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North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un attends a target-striking contest by the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this undated photo, released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 13, 2017. (KCNA/Reuters)
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un attends a target-striking contest by the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this undated photo, released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 13, 2017. (KCNA/Reuters)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 15: Muscle-flexing, brinkmanship. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Muscle-flexing, brinkmanship

On an October day in 1962, as the United States and Russia stood on the threshold over Russia’s placement of missiles in Cuba, our college instructor suggested we go home to wait out the most dangerous moments of the crisis. Young people look at me with a high degree of skepticism when I tell them we truly believed a nuclear war was imminent, but historical records show our fears were justified.

Now, with tensions rising over North Korea’s flexing of its military power and testing of nuclear weapons, and the Americans and Japanese responding by sending strike carriers into the area, we may be on the verge of having to live through the same kind of experiences again. I had hoped my children and grandchildren would never have to feel the fear we felt in 1962, but as long as we have power-hungry demagogues in positions of power we will be plagued by the threats inherent to their displays of muscle-flexing and brinkmanship.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.

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The new tobacco

Justin Trudeau’s government is taking a new tack to justify legalizing marijuana, instead of simply decriminalizing possession. Our marijuana laws will apparently eliminate the black market in pot that funds gangs and illegal guns. The odd thing is that we see commercials on TV warning about the black market in cigarettes providing funds for gangs and illegal guns. That makes marijuana the new tobacco.

Paul Clarry, Aurora, Ont.

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Canada and what Malala sought

Who doesn’t love and respect Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate? She stands as a courageous beacon of what is possible, no matter what the adversity. And now she is a Canadian citizen with a strong message for Canada to be proactive in being a world leader in girls’ education (Our New Honorary Canadian, April 13).

Yet this fiscal year will see no new money for the very thing Malala urged Parliament to do. In fact, Canada’s commitment to official development assistance sits nowhere near the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income and puts Canada far behind its peers, let alone being a leader. Even more concerning, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said that Canada should do more with less foreign-aid spending. This statement sets a clear tone about the government’s perspective on international aid.

Canada looks pretty good in making Malala a citizen, but when looking at the actual numbers, Canada is quite the two-faced laggard.

Anita Mark, Saanichton, B.C.

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While it was very touching to see Malala Yousafzai receive honorary citizenship, how sad that just before her visit, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau let us know Canada has no intention of increasing its diminished aid budget (No Plans To Bump Up Foreign Aid, Bibeau Says – April 12). I guess when Justin Trudeau said he wanted to restore Canada’s image on the international scene, he meant just that: image and nothing else.

Jean-François Tardif, Gatineau, Que.

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Granting Malala Yousafzai honorary citizenship has re-emphasized that Canada operates synonymously with the values of peace, tolerance and acceptance. My family and I were recipients of Canada’s mercy: We fled here as refugees from religious persecution.

Living in this country, which offers equal opportunity for all – irrespective of race, gender, culture – it may be easy to take these values for granted. An example is education. Malala spoke about the importance of equal schooling opportunities for girls. It is important for all Canadians to understand that in parts of the world, these “rights” are non-existent. I hope that we continue to be world leaders in matters of tolerance and diversity.

Abdullah Ahmad, Hamilton

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Disconnect: supply, demand

As you suggested last Saturday, from a certain perspective, new housing completions in the Greater Toronto Area over the past decade have maintained a reasonable pace with demographic demand. But the problem is with the mismatch between supply and demand by housing type (This Is Your Brain On Real Estate – editorial, April 8).

About 55-per-cent of the new housing units built are smaller apartments, when 60- to 65-per-cent of the demand is for larger, ground-related singles, semis and townhouses. The disconnect between demand, as measured by MLS existing ground-related home sales, which climbed 25 per cent between 2006 and 2016, and starts of these housing types, which fell by 30 per cent, is at the root of the price escalation. The decline in starts is the direct consequence of provincial land-use policy, which has by design or default constrained the supply of serviced sites for new ground-related homes in the GTA.

Frank Clayton, senior research fellow, Centre for Urban Policy and Land Development, Ryerson University

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Superrich and powerful, forever

Re Death Might Seem Frightening, But So Does An Empty Eternal Life (April 12): Leah McLaren darkly warns of a fate worse than mortality, “the painful and expensive tedium of an empty eternal life,” where the superrich and powerful extend existence for themselves but not the remaining 99.99 per cent. Such a dystopian world would be a horrible reality-TV science affliction, where people would Klingon to mortal life under unending Kardashian rule.

Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.

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