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While I agree that neither Kevin O'Leary nor Donald Trump is qualified for the office one seeks and one holds, I must suggest that this is due more to their personal makeups than to their lack of political experience (Thanks. We'll Get Back To You, Feb. 21). I suggest that if a reasonable billionaire such as Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates had won the presidency, The Globe and Mail might be singing a different editorial tune.
I think Western democracy is threatened as much by career politicians, beholden to special interests, as it is by megalomaniac newcomers. While we don't need Mr. O'Leary or Mr. Trump, we also don't need the political opportunists who jump from election to election in search of a well-paid lifelong job.
If the U.S. president can have term limits, we need to also consider them for politicians at all levels.
Michael Farrell, Oakville, Ont.
Matthew McClearn was correct to shine a light on the state of drinking water available to our First Nations (Unsafe To Drink, Feb. 21). It's a national priority requiring urgent action.
Let us not forget, however, what happens after the water is consumed, and the risks posed to First Nations by inadequate treatment of waste water. A recent report from Environment and Climate Change Canada revealed that, while the quality of water produced from Canada's waste water treatment plants has slightly improved for First Nations people, there are still major concerns which must be addressed.
Poorly treated sewage poses risks to human health and the environment through exposure to pathogens and toxic substances, which may have harmful effects on fresh water flora and fauna. Comprehensive action on First Nations' access to water must, therefore, also afford significant attention to waste water treatment.
Matthew McCandless, executive director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area, Winnipeg
I researched this matter a few years ago for the British Columbia Medical Association and recall that the rate at which boil-water orders are issued in B.C. on First Nations reserves is roughly the same as for other small systems (25 or fewer connections).
The problem in B.C. is with small systems, not First Nations systems specifically, and I expect this is the same elsewhere in the country. It is true that the federal government has spent a lot of money on First Nations water treatment plants to little effect, and one does wonder if these problems couldn't be dealt with more efficiently. An important factor is the maintenance and operation of small systems. There is no doubt that it is much more likely that a small system will not be properly maintained and operated and that the operator won't be properly trained.
Garth M. Evans, Vancouver
Native reserves needn't have water problems if we would just think small. I live with a water treatment need, as do a lot of cottagers. A simple system of filters, UV treatment, water softening and reverse osmosis can give safe water on a per household basis for $2,000 to install and hundreds a year to maintain. The government's problem is always the same – thinking big and hiring engineers to reinvent the wheel for each project.
Rob Graham, Claremont, Ont.
I couldn't agree more with Gary Mason's fantastically accurate depiction of our new political environment and his mention of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, "[The problem] is not the vitriolic words and the evil actions of the bad people. It is the appalling inaction and silence of the good people" (Trump Effect Hits Alberta, And Notley Pays The Price, Feb 22).
Mr. Trump's constant description of the United States as a mess, unpleasant, bad and unsafe has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now the United States is more unsafe, more unnerved, unpleasant and angry, with a spike in menacing and mean-spirited e-mails and Twitter messages. Everyone wants the nastiness to stop, the Trump Show to go away, and the disgust, bigotry, intolerance and lying to cease so that we can all cancel our appointments for chronic depression.
Thomas Bonic, Toronto
A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) provides research evidence in support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's criticism of corporations (Trudeau Cites 'Inequality' For Global Anger, Feb. 18). "It's time to pay a living wage, to pay your taxes, and to give your workers the benefits – and peace of mind – that come with stable, full-time contracts," Mr. Trudeau told an audience in Germany.
According to the OECD, median wages in the 35 member countries are still below where they were in 2007, but wages have risen for the top 10 per cent of income earners. In the United States, the share of national income for the top 1 per cent has doubled since 1980 and has quadrupled for the top 0.01. In Canada, Statistics Canada stated that, in 2013, the top 1 per cent received more than 10 per cent of all income. Growing inequality and instability result in many negative consequences. They are definitely not good for most Canadian businesses.
Bob Garthson, Grafton, Ont.
In fairness to those who read your article extolling the joys of barbecued meat, it is pertinent to point out that the World Health Organization in 2015 issued a warning that processed meats, including hot dogs, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky and canned meat, have been reclassified to Group 1, which means they are carcinogenic to humans and can increase the risk of colorectal cancer (Get A 'Cue, Feb. 22). "Delicious" may come with a steep price if consumed in sufficient quantities over an extended period of time.
Paul Thiessen, Vancouver
I loved the article on travelling with a group (How To Plan A Trip For A Group – And Survive, Feb. 21). Our group is seven graduates from McMaster University's MBA program, plus spouses. There's more than one dominant personality in the group of 14. The process begins with an e-mail seeking input on options, then continues with a SurveyMonkey poll on those options, an e-mail about the leading candidates, a declaration of non-attendance and a recalculation based on those who are most likely to attend. The first time, the recalculation changed a three-day weekend in Chicago to a four-day weekend in New Orleans (2002). Subsequent processes have resulted in a week in Napa, Calif. (2011) and a house on the shores of Prince Edward Island (2015).
Tom Peirce, Ancaster, Ont.