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Erin O'Toole holds his first news conference as Leader of the official opposition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Aug. 25, 2020.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

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Journey to the centre

Re O’Toole Owes His Win To Special Interests (Aug. 27): Columnist Konrad Yakabuski writes that Erin O’Toole used a divisive strategy to win the Conservative leadership, but what is divisive about appealing to all segments of the party, who in turn combined to vote him in? Without this, dare I say, Machiavellian approach, he could now easily be one of the also-rans.

Mr. O’Toole most likely knows that he cannot be all things to all people. He has already begun to show that in his words, by stepping away from some of the ideology that most Canadians would find unacceptable.

If Mr. O’Toole continues moving to the centre, Justin Trudeau may have much to worry about.

Cassandra King Annapolis Royal, N.S.

Coast to coast to coast

Re Not In Our Backyard (Opinion, Aug. 22): The implication is that some Canadians, on some level, are saved from themselves because Canada is a big country with a relatively small population, which makes the broadcast of right-wing messaging less practical and profitable. Does this mean Canada’s admired liberalism isn’t really the case? Does the country need an asterisk because of geography?

Pluralism and reaching beyond inherent bias ought to be Canadian and world-citizen goals. It’s my own bias, but I hope Canada isn’t too *Canada.

Mel Simoneau Gatineau, Que.

Contributor Peter Donolo implies that the main reason U.S.-style populism isn’t a powerful force in this country is our small media market, which cannot support a homemade Canadian equivalent to Fox News.

As evidence, he cites the failure of Sun News Network with a minuscule viewership of 8,000. But if Sun News had comparable numbers to Fox, with its 2.5 million sets of eyeballs, the network should have had about 250,000 viewers, a viable number for some advertisers. I agree that, as Mr. Donolo says, Canadians are not uniquely virtuous, but neither are we bedevilled by the obsessive pursuit of individualism and deep distrust of government that are rooted in U.S. history.

There are profound cultural differences between the two countries. It’s not all about population size.

George Galt Victoria

Back to the land

Re How A Bison Herd Is Bringing Hope To A First Nation (Aug. 26): I guess the land teaches. I am a Canadian of settler heritage, but when I read of bison brought to Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation to bolster food security during the pandemic, I remembered that food was always close to me when I was growing up on a Manitoba farm. Close, no matter what.

By comparison, with decades of suburbanite growth rings wrapped around my settler ones, I feel distanced from our sources of food. That’s why the pandemic causes me worry about what is happening in faraway places where our food is grown, and in complex, vulnerable systems of transport and distribution.

I want to know that someone in Canadian government is thinking agriculturally the way Muscowpetung Saulteaux leaders have been thinking.

Lloyd Lovatt Edmonton

Late payment

Re Scotiabank’s Lesson: A Change In Trading Culture Is Needed To Prevent Spoofing and TD’s U.S. Arm To Pay US$122-million After Allegedly Charging Fees Without Customer Consent and Watchdog Fines CIBC For Erroneous Credit-card Charges, CWB For Improper Disclosure Of Fees (Report on Business, Aug. 21): It may be just a coincidence that a single edition of The Globe had news of three major Canadian banks being fined by regulatory bodies for cheating customers or violating trading regulations. But many customers already watch, helplessly, as banks charge exorbitant fees for regular banking services.

Those who advocate for less financial regulation should consider that Canadian consumers need protection from these powerful institutions.

Mohammad Qadeer Toronto

Making plans

Re The Legacy Of Harland Bartholomew (Real Estate, Aug. 21): Contributor Kerry Gold’s examination of the Bartholomew Plan begs us to consider what life was like in the 19th-century city, before zoning.

For the average person, cities were dirty, dangerous, disgusting and unhealthy. City planners in the early 20th century recognized this. I believe the residential zoning adopted for Vancouver has produced one of the finest urban environments on the planet.

Today’s Vancouver benefits from the ideological legacy of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city movement, Sir Raymond Unwin’s Town Planning in Practice, Clarence Stein’s Toward New Towns For America and the work of Harland Bartholomew. It may be fashionable today to denigrate any ideas hatched before 2010. However, their foundational ideas – that the city should not just serve as a massive money-making machine for elites, but as a healthy and happy place for the people – remain, and are protected, by zoning.

Don Hazleden Architect, Vancouver

Keep it simple

Re Signed And Delivered (Letters, Aug. 22): To the letter-writer who complained of little reaction from passing motorists during his one-man protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa: Drivers would be at the end of the block before they processed his message that “Hostage Diplomacy is Beneath Contempt.”

When he returns in September, he should try a more visceral approach: “631 DAYS – HONK FOR THE TWO MICHAELS.” I guarantee he’ll have to wear ear protection.

Helen Godfrey Toronto

Life and art

Re Colville’s Stark Images Belied His Warm Nature (Aug. 25): Contributor Jeffrey Meyers reminds me, again, of what a wonderful, interesting and talented man that Alex Colville was. He made me grateful for the lifelong love affair I have with my wife.

The article was also a welcome respite from the harsh realities facing the world today. But, as Mr. Meyers alludes to, Alex Colville believed that “life is essentially dangerous.”

Thomas McInnis Toronto

Face to face

Re Writer Picked At The Pretensions Of The Powerful With His Pen (Obituary, Aug. 22): I met Allan Fotheringham at a Bishop’s University reunion in 1985, where he was a guest of former Globe editor-in-chief Norman Webster.

As an aspiring writer, the Foth was my hero. I approached him with some trepidation and said that I had especially admired one of his back-page columns in Maclean’s. He replied, tersely, “Oh, that. It was just a throwaway piece,” and turned his back on me. I was stunned and hurt.

Later that day, on a bus from our hotel, there were a number of former Bishop’s Gaiters football players surrounding Mr. Fotheringham. During a pause in conversation, a friend of mine turned to him. She asked, innocently: “And what position did you play?”

It was quite a wonderful moment. I have never forgotten it.

Ron McIntosh Bracebridge, Ont.

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: