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A Liberal supporter wears a 'no bill 21' button and a Liberal button as Liberal leader Justin Trudeau holds a rally in Montreal, on Oct. 17, 2019.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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

Canadian connection

Re In Historic Case, Myanmar’s Peace Prize Laureate Set To Defend Country Against Genocide Allegations (Dec. 10): On International Human Rights Day, I read with dismay about Canadian lawyers representing both Myanmar and the allegations of genocide brought by Gambia to the International Court of Justice.

In what world does William Schabas, a highly regarded human-rights lawyer and author of Unimaginable Atrocities: Justice, Politics, and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunals, represent an allegedly genocidal regime? I guess this is the same world where a Nobel Peace Prize laureate needs such representation, a Trumpian universe where up is down, the grass is blue and the sky is green.

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Brenda Vellino Ottawa

Iraq intelligence

Re Iraq Still Needs NATO Mission, New Commander Says (Dec. 10): Canadian Major-General Jennie Carignan says Baghdad officials still need help with “crisis management.” That would seem an understatement: Iraq is a quagmire of complex, competing forces including religious and tribal conflict; Iran exerting its military and political muscle; Kurdish aspirations for power; the Islamic State; a weak national government. Trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in vicious warfare.

Except for Maj.-Gen. Carignan dutifully submitting neat, well-written reports to Ottawa and NATO headquarters, I can’t imagine what she and her 580 non-combatant troops can accomplish.

Marty Cutler Toronto

Parsing Pallister

Re Manitoba and Bill 21 (Letters, Dec. 10): Brian Pallister’s reply to columnist Konrad Yakabuski seems a perfect illustration of English Canada’s attitude on rights: Not a word about the collective rights of Québécois. Instead, there looks to be one vision – that individual rights are almost absolute and collective rights have almost no place in Canada – and nothing else.

To Mr. Pallister, I would say that Québécois need no declarations of love, only to be called racists the day after. Rather, I believe respect is needed. And in the case of Bill 21, as in so many other cases involving Quebec, respect would begin with English Canada minding its own business.

Yvan Giroux Gatineau

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On Quebec’s Bill 21, Brian Pallister writes: "I grew up on a farm and know that erosion always leads to more erosion.” To me, he has summed up in one sentence what political minds would find hard to explain in a treatise.

It should now be easy to understand that when some citizens’ rights are eroded, the rights of all citizens are at risk.

Asad Ansari Oakville, Ont.

Bottom line

Re Morneau Takes First Step To Adopt Liberals’ Promised Personal Income Tax Cuts (Report on Business, Dec. 10): The Liberals say that cutting personal income tax will result in 1.1 million Canadians who will pay no tax at all. While touting this as good for Canadians, it doesn’t change the fact that most of those 1.1 million individuals live below the poverty line.

Wayne Wood North Vancouver

Studying smokers

Re We Increasingly Empathize With Addicts, But We Still Tar Smokers (Opinion, Nov. 30): We should consider who we are referring to when we talk about smokers.

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In Canada, smoking is increasingly divided by social class, where smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are highest among the socio-economically disadvantaged compared with more affluent groups. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s report on health inequalities, people without a high-school degree are about four times more likely to smoke than those with a postsecondary education.

There is no doubt that smoking is harmful to health. But with every stigmatizing comment or reproachful glare to someone smoking, we are shaming people more likely to be socially disadvantaged. Instead of policing smoking, our efforts should be focused on improving the social conditions that put populations at a disproportionately higher risk of smoking.

Josée Lapalme PhD candidate, École de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal

Opioid observations

Re The Opioid Crisis Is Taking A Deadly Toll On Canada’s Working Men (Dec. 7): My husband has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 30 years. He first started noticing the rise in opioids about 15 years ago. Since then, the crisis has become overwhelming, as described in reporter Marcus Gee’s excellent article.

My husband is firm in his belief that drug testing, and specifically random testing, has led to this crisis, as opioids leave your system quickly and marijuana can stay for weeks. Trade workers caught on: Ditch the joint and take the pill.

A terrible loss for so many.

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Susan Murray Coleman, Alta.

Arts arguments

Re Canadian Arts Groups Highlight Disparities In Funding (Globe Arts, Dec. 7): Arts funding is a coin with more than two sides. But it’s a coin that is minted in Ottawa, and it seems wrong for the arts sector to be fighting with itself over a pie that is too small.

In meeting the challenges of reconciliation, global warming, cultural diversity and productivity, no sector feels more important than the arts. Art is the soul of the creative economy, and creativity is what we need right now. In jobs and other economic benefits, the arts compare favourably with industrial sectors that receive a vastly larger infusion of federal capital.

The government should provide better support for the artists and institutions that do so much to make Canada the country we want to live in.

Hank Bull Artist, Vancouver

Not okay

Re Okay, Okay (Letters, Dec. 5): I too find “OK boomer” simplistic and irritating. However, I can see why someone would choose such a rejoinder after seeing a letter writer try to credit boomers with the Beatles (all born in the early 1940s), world peace (1945? If at all), socialized health care (1966 in Canada), vaccinations (1797), public education (1871 in Canada), space travel (Yuri Gagarin, born 1934) and civil rights (Martin Luther King Jr., born 1929).

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I am sure if a more clever phrase was used, a boomer would write in to claim credit for it as a boomer accomplishment. And for the record, I am a boomer.

Mike Jensen Calgary

Injurious insult

Re WADA’s Russia Ban Sounds Much Like All Its Previous Punishments (Sports, Dec. 10): It’s no secret that lawyers get a bad rap and insurance companies are universally held in low esteem, as both groups seem to want to empty our wallets. Columnist Cathal Kelly has taken it one step further in describing the World Anti-Doping Agency as “dickering in public like insurance lawyers” – the new way to insult someone you really despise.

Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.


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