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Assassin’s Creed 3: action, adventure – yes; history – not so much.
Assassin’s Creed 3: action, adventure – yes; history – not so much.

What readers think

Nov. 16: Made-up history, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Done-in deal

If it’s as easy to achieve a middle-class life as Margaret Wente suggests – finish high school, delay having kids until you’re married and over 21, work full time – how is it that we have so many university graduates whose full-time job, if they can get one, is as a barista or sales clerk and far from a middle-class life (Why Income Inequality Is Here To Stay – Nov. 15).

The real reason for inequality is that we accept that it is a done deal.

Liz Murphy, Toronto

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Mideast cycle

Your headline Gaza Attack Pushes Region to Brink (Nov. 15) is misleading. It is the incessant rocket attacks, hundreds of them, launched from Gaza that have forced Israel to retaliate. No country in the world would tolerate an intolerable situation like this.

Arron Eisen, Toronto

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Made-up history

The Assassin’s Creed video game series has spent five games taking historical figures and constructing fantastical narratives around them to further its core story about an ancient religious order conspiring to control the Earth’s population using alien artifacts (How Canada Exports Distorted History – editorial, Nov. 15). The protagonist combats them using assassination skills learned by reliving genetic memories of his ancestors stored in his DNA. And we’re worried about historical accuracy?

Why is this conversation only happening now? What about the other portrayals in the series? And why not criticize HBO and Showtime’s historically inspired dramas for their inaccuracies, as well?

If students are really getting their facts about history, unfiltered, from Assassin’s Creed, our schools have failed them at far more than historical education.

(Aside to the editor: Yes, five games. Two were unnumbered sequels continuing the story of Assassin’s Creed II.]

Jason Robertson, Calgary

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I was sorry to read your editorial about Assassin’s Creed III, which I have been following closely as a Canadian historian of the 17th and 18th century. While I am not yet familiar enough with the game to pronounce on its historical content, as an expert on the native peoples of the St. Lawrence Valley, some of whom indeed fought with the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, I can state that your editorial contorts the past.

Native people responded to the American Revolution diversely. Their decisions hinged not on whether to support the colonial rebels or redcoats, but rather on how to preserve their communities in the face of expanding Euro-American settlements. Yes, many aboriginal people – particularly the Six Nations – sided with the British; others, some of whom lived in the St. Lawrence Valley, did not.

Your editorial, and perhaps Assassin’s Creed III as well, misses the historical lesson. In 1775, the boundaries that divided what became Canada and the U.S. were fluid and undetermined. Native people, stuck between these expanding influences, were forced to choose between two losing propositions.

Thomas Peace, postdoctoral fellow, native American studies, Dartmouth College, Halifax

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Thieving neighbours

Re Canada’s Been Stealing U.S. Signals. Why Change Now? (Nov. 9): Consistent with the spirit of Canada-U.S. trade, American TV stations want to exercise an equitable and nondiscriminatory remuneration right under the conditions set out in Canada’s new distant-signal-consent regime.

Canada’s new distant-signal regime is not subject to an appeal before the Canadian Supreme Court. Rather, the “value for signal” regime proposed for local signals is before the high court. Canada’s new distant-signal rules are on the books and are already at play, legal-challenge free.

No TV channel can be imported and redistributed in Canada unless it is authorized by the CRTC. The underling issues here are not about Canadian culture but rather commerce and trade.

Canada is not a nation of signal pirates. We are a nation of fair traders and this is what is at stake. Canada should stop stealing U.S. TV signals now simply because, between good neighbours and trading partners, it is the right thing to do.

Francis Schiller, secretary to the U.S. Television Coalition, Ottawa

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That’s me

Jeffrey Simpson’s article Health Care Is Heading Into Ponzi-Scheme Territory (Nov. 14) was illustrated by an Anthony Jenkins cartoon of younger people holding up older ones. Well, that’s me second from the left at the top, only I’m thinner and better looking. I’m closing in on my 90th birthday and pay my taxes like an ordinary citizen and resent being tagged as a drain on our health-care system.

Anita Birt, Victoria

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A taxing image

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced a $7-billion surge in the deficit from the budget of March, 2012, with the result that eliminating the federal deficit is now pushed to 2016-17.

Next we find out that from March, 2009, through May, 2012, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration spent about $750,000 monitoring election campaign events and “perceptions” of Minister Jason Kenney (Ethnic Media Monitored For Kenney’s Image – Nov. 14).

If Mr. Kenney’s department is spending $750,000 on this kind of thing, how much is Stephen Harper spending? Would it not be appropriate for the Auditor-General to look into how many taxpayer dollars have been paid to media and polling organizations by the Harper government over the past few years for the purpose of getting itself re-elected?

Joseph Davis, Calgary

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Flawed heroes

How the self-righteous love to tear a great man down. General David Petraeus acknowledged his mistake and did the right thing. Enough already. Leave the man and his family alone. No national secrets were breached.

By the standards and criticisms espoused by some letter writers, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King would never have become the great leaders that they were. It is entirely possible to be courageous while having human failings in other areas. History is littered with flawed heroes.

Connor Whelan, Ladysmith, B.C.

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Damned and fools

Let’s see if I have this right: A bunch of wealthy, aging white males, aboard a luxury cruise around Jamaica the week after the U.S. election, are trying to decipher why they lost (Ship Of Fools, Not Voyage Of The Damned – Nov. 15)?

You could ask an ordinary American why, but you’d have to wait for the answer – they’re at work trying to keep the country afloat.

Lesley Betts, Kanata, Ont.

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