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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on Oct. 24.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

On the ground

Re “Understanding the guidance behind The Globe’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war” (Oct. 21): In his 2001 edition of Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, journalist Robert Fisk wrote that terrorism “is not a definition; it is a political contrivance. ‘Terrorists’ are those who use violence against the side that is using the word.

“To adopt the word means that we have taken a side in the Middle East … with one set of combatants against another. For journalists in the Middle East, the use of the word ‘terrorism’ is akin to carrying a gun.

“Unless the word is used about all acts of terrorism – which it is not – then its employment turns the reporter into a participant in the war. He becomes a belligerent.”

I find it a pity that this needs to be explained again and again in the face of partisan pressures.

Rod Hill Saint John

Re “Occupation made the two-state solution impossible. So what comes next?” (Opinion, Oct. 21): I have stayed in several Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I was impressed by the certainty with which settlers believe they have a right to live in Israel’s biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

I have also stayed with a Palestinian family in the West Bank and visited Hebron and Nablus. I was impressed by the certainty with which they believe in a right to live in a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank.

I came home convinced no one will give up a claim to the same land.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Lost cause

Re “What businesses can learn from how universities dealt with Israel-Hamas war” (Report on Business, Oct. 21): Megadonors want universities such as Harvard and Pennsylvania to condemn anti-Israeli demonstrations by students and faculty. Yet both the Harvard and Penn presidents did come out strongly against the Hamas atrocities and campus protests.

Both schools have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Arab and Islamic donors. Elsewhere, Cornell University’s president was very vocal in condemning Hamas and pro-Hamas protesters on campus, despite the fact Cornell has received US$1.5-billion from Arab sources.

Unlike private corporations, universities do not have control over their employees. In court case after court case in the U.S., universities that attempted to discipline employees for unpopular political stances have lost.

Attempts to silence students are more than counterproductive. The right to free speech is pretty much absolute in the U.S. and Canada. University presidents cannot prevent student demonstrations, and should not.

Stifling of freedom of expression would not succeed and would be properly condemned.

Ian Newbould Toronto

Same old

Re “For the federal Liberals, it’s just one more brick in the debt wall” (Editorial, Oct. 21): Expecting the Liberals and NDP to follow your advice on debt management would be like asking a leopard to change its spots.

They have shown a propensity to talk about restraint and do the exact opposite. New leadership would be required – now – to act on your sensible advice.

Skip Sears Toronto

Pay for it

Re “A universal national public drug plan? In this economy?” (Opinion, Oct. 21): I would be fully supportive of such a plan, provided the cost is fully offset by a rise in the GST. Would the NDP go for that?

Rod Taylor Halton Hills, Ont.

There would seem to be a logical approach for the government to take if it implements a national drug plan: British Columbia’s pharmacare model.

The B.C. drug plan is income-tested, so very low earners have zero cost for covered drugs, and coverage for high earners only starts after large drug costs have been incurred. There are at least three advantages to this approach: The overall cost of the plan is low; the groups most in need of assistance get it; the insurers are able to continue providing for the non-covered portions of the drug plan.

It is puzzling to me why such a model has not been suggested by the federal government.

Alan Cooke Vancouver

Next act

Re “Getting to the core of Pierre Poilievre’s biting ‘apple’ interview” (Oct. 21): Amazing. A video of Pierre Poilievre proving he can’t both eat an apple and have an intelligent and civil conversation goes viral, and there’s cheering?

I can hardly wait to watch him sitting in a chair, chewing gum.

Doug James Calgary

Bring it on

Re “Thanks to generative AI, profits are up and costs are down at these businesses” (Report on Business, Oct. 21): One of the downfalls of generative artificial intelligence is that it is “prone to making things up and producing factual errors, while lacking the capability to reason.” That sounds like every politician I know.

So let’s get on with it and replace our political class with robots. Life would be so much better.

Patrick Tighe Petawawa, Ont.

Journalism matters

Re “We are in a crisis of knowledge – and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time” (Opinion, Oct. 21): Good journalism, a cornerstone of democracy, is in peril when we need it more than ever.

Reliance on social media alone is one of the causes of traditional media’s demise, the inevitable outcome of a news-consuming public that has moved away from paying for reliable sources. Society needs journalists who have training, ethical frameworks and ability to research news, rather than self-proclaimed experts who recycle an ever-diminishing amount of reporting while looking for clicks.

A chance to fix this problem is not just regulation, but deleting platforms such as X from curated lists of reliable information. Most importantly, I believe good journalism and traditional media can be supported through subscriptions. Then, hopefully, advertisers would follow to further sustain business.

I hope this message can be reinforced whenever possible to help independent news survive.

Cathy Cuddington Regina

Get angry

Thanks for all the Arts & Books stories with the common thread of females who are angry: Alanis Morissette, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Elliott, Bonnie Garmus – and the rest of us.

The world is a mess. Wars, colonization, capitalism, guns and environmental damage are the norm now, and getting worse. Since we women were rarely allowed past that glass ceiling for the past several hundred years, I guess the guys have to take the blame.

Anger is the correct response.

Barbara Klunder Toronto

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