Managing disappointment

I was most disappointed with both the focus and content of your annual list and analysis of the best managers in Canada (April 25-May 8). Your focus on organizational performance did not address what these managers do as leaders to inspire and motivate their workforce in order to achieve their business goals. As well, I was dismayed that you did not highlight any exceptional leaders in either the public or non-profit sector. Unfortunately, what I took away from this featured article is that in order to be considered a “best manager in Canada” you have to be white, male and financially myopic.

Seija Suutari
Angus, ON

Editorial knocking

Your editorial centred on the two worst examples of proportional representation–Italy and Israel–forgoing the fact that there are improved systems in place in countries such as New Zealand and Germany (“Accountability knocks,” Nov. 22- Dec. 5). The current German model was designed to prevent the kind of parliamentary fragmentation you allude to, after having experienced its drawbacks during the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.

A party in Germany needs to exceed 5% of the popular vote in order to achieve parliamentary status, thus eliminating the splinter-party parliaments seen in Italy and Israel. When Helmut Kohl stepped down from office, in 1998, he left as the longest-serving head of state in the western world (despite the fact that his was always a coalition government between Christian Democrats and Free Democrats)–hardly the “unstable minority government” you would make Canadians believe may be in store for them.

Born in Germany, and living in B.C. since 1988, I have seen the worst political pendulum swings here with the first-past-the-post system. In 1996, the NDP won a majority of seats despite the Liberal's popular-vote win. In 2001, the NDP was reduced to two seats, despite having won 43% of the popular vote. The Green party's support in 2001 should have merited several seats. As it is, the Green party can never expect to win any seats.

No matter which political stripe you wear, these are patently unfair outcomes that fly in the face of the spirit of democracy.

Harold Grindl
Mission, BC