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Omar Khadr appears in an Edmonton courtroom in 2013 in this artist’s sketch. (Amanda McRoberts/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Omar Khadr appears in an Edmonton courtroom in 2013 in this artist’s sketch. (Amanda McRoberts/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

July 25: Omar Khadr’s words – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Omar Khadr’s words

Re Let Him Speak (editorial, July 24): In a vibrant democracy, the public and the media are free to negotiate their arrangements with each other. If the Harper government successfully intervenes in this relationship to block Omar Khadr’s access to reporters, then who will be next?

Marguerite Warner, Winnipeg

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Omar Khadr did his “talking” with a grenade. His actions put him behind bars. We’re taught young that actions speak louder than words. His have already spoken for him. Loudly. Clearly.

Mark O’Neill, St. John’s

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Omar Khadr was just a kid (15), brainwashed by his father and family. He is requesting an opportunity to speak to the press and the government is trying to muzzle him. As a Canadian, I want to finally hear the truth about this man. I believe he has the right to tell us all the facts as he sees them. Why is the government trying so hard to silence him?

Sandra Spencer, Toronto

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Are we living in China? Russia? Where is the democracy and freedom that the government advocates for countries under autocratic rule? Another glaring example of hypocrisy.

Irene Fung, Mississauga

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Give or take …

Re: Canada’s Ranking (letters, July 24): Once I read “Canada improved its energy efficiency ranking drastically – more than 30 per cent over the past two years,” I knew I was looking at a missive prepared on behalf of a federal cabinet minister.

But the figures used to justify our vehicular habits are suspect. For example, by my calculations, Germany is about 22 per cent larger than the Natural Resource Minister’s riding, not 19 per cent. And his claim that driving from one end of Deutschland to another (some 640 or 830 km, depending on ends) is like driving from Montreal to Toronto (540 km) or Fredericton to Halifax (430 km) is more than a tad off, too.

Evidently close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and Greg Rickford estimations.

Louis Desjardins, Belleville, Ont.

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We should be congratulated for our overall energy-efficiency improvements, however, the minister’s grasp of statistics seems misleading when it comes to vehicle miles travelled. If his argument were based on the relative sizes of Canada and Germany, we would seem to have a leeway of affording to be some 25 times less fuel efficient! Of course, this is nonsense, especially considering that while we live in a vast country, our population is predominantly urban – notwithstanding the minister’s vast riding.

Martin Harvey, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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What’s killing bees

The reason for the higher reported bee losses in Ontario remains unclear (The Plight Of The Honey Bee – July 25). Pointing the finger at pesticides as the main culprit doesn’t serve anyone’s interests.

In Quebec and Manitoba, where insecticide-treated corn is grown similar to that in Ontario, overwintering numbers were more in line with accepted averages.

There are a number of threats to bees, including varroa mite, disease and weather. An important opportunity to find solutions to the multitude of challenges facing bee health is missed when neonics are continually singled out.

The plant science industry recognizes the importance of protecting pollinator health and that research into the various challenges that threaten bees is crucial. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to identify solution-focused approaches to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and beekeeping.

Pierre Petelle, vice-president of chemistry, CropLife Canada

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History’s lens

Re Will MH17 Help Bring Putin Down? (July 23): How much damage did the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 aboard (and the flood of falsification aimed at justifying that outrage) do Ronald Reagan back in 1988?

The Russian people will tire of the annexation of Crimea about the same time the American people tire of the annexation of Hawaii (without the consent of the Hawaiians).

George Clark, Kingston

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Senator David Tkachuk replies

Re Senate Is More Rotten Than Its Parts (July 22): J. Patrick Boyer wrongly conflates travel expense claims with living expense claims.

Only senators who need to travel more than 100 kilometres from their home to work at the Senate in Ottawa are eligible to collect living allowances. All senators, no matter where they live, are eligible to be reimbursed for expenses they incur when they travel for Senate business.

Mr. Boyer writes that I, as “chair of the all-powerful internal economy committee running the Senate saw no problem with Mike Duffy’s housing claims.” I wasn’t the only one. Nobody saw any problem with Mr. Duffy’s housing claims, including the Liberals who were the majority in the Senate and in charge when Mr. Duffy was appointed and for several years after.

Mr. Duffy, like all senators, signed a written declaration attesting to the fact that his primary residence was more than 100 kilometres from the National Capital Region. Is this a unique way of doing business peculiar only to the Senate? No.

When any Canadian files his annual income tax, he signs a form attesting that the information he is submitting is true and correct to the best of his knowledge. He, too, is taken at his word by the Canada Revenue Agency and the Government of Canada.

David Tkachuk, Senator

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Debt takes its toll

Re Lawsuit Pits 407 Operator Against Driver Who Owes $13,719: I believe the most equitable solution would be for Ira Day to pay for any toll-highway services that he has used and not yet paid for, and in return, have the 407 ETR Concession Co. own up to loan-sharking, based on its annual compounded interest rate of 26.82 per cent charged on any outstanding debt.

Rick McCloy, Orillia, Ont.

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As a law-abiding, fee-paying citizen, I decry the prospect of Ira Day being released from having to pay thousands of dollars in back fees simply because he has avoided paying them for so long.

Jo Meingarten, Toronto

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Posh picnics

Re Picnic Perfection (Arts & Life, July 24): Our family always chooses to dine “al fresco” (we call it having a picnic) whatever the outing, primarily to keep the cost of the excursion affordable.

Based on a quick calculation, the minimum cost to purchase the picnic gear featured in your article would be about $300. Not including food.

Our family will continue to enjoy more affordable picnic perfection, using our beat-up cooler and reusable containers. And by the way, you didn’t show us what the posh version of an icepack and hand wipes should look like.

Lisa Ilowski, Stratford, Ont.

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