullible voters."

I would actually pay good money to hear that resignation speech coming from a politician who quits in mid term, without cause, triggering yet another by-election.

Steen Petersen, Nanaimo, B.C.


Assess the fairness

Re The Taxing Issue Of Our Time (Report on Business, May 27): People's incomes or their ability to pay higher home taxes has nothing to do with the rise or fall in their home's property value.

That is determined by market forces. Taxes never go down when the market tanks, as it often does. Why then should taxes go up when the market goes up?

A much better way is to re-evaluate a home's property tax when the house is sold. The new buyer should expect a re-evaluation of the tax within a reasonable time of the house purchase, based on the purchase price.

This would allow home owners on a fixed income to remain in their residence and not force them to relocate.

Robert Yufe, Toronto


Sorry, blush. Can't

I was intrigued and somewhat flattered by Kathleen Trotter's health advice: Step Back And 'Find Your Kiwi' (May 27).

Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that I am not available. While I am pretty healthy and truly lovable, I think it would be injurious to my future to offer myself for inclusion on any list of available Kiwis (whether yummy, fit or lazy). Sorry!

John Mullinder, Brampton, Ont.

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