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Stuff that sticks

Re Justin Does Ladies' Night (Nov. 12): It's hard to argue with Margaret Wente's depiction of Justin Trudeau as a lightweight. But then she goes on to say: "Poor Liberals. They have the wrong leader." Well, they had Michael Ignatieff (no lightweight) and that didn't work out too well.

Like Rob Ford (whose popularity has survived, if not increased after his crack-cocaine admission), nothing seems to stick to "teflon" men. It's scary to think that, come election day, both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Ford may have their Sally Field moment.

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Cassandra King, Clementsport, N.S.

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Margaret Wente's column is really about Justin Trudeau's being invited to a fundraiser, where he felt he could speak freely. He said he was impressed by the fact that the Chinese government had recognized that China had an environmental problem and that it was actively taking steps to address it. He left it to the "well-heeled professional ladies" in attendance to make the obvious comparison with Canada's approach.

Chris Marriott, Chelsea, Que.

.........

Paul Calandra, MP for Oak Ridges-Markham, appealed to Conservatives nationwide for funds to help defeat Justin Trudeau, who "told a crowd of Liberal supporters that the government he most admired was – wait for it – a dictatorship."

Three things are clear from Mr. Calandra's message: The next election has already begun; any remark, taken out of context, is grist in the canvassing mill; Mr. Calandra hasn't noticed that we have no need to fear a dictatorship, since we already have one.

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Our very own version of a politburo efficiently controls the message, decides the budget, dictates the proceedings in the forum of the proletariat and engages in doubletalk even George Orwell might envy.

Canada desperately needs a Senate that will halt the constant erosion of our democratic systems by incremental dictatorship.

Peter Scott, Elora, Ont.

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As Canadian as …

Re Senate, Heal Thyself (Nov. 12): Abolishing upper houses is as Canadian as lobster, poutine and apple pie. Confederation created upper houses (legislative councils) in a number of provinces, with similar purposes to the Senate – protection of the propertied. Today there are none.

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The new province of Manitoba led the way. Threatened by bankruptcy, the government sought federal aid. Liberal prime minister Alexander Mackenzie provided some, conditional on the province getting rid of its upper house. In 1876, it complied.

In New Brunswick, Liberal premier Andrew Blair, arguing unnecessary expense, got rid of the appointed council in 1891. Some of his own appointees resisted; the premier called an election and won.

The PEI legislative council was elected, but in 1893 amalgamated with the legislature.

The battle over reform and abolition went on for decades in Nova Scotia, a Conservative premier resorting to the courts and ultimately packing the council until they voted their own end.

After years of attempts, in 1968 the Union Nationale government of premier Jean-Jacques Bertrand abolished the legislative council in Quebec.

It's time for Canada to catch up with its parts.

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John W. Foster, department of political science, Carleton University

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The Senate is not the problem. The problem is the appointment by a Prime Minister of less than "sober, second-thought" thinkers – people drunk on partisan politics.

Severing partisan ties would go a long way to restoring the Senate's legitimacy as a defence against the possible tyranny of the majority and of a tyrannical Prime Minister's Office.

Myles Frosst, Ottawa

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CPP for the young

Re 'Big CPP' At The Young's Expense (Nov. 12): William Robson raises many "what ifs" about future retirees, but there's one near certainty we can bank on today: With current low saving rates and a lack of workplace pensions, the living standards of today's younger workers will drop significantly at retirement.

More opportunities for young people to fend for themselves won't change this. Expanding the CPP will. Contrary to Mr. Robson's claims, young workers will draw the greatest benefit from higher contributions over their working lives.

Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress

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Philippines' plight

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Re Aid Arrives As Looting Spreads (Nov. 12): Words like "looting" in a headline about the Philippines disaster could stop people from donating.

If your family was without water, food, diapers and soap, don't you think you just might try to "find" some at the local market? Hockey riots and a natural disaster are not the same thing.

Barbara Wood, Charlottetown

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Shame in T.O.

Re Lack of Shame (editorial, Nov. 11): I grind my teeth knowing the speech honouring Toronto's war veterans was delivered by Mayor Rob Ford, a man who does not know the meaning of putting oneself last and sacrificing for the greater good.

Laura Young, Toronto

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Your editorial's comments do not serve the cause of a better future for our city. You might have written that, with help and compassion, our mayor should overcome his tragic past and continue to lead our city into a brighter future. His intentions for our city are honourable, his past personal habits are disgraceful. Your editorial adds fuel to the fire.

Murray Katzman, Toronto

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John Doyle hit the nail on the head when he compared Rob Ford to Sarah Palin (A Sitcom About Getting And Staying Sober – Nov. 11). He also solved a mystery for those of us who cannot understand the Toronto mayor's appeal. Mr. Ford and Ms. Palin present themselves as working-class heroes (although both have money); their foibles are seen as strengths that prove their ordinariness; they rail against the liberal media and the elites; their supporters are right-wing, anti-tax, anti-government, religious conservatives.

As if to confirm Mr. Doyle's theory, the billboard that went up in support of the mayor read "Ford = Fiscal Responsiblity" (sic), followed by a Bible verse (Pro-Ford Billboard Taken Down, City Plans No Further Action – Nov. 11).

Is Ford Nation really Tea Party North?

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg

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Just wondering

Re We Can't Dismiss The Nuclear Power Option (Nov. 11): In describing Ontario's shift away from dependency on nuclear power, Konrad Yakabuski says Ontario's Energy Minister seems to be stuck in the "dark ages."

Through regulation and cabinet decree, British Columbia has not only rejected development of nuclear power, but also the mining of uranium and any review of proposed uranium exploration and development in the province.

If Ontario is thought to be in a dark age, where on the scale of Earth's history is B.C. to be found?

Brian Nimeroski, Sooke, B.C.

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