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Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives at the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, on Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington.

Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press

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Two-thirds NAFTA

What calls for Mexican-Canadian “solidarity” did we hear a year ago from Mexico, pleading that Canada not be a NAFTA Judas, and declaring that the two nations would be better able to withstand the U.S. storm if they stood together?

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The Trudeau government is left holding the bag after Mexico looked after its own interests and cut a deal with the U.S. We were back-stabbed by the people who asked us not to do to them what they have now done to us. It’s divide and conquer time for Donald Trump, who is ready to put the screws to Canada, and uninclined to do any favours for Canadians who “won’t be pushed around.”

Larry Bukta, Toronto

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“Godfather” Trump is making Canada “an offer you can’t refuse”: Accept his NAFTA terms by this Friday, or he’ll kill our auto industry. Yielding to this barefaced blackmail would come close to accepting the loss of sovereignty.

Andrzej Derkowski, Oakville, Ont.

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May I suggest that the “new” two-thirds NAFTA be called the McCain Agreement? It appears differences were quickly overcome so Donald Trump would not be upstaged.

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Valerie Hallford, Kelowna, B.C.

Skewed pasture

Re For Ottawa, Opening Up The Dairy Industry Will Be The Price Of A Trade Deal (Aug. 28): The dairy industry in Canada has stable milk pricing, and it is only one-tenth the size of the U.S. dairy industry. Giving up supply management won’t solve America’s dairy marketing woes. Donald Trump has given billions to U.S. farmers this week: Taxpayers will pick up that tab. Here, dairy farmers pay their own way.

Supply management is what the Canadian dairy industry has been about for most of a century. No other country has managed this business as well. Do we wish to feed ourselves, and maintain a family-based, environmentally sensitive food-production system or cave to the neighbours’ whims?

Edward B. Burnside, professor emeritus, University of Guelph

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I would hope that Canada’s dairy consumers would forever be protected from products contaminated with the bovine growth hormones (BGH) used in the United States, and that our farmers would never have to compete on such a skewed pasture.

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Diana Baird, St. John’s

Pols, principles, policies

Re White House Flies Flag At Half-Mast For McCain, As Senator Gets A Last Word (Aug. 28): Far too often these days politicians talk about their “principles” when they mean “policies” or “ideology.” The rule of law, due process, habeas corpus, freedom of speech – these are some of the principles which make civil society and our democratic freedoms possible. “We’re right and they’re wrong” is not a principle.

I often didn’t agree with John McCain’s policies, but I profoundly respected his principled stand to distinguish partisanship from patriotism. Democracy in practise depends on compromise and conciliation – “pandering to votes,” if you will – while the road to totalitarianism is paved with principles.

Andrew Leith Macrae, Toronto

Hunting truths

Re B.C.’s Approach To Wildlife Management Needs Major Ethical Reform (Aug. 24): Hunting is not anti-animal or anti-social.

Original humans had a natural relationship with the Earth by hunting and gathering, and that relationship was as legitimate as that of any other animal. Original humans certainly affected the dynamics of the places they lived, but did not diminish wildness or permanently degrade the land.

It was the turn to agriculture that exploited the Earth to satisfy selfish, often shallow desires. The abandoning of “brutish” original cultures and the development of “civilized” and “ethical” societies has created an unprecedented environmental failure.

Regulated hunting designed to account for biological realities does not diminish wildlife populations; any belief that it does contradicts the natural predator/prey relationship inherent to life itself. Modern hunters’ unparalleled investments in wildlife conservation have enormously benefited wildlife and wild places.

Hunters’ support for game animals has been almost the sole counterbalance to their destruction by industry and progress, and from any perspective, the abundance of wildlife in North America today compared to the 1800s seems a miracle.

We will never return to our origins, but hunting (and gathering) is our only opportunity for some authentic connection to the natural world and our original ways. Hunting can still teach us much about the complex beauty of our original lives, the profound paradoxes of life, and about civilization’s terrible contradiction of those truths.

Frank Giampa, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Concrete solutions

Re Before The Fall (Opinion, Aug. 25): The ancient Romans built more than 400,00 kilometres of roads and bridges. These roads and bridges survived for hundreds of years, and some are still in use today.

Throughout Roman history, the construction and care of public roads was considered to be of the utmost importance.

After the bridge collapse in Genoa, Vince Beiser’s question shouldn’t be how much concrete we can afford, but rather why we don’t build durable roads and bridges.

What did the ancient Romans know that we don’t?

Suzette Blom, Toronto

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Much of the concrete infrastructure now up for renewal has performed far beyond its service life, despite being neglected.

Concrete is the most durable and resilient building material on Earth, but design and maintenance are equally essential to durable construction.

Low-carbon innovations are rapidly emerging in the concrete industry – everything from low-carbon fuels to carbon capture and reuse. In Canada, cement represents only about 1.6 per cent of the country’s emissions.

Compared to alternatives, concrete helps reduce the urban heat-island effect, thanks to its light color and natural reflectance, and its thermal mass makes our buildings more energy efficient.

Concrete is still the best solution for a low carbon, climate resilient, sustainable built environment.

Michael McSweeney, CEO, Cement Association of Canada

Whew. Close call

Tuesday’s Globe and Mail contained a plethora of “alarming” news, including the latest NAFTA developments. But none so alarming as the pronouncement that: “There is no safe level of alcohol consumption” (After Alarming Study, Don’t Put Down Your Wine Glasses Just Yet).

However, under close scrutiny, I discovered to my relief that the study was flawed. Scientists had missed an important variable: How can one watch CNN without the requisite second glass of wine?

Vic Bornell, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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