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Students march with a sign asking to negotiate as they protest against tuition hikes in downtown Montreal on April 26, 2012. Today’s topics: Quebec’s tuition protests; calling off the war on drugs; the NDP and war; whistle-blowers and the Vatican … and more (REUTERS)
Students march with a sign asking to negotiate as they protest against tuition hikes in downtown Montreal on April 26, 2012. Today’s topics: Quebec’s tuition protests; calling off the war on drugs; the NDP and war; whistle-blowers and the Vatican … and more (REUTERS)

What readers think

April 28: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Protest 101

Perhaps the Quebec government should at least consider funding educational courses in civil disobedience (Anger Grows Over Tuition Strike – April 27).

Chuck LeBoutillier, Toronto

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Students are not just protesting against raised tuition fees, but also against the rising cost of living. More of them are resorting to food banks to get through university. Why should students be willing to start their working lives with a debt sentence?

Manish Patwari, Montreal

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Montreal is being taken over by student mobs hell bent on destruction because of a small adjustment to tuition fees. Even with the increases, Quebec would still have the country’s lowest tuition. But because tuition fees were static for so long, students have come to see a permanent freeze as their entitlement. What is perhaps equally galling is the encouragement many professors are giving their charges.

Patrick Tee, Montreal

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By giving in to student protesters and offering to spread the tuition fee increases over seven years instead of five, Premier Jean Charest likely has set the stage for more of these types of action down the road. I guess with an election in the not-too-distant future, he chose the easy way out.

Larry Comeau, Ottawa

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Pray and tell

Re Pope Appoints Crack Squad Of Cardinals To Shed Light On Whistle-Blowers (April 27): Pray tell, how about having that crack squad target the corruption and nepotism inside the Vatican, instead of the people disclosing it?

Helen Murphy, Saint John

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Dealing with drugs

It is indeed time for governments to find ways to realistically deal with the drug problem (Microcosm Of Hope – editorial, April 27). The so-called war on drugs, waged at an outrageous economic, social and human cost the world over, will simply not stop the demand.

The drug trade is distorting economic realities, in the process creating “dirty wealth” in many nations, including Canada. It’s time to consider approaching this matter on a national and international basis as a health concern, not a criminal issue. Ending the war on drugs is morally and politically the correct thing to do.

Emile Therien, Ottawa

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Here is a question that never seems to come up in this debate: What will the drug lords do if their current profit centres are taken away because of a positive paradigm shift in public policy?

Wayne Newman, Vancouver

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Why is so much press given to what amounts to enabling drug addiction and so little to ways to beat it? Years ago, I was an addict, but to cigarettes.

In the 1990s, Canadian society mounted a well-orchestrated campaign against smoking, which included cigarette price hikes, stern health warnings and a gradual elimination of acceptable places where one could smoke. These tactics led to my stopping smoking and I am grateful for the help society gave me in doing so. Why can’t the same methods be employed against drug use?

Suzanne Gauthier, Ottawa

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The NDP and war

In mocking the NDP’s long-standing opposition to the Afghan mission by declaring that “the NDP could not even make up its mind to support World War II,” Stephen Harper showed that his knowledge of Canadian history is selective at best (PM To ‘Examine Options’ On Withdrawal – April 26).

The historical record is clear, should the PM wish to consult Hansard, among other sources. With the declaration of war in 1939 in the House of Commons, only one CCF MP, party leader J.S. Woodsworth, voted against the war. By 1942, the CCF – the forerunner to the NDP, which wasn’t formed until 1961 – was so fully behind the war effort, it supported conscription.

Stephanie Bangarth, London, Ont.

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Buy local v. trade

More is at stake in a trade deal with Europe than cheap cellphone rates for Canadians. It isn’t called a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) for nothing (A Vital Interest In Free Trade – April 27).

Among other things, our government is pursuing a trade deal that targets municipal powers and services, without giving a real say to local governments. For example, CETA could prohibit municipalities from applying buy-local or buy-Canadian preferences to contracts, or requiring that bidders use some proportion of local or Canadian goods, services or labour.

This would end the ability of municipalities to use procurement as a local economic or social development tool. It’s one reason why more than 50 Canadian municipalities have passed resolutions asking for clarification or even exemption from CETA.

The EU doesn’t seem to think “protectionism’s day is over.” It is protecting its municipally delivered services, including water. Canada is not. Glossing over such facts is disingenuous.

Phil Soubliere, Ottawa

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Argentina’s view

I reject The Globe’s position in the editorial Kirchner's Last Stand (April 14) dealing with the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the U.K. over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas.

The UN General Assembly and UN Special Committee on Decolonization have adopted almost 40 resolutions, the most recent in June, 2011, recognizing the existence of the sovereignty dispute and calling upon both parties to resume negotiations, even after the 1982 conflict. Similar calls are made yearly by the Organization of American States. Those calls continue to be disregarded by the U.K. and The Globe.

José Néstor Ureta, chargé d’affaires, Argentina

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Taxes and luck

Judith Timson quotes Doctors for Fair Taxation’s Michael Rachlis as saying “Maybe a Lawyers for Fair Taxation will start up” (Debt, Taxes And The Lessons Of $16 Orange Juice – April 27). Ms. Timson’s response: “Yes, and maybe I will win the lottery.”

It’s Ms. Timson’s lucky day. In fact, it has been for more than a month now. Lawyers for Fair Taxation was founded on March 25 and we have, in fact, been working with our colleagues at Doctors for Fair Taxation to spread the message that we must increase government revenues in a fair fashion to protect needed public services and reduce government deficits and debt. Our message to government: Tax us fairly. Canada is worth it.

Gavin Magrath, Toronto

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Just wondering …

Your headline Online Infant And Toddler Sales Jumped By Almost 60 Per Cent Last Year (Report on Business, April 27) left me wondering: Did year-over-year results for online purchases of octogenarians fall short of expectations, while continuing category oversupply and inventory depreciation left analysts unfazed by slow trade in the online buying of 50- to 65-year-olds?

Shaun Little, Toronto

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