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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a Black Lives Matter protest on Parliament Hill June 5, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Trudeau appeared at a loss for words on June 2, pausing for 20 seconds when pressed for this thoughts on US President Donald Trump's threat of military mobilization against violent US protests.

DAVE CHAN/AFP/Getty Images

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Trudeau’s pause, Part 2

Re By Remaining Silent On Trump, Canada’s Leaders Signal A National Frailty (June 5): While reading Peter Donolo’s opinion piece urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak up against U.S. President Donald Trump and in support of Canadian values, I kept asking myself: “What would that accomplish?” We might feel good and give ourselves a collective pat on the back for speaking out, but the message would certainly fall on deaf ears.

We are talking about a President who doesn’t take guidance from his closest advisers. He is far more likely to heed the comments of strong-man dictators (whom he both envies and admires) than those of our Prime Minister. There are plenty of loud voices in the United States denouncing Mr. Trump’s latest words and deeds, including some notable Republicans. There are only risks in sticking our noses in U.S. domestic affairs. Besides, we have problems of our own that need our full attention, including racism.

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Mark Roberts Gananoque, Ont.


Mr. Donolo is quite correct that Canadians are deeply troubled about Mr. Trump’s “veer” toward authoritarianism and his apparently purposeful incitement of unrest. His latest gambit using American military against American citizens should scare the heck out of us all, and it screams for decrying. Mr. Trudeau had no trouble decrying authoritarianism in Hong Kong (Trudeau Decries China’s Grip On Hong Kong, June 5).

Mr. Donolo posits that Mr. Trudeau’s lack of voice regarding Mr. Trump is self-censorship, Canadians “cowering” before a more powerful neighbour. I posit that silence regarding Mr. Trump’s many attempts to dismantle America’s democracy equates to a policy of appeasement. That didn’t work in the 1930s. Speak, Mr. Trudeau. Speak, everyone!

Joe Yassi Toronto


Most Canadians would know that the Prime Minister had to know this question was coming – not that he was caught by surprise – and by the set of his face one knew this was his response. One can agree or not with Mr. Donolo on the adequacy of the response. My personal view is that it was perfect.

L.J. Ridgeway Ottawa


Mr. Trudeau’s 21 seconds of silence can be, and already has been, interpreted in many ways. The Prime Minister had an opportunity to address, not Mr. Trump, but rather those Canadians who for reasons of their own feel that the President is “a nice guy” as Brian Mulroney has said, and not a racist, as Stephen Harper has wrongly suggested.

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In Canadian politics, there has always been a fantastical notion that the United States is like Canada’s big brother and a shining example of what we ought to be doing. For those Canadians, even the events of the past week or so are unlikely to change their views. But Mr. Trudeau owed it to all Canadians to state in no uncertain terms that we will never go down the road the U.S. seems intent on taking.

Steve Soloman Toronto


There is one obvious way to interpret the Prime Minister’s long pause when asked about Mr. Trump’s nasty and divisive approach to the protests against racism and police brutality in his country – Mr. Trump’s actions are unspeakable.

Don Langille Halifax

U.S.-Canada border issues

Re The Canada-U.S. Border Must Reopen Soon (June 5): Our border with the increasingly authoritarian and bellicose United States should stay closed for a year. The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of coronavirus cases. This is an import we truly don’t need.

Lorne Sabsay Toronto

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I was struck by the omission of a small but significant issue: Several thousand Canadians and Americans own property in each other’s country. Their economic impact in some communities, for example in Florida, Arizona and Ontario’s cottage country, is meaningful. Closing the border makes it more difficult to maintain these properties. Unlike casual day or weekend visitors, many cross-border property owners can observe quarantine requirements. Both governments should take this into account when considering border restrictions.

William Bowden, Kennesaw, Ga., and Southampton, Ont.

Defunding the police

Re If Not Now, When Will We Be Ready To Consider Defunding Some Police Forces? (June 6): A bit of not-so-ancient history. When the Group of Twenty met in Toronto in 2010, there were protests. The police “kettled” hundreds of people and took them off to detention facilities specially created for the purpose. A friend of mine was one of the people planning one of the protests. A nice man called Kevin came to their meetings. He took minutes and brought doughnuts. Then, one day, they saw him getting into a police car. He was an undercover cop. I heard from a member of the Raging Grannies that the same thing happened to them. The Raging Grannies! If the police have the resources to send an undercover cop to spy on them, they have too much money.

Elizabeth Block Toronto


In trying to solve some of the inequities in our society, it should not be a question of taking from one pot –the police – to give to another – community services. It is time to restore the so-called frills that have been chipped away by successive governments: community centres with a wide range of activities for youth; help and support for young mothers; affordable daycare for all; assistants in schools to enable libraries to be open before and after classes and during the lunch hour; music programs in all schools taught by qualified specialists; as well as social workers and psychologists, co-op programs and apprenticeships. Only when we realize that we are all responsible for providing these basic things for all children that we can begin to heal our society.

Maxanne Ezer Toronto

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Sharing the AIMCo pain

Re AIMCo’s Risky Strategy Led To Higher Losses Than Most Pension Plans (June 4): Perhaps chief executive Kevin Uebelein and his chief investment officer would better feel the “extreme pain” of their investors if they used their salaries to cover part of the AIMCo losses.

Mary Hawken Calgary

Ada Lovelace’s famous dad

Re Ada Lovelace Meets Charles Babbage And Invents The First Computer Program (June 5): The Moment in Time piece about the brilliant mathematician Ada Lovelace and her pioneering work doesn’t mention the interesting fact that she was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron – in fact his only legitimate child from his brief marriage to Anne Isabella Milbanke (also a mathematician). The powerful future language, which Ms. Lovelace predicts, echoes the powerful language used by her father. She died at the age of 36 – how much more could she have achieved if she had lived longer?

Sheila Fennessy Toronto


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