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President Barack Obama speaks about the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., his second statement to the media during the Obama family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., his second statement to the media during the Obama family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)


Aug. 20: Obama out of time – and more letters to the editor Add to ...

Man out of time

U.S. President Barack Obama is not only running out of time, he is torturing himself, his country and the world with his foreign-policy incompetence and aloofness (Obama’s Wars: The Clock Is Ticking – Aug. 19). Academic deliberations, lawyerly language and overanalyzing past mistakes are moot in a world where leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Third World warlords wait like hyenas.

Henry Kissinger once said: “If a president comes to the White House empty on foreign policy, he shall leave as such.” Mr. Obama has validated this axiom.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, Ottawa


Lock the door

Before I retired I used to travel fairly extensively on business to other parts of Canada and the world. I, too, had a wife and young children who stayed at home (Trudeau Asks RCMP For Risk Assessment – Aug. 19).

The only difference was that my wife was careful to see that the house was properly locked at night so that any potential intruders would be deterred from breaking in. This had a twofold benefit: One, I knew that my family was safe, and two, it obviated the necessity of me having to call the RCMP and spend taxpayer dollars on unnecessary babysitting.

Max Phillips, Calgary


Filial maturity

I read Monday’s Facts and Arguments essay (I’ve Become A Mother To My Mother – Aug. 18) with dismay and concern. Did this daughter have her mother’s permission to write about her and thus expose her privacy to the public?

Adult children do not become parents to their parents. There is no way of replicating that mother-child relationship. Rather, it’s what we call “filial maturity” when an adult child has to assist the parent.

Honour thy mother and father is lost on many adult children.

Etta Ginsberg McEwan, Toronto


The essay has long been one of my favorite features in The Globe. Since its inception, contributors have eloquently covered the human condition, from the sublime to the ridiculous and everything in between. Sometimes, hilarious, frequently sobering, they have often struck a deep personal note. Monday was one of those times.

You see, I read I’ve Become A Mother To My Mother the morning after my own mother passed away. She lived a similar life of quiet courage for 92 years and was also “one tough lady.” Catherine McGravey has beautifully captured the essence of her mother and their relationship, and I’m certain many of your readers will be taking a deep breath in recognition after reading her story, and quietly thanking her.

Ingeborg James, Toronto


More commandments

Your editorial on The Nine Commandments (editorial – Aug. 16) of policing was right on the money. Two further points worth noting:

First, one of the reasons it took until 1829 until a metropolitan police force was established is that Britain’s elites were concerned that such a force – like a standing army – was a threat to civil liberties.

Second, not only was it standard to include a prohibition against omnibus legislation in instructions to colonial governors (each law was to deal with one, and only one, subject); governors were also instructed to guard against the militarization of the police.

As the secretary of state for the colonies warned James Douglas upon his appointment as governor of the new Colony of British Columbia in 1858: “Nothing can be more likely to sap the manhood and virtue of any young community than the error of confounding the duties of soldiers with the ordinary functions of a police.”

One wonders what their reaction would be to the Kevlar-encased, Taser-wielding constables of today.

Hamar Foster, Victoria


The editorial is a good argument for rethinking the move to more militarization of the police. However, it refers to London’s Metropolitan Police (1829) as the first modern police force. The City of Glasgow Police was set up by Act of Parliament in 1800. But modern-world policing actually started in France. The government of King Louis XIV in 1667 created the position of lieutenant-governor of police to ensure the peace and quiet of the public.

Ian Elder, Toronto


The problem in Ferguson, Mo., isn’t just about how good the policing is, but how desperate the community’s poor are. People who feel they have something to lose do not burn down their own houses.

A gifted and empathetic black man in the White House has not resolved the problem of poverty in America. The problem is beyond the efforts of one president.

Prof. Alan Levy, department of business administration, Brandon University


Evidence delusion

Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s assertion that Health Canada’s new $5-million pot cessation effort is “evidence-based and non-partisan” (Anti-Marijuana Campaign Not Political, Ambrose says – Aug. 19) is a delusion.

Anti-drug “education” like D.A.R.E. and DrugsNot4Me reinforces the falsehood that criminalizing users is based in evidence.

Medical associations deserve kudos for publicly refusing this prohibitionist exercise – their disposition towards cannabis in medicine notwithstanding.

Adam Greenblatt, Montreal


Prescription crisis

Re Canada Slow To Respond To Opioid Addiction (online – Aug. 14):

I agree with David Juurlink’s assertion that the harms associated with prescription drugs have reached crisis proportions in Canada. I also agree with many of his recommendations to address these harms. In fact, they are among the 58 identified in First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis, a comprehensive 10-year, pan-Canadian strategy released by CCSA last year in partnership with many committed organizations, including Health Canada.

CCSA looks forward to continuing its accomplishments alongside our partners, as outlined in the strategy’s first annual report. And we will pursue funding opportunities to support this undertaking, such as Health Canada’s recent call for proposals to improve the prescribing practices for prescription drugs that have a high risk of abuse or addiction.

Rita Notarandrea, deputy chief executive officer, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse


It’s garbage ‘day’

Mayor Rob Ford says “his nine- and six-year-old children will not take the garbage out because they are afraid of the animals and his wife will not go out, so his family has to make deals about who will put out the garbage at night” (Are Toronto’s Raccoons More Populous Or Just More Pesky? – Aug. 19).

A suggestion for Mr. Ford: Put your garbage out in the morning!

Tara Hanson, Toronto

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