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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion: Saudi officials painted the deal to supply Riyadh with LAVS as a goodwill gesture. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion: Saudi officials painted the deal to supply Riyadh with LAVS as a goodwill gesture. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 3: Very friendly fire. 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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Very friendly fire

If the Canadian deal to sell arms to Saudi Arabia is an act of friendship, I guess that means that those weaponized armoured vehicles will surely be used in an act of “friendship” in Yemen and elsewhere (Arms Deal An Act of Friendship, Saudis Say – Sept. 30).

Most likely, those deadly LAVs will be well decorated with “Smileys” when they roll in.

Matthew Scholtz, Tillsonburg, Ont.

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Justin Trudeau and Stéphane Dion could have provided valuable insights to the authors of the treatise on BS which recently won the Ig Noble prize (Study On BS Wins Ig Nobel Peace Prize – Sept. 24). With Mr. Trudeau’s and Mr. Dion’s obfuscations and twisting bafflegab on arms sales in the Mideast and human rights in China, the whiffle glop coming out of their mouths demonstrates that they know all about BS.

Jerry Thompson, Ottawa

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Housing shut-out

It’s pretty rich to read that Mayor Gregor Robertson is complaining about inaction on Vancouver’s housing affordability from every level of government but his own (Government To Blame For Middle Class Being Shut Out Of Vancouver Home Market, Mayor Says – Sept. 30).

Sure, senior governments have a role to play. But we see little to no concern on the city’s part with the bloated regulatory costs it unnecessarily tacks onto the price of housing. Those costs come in at more than $37,000 per housing unit in Vancouver – one of the highest levels anywhere in the region – and a typical residential project approval requires more than 15 months.

These are significant affordability barriers, and in our view responsibility for them lies squarely on Mr. Robertson’s shoulders. Instead, he seems to want to deflect. And while that’s a classic political strategy, it rarely brings us any closer to real solutions on difficult issues.

Philip Hochstein, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, Vancouver

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Inflated housing prices are largely localized to Vancouver and Toronto, and the solution to the problem should also be localized, through municipal tax policy.

Significantly higher municipal property taxes should be levied on houses which are owned by non-residents of Canada, regardless of when they were purchased. This would curtail future demand and provide impetus for non-residents to sell their houses, reducing prices. Non-residents owning homes in these safe, prosperous cities enjoy a great privilege, and they should be expected to pay for that privilege.

Peter Love, Toronto

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This is compassion?

Re Bishops Call Assisted Death Grounds To Refuse Catholic Funeral (Sept. 30): The Catholic bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued guidelines to priests which say they should refuse funerals for people who die by assisted suicide. According to them, physician-assisted death is a grave sin and contradicts the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Does this mean that the church would prefer to see gravely ill, greatly suffering and terminally sick patients continue to languish in misery and hopelessness with complete loss of human dignity?

Is that the church’s idea of caring, compassion and God’s love?

David R. Amies, MD (retired), Lethbridge, Alta.

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LNG: ready, set, no

Re The Politics Behind The LNG Go-Ahead (Sept. 30): There are myriad ways to make new jobs and to stimulate the economy; not all are good investments.

If the government said its plan was to put hundreds of thousands of new cars on Canadian roads and generate more jobs in the automobile industry, we wouldn’t be terribly impressed with its solutions for the future. Nor should we be with the equivalent annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions that the approval of the LNG plant in B.C. (even with the new cap) represents. Renewable energy investments could help wean us off oil and gas, make us leaders in the energy sectors of the future and respect the planet’s limits.

The approval by Justin Trudeau’s government of the Petronas plant demonstrates, in addition to the recent decision to maintain the carbon targets that Stephen Harper set, that this government isn’t any more serious about climate change than the last one. I guess they got a little carried away with the photo ops in Paris.

Heidi Monk, Montreal

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The LNG terminal took three years to consider and then 190! conditions to get federal approval. That approval was immediately followed by threats of lawsuits from opponents of the project. Plus, the price collapse for liquefied natural gas has made the economics doubtful.

Ask yourself: Why would any business with other options for investment proceed with such a project? Why would the media express surprise at a decision by Petronas to consider cutting its losses and selling its LNG stake?

The mind boggles.

Sudhir Jain, Calgary

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Cover your assets?

Re Apple’s Global Battles Highlight Need For Corporate Foreign Policy (Report On Business, Sept. 26): The private sector is no victim of international public policy trends. In fact, while global businesses hop jurisdictions, disowning responsibility for human rights violations or avoiding taxes, public policy is left reeling (though a nascent UN treaty on transnational corporations and human rights may bring change).

Real social responsibility should be top priority, not harmonizing corporate policies to protect against unwanted scrutiny. Apple’s stand against the FBI’s phone-hacking demands is a rare example of a principled private sector stand for social good.

Meanwhile, too many transnational businesses, notably in the energy and garment sectors, shrug off heinous actions across the world, from Bangladesh to Brazil. Voluntary guidelines, like corporate social responsibility policies, are more honoured in the breach than the observance.

A “corporate foreign policy” only encourages more plausible deniability. Let public bodies regulate businesses. Business needs to mind its own business.

Mónica Vargas, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam

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A term of utility

Re E-Ban Zone (letters, Sept. 27): It appears that at least one other professor has been keeping an e-vigil for years in the classroom, having banned electronic “weapons of mass distraction.”

He should realize, however, that he presented something of a temporary mass distraction himself as we had to scramble to the dictionary (more than one) to find the meaning of “misoneism.” This was revealed by Funk and Wagnalls (a book) to be the hatred of something new, a term of utility as an epithet for the distressing extant devolution of hu-man form into electronic device.

Alban Goddard Hill, Belleville, Ont.

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