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Ontario Premier Doug Ford stands at the podium during a press announcement at the Queens Park Legislature in Toronto on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

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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‘Needing’ a handgun in T.O.

Re Ford Opposes Handgun Ban As He Pledges Funds To Fight Gun Violence (Aug. 10): Ontario Premier Doug Ford opposes a handgun ban in Toronto “because it would penalize legal gun owners.” So not upsetting the owners of some 24,000 registered restricted and prohibited handguns in Toronto is more important than the safety of the millions of people living in Canada’s largest city.

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Tim Jeffery, Toronto

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Finally! A strong politician who understands that criminals are the problem, not legal gun owners. Go get ’em, Doug.

Reyn Richardson, Mono, Ont.

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Toronto Mayor John Tory has often said that he doesn’t know why anybody would need a handgun in Toronto, a sentiment with which most of us would agree. However, Premier Doug Ford says a handgun ban would be unfair, since “There’s lots of legal, responsible handgun owners.” I would like to see a list of such people, along with their reasons for “needing” a handgun.

Dave Ashby, Toronto

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Rx for Saudi dispute

Canada could gain from Saudi Arabia’s punitive actions by offering to support Saudi medical students and residents while they complete their training here, provided they undertake to stay in Canada and practise in parts of the country where there are doctor shortages (Saudi Arabia Assures Canada Dispute Won’t Block Oil Sales – Aug. 10); Canadians Take Sides (letters, Aug 10).

They could be counted on to keep their promise, since they would have burned their bridges with Riyadh by disobeying the order to return home.

Murray Citron, Ottawa

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Our Saudi trainees who are at high risk of being recalled range from those who have just started their training in Canada as of July 1, to individuals beginning their last 12 months of gruelling multiyear residencies.

These physicians have passed rigorous screening processes in their home country and in Canada. They will return to Saudi Arabia incompletely trained, with no specialty certification, and I suspect an extremely low probability of admission to specialty training programs somewhere in the world of equivalent quality to their current positions. I am well acquainted with a number of these physicians and they are heartbroken at the recent proposal by their sponsor to suspend their training in Canada.

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Surely the trainees already accepted to residency programs could be allowed to stay in Canada to complete their training. Saudi Arabia has already invested heavily in their training, so financing this step, minuscule in comparison to the total dollar value of the other punitive measures Riyadh has initiated, would allow the Saudi government to support their own citizens training in Canada who, under the current plan, are being punished by their own government. There would be no “loss of face” by the Saudi government, which knows that eventually these valuable assets will return home to practise a high standard of medicine, which has always been the objective.

Mark Sadler, Professor of Medicine (Neurology), Dalhousie University

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I couldn’t care less about Saudi leaders and their outrageous demands. What concerns me are the large numbers of international students, including almost 800 Saudi doctors who are training in Canadian teaching hospitals. These spots should belong to bright, capable and diverse Canadian students.

International students pay higher fees. However, the number of Canadian students going to other countries to obtain medical degrees is shocking. It is not uncommon for them to pay well in excess of $350,000 in order to obtain a four-year medical degree, when they could be paying a fraction of that in Canada.

Canada’s diversity, its immigration laws, and its human rights laws are among the best in the world. If Saudi leaders cannot accept that and wish to remove their students from Canada, then let them please do so.

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Shenaz Modi, Toronto

Dishing out ‘Putin-lite’

Re When Fewer Politicians Is A Bad Thing (editorial, Aug. 7): Readers concerned about the erosion of democracy under Ontario Premier Doug Ford might be interested in parallel events in Russia. In June, we were on vacation in Yekaterinburg, the attractive third-largest city in Russia, when the popular mayor resigned.

First elected in 2013, Yevgeny Roizman, a critic of President Vladimir Putin and a supporter of oppositional activist Alexei Navalny, was the only mayor not associated with the governing United Russia party in the Kremlin. Independent political analysts saw him as the leader of increasing political opposition in the Urals. Regular elections for mayor were scheduled this fall.

What to do about such a pesky individual? Not to worry.

The governor of the province, personally appointed by Mr. Putin, “suggested” the mayor should be appointed, rather than elected. The United Russia-controlled town council then dutifully voted to cancel elections and instead appoint mayors.

The governor claimed doing away with elections would save money and streamline decision-making. A reputable poll showed a majority of residents wanted to keep elections, and many took to the streets in demonstrations.

In cancelling regional chair elections, Mr. Ford makes identical claims that elections are too expensive and that fewer politicians will make decision-making more efficient. But it’s also very likely that candidates with Liberal Party ties would win in at least two of the four regions. Is that the real reason that we’re being dished out Putin-lite?

Greg Michalenko, Waterloo, Ont.

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Re Ontario Promises ‘Lengthy’ Runway To End Of Basic-Income Pilot Project (Aug. 9): So Ontario has pledged that there will be a “lengthy and compassionate runway” before the province’s basic-income pilot project comes to an end. We already know what “pledges” from Doug Ford’s government are worth. As the article notes, Mr. Ford decided to cancel the basic-income pilot, “despite a campaign promise to allow the three-year experiment to run its course.”

Mr. Ford’s “pledges” and “promises” are worth nothing. When did Ontarians become as gullible as the Trumpistas?

George Olds, Hamilton

To be safe … Pokémon?

Excellent initiative on behalf of Victoria’s city council to remove the statue of the evil Sir John A. Macdonald (Victoria Plans To Remove Sir John A. Statue – Aug. 9).

But we have to find a new name for the city, too, not just take away the statue of Canada’s founding prime minister. As far as I know, Queen Victoria was a serial colonizer and unapologetic Imperialist. Ottawa, Toronto and Saskatchewan: Aren’t those names examples of shameless cultural appropriation?

To be safe, perhaps we can exchange these problematic city names and statues with Pokémon characters. Everybody loves the Pokémon.

Bernard Lahey, Montreal