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'Looks like Canada'

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There seems to be near-universal media approval of our new cabinet (Trudeau Unveils Diverse Cabinet 'That Looks Like Canada' – Nov. 5). Now imagine what would happen if a major corporation announced it was replacing its executive suite with people selected on the basis of gender and ethnicity, rather than competence and relevant experience.

What would The Globe's columnists write? How would analysts rate the stock? I think I know.

Randall Dutka, Oakville, Ont.

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It's "and," not "or." Justin Trudeau had the enviable luxury of being able to choose equity and merit: His new cabinet reflects both. His only unfortunate limitation was not being able to choose everyone whose skills and commitment would have made them excellent ministers. Maybe next time!

Brian M. Cornelson, Calgary

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While Justin Trudeau's cabinet is diverse and impressive on paper, his selection raises an important philosophical question: Should enforced diversity trump genuine merit? Highly qualified – and politically experienced – individuals like Adam Vaughan, Mark Holland and Wayne Easter were likely forgotten under the banner of "gender parity." Meanwhile, rookies hold top positions in Justice and National Defence.

An effective minister utilizes experience, competence, political dexterity and governance – not race or gender – with Jason Kenney's performance in citizenship and immigration as an example.

Roland Mascarenhas, Toronto

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In this day and age, I can't believe the amount of controversy over the Trudeau cabinet's gender-equality achievement. Welcome to the 21st century! Get over it.

Eve Giannini, Toronto

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More than accept

While the new cabinet reiterated the plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada this year, I am most curious to hear more about how the government and Canadians will not merely accept refugees, but welcome them.

We learned through this election that Canada must confront some darker, more sinister positions when it comes to the limits of our multiculturalism and humanitarianism, as evidenced by the recent niqab controversy.

It is up to us, as a country, to work together and ensure that we are welcoming refugees into a Canada that reflects the values we are proud of, and challenge the ones we are not.

Emily Gunn, Calgary

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Our priorities?

Re Hitting The Ground Running (Nov. 5): The new government's big priorities before year's end are resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees and higher taxes for Canadians earning more than $200,000.

On one Ontario reserve, residents have been boiling water for 18 years. Two-thirds of Canada's 618 reserves have had water problems in the past decade.

On any given day, there are 150 or more water advisories for aboriginal Canadians.

Where are our priorities? Why do our First Nations' pressing issues not rank at the top of the new government's priorities?

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Jim Hickman, Mono, Ont.

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Convention, broken

The Canadian historian Robert Craig Brown once described to me how Donald Creighton, author of the standard biography of Sir John A. Macdonald, used to show his graduate students a photograph in which Macdonald appeared in grey flannel pants and dark jacket, in contrast to his colleagues, who seemed always to be dressed all in black. "He was a bit of a rake, you know," Prof. Creighton would exclaim.

He had ceased showing the photo by the time I enrolled in his class, but I was reminded of the story in looking at Dave Chan's terrific front-page photo of Justin Trudeau and his cabinet arriving at Rideau Hall on Wednesday.

Mr. Trudeau's and his wife Sophie's joy in greeting their daughter, Ella-Grace, is front and centre, but my eye was caught by Mr. Trudeau's shoes. In contrast to the black footwear of all the other men, his are brown, worn with a blue suit. I'm not sure they mean that he's a bit of a rake, but they surely indicate a willingness to break from convention.

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Ken Dewar, Halifax

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It seems to me that Canadians should be allowed to at least bask in the happiness of a new government for more than 24 hours.

On Thursday, I opened The Globe to the most unflattering photo of our new Prime Minister – albeit showing his obvious pleasure while greeting his children, but was this the best picture The Globe could have chosen of the moment? On the front of Report on Business, you pictured Justin Trudeau, nose to nose with his new Finance Minister. The Globe is our national paper, it is read internationally. Is this the best you could do to show off our new PM and his regime? A picture is worth a thousand words.

We need to loosen the bonds of criticism for those in public office and embrace the Canadians who engage in public office. The media have their part to play in the days of meanness and disdain.

Our world needs sunshine.

Let it start in Canada.

Carol Victor, Burlington, Ont.

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What a refreshing, joyous picture on Thursday's front page. How appropriate to have Ella-Grace doing the welcoming. She would not care that her dad is wearing brown boots (tsk, tsk). Nor should we.

William Emigh, Victoria

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I was disappointed, on taking a second look at the picture on Thursday's front page, to see that those were not – repeat not – orange Crocs that Justin Trudeau was wearing to the swearing-in. Looking "like Canadians" goes only so far.

Michael Moore, Toronto

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Juveniles in solitary

Re Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks End To Solitary Confinement For Juvenile Offenders (Nov. 5): The Youth Criminal Justice Act clearly outlines that sentencing must promote "rehabilitation and reintegration"; it specifies that custody is not a substitute for "child protection, mental health or other social measures."

While the staff in these facilities are no doubt doing their best, they are faced with limited resources and training to deal with the complex mental health and behavioural issues these youth bring to the system.

More specialized staff, more specialized facilities, and more accountability is what this system desperately needs. Solitary confinement is "cruel and harmful," compounding the barriers that already exist in the lives of these youth.

Cary Ryan, Halifax

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Justin time

I found your coverage of the inauguration of the new government very moving. Indeed, it put me in mind of Dante: We have emerged, blinking, into the sunlight.

David Holmgren, Calgary

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He was everywhere! He was everywhere! Front page, Sports, Report on Business, Life & Arts. Oh blessed relief, no mention of Justin in the Drive section.

Martin Birt, Markham, Ont.

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