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Re “On the ground” (Letters, Oct. 28): A letter-writer quotes journalist Robert Fisk’s opinion of the definition of terrorism (it “is not a definition; it is a political contrivance”). He finds it a pity that this needs explaining time and again.

In response, I offer the following: “Hamas is a terrorist organization.” Author: the Canadian government. I find it a pity that, to some people, our government’s definitive statement needs explaining.

Alan Rosenberg Toronto

My thoughts turn to the need for a revered international statesman to enter into the fray as an unbiased and politically astute observer, who can bring down both the rockets and rhetoric of the current crisis.

Where is that Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Madeleine Albright or Kofi Annan when the need for diplomacy is so greatly required? Without that arbiter of peace, this planet could be insidiously destroyed from within.

Daniel Kowbell Mississauga

The inescapable horror in Gaza seems to demand a moral position.

But such horror often overwhelms ethical complexities: Do Hamas atrocities justify the destruction of Gaza? Can Hamas’s actions be justified by Israeli injustices? (Is explanation by trauma a justification for all?)

Are all residents responsible for the actions of a state? Are there no civilians or innocents? Does the moral wrong of one party make the other’s response right? Should we support behaviours rather than sides?

Novelist Don DeLillo wrote of the levelling response to a natural disaster: “Something had basically changed. The world was narrowed down to inside and outside.” Horror tempts us with simple explanations and Manichean binaries.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

Immigration check

Re “The Liberals’ immigration blueprint is unsound, and will hinder the economy it seeks to help” (Opinion, Oct. 28): I did not know that of the 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, we ranked last in terms of GDP per capita growth in 2021. And to think the Liberals have been telling us that, while a high level of immigration has inconveniences, it is necessary for our prosperity.

Columnist Konrad Yakabuski’s conclusion should stay with us: that our biggest economic problem is not a low population, it is that “our productivity is not growing fast enough to sustain our standard of living. And Ottawa’s current immigration policy is making matters worse.”

Brian Northgrave Ottawa

Sufficient funding should be provided so that immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers abide by the rules. The number of immigrants per year should be significantly reduced.

Younger immigrants who offer skills and experience to improve Canadian productivity should be selected. While the number of temporary workers should be reduced, citizenship should be granted sooner rather than later for those who do vital work that Canadians often won’t, such as jobs in agriculture, meat-packing, construction and child and elder care.

The credentials process for immigrant doctors, nurses and other health professionals should be sped up and co-ordinated between provinces. The number of foreign students pursuing degrees with little opportunity for meaningful employment should be cut back.

Megacities are often less than desirable places to live due to poverty, pollution and crime. Canada is blessed by wide open spaces and plentiful resources. Policymakers should keep this in mind when setting immigration targets.

Nick Beveridge Burlington, Ont.

Canada should look to Denmark and understand that a large population size is not needed. It leads Canada in GDP per capita, happiness index and societal equity.

Terence Colgan Burlington, Ont.

Origin story

Re “There’s nothing simple about questioning Buffy Sainte-Marie, an icon of mythic proportions” (Oct. 28): Many adoptees have grown up with misinformation about their origin stories.

When I was 68, I saw Saskatchewan government records that showed what my mom had told me about my birth mother was not accurate. That was upsetting.

Think about how much worse it would feel at age 82, to have one’s origin story attacked on national television. I have been thinking about that, and it hurts my heart.

Terry Campbell Saskatoon

As a non-Indigenous person, the final view on someone’s Indigenous ancestral claims should lie not with me or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but with their immediate Indigenous family and community.

I also feel that we hold Indigenous activists to a higher standard of truth than politicians, business executives and other leaders who, because of their influence, seem to evade any meaningful reprimands or consequences.

Kaan Oran Toronto

Go easy

Re “The perils of promising a costless energy transition” (Opinion, Oct. 28): The call for honesty in dealing with the impact of the energy transition is refreshing, but I find it fails to let the other shoe drop. I see no rational choice other than to plow ahead with the transition, and government has to do it.

While fossil fuels are still abundant, the market economy is not capable of stopping itself from driving off the cliff. A survivable planet is existential for us, but invisible to the market.

There will be winners and losers in the transition, but we all lose, especially our kids, if we fail to phase out oil and gas. When the industry, the primary driver of the climate crisis, can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to minimize culpability, and Alberta uses provincial money to scare us with exaggerated costs, perhaps we should cut some slack to the folks trying to solve the problem.

Peter Amerongen Edmonton

Nice to meet you

Re “Men are lonely. So why is it so hard for them to make friends?” (Pursuits, Oct. 28): Thanks to my 60-pound dog Ravel, I meet young men like this several times a week.

Ravel makes eye contact and the young man will ask if he can pet the dog. “Yes, of course,” I say with a smile. “He’d like that.”

The young man strokes Ravel’s head, and he responds by leaning in. The young man crouches down, and Ravel tucks his head under the lad’s chin. By now it’s a full-on hug, and both man and dog are lost in it.

I watch the play of emotions on the man’s face, from yearning to tenderness, joy and gratitude. This scene has played out over and over again.

For almost five years, Ravel was a street dog in Yucatán, Mexico. He survived by “reading” people and situations. He thrived by honing his powers of observation.

Now he exercises those powers by connecting with kindred spirits.

Pamela Cornell Kingston

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