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Canadians are sharply divided on Canada’s foreign policy. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Canadians are sharply divided on Canada’s foreign policy. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Jan. 3: Foreign-policy divides – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Foreign-policy divide

Re Canada’s Bitter, Small-Minded Foreign Policy (Jan. 2): Such a bitter, small-minded critique of Canada’s foreign policy is surprising coming from someone with such a distinguished résumé.

Peter Jones could benefit from a close reading of Gordon Gibson’s reasoned and reasonable comment on the same page (It’s Time To Build Democracy 2.0). Taking shots just perpetuates the partisanship that is so destructive here in Canada and elsewhere.

I expect better of those like Prof. Jones who should be looking for ways to improve rather than exacerbate the situation.

Harry White, White Rock, B.C.

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Peter Jones’s commentary on Canada’s so-called foreign policy should be required reading for all voters before casting their ballots.

Graham Steeves, Port Elgin, Ont.

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Peter Jones castigates the government for ranting on foreign policy, then delivers little more than a rant of his own. He seems to favour an opaque form of multilateralism, as if that were an end in itself. He suggests Canada should support U.S. tactical diplomacy on the Mideast, as if that would constitute a relevant approach.

Mr. Jones ignores the economic dimension of foreign policy on which, through the successful negotiation with the EU of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Canada’s most important trade deal since NAFTA), and steady fiscal management, the government has enhanced our interests in an area where we have actual – not notional – scope for relevance and influence on the global stage.

Derek H. Burney, senior strategic adviser for Norton Rose Fulbright, ambassador to the U.S. (1989-93); Ottawa

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Ice vs. tall trees

Re Toronto Unveils $75-Million Ice Storm Cleanup Plan (Jan. 2): Large trees in cities are inevitably problematic.

Property damage from falling limbs, root systems that play havoc with sewer and water lines and costs associated with trimming and removing old and diseased trees are all issues cities will face for many years.

Why not enact bylaws restricting the mature size of newly planted trees?

J.C. Henry, Mississauga

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Police, their lawyers

According to your editorial Special Powers, Extra Responsibility (Dec. 30), the Supreme Court of Canada “rightly placed limits” on police officers’ right to consult a lawyer.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is meant to ensure fairness and equality for all of Canada’s citizens. If faults exist in the way police are investigated, changes should be made that don’t involve taking away a fundamental right.

Susan Till, Toronto

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Your editorial rightly sets out the reasons for limiting the practice of police officers’ consulting lawyers in the preparation of their notes.

It seems to me that lawyers are walking a fine line in this activity as well. What was the nature of the advice lawyers were providing? What effect did this have on the evidence presented at trial?

Any way you look at it, it appears to come dangerously close to obstruction of justice.

Douglas Campbell, Vancouver

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Stalin’s ghost

Re Terror In Russia (letters, Dec. 31): I am somewhat taken aback, no, shocked, at the letter by Lubomyr Luciuk. Terrorism in Russia today has everything to do with militant Islamism and is a worldwide problem.

To confuse and obfuscate this with the ghost of Stalin is to play a game of historical retribution which is disrespectful to the victims of terrorism and shows a lack of understanding by, indeed, a professor of political science.

Robert Milan, Winnipeg

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Duelling histories

Re Next Up In T.O.? (Jan. 2): Former Toronto mayor David Miller’s campaign chair John Laschinger writes of Mr. Miller’s electoral triumphs (compared to Rob Ford), yet says nothing of Mr. Miller’s biggest “achievement”: After a lengthy, acrimonious garbage strike, Mr. Miller caved in to union demands. The resulting outrage catapulted Mr. Ford into the mayor’s seat.

Recounting history is good. Selective history – not so much.

Marty Cutler, Toronto

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Dissent in Egypt

Re A Cold Winter For The Arab Spring (editorial, Dec. 31): Mohammed Morsi’s dream of creating a worldwide caliphate under sharia law led to the concentration of political authority in the hands of Islamists while crackdowns on political and religious dissenters and attacks on women and non-violent protesters significantly increased.

Mr. Morsi granted himself unlimited power and targeted all Egyptians who did not share the Brotherhood’s ideology or theology. His targeting of Egypt’s ancient Coptic Christian community – first through the enforcement of the jizya tax applied to non-Muslims and, increasingly, through bloody pogroms on Christian communities and outright executions of Christian Egyptians, demonstrated the intolerant and violent nature of the organization.

You write that “things in Egypt have gone from bad to worse.” The brief rule of Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood were not the good old days for Egypt. Any suggestion of that would be a slap in the face to the Egyptians who suffered under the Brotherhood’s oppressive authority.

Avi Benlolo, president, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

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Your editorial forcefully and rightly points out the bleak outlook for Egypt in the aftermath of a brutal military coup.

The coup ushered in a regime whose brutality and repression are already beginning to rival the worst Egypt has seen in its modern history.

The lesson that Egypt provides should be that procedural democracy, however flawed in its implementation, remains immensely preferable to any other system of government.

In line with your Editorial Page motto, all those in Egypt today who peacefully refuse to submit to arbitrary measures deserve our support and our respect.

Wael Haddara, London, Ont.

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Say what?

Re Pope Francis, Incrementalist (Jan. 2): Michael Higgins’s article on Pope Francis has a last thought that I have read several times – and still have no idea what any of it means.

The second-last sentence reads: “ … this is a generational reform effort but the signs are auspicious.” So far, so good.

Then, this sentence: “Francis could perhaps accelerate things by offering obscurantist Lords Spiritual to those bicameral democracies that have a place for unelected partisans.”

What?

I’m saving this sentence. I may use it to fling at someone I disagree with.

Sally Morrow, Ottawa

 

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