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Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont., on March 21, 2020.

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Conservative challenges

Re Scheer Offers Advice For His Replacement (Aug. 13): Andrew Scheer believes that a prime minister can be a social conservative, and that only the Trudeau Liberals demonize such views. As a card-carrying Conservative, I say that we lost the last election precisely because Mr. Scheer would not publicly support existing abortion rights and LGBTQ equality.

I am already convinced the Liberals will also win the next election, because some of Mr. Scheer’s would-be successors have stated that, as prime minister, they would allow backbench MPs to bring forth anti-abortion legislation. We are never going to beat the Liberals in this day and age, especially in the large cities and suburbs, until we finally make peace as a party with existing abortion rights and LGBTQ equality.

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In this sense, Peter MacKay may be marginally better than the rest of the pack.

Frank Sweet Brandon, Man.

Pilot season

Re School Ventilation Systems Need Upgrading, Especially Amid COVID-19 (Aug. 13): Television producers should be clamouring to create a series based on the ongoing tragicomedy now playing out at Queen’s Park. It could be called “Seinford,” a show about nothing good.

An appropriate first episode would be about a character, let’s call him Doug, called “The Irony Ring,” focusing on a school-size version of the imaginary band of safety that worked wonders for so many of Ontario’s long-term care residents and migrant farm workers.

That could be followed by an instalment featuring one of his cohort, let’s call him Stephen, describing the painstaking planning, attention to detail and concern for the well-being of children that has gone into Ontario’s school reopening. This one could be titled “Let’s Give This A Shot, At Least.”

Undoubtedly, viewers would look forward to the spring of 2022, when the series finale (“The 43rd Ontario General Election”) will air, and where but a small minority would have said: “Gotta love the PCs.”

Louis Desjardins Belleville, Ont.

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Tear down, build up

Re If We’re Cancelling Historical Villains, Why Not Norman Bethune? (Aug. 10): The call for statues to be taken down should not be one that begs the erasure of history, but instead one that demands a closer look.

At its core, it is an act of questioning who gets to write history and for whom it gets written. By confronting dominant narratives, we reveal the stories of those who have been oppressed and marginalized – stripping away the paint and seeing the tapestry before it becomes whitewashed.

When statues celebrating colonialists and slaveowners are removed, the acts should open space to examine cultural memory, not forget it. This is the way that we can hope to understand the traumas of the past, and work toward creating a more equitable present.

Ben Dickey Toronto

One nation under God?

Re The U.S. Presidential Election Is Blurring The Lines Between Saints And Sinners (Aug. 14): I have always been interested in reading about the development of the separation between church and state as part of Western civilization. It seemed to be one factor that enabled Britain to introduce religious tolerance as a government policy centuries ago. My sense is that this historical development was the major enabler of liberal democracy.

The separation of church and state is also the enabler of a robust realpolitik going back to Machiavelli. Contributor Michael Coren illustrates this point using the U.S. Attorney-General’s combination of a personal Catholic faith opposed to capital punishment with a public pursuit of policy furthering the death penalty. He must be putting the representation of his party’s voters first, for the “greater good.”

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I would like The Globe to invite a Canadian historian to show, in our political culture, what factors have determined whether the separation of church and state has gone the route of liberal democracy or realpolitik as the predominant morality.

John Krauser Mississauga

A quote about going to war over religion, in several permutations, has been attributed to many famous people including Napoleon, Yasser Arafat and Mark Twain. However the U.S. comedian Richard Jeni said it most succinctly: “You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend.”

Lynn Goruk Hamilton

Corporate conundrum

Re Taxes May Be The Prescription To Treat The Ailment Of The Coming Debt Crisis – But Which Taxes? (Report on Business, Aug. 10): Contributors Peter van Dijk and Glen Hodgson of the C.D. Howe Institute first describe higher personal taxes as harmful and inefficient, then recommend that consumption taxes (such as GST or HST) should be the progressive choice for supplementary government revenues. Pray tell, who are those consumers but us personal taxpayers!

If we are to make raising taxes to reduce debt a countrywide effort, each segment of our economic culture should carry its fair share of the load. For instance, corporate taxes now account for less than 15 per cent of the federal government’s combined total tax revenues, while personal taxes make up close to 50 per cent (and much more when consumption taxes are factored in).

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Stephen Harper reduced the GST by two percentage points and cut corporate taxes from 22 per cent to 15 per cent, effectively removing about $20-billion to $30-billion a year from tax revenues – a good place to begin if this recovery plan is truly intended to equally share the pain.

Edward Carson Toronto


Re Canada Can’t Take Four More Years Of Trump (Aug. 13): If one goes back and forth over the border enough times, sooner or later one will encounter “liberal” Canadians who feel superior or more liberal than those of us on the southern side. Frankly, it should go both ways.

On the northern side, there have been two-and-a-half decades of nothing but white, male Liberal and Conservative leaders. Here, we have had one woman run for president, and two Democratic women and one Republican woman run for vice-president. Nancy Pelosi has been head of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. And we had a Black president.

So I challenge Canadians to beat that. Isn’t it time Canada caught up to the United States?

Lucia Perri Edmond, Okla.

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