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Ford, the nation

Re Showdown, Spectacle And 'War' At City Hall (front page, Nov. 19): There is a coup at city hall in Toronto, no different than in some Middle East country, except they stopped before there was bloodshed. They have done a marvellous job of character assassination on Mayor Rob Ford.

Meanwhile, in your front-page index, you reported that "no one in Ottawa has offered an apology – or even an explanation – for the apparent disappearance of $3.1-billion that had been allocated for anti-terrorism projects." Well, maybe Rob Ford should become prime minister.

Leslie Martel, Mississauga


What a coincidence that Toronto struggles with a mayor that cannot be removed from office, at the same time that the Supreme Court hears arguments on Senate reform. The Senate is, among other things, part of the balance of power within our government. Changes to it, or even its abolition, should be done in full consideration of how those balances are maintained or even strengthened.

Picture, for a moment, a prime minister Rob Ford, leading a majority government, with no Senate and no provisions in place for impeachment. Talk about sober second thought!

Mark Verlinden, Oakville, Ont.


There should be laws in place to deal with the removal of errant politicians at all levels. Toronto City Council had no legal way to oust Rob Ford.

The situation never should have had to reach this stage.

Jean Mortimer, Toronto


That $3.1-billion

Re Where's That $3.1-Billion? Where's The Anger? (Nov. 19): One definition of the Yiddish word chutzpah is a person who kills her parents, then pleads for clemency because she's an orphan. Stephen Harper's pride in his handling of the economy is another good example.

His government has run six consecutive deficits, spending is at record heights, and now we find $3.1-billion in government money is unaccounted for. Meanwhile, we've lost approximately 500,000 manufacturing jobs. Talk about chutzpah.

Barbara Rottenberg, Ottawa


Less than 10 years ago, the Liberal government was embroiled in the sponsorship scandal. The auditor-general at the time found that $100-million had been misspent; she rightly described the misuse of public funds as "shocking" and the ensuing scandal pretty much decimated the Liberals.

Fast forward to April of this year, and the Auditor-General has found yet another serious problem with federal spending: $3.1-billion allocated to anti-terrorism spending was unaccounted for, $3.1-billion! And the Conservative government has no explanation for where it went. What has been the public's and media's reaction? Stunning silence.

Thank you to Lawrence Martin for asking what has been on my mind for seven months: Where's that $3.1-billion? Where's the anger?

Scott Pearce, Dovercourt, Ont.


Affordable? Well …

Re Affordable (editorial, Nov. 18): You suggest the federal government may use "the sensible concept of the employer's ability to pay" with respect to public-sector workers. You also state that "increases in public sector pay need to bear some reasonable relation to the size of the whole economy."

Since Canada's CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio is 206:1, how about CEO's salaries bearing some reasonable relation to either the size of the growth, or profits of their companies?

David Cramton, Oakville, Ont.


CUPE's "Battle of the Wages" study comparing public and private sector compensation shows there is no evidence that the average pay of public-sector workers is significantly higher than their counterparts in the private sector in comparable occupations. Using data from Statistics Canada that included federal public service workers, the study found public sector wages to be only 0.5 per cent higher on average.

Much of this is due to a small gap for women working in the public sector, mostly because of better pay equity rules. This gap, if anything, shows a need for stronger pay equity legislation that extends into the private sector.

If we are to have a discussion on how public sector workers are paid, the issue deserves to be debated openly and fairly – not buried in "monstrously overstuffed" budget bills, nor on unfounded portrayals of public sector salaries.

Paul Moist, president, Canadian Union of Public Employees


'We' and JFK

Re Grief And JFK (letter, Nov. 19): JFK's horrific death will remain burned into the consciousness of several generations for many reasons, but one in particular. While occupying the most powerful office on the planet, he overruled the warmongers in his inner circle and negotiated a diplomatic solution to the Cuban missile crisis, safely leading the Free World back from the brink of a potential nuclear war.

Whether you are a baby boomer, or from generations X, Y or Z, John F. Kennedy helped change the course of history. As such, his legacy will never be forgotten. So it's actually all about everyone lucky enough to live in a free, democratic society and, perhaps, "we" should all be thankful for that.

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.


Oil, it's not

Re A Pipeline To Somewhere (editorial, Nov. 16): I wish your editorial had been a tad more precise in its terminology.

While you assume the proposed pipelines will be shipping "oil," I am not aware of any proposal involving oil.

All current proposals, Keystone, Enbridge, TransCanada, Kinder Morgan, whether east-west, north-south, west-east, involve "dilbit," a sludge-like, pre-crude mess. Bitumen does not flow. Rather than upgrade bitumen in Alberta to a synthetic crude and then refine it, the Harper administration caters to the interests of the Koch brothers of Texas to ship "diluent" (a trade term without fixed chemical meaning, but typically a mix of naphta, benzene and butane) north to Alberta, to mix it with bitumen, and pipe it to Koch brothers refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

A sensible conversation about pipelines starts with a discussion of what is in Canada's economic interest, analyzing how the Koch brothers stand to make $100-billion on Keystone XL, and how Canada stands to lose.

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands; Leader, Green Party of Canada


The truly wealthy

Re Meet The New Servant Class (Nov. 19): There's a difference between the practical assistance that virtually all Canadians need from time to time and the egregious excesses of the truly wealthy.

Dorothy Parker summed this up nicely: "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."

Dennis Casaccio, Clementsport, N.S.