Re Russian Ambassador Fires Back At Western Critics (March 7): Russian ambassador Georgiy Mamedov is offended by Stephen Harper’s comparison of the current situation in Ukraine with the Nazi invasion of Sudetenland in 1938, pointing out that millions of Russians were killed during the Second World War. Quite true.
But one must also point out that Stalin, by creating the great famine in the early 1930s, killed more Ukrainians than Hitler ever did. Somewhere in the region of three to five million, if not more.
David Brewer, Puslinch, Ont.
In 1962, following the overthrow of a U.S.-friendly government in Cuba, the Soviet Union deployed missiles on the island, which is only 90 miles from the U.S. mainland. The United States naturally felt threatened and imposed a blockade on Cuba, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.
In 2014, the government of Ukraine was overthrown, and the provisional government revealed its new orientation by immediately banning Russian as an official language. Not unreasonably, Russia could foresee Ukraine becoming a member of NATO, resulting in hostile missile bases on Russia’s border, and access to the Black Sea and Mediterranean via its naval base in Sevastopol being curtailed. In response, it put troops into Crimea.
John Baird compares Russian behaviour in Crimea to the Nazi takeover of the Sudetenland. Cuba provides a more revealing analogy.
William Reed, Victoria
Better than Obama?
Re Hillary Clinton Is Hardly Kicking Back (March 7): Who are these unnamed “many Democrats” who “now believe [Hillary Clinton] would have been better than Barack Obama as president”? As a dual citizen and a registered Democrat, I don’t know too many who share that view.
To cite just one example, does anyone really believe that Ms. Clinton would have been better able to shepherd health-insurance reform through Congress?
Gary Mason is right that Ms. Clinton was a successful secretary of state, but Mr. Obama’s second secretary, John Kerry, has made even more impressive, concrete progress on intractable global problems. We must credit Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy vision when assessing the performance of his chief diplomats.
If anything, Ms. Clinton’s time in the Obama administration may have tempered her more hawkish instincts, though these seem to be reasserting themselves in her comments on foreign policy since leaving office.
Anthony Cantor, Toronto
Clock change? Yes!
Re Spring Forward, Argh (letters, March l): Lawrence Crosthwaite, like many others at clock-changing time, believes this practice to be absurd. Many of us support it because summer is better than winter – not just because it’s warmer, but because we get to enjoy daylight longer.
If we stayed on standard time all year, the longest day of the year in my region would be over by about 8:30. How many people would use the extra hour of sunlight around 5 a.m. if we did not shift? After getting home from work and making and eating supper, people enjoy spending summer evenings playing with children outside, working in the yard, or just sitting around with a cold beverage.
To me, the earlier sundown we would have during the height of summer if we did not change our clocks would be absurd.
Blair Langmuir, Waterloo, Ont.
So very Canadian
Re Marois Won’t Be Rushed Into Referendum (March 7): Quebec is not such a distinct society after all. Parti Québécois Premier Pauline Marois could not be more Canadian when she asks voters for a majority mandate to hold a referendum if necessary, but not necessarily a referendum.
Horton B. Hutter, Toronto
The major issue missing from discussions about Quebec sovereignty concerns the status of First Nations peoples in Quebec. With a complex relationship to both provincial and federal governments, the voices of First Nations leaders need to be heard. We fret over what life in Canada would look like without Quebec but what would life as an aboriginal look like in a sovereign Quebec?
Melissa Gismondi, Toronto
How sweet it isn’t
Re Sugar Verdict (March 6): The WHO recommends that no more than 10 per cent of our daily calories should come from sugar, which seems reasonable enough until you realize that you can’t eat all of that Mars bar you sneaked from the vending machine.
Not too long ago, then New York mayor Michael Bloomberg sought to ban super-sized soda drinks. So how close are we to making sugar in too large a dose illegal? Could the future of sugar demonization involve checkpoints? “But officer, it was only a small piece of birthday cake…”
“Out of the car, ma’am.”
While I am only too happy to see those industrial-sized slabs of birthday cake go the way of the dodo, is it simply bad personal choice that leads us to the cookie aisle? Sugar and its insidious chemically enhanced cousin, high-fructose corn syrup, are big business.
I’ll never forget driving to a friend’s cottage one summer behind a huge tanker truck carrying what I thought was fuel. Closer inspection revealed the true contents: liquid sugar.
Catherine Brennan, Toronto
What joy! We can now eat marbled meat and full-fat cheese (Cutting Out The Fat Doesn’t Improve Heart Health, Researcher Writes – March 7). Or should we?
It seems the diet pendulum is perpetually in motion: For example, eggs (more specifically, yolks) were once considered unhealthy but now, apparently, can be part of a healthy diet. Personally, I like to refer to studies that “prove” dark chocolate is good for you. Coffee, too!
Given that so many other factors determine how healthy we are (heredity, physical activity etc.), it seems the best maxim is “moderation in all things,” including fats of all kinds.
As for me, hold the red meat but please pass the chocolate.
Avril Taylor, Dundas, Ont.
To run, or not to run
Re Chow Says She Has Yet To Decide On Mayoral Bid (March 7): To be or not to be mayor. Olivia Chow’s apparent hand-wringing does her prospective campaign and Toronto no service. We need a candidate with vision, passion and conviction. Ms. Chow either remains unsure of her own interest in the job – or wrongly believes yet another report on her inability to decide will heighten the drama of an announcement.
Judy Malone, Toronto
Sizing up porn
Re Oh Yes! Yes! Yes! Eh? (March 7): I got a laugh from Brian Gable’s cartoon poking fun at the CRTC’s demand that adult movies have more Canadian content. Has the CRTC announced how that content is to be measured?
Mark A. Roberts, Calgary