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A NATO sign is seen on AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft in Siauliai, Lithuania Sept. 30.JANIS LAIZANS/Reuters

Shooting blanks

Re “We can’t increase our security capacity if we cut the defence budget” (Opinion, Oct. 3): David Perry does a credible job of explaining the tactical implications of further reductions to our defence budget.

He does not, however, reflect on a much more serious strategic implication. As we whittle away at our own expenditures, we de facto increase our reliance on the United States, which negates any shred of credibility in terms of sovereignty.

We may not need the capability to wage a war in Asia, but we certainly should be able to defend our shores – and meet the obligations of our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the North American Aerospace Defence Command. Anything less is capitulation. Politicians should be honest with the public.

John Arnott Toronto

Young hero

Re “Ukrainian boy injured in deadly strike walks long road to recovery” (Oct. 2): Reading about Roman Oleksiv really personalizes the absolute horror that Russian President Vladimir Putin has wrought on the Ukrainian people for no reason other than his own ego. Roman is an extremely brave boy enduring both unimaginable physical and spiritual pain.

Thinking of my young grandchildren, Roman’s story could be theirs if they lived in Ukraine.

Peter Belliveau Moncton

Listen up

Re “In a transformed economy, the Liberals are still fighting the last fiscal battle” (Editorial, Sept. 30): One of your best editorials I’ve ever read. Too bad nobody in the Liberal-NDP coalition seems to care.

Kathleen McCroskey Surrey, B.C.

What’s the difference?

Re “No, India killing a Canadian is not ‘just like’ America killing bin Laden” (Sept. 29): “Context matters.”

Columnist Andrew Coyne’s tripartite standard for judging the morality of extrajudicial killing is to assess “what kind of state” is doing the murdering and where the killing is happening, then consider “what kind of individual” is being killed.

We (Canada, the United States and Israel – Mr. Coyne’s examples) are the objective “good guys,” and others are not. This is just how it is, he writes, and anything else is mere moral relativizing or an “undergraduate” desire to be contrarian.

When Mr. Coyne considers the above, “there is simply no comparison” between the good guys and the others. But why compare? He warns against tu quoque, or whataboutism, while seeming to play a twisted version of the game himself.

Why overlook and whitewash the despicable actions of the “good guys?”

Jason Toney Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East; Montreal

Orwell, or not?

Re “Orwell would have something to say about Canada’s moment in the global spotlight” (Oct. 2): George Orwell also states, in the same essay on “transferred nationalism,” that “nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception,” and warns about “quotations removed from their context.”

Is it not possible to oppose the murder of a Canadian citizen and the brutal occupation of Eastern Ukraine without necessarily becoming pro-Khalistan or a jingoistic booster of Ukrainian soldiers? Could we not equally stand against the deaths of Indigenous children in Canada and the slaughter of numerous soldiers and civilians worldwide through U.S. military intervention?

Could we not actually stand up for human dignity and rights, while honestly wrestling with the paradoxical need for some sort of power to perhaps (for the medium term) protect these ways of being in the world?

Conrad Sichler Hamilton

“Worthwhile Canadian Initiative” was the actual headline for a column by The New York Times’ Flora Lewis on April 10, 1986. Our worthwhile initiative was to request free-trade negotiations with the United States.

“Each word taken alone is sleep-inducing,” the New Republic sniffed at the time. “Taken together, they are virtually lethal.”

The words have become the butt of many jokes, mostly in Canada where this country has veered from its customary diffidence by making global headlines in the past few weeks. However, I predict that Canada will soon return to being considered boring. Boring is good.

It’s a worthwhile initiative, especially when we live above a mad scientist (”MAGA snake oil” – editorial cartoon, Oct. 2).

Ron Csillag Toronto

George Orwell was not on the side of cowards, avoiding conflict because it would be inconvenient. I doubt he would argue that Canada is a worse country because it accepts refugees who still wish the country they left could be home again, if only their need for freedom was honoured.

I suspect he would look badly on a nation that only did the right thing when it also aligned with the nation’s interests.

David Thomas Devine Aurora, Ont.

Past performance

Re “All points east” (Letters, Oct. 2): Contrary to a letter-writer’s view, I know many Albertans who oppose our Premier’s pension scheme.

In contrast to the Canada Pension Plan, Alberta fund managers must by law obey government direction in investing funds. The proposed plan seems to simply be a way for the province to painlessly acquire (at the expense of other Canadians) the pile of money that the Heritage Fund should have been, and to direct investments in ways they find politically advantageous.

Providing stable retirement income, then, is not the goal. And judging by the lacklustre record of the fund managers at Alberta Investment Management Corp., we will likely see benefit cuts and premium increases at the government’s whim, something that the structure of the CPP makes difficult or impossible.

Mark Konnert Calgary

Re “Alberta’s mad plan to break up the CPP, and why it (deliberately) misses the point” (Opinion, Aug. 30): As usual, I find columnist Andrew Coyne’s analysis to be on point. My only beef is with his discussion of actively managed fund fees.

The argument against them, in favour of index funds, only holds water for me if those active funds don’t come with free and valuable tax, estate and risk management advice from a competent financial adviser. The value of that advice should easily make up for the lost investment growth of the funds.

Never pass judgment based solely on fees. As Oscar Wilde wrote: “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

Don Janzen Windsor, Ont.

New gig

Re “Retirement is ‘the hardest job’ this Alberta senior has ever had” (Report on Business, Sept. 30): Contrary to this retiree’s experience, my phone calls and e-mails have not stopped but have actually increased since I retired 10 years ago.

People are always reaching out for advice or assistance with education, law or politics, my main areas of interest.

Retirement seems almost busier than my working life. It is great!

Joel Hertz Toronto


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