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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 16.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

View from here

Re “America’s terrifying descent into everyday gun violence” and “Ja Morant caught in optical crossfire of NBA’s global ambitions” (May 17): As an ex-American Vietnam War resister, I am profoundly disturbed by the violence and political polarization taking place in my former country. We Canadians should make a concerted effort to understand the origins of that violence and division, so we can ensure those twin toxicities do not seep northward into our beloved homeland.

Don Gayton Summerland, B.C.

I grew up in New York and California, then immigrated to Canada in 1971. I’m lucky to have made that choice. As a former U.S. citizen, it irks me when Canadians talk about Americans as a monolithic lump of vicious gunmen.

None of my many American friends and relatives are gun owners. This is a red-state, blue-state split. The issue at hand is the hugely powerful gun lobby and other far-right groups that make it impossible to stop the killing.

We in Canada have so far avoided the gun mania that makes life so tenuous in America for anyone who dares go to school or the market. Here, may we hold on to our belief in the sanctity of life.

Dorothy Field Victoria

Right way

Re “The conservative weakness for contrarianism has driven a lot of them crazy. Exhibit A: Danielle Smith” (May 17): A key element to right-wing conservatism as it has been practised the last few years: I find it is not merely opposition to what conservatives believe to be progressive social measures, but actual rage against those who hold different views.

This anger manifests in several ways: the wish to crush an opponent (Stephen Harper’s intention to destroy the Liberal Party); the turn to violence and aggression (protesters in Ottawa and elsewhere); perhaps worst of all, the use of invective, sneering and lies to intimidate and silence (virtually every utterance of Donald Trump and Danielle Smith that I hear).

It is a sad day in Canadian politics when we can so easily identify not only what conservative politicians oppose, but also the shoddy tactics of their opposition. Surely it’s well overdue to learn what positive actions they would take, if given the opportunity to do so.

Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.

This describes a process that has overtaken many of my acquaintances. However, polling has shown that conspiracy theorists are still a small minority in this country.

Unfortunately for centrist conservatives, Pierre Poilievre has decided to pander to this segment of the population, leaving those of us disgusted by Justin Trudeau without a clear option for the next election.

At the moment, I feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Without leadership change in either of our major parties, many Canadians may be faced with a difficult choice come next election.

James Nightingale Delta, B.C.

Social media makes it easy to find, and communicate with, those holding the same points of view. What it also does is draw people with contrarian views into groups not necessarily engaged with an issue, only sharing a contrarian approach.

This encourages a “circle the horses” mentality with an ever-expanding corral, the fences of which are increasingly threatened.

Chris Marriott Chelsea, Que.

Get tough

Re “Ottawa aims to toughen bail law for repeat violent offenders” (May 17): Duh.

John Gunst Thornhill, Ont.

Pierre Poilievre’s glib criticism of the Liberal response to shortcomings in the bail system overlook failed attempts by previous Conservative governments to reformulate criminal law as if there was no Supreme Court of Canada, no Charter of Rights. He even goes so far as to elide the concepts of bail and parole in the same mouthful.

I am all for stiffening bail law procedurally and substantively to improve public safety. But it can’t be done on the whim of a retail politician, who doesn’t appear able to think past his next insult.

Ron Beram Gabriola, B.C.

Dig deeper

Re “Drug-price dust-up has put federal Health Minister in the hot seat” (Opinion, May 4): Recent high-profile resignations by Matthew Herder and Douglas Clark at the Patented Medicines Price Review Board have exposed flaws in the infrastructure intended to protect Canadians from high drug prices. It felt insulting to watch the parliamentary standing committee on health debate this issue.

Mr. Herder and Mr. Clark were questioned more about minutiae on procedural issues or the translation of the word “suspect” from French to English then about their concerns with the board. Most Canadians would probably also question the optics of putting Thomas Digby, a lawyer with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, in charge of the PMPRB.

Canada has the third-highest patented drug prices in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, behind the United States and Switzerland. Our elected representatives should take a hard look at what is happening with drug prices.

Talk is cheap. In Canada, drugs are not.

Sandra Sirrs MD, FRCPC Vancouver

By the numbers

Re “Cancer response” (Letters, May 17): A letter-writer wonders why she was not called for a mammogram after turning 74, a test which might have saved her from a double mastectomy a few years later. Good question, one that I asked several medical experts when Ontario introduced that age cutoff, while working as a researcher-reporter for Maclean’s in the 1990s.

After calls to at least 10 specialists, one finally admitted that it was to save money, since women older than 74 are more likely to die of causes other than breast cancer. Unfortunately, the cost is borne by women unlucky enough to contract the disease after the government’s arbitrary deadline.

Sharon Doyle Driedger Toronto

All ages

Re “Film, TV and music funds to be modernized, with new ones created, after Bill C-11 approval” (May 17): The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission believes that funds should “support programs that serve the needs and interests” of several equity-deserving communities. We were gratified to read that the list includes Canadians of diverse ages.

Ageism has been called “the last acceptable form of prejudice” and nowhere is it more prominent than in media and the arts. As the voice of Canada’s seasoned professional artists, we know the obstacles older creatives face in their careers, even though our research shows they are at the height of their creative abilities.

This policy opens the door to telling more stories by, and for, older Canadians. We look forward to working with the CRTC to welcome this new era.

Scott Walker Executive director, Canadian Artists Network Toronto

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Keep letters to 150 words or fewer. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: