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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends during the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC162FAFE140

Bandar Algaloud/Reuters/ Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court

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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Diplomatic blackmail?

So Saudi Arabia will continue to profit from oil sales to Canada, while cutting its commitments to buy our barley and wheat and pay tuition to educate their young people in our institutions? This seems less a win-lose situation than a form of blackmail (Saudi Arabia Assures Canada Dispute Won’t Block Oil Sales, Aug. 10).

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Direct me to a retailer who refines Canadian crude and sells it at home, and I – along with many others – will happily line up at the pump.

Maribeth Adams, Kamloops, Ont.

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I am all for principled stands. Let’s boycott Saudi products, starting with, say, oil. Oh, and maybe reconsider the Energy East pipeline. That would really, really emphasize our principled stand.

Steve Potter, Ottawa

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Clearly Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau haven’t a clue how to conduct themselves in the world of international diplomacy. Otherwise, why act like Donald Trump and whine about any issue on social media? The only thing I can think of is they wanted some sort of row to charge up their breast-thumping base to divert attention from the abysmal job they are doing, just like The Donald. Why else start a fight you can’t win and jeopardize jobs here, not to mention what it’s doing to the health-care system?

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Murray Robinson, Vancouver

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The Saudi Prince comes from a long line of masculine entitlement and is clearly not amused to be criticized by a woman in front of the whole world. The Prince is making changes slowly. Let’s give him credit and be patient.

Barbara Charles, Toronto

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Saudi Arabia cuts off ties with Canada because of a fairly mild tweet from Chrystia Freeland. The U.S. State Department issues a human rights report every year that names Saudi Arabia as one of the top countries for human-rights violations. Within days of the tweet, Saudi-led coalition jets bombed a bus in a busy marketplace in Yemen, killing at least 43 people, including children (Air Strikes In Yemen Hit Children In Bus, Aug. 10). Last week, a Burmese man was beheaded and crucified in Mecca, his body left hanging for public display. People are stoned to death in Saudi Arabia for the “crime” of homosexuality. And we have people writing letters to the editor telling us Canada was wrong to criticize Saudi Arabia? Shame on them and other apologists for this deplorable regime.

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William O’Meara, Toronto

Barriers and violence

Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, is not incorrect in saying the “barrier” between Israel and the West Bank has saved lives, much like a dam prevents the flow of water (Israel’s Ambassador Replies – letters, Aug. 10). The water, of course, does not go away and neither does the depression and hatred that drives the violence. These things build and overflow to be entirely unmanageable. What would be laudable would be an attempt to look at where exactly these feelings come from, but I suspect even Ambassador Barkan knows all too well.

John Griffin, Vancouver

Risk needs a price

Re It’s Time To Put A Price On The Risk Of Mining Disasters (Aug. 3): We’ve marked the fourth anniversary since the Mount Polley mining disaster in B.C. released 25 billion litres of toxic tailings into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and the once-pristine Quesnel Lake. To date, there has been no justice – no fines, no penalties, no compensation for communities.

Ecofiscal does well to bring attention to the need for financial assurances in mining for both reclamation (where B.C. falls more than $1-billion short) and to fund potential disasters (an industry pooled fund to protect in case a company goes bankrupt). This disaster fund also needs to address community compensation (loss of fishing, loss of drinking water, reduced land/water access etc.) in a way that is accessible. The author suggests Imperial Metals has paid for clean-up costs to date. Given B.C.’s tax regime, the company was able to get tax breaks for its postdisaster efforts, leaving the public picking up some 35 cents of each dollar spent (more than $23-million as of 2016).

It is time that a price is put on the risk of mining disasters before another watershed and community pays the price for weak laws and enforcement.

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Loretta Williams, Chair, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining; elected Councillor, Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Tsilqot’in Title Lands

Brexit? That’s British

Re Britain’s Friends Have A Duty To Intervene On Brexit (Aug. 10): The hot topic of the day appears to be when Canada should weigh in on the affairs of another sovereign country. A long list of issues could demand speaking out – ranging from genocide, to separating children from refuge-seeking parents, to “we think your auto emissions are too high.” Our spat with the Saudis is a matter of human rights.

Brexit, however, is largely an economic decision which Britain, with is strong education system and robust democratic institutions (including a free and active press), is more than capable of making on its own. To argue that the British population was hoodwinked by inaccurate facts and outright lies emanating from self-serving leaders and special-interest groups is to challenge every political campaign in every Western democracy.

If Britain wants our advice, it will ask for it – but let’s not insult its ability to manage its own affairs.

Mark Roberts, Gananoque, Ont.

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How very kind of professors Robert Patman and David Welch to tell Britons their decision to vote to leave the European Union was due to ignorance and gullibility. Far from being “hoodwinked,” the majority of Brits voted out of the EU because we do not believe in ever-closer political and monetary union. Moreover, most of us believe in democracy, and accept the outcome as legitimate; 33.5 million people voted – a turnout of 72 per cent – one of the largest in U.K. electoral history. How ironic that two political science professors cannot see the obvious.

Shaun Curtis, Exeter, England

A great Canadian

Re Cramming Canada Into Oh What a Lovely War (Aug. 4): Reviewing Shaw Festival’s Oh What a Lovely War, J. Kelly Nestruck says the script has been adapted to include scenes about marginalized Canadians’ contributions to the First World War effort, including Indigenous sniper Francis Pegahmagabow “who should really have his own show.”

He does. Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow has been touring major Ontario music festivals this summer to great response. Written by composer Timothy Corlis, Ojibwe poet Armand Ruffo, Ojibwe musician Jodi Baker and Tuscarora singer Jennifer Kreisberg, the 65-minute work premiered on the Wasauksing First Nation, ancestral home of the Pegahmagabow family, many of whom were in attendance. Pegahmagabow’s great-grandson, Brian McInnes, narrated Sounding Thunder and has written a book with the same title, detailing this great Canadian’s life and legacy.

Larry Beckwith, conductor, Sounding Thunder

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