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PQ leader Pauline Marois responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
PQ leader Pauline Marois responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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Aug. 25: Erasing Quebec, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Should … don’t

Many people in the rest of Canada have already mentally erased Quebec from their “emotional” map of Canada (Why We Should Still Care About Separatism – Aug. 24). The student uproar and the ongoing election campaign (which, horrors, might be won by the Parti Québécois) have been largely met with indifference.

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You might have to drive through a “foreign” country to get from Atlantic Canada to Ontario. But many do so anyway, by going through New England and New York state.

Henry Srebrnik, political science department, University of Prince Edward Island

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Guess who else?

Larry Butka suggests that a dividend, or returned money to shareholders, is only for the “rich” to enjoy (Guess Who? The Rich – letters, Aug. 24).

Dividends, bond coupons and distributions are the most beautiful part of capitalism – and the most important part of savings and your future retirement. Investors are rewarded for taking risk with their capital in the form of a dividend. Dividends are not only for the rich to reap – most quality mutual funds or ETFs own a dividend bearing company – and we all know many people who are not “rich” who own funds or save their money. I’m one of them!

John Arnaud, Toronto

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Thanks for the RAM

Chris Berube’s Reel-Life Robots (Arts – Aug. 24) brought back some wonderful memories. With due recognition of the subjectivity of such a compilation, I wish he’d included the one robot who truly captured my attention as a child: interplanetary enforcer Gort from Robert Wise’s 1951 epic The Day The Earth Stood Still.

The message that alien emissary Michael Rennie’s Klaatu delivered still resonates today, but it was his robot guardian (and overseer – a key element in Harry Bates’s short story, though toned down for the film) who truly held Earth’s fate in his metallic hands.

Michael Lennick, Toronto

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Another level

Re Armstrong To Be Stripped Of Tour Titles (Sports – Aug. 24):

Charlie Francis, who coached Ben Johnson, was correct: “It was always a level playing field, it just wasn’t at the level you thought it was.”

John Beamish, Mississauga

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Gas ceiling

Did anyone else notice in Thursday’s standup photo of a South Korean emergency drill (Always Be Prepared – Aug. 23) that all of the male office workers were wearing gas masks, while the women were only equipped with cloths to cover their faces? What’s up with that?

Trish Kotow, Calgary

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Existential threat

If only The Globe’s editorialists would explain how one builds an “all-weather road” on melting permafrost (The Realities Behind The Rhetoric – Aug. 21), I’m sure Stephen Harper would be keen to hear.

The best thing our PM could do to protect the Arctic, and assert Canada’s sovereignty there, would be to implement credible policies to combat climate change.

I cannot imagine any other existential threat as ominous as global warming that would be so flagrantly ignored by the political class. Good thing this generation wasn’t in charge in 1939. That the opening of the Northwest Passage is seen as a commercial opportunity rather than a dire warning is truly frightening.

Brian Green, Thunder Bay

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Another dollar

Re Young And Dying: The Scandal of Artisanal Mining – Aug. 18:

If children and their parents are willing to risk their health and potentially their lives for less than $1.00 a day, could not the multinational mining companies afford $365.00 a year to educate these same children? We can talk about the moral issues involved and come up with complex and convoluted solutions, but at the end of the day, paying a child to go to school would probably be the simplest and most cost-effective solution for all parties involved.

Susan Dawson, Toronto

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One plus one

A pair of letters (Better Before Best) in the Aug. 23 edition caught my eye. A high-school teacher wrote that he has two postgraduate degrees and doesn’t get paid a cent for either of them – I doubt that either has any direct impact on his students. He says he doesn’t get paid for supervising sports teams and clubs – everyone knows how important these are to students; extracurricular leadership should be both a criterion for hiring and a part of every high-school teacher’s workload. And he refers to unpaid summers – regular contract teachers who earn upward of $90,000 should consider two months away from work as vacation, not unpaid time.

Trustee Howard Goodman is right, though. Proposed legislation regarding how teachers are evaluated and how supply teachers are assigned seriously reduces school boards’ ability to manage their systems.

Lorne Rachlis, former director of education, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

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Responsible party

I wish to clarify comments made in Oil And Water (Business – Aug. 4).

In B.C. coastal waters, the responsible party (polluter) is always responsible to clean up any spills that are a result of their operations. Transport Canada regulates that vessels of a certain size, including tankers, must have a Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan that must be activated in the event of an oil spill from their ship.

The Canadian Coast Guard is the lead federal agency to ensure that the polluter takes effective actions to clean up and mitigate any impacts of a spill. CCG’s Environmental Response Program has trained personnel and response equipment across Canada and along the B.C. coast. This equipment is located in warehouses and in caches where it can be easily deployed in the event of a spill from a ship using pollution response vessels.

Vija Poruks, CCG assistant commissioner, Pacific

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Our Doyle-ie

In a footnote to his excellent article on the CBC inviting the public to vote for a book that had not even been published (How The CBC Ruined My Vacation – Aug. 22), John Doyle invites Ezra (The Rant) Levant to chill out and take up knitting doilies. However, I suspect that Mr. Levant already takes great joy in needling our Doyle-ie.

Allan Shipley, Parksville, B.C.

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