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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi addresses reporters after meeting with Donald Trump about border security on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Washington. From left, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Ms. Pelosi, and Sen. Dick Durbin.

The Associated Press

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Dems the brakes

Re Pelosi, House Democrats Face Their First Test (Jan. 4 ): Donald Trump picked his wall fight shrewdly. Millions of Americans dislike the idea of government: The less it does, the better. They don’t object to a government shutdown, they welcome it. The people who suffer are, of course, those who aren’t getting paid, and those who rely on one or another service.

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The longer the shutdown drags on, the more those people will conclude that the Democrats, even with their recent election gains, can’t help them very much, and many just won’t show up on election day.

Mr. Trump’s faithful, however, will stick with their man.

Murray Citron, Ottawa

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The new Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is such a welcome sight, the most diversified in U.S. history, with a record number of women, people of colour, and openly LGBTQ members, as well as the first hijab-wearing Muslim representative.

The U.S. Senate still looks like Jurassic Park, or perhaps Invertebrate Park, given the spinelessness of the Republican majority there. But we will now finally see at least half of Congress start to do its job and restore the system of checks and balances intended by the Constitution.

The Dems will, however, face a major challenge in getting themselves all on the same message, uniting behind a strong presidential candidate for 2020, and countering the constant torrent of confusing lies gushing from the White House.

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American comedian Will Rogers once said “I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat.” May God (and Nancy) help the Dems get organized. Many of us are counting on them to slay the flame-haired dragon.

Tom MacDonald, Ottawa

The dark side?

Re Historic Lunar Landing Casts A Light On The Far Side Of The Moon (Jan. 4): How appropriate that China chose the dark side of the moon for its landing – where its actions can be cloaked in typical Chinese secrecy.

The thought of China, with its aggressive territorial stance here on Earth, extending that combative reach to the moon and beyond is the stuff of nightmares.

Will the next war to end all wars be fought over who controls off-Earth resources? Far fetched?

Not in 2019.

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Amanda Nichols, Winnipeg

Chess, not checkers

Re Canada Gets A Failing Grade On China Relations (Jan. 3): Gordon Ritchie and John Manley may think it would have been preferable for Canada to warn Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou not to transit through Vancouver, but their criticism of the Trudeau government’s handling of a difficult situation falls short of clear thinking. They have suggested Canada play checkers and not chess.

It was the Americans who requested Ms. Meng’s detention under provisions of an extradition treaty between Canada and the U.S. Had our government warned her, it would have been seen as a betrayal and incurred the wrath of an unstable, if not irrational, leader of the nation on whom our economy is heavily dependent.

There was no easy way out of this impossible situation. Caught between a rock and hard place, the Canadian government played honest broker and not backroom dealer. Due process of law will take care of this mess, which is not of any Canadian’s making.

Thankfully, the diplomats and politicians involved in this decision-making were thinking two steps ahead of their critics.

Marc Côté, Toronto

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Gordon Ritchie hits the nail on the head. Justin Trudeau should have seized the Huawei opportunity to better our relations with China and the United States.

Quietly extricate Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, winning favour with China, and making the point with U.S. that we do not accommodate neighbours who support/accept irrational bullying leadership until they start playing by all the rules. Mr. Trudeau must still think we are naive lambs who believe some greater philosophical power will protect Canada from bullies.

Paul Bennett, Orillia, Ont.

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If Canadian officials had tipped off Meng Wanzhou and let her slip away, we would have betrayed our closest ally and our biggest trading partner, a country to which we owe our primary allegiance.

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Judy Leznoff, Toronto

Tacks on recovery

Re Oshawa Clinic Takes A Different Tack On Recovery (Jan. 3): “It seems to help” – those are the final words in the article about the Pinewood Centre’s acudetox (acupuncture detoxification) clinic, but they’re hardly the final word on whether acupuncture is anything more than a New Age placebo. We learn something about the yin-yang Sympathetic point, but I’d be more sympathetic if treatment efficacy stats had been presented. Does acupuncture really help? Sounds like a job for Timothy “Superman” Caulfield, the Clark Kent of critical thinking profiled the same day on the front page (How An Alberta Academic Carved A Niche As A Celebrity Debunker).

Andrew Vowles, Guelph, Ont.

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Re Critics Call For Outside Regulation Of Chiropractors (Jan. 2): Chiropractors who adhere to vitalism and chiropractic subluxation theories are a danger to patients’ health and a threat to public health. These chiropractors hide behind naive, illogical and pseudoscientific beliefs and put their personal interests ahead of patients’ well being.

There is no valid scientific evidence supporting vitalism and the concept of subluxation. Chiropractors who adjust subluxations to prevent disease (a concept undefinable scientifically and unmeasurable clinically) or remove subluxations to cure illnesses (a dogma that ignores what is known about the causes of disease) should be investigated by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario because they may put their patients’ health at risk.

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If the CCO is unwilling to protect the public’s best interests, then government should regulate chiropractic in Ontario.

Pierre Côté, professor, Canada Research Chair in Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario

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The biggest mystery in the universe is not dark energy. Rather, it is how this group of charlatans is allowed by the government to use the professional title of “doctor” (lower case used intentionally). My back hurts just thinking about it. Think I need an adjustment.

Don Cooper, Toronto

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Re Spare Me The Details Of Your Dry January (Jan. 2): Heaven forbid that some try to spread consciousness about the need for moderation in heavy-drinking Canada! Partaking in Dry January can be a powerful first step for those who wish to reset their relationship with alcohol, and we should all take the time to think more about the various painful effects of our mass-consumption society.

Philip Duguay, Montreal

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