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The Globe and Mail

April 19: U.S. gun control – ready, set, no-go, and other letters to the editor

After the Senate defeated a bill to expand background checks on guns, President Barack Obama hugs Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan at Newtown.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Ready, set, no-go

Reality check: There are now three political parties in the United States – the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association (A 'Shameful Day For Washington' – April 18). Each has a solid population base; we've just learned which wields the most power in Washington.

John Bart, Toronto

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The failure of Barack Obama's gun-control legislation to receive congressional support is an example of a serious weakness in the governance of our great neighbour to the south.

In spite of the fact that the American public expressed strong support for modest steps to control access to lethal weapons, some of their elected representatives decided to be more strongly influenced by commercial interests such as the NRA. It will be interesting, in the next election, to see if that choice was in their best interests.

Duncan McTaggart, Kanata, Ont.


Terrorism is like pornography: It's difficult to define but you know it when you see it.

There's an organization in the United States called the National Rifle Association that figures in numerous murders and gun deaths, an organization that is a front for manufacturers of instruments of death, an organization that literally terrorizes otherwise intelligent people into acting against the best interests and wishes of a vast majority of Americans.

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So what is the difference between the NRA and a terrorist organization?

Norman Rosencwaig, Toronto


Why stop there?

Re Unemployment Is Not Canada's Problem (Report on Business, April 18): Brian Lee Crowley reports that when he excludes two high-unemployment groups, young people and immigrants, unemployment falls to the "low 5-per-cent range."

Why stop there? If we exclude from the calculation all those without jobs on the grounds that they are the hardest to employ at any given time, the unemployment rate is always zero and never a concern.

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H.B. Hutter, Toronto


NDP, rights-fights

Re Trudeau Says Charter Of Rights And Freedoms Separates Liberals And NDP (April 17): Was Justin Trudeau's attendance record in history classes as poor as his attendance record in the House of Commons? It is worth reminding Mr. Trudeau that it was Tommy Douglas who championed the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, the first of its kind in Canada, and that it was Ed Broadbent, another New Democrat, who fought tooth and nail to include First Nations rights in the Charter.

Hugh Pouliot, Ottawa



Re Terrorist Attacks No Time For Soul Searching, Harper Says Of Trudeau (April 17): Is there any doubt, really, that as prime minister Justin Trudeau would denounce terrorism in the strongest possible terms and take swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice?

Give the guy a break. I for one welcome a little philosophical reflection from a leader on root causes of violence. The "Make no mistake: We will prevail against tyrants!" approach does not seem to be getting society anywhere fast.

Donna Johnson, Ashton, Ont.


Tolls, taxes, transit

Premier Kathleen Wynne is quite correct in her view on traffic tolls (Ontario Will Forge Ahead With Tolls Despite Local Protest – April 18). These are a no-brainer for the Greater Toronto Area, as tolls would transfer a portion of the maintenance costs to those who actually use the roads, which seems appropriate, and have the added benefit of reducing traffic volumes/encouraging alternative modes of travel. What's not to like?

These should be placed on the Gardiner Expressway ASAP and other roads after the usual (seemingly unending) studies and meetings.

Peter D. Hambly, Hanover, Ont.


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is right to forge ahead with Toronto-area transit upgrades, even over the complaints of parochial mayors. However, instead of new taxes and tolls – which will pit suburban dwellers against downtown residents and businesses – the new transit should be financed by collecting the rise in land values that the new infrastructure itself will generate. Land-value capture makes warranted transit "self-financing," with no need for politically unpopular new tolls or taxes.

Frank de Jong, president, Earthsharing Canada, Toronto


Especially women

Learning about Rita MacNeil's recent passing took me back to a concert I attended on my own in the late 1980s at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver (Fans Around The World Mourn Death Of Rita MacNeil – April 18).

I was going through my own personal relationship hell at that time, so hearing her sing Flying On Your Own resonated with me, just as it did with Anne Murray. I so enjoyed Rita's dignity on stage, and the way she connected with her audience, and, yes, with her shoes kicked off to the side. I left the concert, as many other women did, on a shared high of optimism and certainty that life would get better.

Catherine Low, Calgary


Satirical fun?

Your rebuke of the British public in your editorial Nil Nisi Bonum (April 17) suggests that more respect be shown to Margaret Thatcher's memory, after many engaged in public displays, some of them laced with satirical fun.

But wait. An editorial a day earlier suggests the Conservative Party's attack ads ridiculing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are within bounds (Fight Fire With Fire Or Look Weak – April 16). Although the ads are "bullying" in tone, you nonetheless suggest the Canadian public should be fine with – wait for it – a little "satirical fun."

So, it's not okay for the British public to spontaneously ridicule the deceased former Conservative leader, but it is okay for the Conservative Party here to mount an expensive campaign that does the same thing to the new Liberal leader? Come on, Globe and Mail, you can't just pitch civility after death. Singling out politics for a different yardstick would be too bad, as I think the point you make about the importance of a civil public code is a very good one.

Rae Hull, Vancouver


Hot ticket

Cartoonist Brian Gable presented the Conservatives' Attack Ad Division, with flames shooting up in the foreground, staffed with devils as temporary foreign workers (editorial cartoon, April 18). What's wrong with hiring devils to write attack ads? Even Conservatives know it's a job Canadians don't want to do.

Elizabeth Fernandes, Toronto

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