Duty to expose
Kudos to Margaret Wente for her brilliant and informative column (Corporations Behave Badly And We Pay – July 5) that throws light on corporate malfeasance. She shows the way for journalists to expose corporate greed and avarice and what role money can play in white-collar crime.
It is our duty as writers or private citizens to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for accountability, transparency and punishment, to foster social justice and democratic control over corporations. Only by so doing shall we be fighting corporations that profit from war, fraud, environmental degradation, human-rights violations and other abuses.
Nizar Visram, freelance journalist, Ottawa
Congratulations to the government of Ontario and a teachers’ union for realizing school-board trustees were unnecessary intermediaries in reaching a cost-saving labour agreement (Ontario Cut School Boards Out To Reach Deal With Catholic Teachers – online, July 5).
Indeed, their action could very well serve as a precedent – a template – for other provinces to follow. It is becoming increasingly apparent, in these times of high-tech communication and austerity, that the continued existence of elected school boards and their associations are nothing more than an anachronistic profligacy.
Chris Eustace, Montreal
Our government’s decision to stop issuing work permits for foreign nationals to work for strip clubs, massage parlours and escort agencies has been heralded by leaders in the fight against human trafficking, and by former victims of sexual slavery. We were therefore disappointed to read your editorial (No Help To The Vulnerable – July 6) opposing these sensible changes on the grounds that it will drive the problem “underground.”
The editorial suggests that rather than banning work permits for the sex trade, such exploitation should be dealt with through law enforcement, and that help should be given to those who escape it. But Canadian police already do their best to enforce the laws, many having dedicated units and specialized training, and since 2008, the government has provided for 18-month Temporary Resident Permits, together with federal health insurance, to foreign victims of trafficking in Canada. These efforts will be strengthened as a result of our recently released National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
It simply makes no sense to continue allowing yet more uniquely vulnerable young women to enter Canada on work permits destined for an industry where they will face an elevated risk of exploitation and coercion.
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
It will be interesting to see how Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will respond to the recent United Nations report that alleges Rwandan backing for the M23 rebels in the Congo, including the provision of weapons, training, and child soldiers (UN Report Links Kagame To Arming, Training Militia Groups In Congo Against Sanctions – June 29).
The U.K. and the U.S. are Rwanda’s top two donors. This can be used as leverage to push the Rwandan government to end its support to armed Congolese fighters.
Importantly, in 2006, the United States passed into law a bill introduced by senator Barack Obama that authorizes the secretary of state to withhold assistance to any country determined to be destabilizing the Congo. Hillary Clinton, who currently holds this position in Mr. Obama’s administration, co-sponsored the bill.
Conflict in the Congo has caused the deaths of more than six million people since 1996. Urgent international leadership is needed to encourage all sides to return to the negotiation table.
Greg Queyranne, Centre for African Development and Security, Cambridge, England
Malcolm Aboud (A G-G’s Decisions – letters, July 2) claims that as an unelected figurehead, the governor-general should be minimizing involvement in substantive decision-making and that Michaëlle Jean’s decision to allow prorogation of Parliament was therefore the correct one.
Nonsense. In this case, such a minimalist approach would have meant ignoring Stephen Harper’s request and letting events unfold. It’s quite possible that the crisis would have solved itself in fairly short order, either with the Conservatives making a deal with one of the opposition parties (or enough of their legislators) to survive a confidence vote, or the very disparate opposition coalition falling apart due to infighting (as it later did). Had the opposition succeeded, Ms. Jean would have at least had clear precedent to follow.
It’s hard to think of a way in which she could have interfered more in politics than she did.
Adam Smith, Calgary
Mark Harding’s essay (Come Together, Right Now – Life, July 5) was a sweet reminder of those heady days when your public declaration of band loyalty was a statement of who you were.
I, too was a fan of the Beatles. (I didn’t mind the swearing.) But even within the Beatles fans, there were four sub-groups, of course. I would have chosen to swoon over John or Paul, but since each was already claimed by my two older sisters, I chose George. (Sorry, Ringo.) Some 40 years later, I have no regrets. The Beatles are “my” band and George is “my” Beatle.
Stephanie Vincent, Toronto
Another particle theory
Re Reaching The Mountaintop With The ‘God Particle’ (July 2):
I’m a high-school dropout, but like Mark Twain, I have tried never to let my schooling interfere with my education.
When I was a kid about 70 years ago, someone wrote a comic-book story about “worlds within worlds,” and the more I thought about that, the less fantastic and the more reasonable it seemed. What if, in fact, our atoms are someone else’s solar system, and vice versa?
What if our physical reality, instead of being a relatively predictable range of variously sized blobs or nodules of energy, is rather an infinite range of variously dimensioned items somewhat like a broadband spectrum, and we’re only able to perceive a very limited section of that, because of our ignorance and lack of sufficiently sensitive equipment?
Why would I think any of that might be sensible? Because, it takes something to make something, and we can’t conjure up an atom or a solar system or a universe from pure nothingness. All of it requires components, whether we’re aware of them or not, and we’re mostly not, I betcha.
Ray Sutton, North Vancouver