Today’s Letters: On the Governor General’s Travel Expenses; on Wellington St.

Thursday, June 16: You can also write to us at [email protected]

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How are these travel costs in order?

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Re: Governor General, guests earn $100K in in-flight catering during trip to Dubai, June 14.

How can the federal government justify the cost of onboard catering for the governor general and MPs when some families in Canada can barely afford to put food on the table for their families?

Isabel Kinnear, Curran

Stop fixating on travel costs

Do we really need to know how much the fuel costs and catering bills are for our Governor General, or our Prime Minister and their entourage? They travel on our behalf. I’m sure there are rules about who, and for what purpose, non-commercial flights are used for government business, including the huge security issues involved. Times are complicated and newspaper space needs to be used with better judgment. This is not news.

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Monica Rosenthal, Ottawa

Keeping Wellington closed doesn’t work

Re: Why is Ottawa taking so long to rebuild Wellington Street? June 13th.

I enjoyed reading Andrew Cardozo’s portrait of Wellington Street – of families gathering at picnic tables, laughing and eating, and people relaxing in Adirondack chairs and children cartwheeling in the middle of the street – the is a vision that, given Ottawa’s weather, we see maybe less than 30 times over the course of the year.

We live in a city where from November to March and sometimes even April it’s too cold or too icy, or snowing, or raining, or blowing, or picnicking, or blowing soap bubbles. If the author wants to see what happens when you close a popular street to traffic, I recommend looking at Sparks Street.

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Sixty years ago, before it was turned into a pedestrian zone, Sparks Street was a very popular, bustling thoroughfare of shops and restaurants, a place to be seen. Now, except for a few restaurants with outdoor terraces – and only for a few months a year – the street is empty. It is an urban wasteland. As some have joked, it’s Chernobyl without the radiation, or LeBreton Flats with buildings.

Wellington’s closure will also prevent people with disabilities, the elderly and the infirm from accessing parliament: they will no longer be able to roll by slowly in a bus or car and enjoy the splendor of the hill, at any time of the year.

Finally, Wellington was the first thing the convoy did when it arrived at Ottawa; keeping it closed would be a lasting legacy of their profession.

Dan Fonda, Gatineau

Open Canada’s main street again

If the city of Ottawa can find something really stupid, it will.

Closing Wellington to traffic is a perfect example. Imagine it from November to the end of May. No tourists, no shops, no bicycles and few people walk. Meanwhile, other streets are clogged with slow-moving vehicles that give off more fumes per vehicle than faster traffic. This harms air quality even more than it does now. There’s no point in keeping Wellington closed.

Jean Currie, Ottawa

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