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Liberal MP Justin Trudeau and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau fight in a charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa. Mr. Trudeau stopped Mr. Brazeau in the third round. Today’s topics: seal hunt; Justin Trudeau’s win; energy chess; Tides Canada; junk drawers ... and more


Any other animal

Margaret Wente (The Seal Hunt Is Dead, Thank God – April 3) states that "killing seals is no more inhumane than killing pigs or cows or any other animal we eat."

This isn't a point in favour of the seal hunt; rather, it should be an indication of just how much we need to improve the welfare of animals that are used for the benefit of humans. We have a moral obligation to reduce the suffering of conscious creatures, whether they are on ice floes or inside factory farms. We should be trying to raise the bar, not lower it.

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Mark Bessoudo, Toronto


Seal does not taste "disgusting" unless cooked by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. I once served roast seal to some Ontario folks. Afterward, I told them it wasn't roast beef. They couldn't tell the difference. I didn't successfully make my point, however, as they were too angry to see that meat is meat.

Bruce Parsons, Portugal Cove, Nfld.


Margaret Wente writes that animal activists are manipulative. I disagree, I think we're compassionate and resourceful. I'll bet the seals are thanking God for that, too.

Bonnie Shulman, Toronto

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The seal hunt is not dead, thank God. We look to our friends in Ontario, to whom Newfoundlanders are now paying equalization, to help us sustain it.

Patrick O'Flaherty, St. John's


Justin Trudeau's win

One charity boxing match victory does not an "image transformation" make. In Justin Trudeau's actions, Lawrence Martin saw "daring," "courage" and potentially a "defining career moment" (In The Name Of The Father – April 3). I saw an event in the same category as Bob Rae's skinny dip with CBC's Rick Mercer. The only difference was that the former raised $230,000 for charity and good on Mr. Trudeau and his Conservative opponent for that.

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John Farquharson, Victoria


Whatever one might think about boxing, no one can deny that anyone who steps into the ring knows what it is, at its most primal level, to be a man. For anyone who truly understands this, Saturday's fight was a watershed moment for Justin Trudeau. No one will be able to doubt his toughness again. Suddenly, he looks like the leader the Liberals need.

Nelson Smith, Toronto


If the Liberal Party wants to return to the centre of Canadian politics, it needs to stop trying to go back 40 years, and start looking to the future with new policies and ideas.

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Justin Trudeau may have star power, but he is not his father. In fact, even his father is not what this country needs now. Instead of looking back, let's look ahead. Perhaps Laurier was off by a century. With the right leadership, maybe it will be the 21st century that will belong to Canada.

Bob Marshall, Oakville, Ont.


Next energy move

Stephen Harper's homegrown tactics of accusing and threatening may work in parts of Canada, but they won't in the big-time theatre of the U.S. (Canada Not 'Captive' To U.S. Energy Needs – April 3).

By admonishing Americans and Barack Obama publicly, Mr. Harper has painted himself into a corner. This is a presidential election year. By giving the Republicans ammunition against the President, he takes a needless risk: If Mr. Obama wins, Mr. Harper risks not being forgiven.

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No matter who wins, the Keystone XL Pipeline will go ahead after the election. Mr. Obama has only deferred it to keep his electoral base onside to get out the vote. Mr. Harper – a master at checkers, an amateur at chess.

D.S. Barclay, Georgetown, Ont.


All voices, not just some

Tides Canada is not against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline (New Rules Create Fear Among Charities Active Politically – March 31). Some of our grant recipients do have very significant and valid concerns about the risks of oil sands and pipeline projects. We support their right to voice concerns. In 2011, 3 per cent of our grants went to groups working on these issues.

We believe Canada needs a comprehensive public policy discussion about the true benefits and costs of oil sands and pipeline projects, the pace of development and alternatives that could create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

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Canada is a democracy; all voices should be heard. That is why Tides Canada will continue to support Canadian organizations that work to ensure we have safe drinking water, clean air, healthy communities and a just society.

Ross McMillan, CEO, Tides Canada


In Canada's door

Your article about human trafficking (Sold For $2,700 – April 3) contained the astonishing information that "[Ferenc]Domotor, 49, and his younger brother, Gyula, were facing extortion charges in Hungary when they arrived in Canada in 1998."

What on earth? If someone is facing criminal charges in their own country, especially for something as despicable as extortion, why is Canada letting them in the door?

Stella Coultas, Owen Sound, Ont.


What's going on

Carole Beaulieu (L'actualité Replies – letters, April 3) wants Globe readers to know "what's really going on in Quebec," taking exception to Lysiane Gagnon's excellent column (Language War Gets Personal – April 2).

"What's really going on" is what has been going on since the province took a turn from cultural nationalism to political nationalism, and politicians started using nation and language as ramparts to keep peoples there separated from each other. Through the years, politicians have echoed the sentiment that "others" were not proper citizens with equal rights – the most famous outburst being from Jacques Parizeau.

I left after 32 adult years there. I was not alone among cultural workers to do so. Completely fluent in French, we were eventually made to feel our futures lay elsewhere. The fight for French survival, as even public intellectuals such as Jacques Godbout attest, is brave but doomed. This is what's going on there and is the reality that too many francophones are blinded to.

Constance Dilley, Toronto


The Senate is insurance

As a recently active, registered, Canada-based lobbyist for both U.S. houses of Congress, I saw firsthand the dysfunctional American federal political system so accurately described by William Thorsell (The Sheer Folly Of An Elected Senate – March 31). With self-serving perpetual electioneering by both congressmen and senators (not to mention the President), national interests are often only an afterthought.

The Canadian Senate as it is constituted should be seen as an insurance policy. As the chamber of second sober thought, it provides Canadians with some protection should our elected officials place partisan political interests too far ahead of what's best for the national good.

Maurice Hladik, Ottawa



I marvelled at the dearth of objects in the pictured junk drawers (Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Junk? – Life, April 3). Just an FYI, though: If you can open it, it's not a junk drawer.

David Hughes, Toronto

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