DISH­ING OUT ‘PUTIN-LITE’

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - EDITORIAL -

Re When Fewer Politi­cians Is A Bad Thing (ed­i­to­rial, Aug. 7): Read­ers con­cerned about the ero­sion of democ­racy un­der On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford might be in­ter­ested in par­al­lel events in Rus­sia. In June, we were on va­ca­tion in Yeka­ter­in­burg, the at­trac­tive third-largest city in Rus­sia, when the pop­u­lar mayor re­signed. First elected in 2013, Yevgeny Roiz­man, a critic of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and a sup­porter of op­po­si­tional ac­tivist Alexei Navalny, was the only mayor not as­so­ci­ated with the gov­ern­ing United Rus­sia party in the Krem­lin. In­de­pen­dent po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts saw him as the leader of in­creas­ing po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion in the Urals. Reg­u­lar elec­tions for mayor were sched­uled this fall. What to do about such a pesky in­di­vid­ual? Not to worry. The gov­er­nor of the prov­ince, per­son­ally ap­pointed by Mr. Putin, “sug­gested” the mayor should be ap­pointed, rather than elected. The United Rus­sia-con­trolled town coun­cil then du­ti­fully voted to can­cel elec­tions and in­stead ap­point may­ors. The gov­er­nor claimed do­ing away with elec­tions would save money and stream­line de­ci­sion­mak­ing. A rep­utable poll showed a ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents wanted to keep elec­tions, and many took to the streets in demon­stra­tions. In can­celling re­gional chair elec­tions, Mr. Ford makes iden­ti­cal claims that elec­tions are too ex­pen­sive and that fewer politi­cians will make de­ci­sion-mak­ing more ef­fi­cient. But it’s also very likely that can­di­dates with Lib­eral Party ties would win in at least two of the four re­gions. Is that the real rea­son that we’re be­ing dished out Putin-lite? Greg Michalenko Water­loo, Ont. Re On­tario Prom­ises ‘Lengthy’ Run­way To End Of Ba­sic-In­come Pi­lot Project (Aug. 9): So On­tario has pledged that there will be a “lengthy and com­pas­sion­ate run­way” be­fore the prov­ince’s ba­sic in­come pi­lot project comes to an end. We al­ready know what “pledges” from Doug Ford’s gov­ern­ment are worth. As the ar­ti­cle notes, Mr. Ford de­cided to can­cel the ba­sic-in­come pi­lot, “de­spite a cam­paign prom­ise to al­low the three-year ex­per­i­ment to run its course.” Mr. Ford’s “pledges” and “prom­ises” are worth noth­ing. When did On­tar­i­ans be­come as gullible as the Trump­is­tas? Ge­orge Olds Hamil­ton

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