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Letters to the Editor Aug. 1: China’s not-welcome mat. Plus other letters to the editor

Canadians Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, imprisoned in China, appear in these 2018 images taken from video.

The Associated 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

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China’s not-welcome mat

Re Liberals Shut Down Opposition’s Effort To Hold Hearings Into Foreign Ministry’s Contact With Former Diplomats (July 31): It is patently absurd for the government to disagree with former ambassador David Mulroney’s advice to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

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In view of Beijing’s treatment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, it is common sense to stay away. China abducted the two Canadians, one a former diplomat and one a business person, and continues to imprison them under harsh conditions. Why? For no reason other than to use them as pawns in the Huawei dispute.

Senior Liberal Rob Oliphant says these were “targeted abductions.” Of course they were targeted! In China, it’s clear any target will do. The sensible strategy is to stay away and avoid becoming the next “target.”

How can any Canadian feel safe entering China now?

Sarah Campbell, Edmonton

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Former ambassadors’ opinions naturally carry more weight than those of an ordinary citizen, or even other commentators, and may even be seen as might-have-been government policies.

Retired diplomats who can’t understand that they should take great care with their public speech perhaps shouldn’t have been diplomats in the first place.

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John McLeod, Toronto

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Re Ottawa Unlikely To Decide On Huawei Until After Election, Goodale Says (July 31): Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s nothing-burger announcement that the feds won’t decide on banning Huawei’s technology from Canada’s 5G networks can’t come as a surprise to anyone. The last thing the government wants to do is upset the Chinese, so it might keep kicking this ball down the road until the two Michaels are repatriated to Canada.

Marty Cutler, Toronto

Pipeline to reconciliation

Re Indigenous Ownership Of TMX: Too Important To Get Wrong (July 26): Project Reconciliation is a proposal by First Nations and Métis to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline. Indigenous communities in Western Canada are no strangers to resource development, and many have a great deal of experience in the sector.

We’re committed to working with governments and Indigenous groups to advance this historic project to benefit almost half the Indigenous people in Canada – and Canada itself. Some critics present this as an immature idea not ready for prime time, but Project Reconciliation is more than a year in the making, steered by seasoned Indigenous leaders and supported by a team of energy-sector veterans, as well as regulatory, investment, development and environmental experts and professionals.

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Recently, I gave a presentation to the 43rd Annual Elders Gathering in Vancouver, the country’s largest Indigenous gathering. I asked for guidance and counsel. While pipelines are a highly technical topic, Project Reconciliation can only benefit from the wisdom of our elders and their deep understanding of their lands and waterways.

From financial expertise to purchasing the project – at no additional cost to taxpayers because loans can be taken out using existing shipping agreements as collateral – to technical capacity for partnerships and management, we’re committed to success. It’s a critical step in redefining the relationship between Indigenous people and natural-resource development. There is a pipeline to reconciliation. We’re ready when Canada is.

Delbert Wapass, executive chair and founder, Project Reconciliation; former chief, Thunderchild First Nation; vice-chair, Indian Resource Council

Democracy’s basket

Re Trump Is In Full Bigot Mode (July 31): Hillary Clinton was excoriated for her 2016 campaign comment that half of Donald Trump’s supporters were in a “basket of deplorables.”

Several years later, we are reminded again of the outrageous inaccuracy of the characterization. It is far more than half.

Andrew Matthews, Toronto

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Re Trump Has Beaten The Late-Night Comics Into Baffled Resignation (July 30): John Doyle says late-night comedians are stymied by Donald Trump’s obtuseness: He’s unstoppable, and they’ve collapsed into hapless gesturing.

But they have a much more powerful weapon: Stop mentioning the windbag at all. He is running a reality show that sustains ratings by toying with death-defying outrageousness, and they have fed those ratings.

From Day One, he’s ratcheted up the tension to 10, but has nowhere to go once the fizz fizzles. He won’t escalate into war: The Donald Show is meant to be family fare. A tedious, predictable unpredictability will defeat Mr. Trump. At a dinner party the other night, no one mentioned him; his followers are retweeting him less frequently.

The uneducated voters he has led won’t go anywhere. He has helped assure they will, from here on in, have an unignorable voice that they rarely had before – and that’s good for democracy.

Simon Hearn, Vancouver

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Out of the debate gate

Re The July Democratic Debates: Five Key Takeaways From Night One (July 31): Democrats seeking the presidential nomination talk a good game on health care, education funding, the environment and labour standards, but in watching the debates it strikes me that the cart is travelling before the horse.

Until the United States sees fundamental campaign-financing reform which limits the impact of big money, powerful vested interests will continue to thwart meaningful progress on progressive issues, and America will lag behind Canada and other Western democracies.

Moreover, with the U.S. Supreme Court having held that third-party spending on political communication amounts to constitutionally protected speech, the path to such change will likely first require a few judicial nominations by a Democratic administration to reconfigure America’s highest court.

Eric LeGresley, Ottawa

Corporate bon mots

Re Reimagining RBC: How Canada’s Biggest Bank Plans To Face The Threat Of Disruption (July 27): RBC’s chief executive officer, Dave McKay, says eventually more customers may ask home voice assistants to scour the market and help them find the best mortgage rate.

He calls that “terrifying.” As a consumer, I call it “magnificent.”

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If RBC’s top executives really want to “reimagine RBC,” they should start by putting consumer wants and needs at the centre of what they do.

Peter Shier, Toronto

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Re Capital One Stock Tumbles After Disclosure Of Massive Data Breach (July 31): In the aftermath of what’s happened to millions of its customers, Capital One may have to change its “What’s in your wallet?” to “Who’s in your wallet?”

Barry Corbin, Toronto

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