The glee of civil servants
The civil service should, of course, not be partisan. Michael Petrou apparently thinks the civil service became instant partisans when Justin Trudeau was elected (“At your service?” National, Nov. 23). “Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s relationship with the civil service was not always smooth,” Petrou writes. That colossal understatement, the only reference in the article to Harper’s tenure as PM, doesn’t begin to describe how the Harper government removed any hope of independent thought from civil servants and did its best to transform them into pitchmen for the Conservatives.
Mark Allan, Courtenay, B.C.
The difference three weeks make
How prophetic was Maclean’s Nov. 23 cover story featuring a carefree Justin Trudeau casually sauntering into a field of bear traps? Had the ISIS attack on Paris happened three weeks before the election instead of three weeks after, Stephen Harper would have won in a landslide. Instead, we now find ourselves saddled with a leader who is completely out of his depth and unsuited to standing up to the existential threat we now face. This is a man who got elected promising to end our co-operation in the military strikes against ISIS and pledging to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to our shores by the end of 2015. Harper warned that these were reckless policies, and it took less than a month for the events in Paris to prove him right. Will Trudeau back down from his naive policies, or will he continue to stoke the Dumpster fire of political correctness that helped get him elected? I suspect the latter. In the meantime, we find ourselves having brought a Wiffle bat to a gunfight.
James Robertson, Ottawa
Follow the money
Jason Kirby writes, “Canada did become an energy superpower, and it remains so today. About that there really isn’t any question” (“A world awash in energy superpowers,” Nov. 23). Really? To be charitable, that statement is grossly misleading. Canada is no longer an energy superpower. Harper’s mantra of “We are open for business” was really a big “for sale” sign planted on the oil-rich land of Alberta and our other energy- and resource-rich provinces and territories. The consequence of this fire sale of our energy resources has been the transfer of ownership of our resources from Canadian to foreign interests, principally Chinese and American. We cannot claim to be an energy superpower when we don’t own or control these assets, nor their pricing. Those now most interested in the approval of the Keystone pipeline are the Chinese and Americans themselves, because they own the pipeline product being shipped in its raw form.
Lewis Cardin, Nepean, Ont.
Don’t get too close to that dog
It was nice to hear a voice of sanity in all the crazy anti-bacterial madness (“Gut feelings,” National, Nov. 16). I’ve even seen grade-school scissors for sale with plastic handles impregnated with who-knows-what carcinogenic anti-bacterial compound. However, I confess to feeling queasy when I saw your photograph of a pug licking a baby’s mouth. I am permanently blind in one eye from a dog roundworm (Toxocara canis) I acquired as a toddler by eating contaminated earth. Do be aware that some kinds of dog- and cat-worm eggs are carried in the saliva of these animals. Unless you keep your pets dewormed, letting them lick your mouth may not be a good idea, especially when you consider how cats and dogs groom their nether regions.
Willi Boepple, Saanich Peninsula, B.C.
‘The full Calandra’
Unfortunately, I have only been paying attention to politics long enough to know one prime minister: Stephen Harper, right around the time he decided that, as Paul Wells claims, “there was no need to listen and nothing to be gained from talking” (“How Harper forgot his own lessons,” Nov. 16). It took me awhile to get used to the repeated talking points that were beaten into my skull every evening when I got home and watched CBC’s Power and Politics. I wondered why the Conservatives would never answer the questions freely, and would always reply with the same answer they gave to five of the seven previous questions while just substituting a word here and there—or avoiding it completely by committing the “full Calandra.” I had just assumed it was natural never to see or hear from the prime minister, and that it had been like that with his predecessors. I began to yearn for change without even diving deep into the murky policy pool. I look forward to the openness that should come with this new government.
Riley Mitchell, St. Pascal-Baylon, Ont.