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Conservative Leadership candidate Jean Charest answers questions from reporters after the third debate of the 2022 Conservative Party of Canada leadership race, in Ottawa, on Aug. 3.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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About the other night

Re ‘Leadership Is About Showing Up,’ Charest Declares At Debate (Aug. 4): Another Conservative leadership debate has been consigned to history. If viewers were hoping for powerful insights into their Canada, they would have been disappointed.

It felt like Jean Charest devoted far too much time to reminding the audience that Pierre Poilievre skipped the debate. Roman Baber channelled U.S. Republicans and applied “radical” and “regime” to every Liberal reference. Scott Aitchison seemed balanced and direct in his assessment that Canada is a nation of limitless potential.

The next government will face unprecedented challenges. Voters should do their homework and choose wisely.

Robert D’Amico St. Catharines, Ont.

I found this to be the most thoughtful, collegial political debate I have seen in a long time, focusing on issues and not just bashing each other.

Too bad that Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre chose to duck it. It seems to me that if one doesn’t enter the ring, then one forfeits the right to ask for people’s votes.

Tony Woodruff Burnaby, B.C.

Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre seem to feel that it is okay to skip out on leadership debates so long as they can afford a $50,000 fine.

If they feel that paying a fine to duck out on obligations is merely a cost of doing business, what does that tell us about their attitudes toward such things as environmental protection or public health and safety?

J. Phillip Nicholson Ottawa


Re Ottawa Urged To Focus On China Threat In Plan For Indo-Pacific (Aug. 3): I find far too much emphasis on the military dimension of Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Canada should continue to focus on repairing ties with China.

China is Canada’s second-largest and fastest-growing trade partner, and has replaced the United States as the primary engine of global economic growth. With its energy, high technology and agricultural assets, that’s where Canada can be an influential player.

The idea that Canada’s $24.3-billion defence budget would make a difference militarily, when the U.S. alone spends upward of US$800-billion annually, feels like a stretch. How about an Indo-Pacific strategy of exceeding tiny Singapore’s per capita GDP of about US$60,000, from Canada’s figure of US$43,000, within 10 years?

That’s an Indo-Pacific strategy that would make more sense and likely all Canadians would gladly support.

Sarwar Kashmeri Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Re Canadian View (Letters, Aug. 4): A letter-writer “cannot recall China ever actually threatening Canada.” How was holding Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor hostage not a threat?

Stan Szpakowicz Kamloops, B.C.

Action, reaction

Re Different Time (Letters, Aug. 3): Kudos to a letter-writer, a retired ambassador, for taking the initiative in 1999 to advance six months’ salary to local Belgrade staff and issue visas – without asking permission from headquarters.

His gutsy actions exemplify the best of Canada.

Ron Freedman Toronto

Re Canada Is ‘There For’ Ukraine – Except In All The Ways That Count (Aug. 3): There seems to be a perception that the West will do everything it can to help Ukraine except, well, accept a little pain. Wouldn’t want that.

Sanctions are hurting Russia, whether we see it openly or not. Lada recently announced its new flagship vehicle – sans airbags, antilock brakes and automatic transmission. Russia is reduced to building 1950s cars because it can’t get necessary technology to build anything better.

Airport departure boards are almost empty because of air-space sanctions, but also because increasing numbers of planes can’t fly. Supporting the ruble is costing billions every month from Vladimir Putin’s war chest. Estimates are that he has expended much of his modern arms supply, and the army is hauling ancient equipment out of storage.

Yes, some sanctions may be painful for Western nations, but a small price indeed to pay for preventing an out-of-control Putin from waging a wider war.

Tom Curran Prince Edward County, Ont.

Stressed out

Re Ford Vows To Fast-track Foreign-trained Nurses To Ease Hospital Crisis (Aug. 4): Doug Ford boasts that 90 per cent of patients are getting care when they go to hospital. The Premier should instead be apologizing profusely for a dismal failure.

What of the other 10 per cent? Were they all hypochondriacs, safely dispatched along with their foolish worries?

When nearly half of nurses are thinking of leaving the profession, as surveyed by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions survey, and 25 hospitals in Ontario scaled back facilities due to staff shortages in just one weekend, the system has failed – abysmally.

It was so predictable. Despite facing an aging population, the Ford government capped wage increases for nurses at 1 per cent per year for three years, way below inflation.

After the stresses of COVID-19, what did Mr. Ford think would happen?

Doug Scott Gabriola, B.C.

Live to tell

Re Nothing But A Number? (Letters, Aug. 2): My father always said that old was 15 years older than one’s age. Every year I subscribe to that philosophy.

At 92, I am looking forward to 107.

Murray McEwen CM Erin, Ont.

Letter-writers have debated the desirability of a long life, with the undercurrent that more is better. It is a creeping sentiment: Just a little bit more, please. Ad infinitum.

We seldom stop to consider the consequences of living forever. What would our lives be like if no one has lost vigour except by violence? Population explosion and accumulation of genetic defects are just two of the obvious hazards.

What if history’s charismatic malefactors remained active, potentially for centuries? Or, less dramatically, if all dark-triad individuals from previous interments still sowed strife today?

All things must pass. Death is nature’s way of making room for improvement. We don’t have to like it, but this engine of evolution has been moderately successful so far. Steve Jobs said it best: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life.”

I may change my mind next week.

Geoffrey Milos Toronto

A letter-writer sets 75 as an appropriate lifespan to sustain the Earth, a five-year bonus from the “three score and ten” that my father quoted from the Bible.

Myself? At 72, and with the state of Canadian politics, I just want to live long enough to see how it all turns out.

Robert Hodgins Vancouver

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