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Students protesting the rise in tuition fees demonstrate in Montreal Saturday, April 14, 2012. Today’s topics: Cuba at the table; mad at hockey’s bad; a second Charter; politics of tuition ... and more (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Students protesting the rise in tuition fees demonstrate in Montreal Saturday, April 14, 2012. Today’s topics: Cuba at the table; mad at hockey’s bad; a second Charter; politics of tuition ... and more (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

April 17: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Don’t block Cuba

The U.S. and Canada are certainly upholding democracy by insisting that Cuba be kept from the table at future hemispheric summits (Summit Ends Divided On Cuba, Drug Legalization – April 16). Keep those Communists at bay – or one day you might even see us trading with China.

Frank W. Morgan, Baden, Ont.

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Stephen Harper doesn’t speak for me on Cuba nor, I suspect, for most Canadians. This tiny island country is walking a different walk. Its leadership in sustainable agriculture is about to be rivalled by its leadership in democratic economic systems as it transforms itself to a co-operative-driven economy.

Cuba is very respected in Latin America. To bar Cuba from the table only impoverishes the discussion. Is this part of a covert deal to get Barack Obama’s support for Canada’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Mr. Harper should ask Canadians where they want Canada to stand on this issue. Or is that too democratic?

Wendy Holm, Vancouver

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Mad at bad

Can anyone still question why hockey violence continues to erupt when your article (Mad, Bad And Out Of Control – April 16) so adequately demonstrates at least two reasons?

Firstly, a graphic photo of violence makes the front page, with more photos on the front of the sports section. Secondly, and probably more importantly, take a look at the partial face shown at the top of the front-page picture: A man is grinning and clapping watching the on-ice punching. ’Nuff said.

Len and Cathy Gale, Calgary

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Where are the hockey owners in all this? Hits, whether deliberate or inadvertent, are robbing them of the services of players to whom they are paying multiple millions of dollars. Wouldn’t it be in their financial interest to rein in the goons with a rule that, when a hit sidelines a player, that player’s salary is paid by the owner of the hitting player’s team for as long as the injured player is off the ice?

James A. Duthie, Nanaimo, B.C.

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As a visitor to Canada from New Zealand, I’ve been impressed watching ice hockey – a novel sport for me. The fitness, speed, skill, timing and strength of the players are truly remarkable.

But why the total lack of discipline, the lack of respect for the whistle? Hockey is an aggressive contact sport – not unlike rugby – where playing within the boundaries becomes more important than in lower-contact sports. Aggression needs to be contained. Rugby does this well.

Your fast and exciting sport is let down by pathetic behaviour.

And as for the organ music …

Mark Bryan, Southland, New Zealand

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A second Charter

Pierre Trudeau would have done Canada and Canadians a greater service if he had followed up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with the Charter of Responsibilities and Obligations – the other half of a democracy (Charter That Reshaped Canada Becomes A Model To The World – April 16). Our rights only extend to the point that they interfere with the rights of others, something that seems to have been overlooked in the clamour for “my rights” that controls the discourse.

Gerald Crawford, Mississauga

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Shocked, etc.

The McGuinty government’s ability to buy labour peace and election support in Ontario from public-sector and teachers’ unions has evaporated (Teachers’ Union Feels ‘Betrayal’ – April 16). I am sorry that Sam Hammond, the president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, and his members feel shocked and betrayed that the well has run dry – but I must say, in regard to that sense of shock, that any time I entered a classroom so poorly prepared for reality as Mr. Hammond and his members appear to be, I paid a high price.

Peter Mantha, Sarnia, Ont.

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Despite the pain

Dr. John Clark is right (The Neglected Form Of Suffering – editorial, April 16): In my more than 20 years experience living with chronic pain, and my experience as a nurse before chronic pain, pain medication is not the real issue.

The real issue is the need to have health professionals view the person with chronic pain as someone who needs help in managing their life around their pain. Living with chronic pain is about developing life skills that allow the person to find a purpose in their life, despite their diagnosis of chronic pain.

Ruth Stella MacLean, author, Living Successfully with Chronic Pain

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Pots and kettles

When the Argentine generals invaded the Falkland/Malvinas islands in 1982, they were trying to rally the Argentine people behind them (Kirchner’s Last Stand – editorial, April 14). But let’s be clear: British PM Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady) was doing the same thing when she sent British troops in response.

Both parties were playing the old smoke-and-mirrors political game of promoting patriotic nationalism to gain support and divert attention from national problems and their own political agendas. Stephen Harper did the same in calling upon us all to cheer Canada’s troops in Afghanistan; Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner may be playing the game as well. Canadians and Commonwealth members should be wary of being the pots that are calling the kettle black.

As for The Globe’s reference to Pink Floyd, sorry to have to disappoint you. While David Gilmour may not be as left as Roger Waters, he’s no conservative either.

Dave Broad, Regina

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The politics of tuition

Reading Cracks Show In Student Solidarity (April 14) brought back memories of how we handled tuitions in Alberta. I was Ralph Klein’s minister of advanced education from 1997 to 1999. During that time, he and I met with Alberta students and agreed to a “tuition cap” based on inflation and a restricted amount for costs of operating the particular institution.

I wanted to know: How were other jurisdictions handling this issue? I had staff survey other provinces and also countries in the Western democracies. What they found was that in every jurisdiction – it didn’t matter the level of tuition – the outcome was the same: More kids from well-to-do families went to university than kids from poorer families, even where the tuition was free.

My conclusion: Free and cheap tuition is a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. The closer to free, the more massive the transfer. I fail to see the public good in such a transfer. Quebec strikers are off-side on this issue.

Clint Dunford, Lethbridge, Alta.

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About those initials

Lysiane Gagnon (CLASSE struggle in Quebec – April 16) gives us the full name of the Quebec organization known as CLASSE (Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante). I am no acronym expert, but should it not be ASSE? They are certainly making one of themselves.

Emilio Sanmarti, Kingston

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