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April 26, 2017: Then a Conservative Party Leadership candidate, Maxime Bernie addresses the crowd at a televised debate in Toronto.

Reuters Photographer/Reuters

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Conservatism is …

Re Bernier Launches Fight For The Right (Aug. 24): Every country has its own version of conservatism based on its history, culture, and geography. Disraeli conservatism is a far cry from the conservatism of Ted Cruz. But all conservatives can agree on the importance of a free market in goods and services and ideas, individual responsibility, the need for order in society, and respect for (but not being a slave to) tradition.

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In Canada, a young country with an almost endless frontier, libertarian conservatism of the type exemplified by Maxime Bernier must be tempered with “community conservatism.” Sir John A. Macdonald knew this when he helped found this country with the original partnership between English and French, and the building of the national railway through a government-commercial partnership.

There is ample room in the Canadian conservative tent for libertarians. But the Conservative Party of Canada is not the Libertarian Party of Canada.

Francis Roche, Toronto

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You report that Maxime Bernier says too many newcomers to Canada “would create ‘little tribes’ that would, in turn, cause division across the country and erode Canada’s identity.”

Can Mr. Bernier declare what tribe he belongs to, please? How many tribes are there in Canada? What is the ritual for joining a particular tribe? Confused!

Farouk Verjee, North Vancouver

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The evolution of the Wildrose and Reform parties ensured one thing, the success of left-wing parties. Maxime Bernier’s right-wing views will garner some votes but elect no members.

Kim Waters, Brampton, Ont.

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You state in your editorial, A Dangerous Power Play (Aug. 24), that some people are excited to see Maxime Bernier “put his career on the line for the sake of strict conservative principles that don’t win elections.”

How have we gotten to a stage in Canadian politics where winning is more important than having a set of principles to guide us?

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Political parties used to be about working to get elected based on policies emanating from the political base of the party. If we are now prepared to elect leaders and parties ready to throw principles to the wayside in order to win, are we not simply watching a hockey game? If anyone is still wondering why voter participation is so low, perhaps we are seeing one of the reasons.

Ken Duff, Vankleek Hill, Ont.

You just can’t Trump him

The two convictions in the Trump camp – Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen – are pretty much a big yawn. They will likely have zero impact on Donald Trump. Enough people simply don’t care about his sexual exploits, his lies, and his ignorance. Nor do they care that he violated some campaign-funding laws. The Democrats are wasting their time if they impeach Mr. Trump. He might be impeached – but certainly not convicted.

What about collusion? Only a simpleton would believe he didn’t collude. But the extent of the collusion is not big enough to bother the Republicans. Is there something hinky about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin? Yes – but nothing will come of it.

My money says he serves out his term, and likely gets re-elected in 2020 (certainly if Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders runs against him; they are too polarizing for too many people).

If a hacker were to get hold of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and released them in Wiki-leaks fashion, it might be embarrassing, but little else.

The only other possibility I can see happening is that he gets indicted (and convicted) for something after he is no longer president, at which point no one will care. So I’m not holding my breath, hoping that he crashes and burns.

I do hope, however, that he doesn’t start a war as a diversionary tactic – for example, he might invade Canada and throw dairy products at us.

Derek Besner, Waterloo, Ont.

Math + politics = X

Margaret Wente believes “It’s a crime that the kids can’t do fractions” and uses an anecdote recounted by a college math instructor who says some of her students don’t know that half a cake is the same as 50 per cent of a cake (Back To Basics in Ontario Education – Aug. 21).

As a retired high school teacher, I know all educators have stories that would make the public shake their heads (After a senior discussion of 15th- and 16th-century iconography in Renaissance art, I had a student privately ask me, “Who was Adam?”).

Ms. Wente refers to an education consultant to develop her argument, but many of his claims have been challenged, and his conclusions and research questioned.

She goes on to cite the Doug Ford Tories as leading the call in Ontario for a “back to basics” education. I had to read that section again to be sure she hadn’t mistaken the day for April 1. What is needed in educational pedagogy is rational minds from every level, communicating regularly to search for solutions that make sense for teachers, students and parents. I would like to see Doug Ford confronted with the same Grade 6-7 math test to see if he could distinguish the difference between half a brain and 50 per cent of a brain.

George Dart, Vancouver

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Margaret Wente tells us that Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants our children to be taught the basics in mathematics, believing too many now lack the simplest skills. That doesn’t surprise me, coming from a guy who thinks 25 is equal to 47 (Toronto Is Right To Fight Back Against Ford’s Council Reduction, Aug. 21).

Richard Wing, Toronto

Statues: TA? PR-5? PPA?

Word has it that sources close to the federal government have revealed that a new statues and effigies policy is being considered for politicians and other persons of significance. The plan calls for a series of designations that would be assigned to each existing or proposed statue:

⋅ A TA designation would stand for “Temporarily Acceptable,” and would be based on an assumption that the person represented might be acceptable now, but some time in the future could be found to have character flaws that would make celebration of their contributions to society suspect and/or unfavourable;

⋅ A PR-5 designation would mean requisite reviews of a statue’s acceptability every five years by an appointed Political Correctness Review Board, whose final judgments would be irrevocable;

⋅ A PPA (Probably Permanently Acceptable) designation would be assigned to statues of persons who are seen to be so uncontroversial, so entirely without faults, so saint-like, and so beyond reproach that there is little likelihood their public representation would ever offend anyone (perhaps someone like Stompin’ Tom Connors?).

It is also proposed that all statues be made out of easily recycled materials. The idea of using holograms instead of traditional materials was seriously considered, but set aside pending further technical and feasibility studies.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.