Today’s letters: Power struggles, faulty guns, abandoned Afghans

A straightforward solution to PMO power

Re: Lynch and Eisler: Parliament can regain public trust by decentralizing power in the prime minister’s office, Aug. 31.

If I had a dollar for every time I have read the recommendations outlined by Kevin Lynch and Dale Eisler, I could buy a few pints at my local pub. The solution to the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office or at the centre is for members of cabinet and of the governing party caucus to simply say “No, Prime Minister.”

The other option is to legislate courage.

Ronald Lemieux, Manotick

Inspectors not a long-term solution

Re: Tougher Inspection Rules for Weapons from Colt Canada, Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 31.

The deplorable situation of 342 defective machine guns from Colt getting into the hands of Canadian soldiers should result in cancellation of the contract for cause.

Employing more inspectors in a case like this is all too often a mere Band-Aid. The scrap rate during manufacturing will rise but mere inspection of finished product will not deal with the likely primary cause, namely too many parts close to their dimensional limits. Such a situation requires a review of the whole manufacturing process, including tooling and machinery. If this is not done, a high failure rate in service of “acceptable” weapons with marginal parts may be expected as a result of just normal wear.

It has long been an accepted axiom in manufacturing that quality cannot be “inspected in” after the fact. Quality is dependent on every step of the manufacturing process, not on picking the good parts from the bad at the end. Heads should roll at every point of this procurement chain except for the PBI (the poor bloody infantry).

John C. Bauer, Manotick

At least tell Afghans where they stand

Afghans who apply for the humanitarian program include women leaders, human rights activists, journalists and religious minorities including Hazaras. They must apply from outside Afghanistan, which makes the program dangerous.

Many are hiding in Kabul. When they cannot risk leaving their homes even for food, how could they travel many treacherous miles to cross a border and then perhaps not be admitted?

Time is running out. They are without work or pay, and fear a shortage of water, food, electricity, and imminent war. Confusing too, those fortunate enough are hearing from Canada to sit tight, things may change. But will they?

Canada, please do what is necessary. Reply to all applicants in the next 48 hours confirming whether or not they are accepted into the program. If not, they will know. If yes, give clear instructions with next steps, timing, and documentation that will be easily and widely recognized and accepted.

With this information in hand desperate Afghans can make an informed decision for action. Without escape, thousands of extraordinary human beings who have made remarkable progress over the decade will be killed.  Many said they did not know about the Holocaust — but we know about these courageous Afghans.

Hally Siddons, Ottawa


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