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On the trust that binds us together is cracking (May 30): Contributor David McLaughlin reports that a growing number of Canadians are losing trust in government and offers explanations, many of which relate to COVID-19. This erosion of trust is eroding our democracy, and I believe another cause is the decline of common and fundamental political values in our major political parties.
Not so long ago, the political beliefs of Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, Paul Martin, Ed Broadbent and Jack Layton were rooted in the same values: universal health care, the Charter of Rights and freedoms, operational co-federalism, and rough equality of opportunity across income levels and race. The general agreement on the basic principles has endowed Canadian politics with a resilience that is absent in the United States.
The dismantling of this unwritten social contract appears to begin with the Harper government, and the ensuing polarization is visibly deepening in the current climate of uncertainty. The “trust that unites us” is indeed showing cracks.
John Graham Former Ambassador; former head of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, Organization of American States; Ottawa
By the numbers
Re Bill Morneau talks about Liberal economic policy failures as if he hadn’t played a big role in creating them (Report on Business, June 6): Bill Morneau lamented Canada’s record on competitiveness and growth . But what if these problems do not exist?
An alternative to the usual indicators is the number of Canadian companies in the Financial Times survey of the fastest growing companies in the Americas. Canada has 34 in the Top 300, more per capita than the United States.
The 34s are mostly small, newly created, highly innovative and unlisted. Their sectors are diverse. Of the top three, one in energy and one in health are in the Greater Toronto Area, and one in technology is in Calgary.
Canada must do something right. Maybe being kinder, gentler and more welcoming to immigrants pays off.
Marion Steele Guelph, Ont.
sign of the times
Re “This is not a good sign for our democracy”: Ontario Elections Record Low Voter Turnout (June 4): Allow me to suggest a different interpretation of Ontario’s record high voter turnout. I take it as a sign of a satisfied electorate.
Voter apathy should be the goal of good governance.
William Haver Stoney Creek, Ont.
Re We must not deny dignity in life or death (June 7): My 101-year-old mother was one of the “well-off, well-educated and well-connected” people who accessed medical help at die last December. The “rigorous set of criteria” for pathway 2 patients was notable for its absence.
Mom’s natural death was unpredictable. His physical pain was well managed. She received MAID within 15 days of her completed application. No 90-day waiting period was required for patients whose death is not imminent.
Mom’s ‘independent’ assessment was carried out by two doctors who treated her for months. There was no attempt to discuss with family members who had reservations. If the well-to-do can be shot so casually, I shudder to think how the most vulnerable will fare under Canada’s MAID regime.
Hume Martin Toronto
Re History Must Not Be Bulldozed At Juno Beach (June 4): How unconscionable that real estate developers are allowed to block the road leading to the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s only museum commemorating our sacrifices for the liberation of France in 1944 and the countryside in northwestern Europe.
Even more ironic: Juno Beach is also the place where the leader of the Free French Forces, Charles de Gaulle, landed in Courseulles-sur-Mer on June 14, 1944. France and Canada must do everything possible to prevent the desecration of this historical site. to place.
Meriel VM Beament Bradford Board Member, Juno Beach Center Association (2014-2019); Chelsea, Que.
Quebec Language Bill 96 to be tested in court (June 4): The use of the notwithstanding clause to shield Bill 96 from scrutiny under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is most troubling. Minority rights are being trampled on by dubious majority concerns for political advantage, it seems.
Under the Constitution, the federal government (acting through the Governor General) has the power to overrule provincial legislation. It is a historical power that applied in the British Empire. Although it has fallen into disuse since the 1940s, I suggest that the federal government advise Quebec that unless Bill 96 is quickly amended to remove the use of the notwithstanding clause, it will be disallowed.
This approach may be generally useful for other general provincial uses of the notwithstanding clause.
Tony Romano Toronto
Regarding Why French-speaking Quebecers should also be concerned about Bill 96 (June 6): It seems that the notwithstanding clause is being used more and more, and often for political purposes.
The latest use by the Coalition Avenir Québec is particularly troubling, since it allows the Office québécois de la langue française to enter most places other than private homes without a warrant, simply to check whether Bill 96 is being respected. Additionally, files on computers and other devices may be examined for the same purpose.
I guess that means if I’m a financial advisor and my first language is Japanese, and I’m chatting with a client whose first language is also Japanese, and we’re having discussions in Japanese, we’re breaking the law. It seems to me quite exaggerated.
Kaz Shikaze Mississauga
Re English is not the threat it’s made out to be (June 6): Trilingual contributor Sheila Das suggests that “English is a mushroom” and works to unite the peoples of this planet. The concept has merit.
I am a trilingual mycologist (although a Russian tyrant calls the Ukrainian language a “regional linguistic peculiarity”). Ironically, I find English culture to be fungiphobic, slandering fungi as “toads,” amphibian poop.
The best mushroom guides in Canada are in French, including The Big Book of Mushrooms in Quebec and Eastern Canada. Good restaurants offering mushrooms abound in Quebec, and the wealth of wild mushrooms offered at Montreal’s Jean-Talon Market far surpasses anything in English Canada.
Formal mycology is practiced avidly in Quebec: the largest Canadian collection of mushroom specimens is at the Montreal Botanical Garden. There are also wonderful places to discover such as the Gaspésie Sauvage, a small forest refuge that sells the best chanterelles.
Quebecers, like Ukrainians, revere mushrooms and give them wonderful folk names.
Greg Michalenko Waterloo, Ont.
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