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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 30, 2020.

Leah Millis/Reuters

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Mark your calendars

Re Acquittal Assured, It’s Now Carte Blanche For King Donald (Online, Feb. 1): Donald Trump’s tenure in office has threatened some of the foundational institutions of U.S. democracy, demonstrating they can be fragile and should not be taken for granted. However, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander’s decision not to call witnesses in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial seems to me at least partly correct.

The United States is very fractured; a decision to remove Mr. Trump from office at this time could be seen as illegitimate by too many. Unlike with Richard Nixon, there does not seem to be political and public consensus that the President should go.

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The U.S. election is just nine months away. Mr. Trump’s fate should be decided by the American public and not by 100 senators in Washington.

David Howell Hamilton

Dining in

Re The Line Between Chinese-Canadians Like Me (Opinion, Feb. 1): The current health challenge posed by the coronavirus is causing hysteria on both sides. While racism is real and minorities suffer physical and psychological harm as a result, we should be careful not to overstate the problem. Empty Chinese restaurants, for example, may not be the result of racism if the usual patrons are mostly Chinese. But I am thankful to politicians and journalists for touring these restaurants and reminding people that it’s okay to dine there.

As for the high percentage of people holding negative views of China? That also covers a lot of Chinese people, myself included. One doesn’t need to belong to a certain group to take a moral stand.

Kim Chan Toronto

Home disadvantage

Re Are Planes Or Trains The Better Bet For Bombardier To Sell? (Report On Business, Jan. 29): Bombardier’s woes seem to reflect Canada’s predicament. To compete in global markets, companies should have a strong home base, including cutting-edge technologies and demanding customers. Yet, Canadian airlines often use old planes for their domestic flights, few municipal councils invest in rail-based urban transport and long-distance trains here – with due respect – would only make it to a museum in Europe or China.

If Canada doesn’t invest in modern infrastructure, it looks to remain very hard for infrastructure businesses such as Bombardier to enhance their competence to compete globally. One day, Canadian politicians should realize that Canada needs sustainable and efficient transport infrastructure. Let’s hope that happens before the country loses competence to build it.

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Klaus Meyer Ivey Business School; London, Ont.

Mental health ROI

Re We Mustn’t Skimp On Mental Health Services (Jan. 29): For targeted mental-health investments to make a difference, we should meet the funding target set by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2012. This would require an annual investment of $3.1-billion. The per capita investment of about $85 per Canadian would be far less than the $1,400 the lack of access costs us, as described by Louise Bradley, president and chief executive officer of the MHCC.

One area for increased investment could be supportive housing. In 2006, then-senator Michael Kirby called for the funding of 56,000 units and there has been limited progress since. In 2011, the MHCC estimated there were 520,000 Canadians who were homeless or precariously housed – that’s larger than the populations of Halifax or Saskatoon. As well, the wait-list for supportive housing in Toronto has grown to more than 18,000 today from 700 in 2009.

If there is no health without mental health, then there is definitely no mental health without housing.

Steve Lurie Executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Branch

Flex plan

Re New St. Lawrence Centre Is A Good Idea, But It Will Need The Funds To Both Build It And Fill It (Jan. 29): On the subject of “truly flexible stages" and “theatre space … with the option of a thrust configuration," history’s lesson may be … be careful what you wish for. A number of Toronto venues started as “flexible” – all became fixed-seating as costs to reconfigure on a show-by-show basis became prohibitive. Perhaps more significantly, the St. Lawrence Centre’s Bluma Appel Theatre was originally built as a proscenium cum Stratford-style thrust. It proved to be neither fish nor fowl, and in the early 1980s was changed to proscenium only.

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Successful flexible theatre would require significant capital expenditure and well-funded operations.

Sholem Dolgoy Assistant professor emeritus, school of performance, Ryerson University; Toronto

Diss track

Re Disregard For Rock In Juno’s Top Nominations An Accurate Reflection Of The Times (Jan. 29): I am not a dinosaur. I understand that music in any of its forms is not static. It evolves with time, from Jelly Roll Morton and Billie Holiday through Duke Ellington to Elvis, Pink Floyd and Adele; from Monteverdi through Beethoven to Prokofiev and Bernstein. The thing is though, that today in 2020, the music of these great artists is very much alive. It has endured.

We are still humming Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust and Heart and Soul – I am humming them right now. The lyrics of Eleanor Rigby are no less poignant more than 50 years later. And Bob Dylan is a Nobel laureate! What seems to be missing from contemporary popular music is the ability of the media to apply critical appraisal of its worth in true musical terms. Instead, we are mostly informed of the iconic status of one rapper over another, or how hip-hop is really great for spinning. Deep. Drake, it seems, is a national treasure. Good for him. We will undoubtedly remember his songs with affection 20 years from now. Tears will flow.

We should stop rap before it is too late.

Jack Holland Toronto

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Game misconduct

Re Battle of Alberta Between Flames And Oilers Turns Ugly (Sports, Feb. 3): I grew up watching hockey, from TV tables in the den glued to Hockey Night in Canada to Toronto Maple Leafs devotion and years of sitting in rinks all over Ontario cheering on my son’s team. But my allegiance to hockey may be finished.

The cracks have been there: It’s a prohibitively expensive sport to have a child play, and the white old boys’ club still dominates. However, it was when I tuned in to Saturday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames that may have done me in. Grown men wailing on each other; both goalies goading and flailing; a pundit declaring “this is incredible theatre,” and the offending Oilers’ goalie saying “it was good old-fashioned hockey." Unfortunately, it was. It still is.

But luckily for me, there’s another game in town. It’s called basketball.

Beverley Cooper Toronto


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