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Governor-General Julie Payette delivers the Throne Speech in the Senate chamber, on Dec. 5, 2019 in Ottawa.

POOL/Reuters

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: letters@globeandmail.com

The real cost of war

Re Canada Is Rich – And Cheap (Dec. 9): Discussion of defence-spending limits doesn’t seem to provide a complete picture of a country’s contribution to war and peace efforts. I think our Prime Minister could have responded to the U.S. President that Canada has paid for many wars, in disproportionate amounts.

That figure is not counted in dollars or percentages of GDP. It is counted in blood and bodies, for which Canada has given more than its share.

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Agostino Di Millo Toronto

Defining violence

Re Violence Against Women (Letters, Dec. 9): A letter-writer questions the use of the word femicide because it "suggests it is something different from homicide.” That difference is critical: It’s “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man, and on account of her gender,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. Murder motivated by misogyny most definitely involves gender politics.

Catharine Fitton Toronto


Re Roots Of Misogyny (Letters, Dec. 7): A letter-writer disagrees with columnist Elizabeth Renzetti’s assertion that misogyny be treated as terrorism. I feel I must have missed something important in the past 30 years since the École Polytechnique shooting. Although the letter-writer magnanimously concedes that violent or deadly misogyny is abhorrent, he seemingly equates a man wielding a semi-automatic rifle with nothing more than schoolyard bullying. What did I miss?

Christine McAuley Toronto

Methane methods

Re Canada-Paris-Madrid (Letters, Dec. 7) Elizabeth May believes that "fracked gas has the same carbon footprint as coal, owing to the massive methane emissions.” This seems irrelevant in the highly regulated gas fields of Western Canada, where technical advances and rigorous legislation are further reducing the already small methane footprint. We are in fact world leaders in methane-emissions reduction in the oil patch.

Canada’s best opportunity to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions should be to displace coal with natural gas in Asia, and it seems Ms. May wants to block that good work.

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Brad Hayes P.Geo, FGC, Calgary

Manitoba and Bill 21

Re Good Job, Brian Pallister. You’ve Only Made Bill 21 Even More Popular In Quebec (Dec. 5): Columnist Konrad Yakabuski argues that I should just be quiet about the threat that Quebec’s Bill 21 poses to the rights and freedoms of Quebeckers because it emboldens separatism, somehow.

When rights are being eroded, silence is acquiescence. Staying silent on the erosion of rights for some Canadians means other rights can also be put at risk. I grew up on a farm and know that erosion always leads to more erosion.

I love Quebec. I raised my family in Quebec for more than a decade during their formative years. And, in my work as a parliamentarian, I had the benefit of developing a greater understanding of, and affinity for, the people of Quebec and their beautiful province that means so much to all of us, as Canadians.

That’s why I am confident in saying Quebec is stronger without Bill 21. I know that Quebeckers are better than Bill 21.

Most of all, I know that the rights of minorities should never be eroded by the actions, or inaction, of the majority.

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Brian Pallister Premier of Manitoba; Winnipeg

Down, but not out

Re On Alberta (Letters, Dec. 6): I chuckled when I read a letter-writer who took a 5-per-cent pay cut under Ralph Klein nearly three decades ago. The sacrifice that was imposed on him was nothing compared to what was happening in the rest of the Alberta economy.

The reduction in my income was about 80 per cent, and that was not uncommon. I lost my car and I took in two roommates to keep a roof over my head. I went from being an investment banker with two assistants to patrolling parking lots after hours. If I felt sorry for myself, I only had to be reminded that one co-worker was an engineer.

But Mr. Klein made good on his promises. I kept on keeping on and, by the mid-1990s, I was back in the investment business and doing fine. By 2010, I was retired before my 50th birthday.

Insisting that the public service share the pain, albeit to a very small degree, meant taking on the massive resources of the public-service unions – it took incredible political courage. But that was Mr. Klein. Pity he was one of a kind.

Ken Johnston Toronto

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Speech translator

Re A Throne Speech That Intentionally Left Much Unsaid (Opinion, Dec. 7): I find that columnist Andrew Coyne has accurately deciphered the warm, fuzzy flotsam that was the Liberal’s Throne Speech and, importantly, what it says and does not say for regular Canadians. We, of the Western Canadian hillbilly-type, need Mr. Coyne and other experts to translate what seemed to be wishful thinking and budget-challenged fiction.

The promises offered would make for high comedy indeed, if the Canadian economy were not at risk. It also seems readily apparent that the grievances of the West will continue to be secondary to the so-called national interest. I believe this will continue to be the overriding factor in any debate of national unity.

But isn’t “working together” a nice slogan in the meantime, however meaningless it may sound in the West.

Stewart Ford Calgary

Charter challenge

Re By Invoking Notwithstanding Clause, New Brunswick Feeds Into Anti-vaxx Philosophy (Opinion, Dec. 7): As columnist Robyn Urback points out, New Brunswick is encouraging the notion that Charter rights favour the anti-vaccine argument. This may have been a prudent, if short-sighted, move by the province to avoid litigation and its costs. But Charter rights are not absolute; they are subject to reasonable limits. There is surely no religion that claims a right to harm others, which is most often the effect of not vaccinating children, who can quickly pass on their infections to a classroom.

New Brunswick is doing the right thing, but its approach seems regrettable.

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John Edmond Ottawa

Flick pick

Re What Am I? (First Person, Dec. 9) and John Cleese Helps Search For An Understanding Of The World’s Worst People In New Documentary (Dec. 9): I think the people asking essay-writer Caroline Shaheed about her background ought to be included in the documentary Assholes: A Theory.

Asking her if she knows ISIS supporters – seriously? I was married to an Egyptian and have two beautiful daughters‎ and three beautiful grandchildren, and they are all very proud to have Egyptian heritage.

So, my advice to Ms. Shaheed: The next time someone asks if you know any ISIS supporters, ask them if they have seen Assholes. If they haven’t, do suggest it.

Mary Smith Guelph, Ont.


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