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Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China walk off the stage after meeting with business leaders in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. Mr. Trump’s tariffs targeting China have Mr. Xi considering retaliatory action.DOUG MILLS/The New York Times News Service


Trade, power, disruption

Re Trade War Looms As U.S. Hits China With $60-Billion In Tariffs (March 23): This is all about Donald Trump “Making America Great Again.” He’s doing what Americans in general voted him into office to do.

You’ve heard of “disruptive technology.” A modern example: going digital from newsprint; an example from the past would be the invention of cars to replace the horse and buggy. The list over the centuries goes on.

There’s a new term that can describe the turmoil of politics in the U.S. – turmoil that’s increasingly evident in other countries. I call this “disruptive politics.” The outcome is yet unknown.

Martin Bosch, Guelph, Ont.


Yes, Russia and Facebook apparently did help Donald Trump get elected. But any reasonable person would agree that, given everything we now know about the 2016 election, what happened then was driven by the general anger against establishment politics and economics.

How many leading opponents of Mr. Trump – in particular, the Democratic Party – have tried to understand the reasons for the public eruption of anger? It seems they’ve either been too busy trying to scapegoat Russia (and now Facebook) for what happened, or they’re busy being outraged with Mr. Trump’s daily obscene tweets.

Despite all the noise coming from Mr. Trump’s opponents, one notices the absence of a viable alternative able to confront him in the next U.S presidential election.

Time is running out.

Ali Orang, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Paid to Putin

Re A Strongman Of Modest Means: Putin’s Claims Of A Humble Life Don’t Add Up For Some (March 23): Vladimir Putin, reportedly the world’s richest man and Russia’s president-forevermore, is obviously just the beneficiary of a very generous KGB pension.

Lubomyr Luciuk, Kingston

Nightmare du jour

Re It’s Time To Unplug And Escape This Nightmare We Live In (March 23): I sympathize with Gary Mason. If it weren’t that I’d miss my life in the city, I’d have become a hermit long since. The thing is, I started to detach from the news several years ago: There are just too many reports of disaster, too many predictions of upcoming disaster, too many media outlets all trying to catch my attention, which is mainly on my own life.

It’s reasonable to expect that’s true of most of us: We have to get to work, get meals made, get laundry done and bills paid, get the kids to school, to hockey practice, soccer practice; there’s that volunteer group that meets every other week, and of course we’d kind of like to fit a social life in and around that, too.

Following the news is something I do for interest and because I consider it important as a responsible adult. Problem is, I can spare only so much attention from my own life.

And when there are dangers, disasters, scandals and predictions of all the aforementioned at least every week, it becomes difficult to take them all seriously. So of course people aren’t taking the current scandal seriously – how is the current scandal any different from the one last week?

Jeff Breukelman, Richmond Hill, Ont.

The library of life

Re Last Male Northern White Rhino Dies (March 21): Extinction is poignant when it is personal.

The northern white rhinoceros, once widespread in central Africa, has been levelled by poaching and civil unrest. Persecuted for its prized horn, the subspecies was reduced to just three animals in captivity: Sudan, the elderly male, and Najin and Fatu, the females. This week, the death of Sudan made clear the grim finality for his kind.

But extinction is not mere biology. It is a record of our values, etched into the library of life and laid bare for all succeeding generations. Most poignantly, extinction reveals what we do – and do not – hold dear.

James Schaefer, professor of biology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ont.

Alberta’s working poor

Re Help The Working Poor With Targeted Benefits, Not Minimum-Wage Hikes (Report on Business, March 21): In Alberta, employment data tell us that an analysis is based on a faulty stereotype when it presents a minimum-wage worker as a teen who lives with their parents.

In reality, 74 per cent of Alberta low-wage workers aren’t teens, and 62 per cent don’t live at home with their parents.

Only 18 per cent of Alberta workers making less than $15 an hour who live in a two-income household are the spouse of someone making a higher wage. Almost twice as many low-wage workers are the head of their household, compared to being the household’s second income earner. These second incomes are mostly being earned by women, meaning that minimum wage increases are an important means to narrow Alberta’s gender income gap, which is the largest in Canada.

Ian Hussey, political economist, University of Alberta Parkland Institute, Edmonton

Uncomfortable truths

Re Voters May Not Welcome Another Liberal Lecture (March 21): While John Ibbitson’s column about the Liberals’ consultations on systematic racism unfortunately may offer practical political advice, Canadians should be wary of patting themselves on the back too much because racism perhaps isn’t as overt here as it once was, or still is in other places.

MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, whose picture appears with this column, wrote a powerful essay about all the subtle ways she has been reminded that she doesn’t belong as a black woman on Parliament Hill. Many Canadians may not enjoy facing some uncomfortable truths about racism in our society, but it’s far more uncomfortable for the people who actually face such treatment.

Kaelyn Kaoma, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Travel? It’s personal

Re Don’t Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer (Opinion Section, March 17): Travellers have been using camera lenses, videos and smartphones for some time to “see” the world as they wish to see it, based on the knowledge that travel is a pursuit that each individual customizes, and memorializes in a highly personal way. And this embraces all the serendipity that a destination can offer: people, attractions, food, nature, history, culture, the arts etc.

While the author bemoans people who run around carrying selfie sticks as not capturing the memory of the moment in their smartphones, he might, in the spirit of inquisitiveness, have addressed the changing nature of travel and how putting oneself in the photo is another personal, creative way of interacting with a destination, and sending selfies to one’s social media posse is another way of proselytizing others to the joys of travel and discovery.

Steve Gillick,, travel writer/photographer, Toronto

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