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March 7: Vladimir’s visage – and other letters to the editor

Vladimir's visage

Re Ukraine On The Brink (March 6): It seems the West wishes to mollify an intransigent adversary on a fundamental question of national geographic integrity at a bargain basement price. Are we really going to allow the Russian bear to gobble up the Crimea – and who knows what later – on a series of manufactured pretexts?

Will the West act only if we do not suffer the effects of imposing sanctions and being on the receiving end of countersanctions? If so, the West's lack of the stomach for a fight will be writ large for all to see, and the ghosts of Normandy will be turning in their graves.

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Visa restrictions, recalling ambassadors, expulsion from the G8 – such slaps on the wrist will not even result in a quizzically raised eyebrow on Vladimir's visage.

David Terry, Cambridge, Ont.


It is informative to watch the world's response to the standoff in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin decides, orders and acts. Western leaders meet, discuss, decry and seek unanimity in response to the Russian President's actions.

Mr. Putin denies sending masked, uniformed soldiers without insignia into the Crimea. Western leaders meet, discuss, decry and seek unanimity.

What do do? Mr. Putin threatens to cut off gas and oil to Ukraine and Western Europe. Western leaders meet, discuss etc. etc.

Other Eastern European countries freed from the Soviet yoke of occupation watch and worry they will be next. Will Mr. Putin decide that they, too, need protection?

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Sylvia Makk-Lainevool, Richmond Hill, Ont.


Yes, visa restrictions and sanctions such as freezing bank accounts and foreign assets (assuming they can be identified) may hurt the intended target. But in these days of globalization and international banking systems, it is much harder, if not impossible, to financially quarantine the "bad guys," whereas tanks and troops can still encircle an innocent and peaceful population.

Christine Mackiw, Toronto


Why is breaking up Ukraine seen as such a geopolitical tragedy? Ukraine is a corrupt, broken state that is a political-financial football for Russia and the West, and a cash box for whoever is in charge, all to the detriment of its citizens.

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In a reconfigured Ukraine, the EU and NATO could extend their reach, while Russia would be granted much of what it wants, ensuring both a buffer between itself and the West and a key component of its customs union.

Terms would have to be harsh to ensure real commitment by all sides to reasonable geopolitical goals. Russia would have to take on most, if not all, of the massive Ukrainian debt, much of which is owned by Russia and is headed for default in any event. The EU and U.S. would have to oversee the reconstruction of the political and financial systems of the newly created western country, rather as America did for Germany under the Marshall Plan.

NATO membership would be a prerequisite; a path to EU membership would have to be clearly laid out. Resettlement issues could be negotiated once the decision has been made, the idea being to minimize the potential for sectarian violence.

Humpty Dumpty has had his fall, and all the king's horses can't put him together again. If we indeed seek a better world, maybe this is a way to get there.

Nelson Smith, Berlin


After the OPP …

Re Blair Criticized Over Timing Of Ford Probe Handover To OPP (March 6): So, when the Ford brothers complain about the investigation under OPP oversight will the OPP request RCMP involvement?

Raymond Rea, Toronto


Anxious? Well …

Re Why Is The Middle Class So Anxious? (March 6): Margaret Wente does not mention one of the major social reasons for the anxiety – the instability of family relationships. Many more couples have responsibilities from former relationships and/or are insecure with the current partner than in previous generations. This has to add to the anxiety level.

Sudhir Jain, Calgary


Please advise Margaret Wente that her relentless optimism is very draining for us realists.

Frederick Sweet, Toronto


Premier and parent

Re Redford Under Fire For More Travel Costs (March 5): If a government aircraft is already being used for government business, then having an extra passenger is a sunk cost. I applaud Alberta Premier Alison Redford for finding ways to balance the demands of premiership with the demands of parenthood.

The only harm I see is the Opposition's taking the Premier's attention away from the real issues of governance. Nitpicking over a few passengers on a plane that was already flying isn't going to make government more efficient or build new schools.

Susan Vukadinovic, Calgary


Chrysler's arrogance

Re Ontario's Query Pushed Chrysler Away (Report on Business, March 6): "How much money we commit is not up for public scrutiny" says Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. So: Just hand over $700-million of public money with a note saying please feel free to spend it as and where you like – it doesn't matter to us?

The only thing worse than Chrysler's incredible arrogance would be to acquiesce.

Tim Jeffery, Toronto


Labour on the move

Re At Our Core, A Tale Of Two Canadas (Report on Business, March 5): "The discrepancies scream for the need to remove interprovincial barriers to labour mobility." News-speak for "lower your standards"? No thanks.

John Stark, Richmond, B.C.


Addiction crisis

Re The Pain Behind The Pills (Life, March 6): The opioid addiction issue in Canada has reached crisis proportions. Regardless of how it begins – whether through a legitimate prescription or drugs passed along at a party – once addiction takes hold, managing it is a lifelong battle.

Opioids should be prescribed with caution. Physicians need more education to better mitigate risks, including screening patients before prescribing in order to rule out susceptibility to addiction.

The other side of the solution is improving patient access to essential treatment. We need to treat addiction like the disease it is. Medication-assisted therapy is important and should be part of a larger plan, including counselling to address other underlying issues.

Joel Bordman, addiction and chronic pain physician, Toronto


Sex and the CRTC

Re Porn Channels Need More Canadian Content, CRTC Says (March 6): Regarding the CRTC's opinion on Canadian porn content, perhaps "no nudes is good nudes."

Andrew and Sharon McKenzie, Stratford, Ont.

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