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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Canada holds the G7 presidency this year.

Charles Krupa/The Canadian Press

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Priorities for the PM

It was great to see the Prime Minister at Yankee Stadium last week commenting on international affairs, but the real test will be next month at the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec. If he wants to address substantive issues at this summit, there are at least two that he needs to champion.

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First, as the head of a feminist government, Justin Trudeau must help ensure that girls everywhere have access to education, even in crisis situations (civil strife, war etc.). He has paid lip service to this issue, but he must now show the money.

Second, the UN is holding a high-level meeting in September on ending tuberculosis, a curable disease that has become the leading infectious killer on the planet. As the first prime minister to commit to ending TB in our own Far North, he should announce his participation in the UN meeting to his G7 counterparts and invite them to attend.

It is with such initiatives that he’ll be able to claim that Canada is truly back on the world scene.

Jean-Francois Tardif, Gatineau, Que.

Ontario politicians’ batting averages

Reading your article Ford, Horwath Campaign Promises Come Under Fire (May 17) inspired me to use the same technique that politicians employ and apply for John Gibbons’s job as head coach of the Blue Jays next season.

As the new coach, I promise that the Jays, retaining all the same players, will improve to .750 baseball and lead the American League East ahead of the mighty Yankees and venerable Red Sox. And I’ll offer free parking and reasonable beer prices to all fans!

Asked by the press just how this might be accomplished, I will respond, “You wait and see!”

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Neil McLaughlin, Burlington, Ont.

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It should give Ontario voters pause that Toronto, the city that knows Doug Ford best, seems to like him least. Consider his track record: During mayor Rob Ford’s tenure, with councillor Doug as his closest adviser, Toronto’s debt increased significantly. So the Fords backed proposed “efficiencies,” such as closing libraries and cutting back 41 bus routes.

When journalists and police uncovered the mayor’s unsavoury associations and crack cocaine use, Doug Ford bullied reporters and called for the police chief to be fired. In the end, it all blew up in his face and the city became a global laughingstock.

The Torontonians who truly benefited from the Ford Nation train wreck were political cartoonists. Will Ontarians learn from recent history – or be condemned to repeat it?

Norm Beach, Toronto

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I just can’t-can’t-can’t stomach another four years of Liberal mismanagement in Ontario.

Face it: It would be hard to make a bigger mess of the energy file than the Liberals or spend more irresponsibly. Doug Ford offers the best hope for change. He deserves a chance. So, even though I’ll be holding my nose, I’m voting Conservative.

Sarah Wilson, Goderich, Ont.

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With less than a month to go, it appears a number of Ontario voters will be going to the polls June 7 with their eyes tight shut. The key word seems to be “change,” regardless of the many challenges ahead. These are uncertain times for Ontario, and Canada.

NAFTA is still not settled; the outcome could have serious consequences for Ontario. Two provinces in the West are at loggerheads, with no resolution in sight to the pipelines issue. Serious natural disasters have left Canadians homeless in both east and west. Abroad, violence has once again erupted in the Middle East, destabilizing that region even further. All of these factors are not promising for Canada’s economy.

Despite all this, Ontario is actually booming, with growth numbers that are higher than many G7 countries. This is not the time to put it all at risk. This is not the moment to take a turn to the radical right or to the radical left.

With clouds on the horizon, why go into uncharted territory?

Nini Pal, Ottawa

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Many in Ontario, from my perspective, appear to hate Premier Kathleen Wynne. When I ask why, the answer translates to “she plays politics.” And then I wonder if I should be mad at my doctor for doctoring, or my banker for banking.

I am not writing in defence of Ms. Wynne, rather, in defence of the process. Ms. Wynne has made mistakes and maybe she should suffer defeat as a result of failing transparency, or plunging the province deep into debt.

If one takes a sober, non-partisan look at truth-telling and competence, how do the others really stack up though? I have yet to see Doug Ford demonstrate any degree of competence. When asked a question about teachers, he replies, “I love teachers. I will support teachers.” When asked about nurses, he replies, “I love nurses. I will support nurses.” If a candidate can’t offer up details, it means they don’t have a plan or a grasp of the issue. What else could it be?

I admit that I am not a fan of any of the candidates, and that before the Progressive Conservatives chose Mr. Ford to be their leader, my vote was pretty much sewn up. Now, I’m listening for details and gauging the leaders’ understanding of the issues because we are forced to choose from the best of a bad lot.

Platitudes and vagaries should never cut it in politics. A candidate shouldn’t be able to say another is acting on behalf of the “elites” or “making deals in backrooms” without providing specifics. My hope is that each voter will be equally cynical about all candidates and base their vote on substance rather than style.

I will weigh the truth and logic of everything each one of them says with an open mind … at least I’ll try.

Dave Strachan, Toronto

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Things have gotten so bad in Ontario since I lived there a few years ago, it seems like a case of better the devil you don’t know, than the one you do …

Hanna Nguyen, Vancouver

Move to the limbo beat

Re Stephen Harper Comes In From The Cold (May 18): I see that United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney has launched a personal attack attack against Justin Trudeau that would be worthy of a Trumpian rant.

And only a day earlier, he told the Alberta Legislature that “when they go low, we go high.” I humbly suggest to Mr. Kenney that he might perform better by skipping any high-jump competitions and settle instead for doing the limbo.

Steven Diener, Toronto

In a theatre near you?

Re Brown To Release Book About ‘Political Assassination’ (May 18): The decision to edit out former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown’s line in his book comparing himself with Julius Caesar makes me less inclined to buy his forthcoming autobiography, Take Down: The Political Assassination of Patrick Brown. But I might attend any theatre and/or film adaptations that publisher Dean Baxendale is negotiating. I think Harvey Weinstein could be perfect as the producer – and I hear he’s available.

H.B. Hutter, Toronto


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