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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire and their daughter Ella Grace board a government plane to leave for China. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire and their daughter Ella Grace board a government plane to leave for China. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Aug. 30: Dragon detente. 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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Dragon detente

Re The Risk Of Going Easy On China (Aug. 29): Why must Western governments “increasingly weigh their desire for foreign investment against the national security concerns raised by Chinese ownership of critical assets”? Shouldn’t all governments do this weighing?

Does China pose a special threat only to Western governments with respect to national security issues, or does it pose a special national security threat to all countries – or do all big countries pose national security threats to other countries, west, east, north and south? Is there an ethnic component in this expression of concern with China in particular?

Compared to many other countries, China doesn’t seem particularly belligerent, and since it contains nearly one-fifth of humanity, we will have to learn to live with it, accept it as part of the human family, and give it the same degree of scrutiny we give other great powers.

That is the way forward.

Romain Pitt, Toronto

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I’m not sure how worried to be that China has built its first overseas military base (The Resurrection – Focus Aug. 27). Assuming it could build and staff one new base a month, it would need 66 years to catch up with the 800 U.S. military bases all over the world.

Murray Reiss, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

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Re When Trudeau Visits China, Spare A Thought For My Father (Aug. 26): What Times Wang does not say is that his father, Wang Bing Zhang is a renowned calligrapher, historian, physician and leader from an eminent Chinese family, whose members now live and contribute in Canada and America. An Amnesty group (#52) in Vancouver writes a card every month to Dr. Wang Bing Zhang, who has endured much of his sentence in solitary confinement in China. His mental and physical health have been threatened by the ongoing 13-year ordeal. His imprisonment serves no purpose whatsoever except to silence yet one more highly talented dissenter in a cruel regime.

Jennifer Wade, Vancouver

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A name’s impact

Re Enduring Spirit: The Rejuvenation Of Berlin (Ontario) – Focus, Aug. 27: As a sixth-generation Canadian, born and raised in the Kitchener area with German heritage on my father’s side, I’m a bit amused by John Allemang’s take on the name change from Berlin to Kitchener in 1916.

I was born during the Second World War and have no recollection of the “ugly” Anglo-Saxon attempt to take over our Saxon Hun culture. Many of our young men were part of the Canadian Forces that fought Hitler.

We had nothing but deep commitment to the anti-German cause. After all, many of our people had been living here from pre-Confederation days and we never really thought of ourselves as German or English Canadians.

We were Canadians, pure and simple, and proud of it.

Wayne Holst, Calgary

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I knew that Kitchener, Ont., had once been Berlin, Ont., but until I read John Allemang’s excellent history of the name-change I did not appreciate that bullying, violence and racism, some by instruments of government, had forced the former community of Berlin to “deny its own existence.”

It’s time to redress that 100-year-old wrong and I’m not talking about compensation, apologies or class actions.

What is required is a movement to restore Kitchener’s original name. But wait. That movement will itself need a name or slogan.

“Kitchener sucks”? No. “German Lives Matter”? Definitely not. “Ich bin ein Berliner”? Perfect.

Print the T-shirts and book Justin for the photo-op.

Rudy Buller, Toronto

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Loathed. And praised

Re It Was The Man So Many Loathed, Not His Record (Aug. 27): Stephen Harper should be praised for having the courage to stand up for what he thought was right and prudent, even though it did not sit well with all the naysayers. He was a principled and strong leader. Thanks to him, Canada rose a notch in the world.

Deanna Wiley, Oshawa, Ont.

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John Ibbitson writes that “most of the work for the new [Stephen Harper] firm will be outside Canada.” Thank heaven.

David Vallance, Toronto

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Many loathed both Stephen Harper and his record. The child-care community loathed his cancellation of the 2005 national child-care program and decade-long refusal to recognize child care as a 21st century societal necessity.

Beyond child care, recollect Mr. Harper’s record: vilification of data and science, denigration of climate change, undermining food and rail safety, his approach to criminal justice, foreign policy, women’s equality, indigenous Canadians, tax policy etc.

Did I mention disregard of parliamentary democracy, centralization of power, weakening the public service and shrinking the role of the federal government?

Reducing distress about the decade-long undermining of Canada to mere loathing of “the man” trivializes profound objections to the Harper record.

Martha Friendly, executive director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit

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I’d like to thank Stephen Harper for representing the people of his constituency, city, province and the entire country so well for nearly two decades.

He was instrumental in putting Canada back on the world stage and making Canadians proud to be Canadians again. I was never prouder of his strength than when he told Vladmir Putin, in no uncertain terms, to “get out” of Ukraine.

He got us through the global recession when other countries’ economies faltered or failed.

His unwavering support of the men and women in our Armed Forces was much appreciated by those of us who have or had serving members. His strength, admirable contributions and love for this great country will not soon be forgotten.

Val Stephanson, Calgary

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John Ibbitson states that after 10 years of Stephen Harper, Canada is “peaceful, prosperous, harmonious, well run, free, the envy of the world.”

It was just that before Mr. Harper became prime minister, so we are pleased he did not destroy the country. But during his tenure, the country was much less harmonious and meaner.

There has always been a Conservative party in Canada, but one that was more progressive and less republican.

I think this kind of Conservative party will return and then, so will a Conservative government.

Irene Tomaszewski, Ottawa

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Some of a sudden?

I enjoyed your language quiz, Literacy Fans, Let’s Test Your Metal (Focus, Aug. 27). Daily, there are many misuses in the media and elsewhere. Spelling mistakes, wrong pronoun use, run-on sentences and much more.

As a young student in little Murdochville, Que., I recall my English teacher, Mrs. Foote from far-away Great Britain, mildly reproaching me. I’d say, “All of a sudden …” She’d tell me (with the requisite wink) not to say “all of a sudden,” because there was no such thing as “half a sudden.”

Suddenly, language was fun.

Mel Simoneau, Gatineau, Que.

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