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People browse books at an Indigo store in Toronto on Sept. 23, 2022.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Buy in?

Re “Canada should buy the 2024 U.S. presidential election” (Opinion, Sept. 23): I believe contributor Stephen Marche offers an alluring but false promise in urging us to buy into the monetized U.S. electoral process. Play by their rules or risk losing, he warns. But to do so would be like curing the patient by killing her.

Americans seem to have lost the ability to discern between democracy and politics. It’s a crucial distinction; one can have the latter without the former. Not only is hypermonetized politics exhausting, it risks leaving democracy as an embalmed corpse, as morbid as Lenin in his glass sarcophagus: something to genuflect to but have no faith in.

We cannot reasonably expect U.S. politicians, who are being purchased and in turn then sell their votes, to prioritize democracy. So go ahead, throw money into their politics. But expect nothing of worth in return.

Ron Beram Gabriola, B.C.

Help wanted

Re “The real reasons Canada’s relationship with India is broken” (Opinion, Sept. 23): Contributor Omer Aziz articulates what I (now near 70) have come to believe are the reasons for Canada’s foreign-policy failures.

Domestically, I think Canada is the greatest place to live. Wherever we show our passports, it is most often recognized as such. Our politicians, whatever their political stripe, are laser-focused on the improvement of domestic conditions.

This, however, proves myopic in respect to foreign relations, an irony for a country that depends so heavily on international trade and immigration. In my mind, we have not had a great foreign minister – intent on Canada’s role and place in the world, rather than merely garnering votes to be elected to a seat – since Lester Pearson.

My question is: Are we liable to find one?

Sean Michael Kennedy Oakville, Ont.

How much?

Re “Canada’s welcoming attitude toward immigrants is at risk of fraying” (Opinion, Sept. 23): The 61 per cent who feel that Canada’s 500,000-immigrant target is “too high,” as polled by Abacus Data, is echoed by the 53 per cent reported by Nanos (”Poll finds more than half of Canadians want fewer immigrants than Ottawa’s target” – Sept. 12), up significantly from 34 per cent in March. Both pollsters attributed this to a practical shift in perspective on cost of living, health care and housing.

Contributor Andrew Perez worries that this may bring immigration-related violence as in France. However, multiculturalism is Canadian policy and reality (23 per cent of Canadians are foreign-born, 2.5 times that of France). Our multiple founding cultures, rather than a dominant tradition, yield gentler integration.

As to the practical nature of “fraying” attitudes, a Royal Bank of Canada study concludes that a shortage of skilled workers factors in housing prices and that immigration, as with health care, may actually help.

Our fortunately simpler debate is not about what is right, but what is the right number.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

Nuclear successes

Re “Candu or can’t? That’s the big question as AtkinsRéalis’ CEO pushes toward a nuclear future” (Report on Business, Sept. 23): Nine exported Candu 6 units have turned a profit to Canada, and Export Development Canada financings have all been repaid.

Notably, the two Candu 6 units at the Qinshan nuclear plant in China, contracted originally by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., where I used to work, were completed for less than US$3-billion in 2003. They were constructed in less than 54 months, ahead of schedule, under budget and with project contingency converted to profit.

Ken Petrunik Chair, Global First Power; Mississauga

Round and round

Re “We are too complacent about automobile crashes” (Opinion, Sept. 23): I recently travelled in Iceland and Ireland. Both countries make heavy use of roundabouts in urban and rural settings. Traffic flow was almost always orderly, even amid high volume.

Granted in Canada it could be difficult, expensive or impossible to redesign some intersections as roundabouts. However, had the crossroads in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash been a roundabout, I have to believe the two vehicles involved in the tragedy would not have collided as they did.

Bruce Rhodes Richmond Hill, Ont.

Read on

Re “Indigo is essential to CanLit, for better or for worse” (Opinion, Sept. 23): I love browsing in bookstores. I detest what has happened to the Indigo chain.

It was a gut punch to me – and all my friends agree – when the Chapters in Ottawa’s Byward market was closed and replaced with a smaller Indigo nearby. All kitschy gifts, toys, American Girl dolls (for heaven’s sake) and, at the back of the store, a few books. I can never find what I want, so have given up on even trying.

Instead, in protest, I am buying online from Amazon. Heather Reisman should take note: Bring back the books to her so-called bookstores, or get out of the business.

Susan Murray Ottawa

In this town, the Indigo assaults one with perfume, cards, décor of various qualities, know-nothing clerks and a canyon of bookshelves (that one has to ask to find).

Therein the books are shelved 10 feet high, along aisles so narrow that one gets neck strain while searching for books and squeezing around other customers. Try and peruse a book in those circumstances.

Heather Reisman seems to have destroyed the bookstore landscape in this country, all in response to a bottom-line objective. Now she’s in trouble. Sad and depressing.

Ms. Reisman and co., some may remember, also destroyed the venerable Cruickshank’s, the imported flower-bulb retailer. She bought the business and sought to expand. It didn’t work out and Cruickshank’s withered and died on the vine, so to speak.

Robert Swain Kingston

Local matters

Re “What we lose when we lose local news” (Opinion, Sept. 23): A local newspaper serves many valuable purposes. And, yes, it does serve as a gateway to other sources of information.

We know our local editors. We see them at community functions. We depend on them to provide news in a timely manner.

Teachers also use local papers to help students hone their critical and analytical acumen. I cannot imagine what life would be like without our local Optimist.

In a country as vast and diverse as Canada, local communities take pride in seeing their aspirations, concerns and achievements reflected in the news. They value the opportunity to provide feedback – both commendations and critiques. This is also about participatory democracy.

Let’s work harder to keep our local papers alive.

Avis Glaze Delta, B.C.


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