Images are unavailable offline.

Dairy farmers say denting supply management in NAFTA talks would be 'devastating.'

Sean Kilpatrick/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

..................................................................................................................................

Give way, how?

Re Canada Ready To Give Way On Dairy For NAFTA Deal (Aug. 29): The question is, give way how? What kind of concessions?

Story continues below advertisement

Currently, in almost every case, the milk you buy in Canada comes from the province you live in (excluding the Arctic). Nearly 80 per cent of Canadian milk comes from farms that have 200 cows or fewer – small, family farms. Canadian farmers are not allowed to use growth hormones and antibiotics to boost milk production. The dairy industry receives no money from Canadian taxpayers to subsidize its business. None of these things are true of milk from our American neighbours.

If our government sacrifices our dairy industry, it will be the death of family dairy farms across this country, and possibly some of the small towns and communities their businesses help support. This and future governments will have to prop up the dairy industry with our tax dollars.

Walter Sawadsky, Vancouver

............................................................

Prof. Edward Burnside tells us that while U.S. taxpayers must “pick up [the] tab” for government farm subsidies, in Canada “dairy farmers pay their own way” (Skewed Pasture – letters to the editor, Aug. 29). Canadian consumers subsidize dairy farmers through artificially high prices set by marketing boards. As a bonus, dairy farmers are spared the burden of constantly searching out new production efficiencies (as happens in a market-driven industry) because as their costs go up, so do the prices set for them.

Jeff Fairless, Ottawa

............................................................

Story continues below advertisement

The American dairy industry receives substantial government handouts, which is one of the reasons why the United States has huge excess supply, which it wants to dump on Canada.

Donald Trump’s fixation with this issue is mainly about pleasing his base in Wisconsin and other dairy states.

We have a safe, reliable dairy industry. Farmers are able to make a decent living on small farms, and maintain a viable industry. The alternative is bankrupt farmers, and a flood of hormone-added U.S. dairy products.

Garnet Ostercamp, Edmonton

............................................................

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has violated two cardinal negotiating rules in his handling of NAFTA. First, he did not connect and form a strong relationship with President Donald Trump. This was most apparent at the G7 Summit, when he lectured the President on our moral superiority over our closest trading partner. It is never a good idea to antagonize an ally, especially one with Mr. Trump’s temperament.

Story continues below advertisement

We have never recovered from that incident, and the United States kept us out of the bilateral discussions with Mexico. We are now in the untenable position of trying to renegotiate a deal that is a fait accompli between Mexico and the United States.

Secondly, the PM entirely lost sight of the objectives of forging a solid win-win business relationship with the U.S. I contrast that with the style of Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan during trade talks. Mr. Trudeau was both naive and ill-informed. The cost to our economy will be incalculable.

James W. Suttie, North Vancouver

Without honour

Re Revoke Suu Kyi’s Honorary Canadian Citizenship, Human-rights Lawyer Cotler Urges (Aug. 29): Edinburgh’s city councillors revoked Aung San Suu Kyi’s Freedom of the City – the highest honour the city can bestow. Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle have stripped her of similar honours.

Asad Ansari, Oakville, Ont.

............................................................

Story continues below advertisement

Let me add my voice to the growing demands to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary Canadian citizenship. There is nothing noble, and everything ignoble about this Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Zina Maher, Toronto

EI pilot program

Re With An Election On The Horizon, EI Pilot Program For Seasonal Workers Comes With Political Price Tag (Aug 27): I certainly can attest that the problem in some regions is very real, and that the criteria used by the department to propose this pilot project were objective (in a nutshell, related to the proportion of seasonal EI claimants in a given region).

The problem with the income security of seasonal workers is not new, whole regions in the country still rely on industries that are primarily seasonal in nature. There is clearly no single-bullet solution to the issue, but you should not fault the government for putting in a variety of measures to help workers and their communities.

The limited time horizon of the proposed measure comes in not because of the election timeline, but precisely because it is a pilot project whose aim is to test a new policy measure. While I would have personally favoured a different approach, time will tell whether this one has the intended effect and is cost-effective.

Pierre Laliberté, Commissioner for Workers, Employment and Social Development Canada

Ratio of good to evil

Re Even Without Rose-Tinted Glasses, Life’s Still A Lot Rosier (Aug. 25): As he asks us to believe that “the state of the world is getting steadily better,” Marcus Gee demonstrates why it is actually getting worse.

There is a difference between the state of human health (infant mortality, life expectancy, poverty levels) and world health (rampant species extinction, global warming, coral reefs dying). While we drive our air-conditioned cars to the hermetically sealed environments in which we work and live, it’s all too easy to forget that our fate is inescapably entwined with the health of the planet.

Dornbusch’s Law offers a potent corrective: Crises take longer to arrive than you can possibly imagine, but when they do come, they happen faster than you can possibly imagine.

Philip Shepherd, author, Radical Wholeness; Toronto

............................................................

I am about to acquire one or all of the optimistic books Marcus Gee describes. However, based upon the samples that Mr. Gee pulls from these works, I suspect the authors concentrate on measurable qualities such as life expectancy, income levels, disease eradication, household conveniences etc. These are all laudable improvements. What is harder to analyze are the intangibles.

Is there any progress in the conduct of the human race? What is the ratio of love to hate? Are we any more or less cruel? Have we learned from past experience?

In my mind, it boils down to the ratio of good to evil. Has that changed or have we learned how to better control and minimize the effects of evil?

Kathryn Mikoski, Ottawa

Imagine …

What a delightful editorial cartoon of Ontario Premier Doug Ford by David Parkins in the weekend Globe and Mail – a classic combination of caricature (Mr. Ford) and punchline (one child asking another: “What’s a liberry?”). It brings to mind Dick Cavett’s tweet about Donald Trump, which, with a name substitution, could easily apply to Mr. Ford.

A: Imagine Doug Ford’s library.

B: You’d have to.

T.M. Dickey, Toronto