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RCMP officers look on as contractors pass through their roadblock and supporters of the Unist'ot'en camp and Wet'suwet'en First Nation gather at a campfire off a logging road near Houston, B.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

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Oh-so-Canadian mess

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Re From Blockade To Showdown (Jan. 9): If the Wet’suwet’en are determined to shoot themselves in the foot by blocking the natural gas pipeline in B.C.’s north, let them. Just make sure they aren’t shooting off everyone else’s toes in the process. Reroute the pipeline, and in so doing honour their wishes and the wishes of Indigenous bands that support the project. Peace has a price. Pay it.

I don’t know what’s worse: the overheated, absurd “act of war” rhetoric protesters are using to describe the restrained actions of the RCMP, or the inability of our governments to resolve the constant pipeline stalemates.

What an oh-so-Canadian mess.

Anna Simpson, Winnipeg


It is faintly amusing to read that a propane barbecue was set up to heat chili for Wet’suwet’en protesting a natural gas pipeline.

Coastal GasLink has done everything it should do, including receiving approvals from elected band leaders, to allow this project to proceed. Meanwhile, in classic Canadian fashion, both the B.C. and federal governments are hopeless at dealing with this, each in its own way. It is only the lawyers who are celebrating today.

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Timothy Hicks, Toronto


Let’s not pretend the invasion of unceded Wet’suwet’en territory is anything other than an act of war by a fossil-fuelled government that fails to imagine a future beyond colonial exploitation.

We can do so much better.

Rebecca Weigand, Toronto


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For those confused about B.C. Premier John Horgan’s stance on Indigenous consent regarding pipelines, I believe it to be as follows: LNG Canada directly affects his NDP government’s finances and therefore does not require unanimous consent. Trans Mountain does not directly affect Mr. Horgan’s government’s finances, just Canada’s, and therefore requires unanimous Indigenous consent.

Dan Petryk, Calgary

Respect the office

Re Using Trumpian Language Makes Us No Better Than Trump (Jan. 9): At first glance, it is shocking that a former Canadian prime minister, and an American congresswoman would use the word “motherf**ker” when referring to the President of the United States.

But on reflection, it is not at all surprising. Ever since Donald Trump was elected President, columnists, letter writers, the opinion pages and even your editorials have hurled abuse at a legally elected leader of one of our closest allies and partners. It is completely irrelevant whether Mr. Trump deserves the labels that have been applied to him in The Globe and Mail, either directly or indirectly.

Words such as “motherf**ker” are reprehensible coming from a former PM.

I have written several letters – none published – objecting to the name-calling that has become accepted when writing about the President. I hope this most recent abusive language opens your eyes and you call an end to this nonsense. It does not serve any Canadian purpose.

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Ashok Sajnani, Toronto

Inclusive includes safety

Front-line education workers, tasked with creating and maintaining safe and productive learning environments, are routinely punched, kicked, scratched, and spat upon in the course of their daily work. Far too many have suffered significant physical and psychological trauma. What Caroline Alphonso’s articles really reveal, among other problems, are the limitations of a deeply flawed education funding formula that, for decades, has failed to provide the levels of support required to address student needs (Autism Advocates Push Ontario To Ban School Exclusions, Jan. 7; Educating Grayson, Jan. 5).

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has, for years, advocated for a funding regime that would provide additional professional support within our schools to provide students with special needs the assistance they require to succeed, while also ensuring that classrooms remain safe, stable learning and working environments for all students and staff. In an arena of competing rights, a worker’s right to come home uninjured at the end of the day must be taken seriously and supported with all appropriate resources. For all involved – students, parents, administrators and educators – the status quo is simply not acceptable.

Harvey Bischof, president, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

One licence for all MDs

Re Why Isn’t There One Licence For All Canadian Doctors? (Jan. 5): The portable medical licence is crucial to meeting the needs of rural communities. Rural Canadians are generally older, sicker and poorer than those in urban areas, and are more likely to be Indigenous. They make up 18 per cent of the population but are served by only 8 per cent of the country’s physicians.

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada are working with other medical organizations to find ways to increase and sustain the number of doctors in rural communities. Rural family physicians have a broad skill set: They are rural generalists who see patients in the office, the ER, and as inpatients in the local hospital; they may have skills in anesthesia, obstetrics and minor surgery.

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Rural physicians have similar skill sets from east to west, and in the North. Yet, a separate licence is needed in each province and territory. A national medical licence would not only help in making it easier for willing doctors to provide relief in underserved communities, it would also reduce barriers to using new technologies to serve remote patients. Currently, an emergency doctor in Yellowknife providing even telephone support to remote Indigenous communities in Nunavut must be licenced both in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It is time to move forward with the national medical licence.

Margaret Tromp, president, Society of Rural Physicians of Canada; Picton, Ont.

James Rourke, co-chair, Rural Road Map Implementation Committee, Memorial University; St. John’s

Ruth Wilson, co-chair, Rural Road Map Implementation Committee; Yellowknife, NWT

Of parks and perspectives

Re Forest Ire: Battle Lines Being Drawn Over Alberta’s Plan For New Provincial Park (Jan. 8): How depressing to read, in 2019, that a wolf’s life is worth $300.

What is wrong with humanity?

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Paul Hamilton, St. Catharines, Ont.


It seems jarring to read in your editorial A Downer On The Toronto Waterfront (Jan. 9) that turning Ontario Place into a park “would kill two birds with one stone.”

Surely policy-makers, planners and developers would want to foster the presence of flora, fauna and feathered friends in a park. Hence the nonviolent but less-used expression “would feed two birds with one crumb” is more apt when referring to the many benefits of creating more parkland.

Debbie Grisdale, Ottawa

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