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Toronto Mayor John Tory wants tolls for two major Toronto commuter routes. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Toronto Mayor John Tory wants tolls for two major Toronto commuter routes. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

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Nov. 25: Gridlocked on tolls. 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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Gridlocked on tolls

It’s commendable that Toronto Mayor John Tory is proposing a $2 toll for two major traffic arteries to generate funds for road and transit upgrades (Tory Calls For Road Tolls On DVP, Gardiner – Nov. 24). A question: How much additional property tax is collected each year from our burgeoning condo infrastructure? Toronto’s shaky finances, its cash-strapped budget, is not something beyond human control. It’s high time city planners were more visionary handling resources and expenses.

André Bennett, Toronto

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Inserting tolls on two of this area’s busiest commuting routes guarantees daily gridlock on Toronto streets as drivers balk at paying, be it ever so little! A proposal nothing short of asinine.

Kate Barlow, Oakville, Ont.

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Toronto Mayor John Tory should be congratulated for proposing road tolls for the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

Municipal budgets in Toronto, as in other Canadian cities, suffer from too few sources of revenue, but mayors and councillors have been reluctant to take up new sources, such as tolling major roads.

It takes political courage for Mr. Tory to propose tolls. One hopes enough councillors will find their own courage and support him.

Alan Broadbent, Toronto

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Super Hornets nest

The Boeing Super Hornets purchase is a hasty reaction to the extraordinary development costs of the Lockheed F-35. Before buying major military hardware, Parliament needs to fully debate the Canadian Forces’ role during the next half-century. Canada is more likely to be suppressing non-state militants or renewing former UN peacekeeping efforts than fighting wars with nation states.

If the Canadian Forces are to become a UN rapid-reaction force, we’ll need light armoured vehicles and a heavy-lift capacity for airborne equipment and troops transport, not fighter jets, destroyers or tanks.

We’ll need training facilities that simulate likely field environments, and dramatically boosted language training so our troops can talk to local people.

Resisting industry backers of both the failed F-35 and the irrelevant Super Hornets, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan should draft a parliamentary paper outlining priorities and honestly budgeting capital and operating costs for a clearly defined Canadian military role during the next 50 years.

Erik Bjørn Pedersen, Victoria

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Retired general Paul Manson cited his service as a fighter pilot, Air Force commander and chief of the defence staff, but didn’t note in his letter that he was also once the chairman of Lockheed Martin Canada (Credibility Gap? – letters, Nov. 23).

Lockheed’s F-35 – whose selection he advocates – began its life as the Joint Strike Fighter and that remains it chief virtue – it is undeniably the best vehicle to attack ground targets.

Its use in other roles, however, is suspect (one pilot described its combat manoeuvrability as being like “flying a refrigerator,” a side effect of its stealth capability). The F-18, on the other hand, has proved to be an effective ground attack aircraft, while retaining impressive capabilities in the air defence role.

The real question is: Does Canada see the primary role of its fighter air force being to go far from Canada to attack other nations? If so, the F-35 is the correct buy, no matter the cost.

But if the RCAF wants a single, most capable fighter aircraft, other options ought to be considered.

David Wall, East Chester, N.S.

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Dressed as …

Re Costume Party Highlights Racism At Queen’s: Critics (Nov. 23): As a current economics student at Queen’s University, I am proud of the curriculum, which has improved my understanding of the many serious socioeconomic and racial complexities surrounding income inequality and systematic discrimination. Like most members of the Queen’s community, I do not condone racism in any way and continually challenge myself to question my biases.

But I am frustrated.

I have publicly spoken up against racism, homophobia and sexism. Despite my Middle Eastern background and personal experiences with hateful speech, I am regularly attacked by people who seek to push the boundaries of political correctness beyond reason. There is a very real danger to imposing an orthodox interpretation of what is and isn’t offensive when the distinction is itself arbitrary and constantly changing – just look at Brexit and Donald Trump. We cannot afford to underestimate the potency of this counterculture.

Sarah Fadel, Toronto

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I graduated from Queen’s (Civil ’82); people dressed up in togas because a popular movie one year was Animal House. Did we insult the Italian community? The Rocky Horror Picture Show was also popular. People dressed up as Frank-N-Furter. Did we insult the LGBT community? People wore green on St. Patrick’s Day. Did we insult the Irish? I think some people need to get out, maybe go to a party, perhaps dress up in a costume, let their hair down.

Chris Ryell, Brampton, Ont.

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Trump in charge

Before we prematurely legitimize the Donald Trump approach as a leadership model, let’s review some cautionary facts – as un-Trumplike as that is (What Leaders Can Learn From Donald Trump – Report on Business, Nov. 23).

1) Broad support: Mr. Trump won an election with less than 50 per cent of the vote, against a highly unpopular opponent (whom he can take credit for further demonizing). He has yet to prove he can unify a nation he helped divide. His early appointments and acceptance of support from racist organizations indicates little desire to reach out to the non-Trump majority;

2) Scope of applicability: Exit polls indicate the desire for change may have overridden the concerns about his character and suitability. This leadership approach may be relevant only for situations with an overwhelming need to disrupt the status quo;

3) Ongoing credibility: Mr. Trump seems already to have backed away from two “simple and straightforward” but controversial policies that were rallying points for his followers – the Mexico wall and “lock her up.” It may well be that his love for the uneducated is due to their excited enthusiasm for the infeasible. Despite his effective tactic of quickly and vociferously blaming others for any shortcomings, his followers may eventually feel a little betrayed;

4) Results: Having run across some charismatic tyrants in more than 30 years of working life, in my experience these leaders flourish only when they deliver.

Until we have more reflection and evidence, let’s not rush to prescribe an ethically odious approach.

Chester Fedoruk, Toronto

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Aside from the remarkable news that a Lawren Harris landscape sold for more than $11-million, your front page Thursday was pretty gloomy. On the other hand, I suspect it was one of the few in recent weeks that didn’t mention the word “Trump.” Apparently he didn’t say or do anything that warranted a mention on A1. That in itself is good news.

Nigel Brachi, Edmonton

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