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National Trade Council adviser Peter Navarro waits for President Donald Trump for an event in the Oval Office. A trade hawk, he is pushing Mr. Trump to go hard on tariffs.

Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press

Tariffs? Feel the love

Re On Trade, Hit Trump Where It Hurts: The Swing States (March 7): Since the WTO takes years to adjudicate matters, Canada can not simply mount a legal challenge if we are hit by Donald Trump’s tariffs. A lack of swift retaliatory action would simply encourage his cross-border bullying. It would also undermine the credibility of our allies in the U.S. who are trying to warn about the negative consequences of tariffs.

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What is the point of reminding 38 U.S. states that Canada is their most important export market, if access to that market remains unaffected by even the most egregious U.S. protectionist actions?

Yes, we should be careful not to mirror Mr. Trump’s stupidity: We need a clever retaliatory response – picking items that maximize the political impact in the United States while minimizing the negatives for Canada.

One candidate could be the hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. chocolate and confectionery products that we import annually. The stuff’s not good for us anyway, and much of it comes from places dear to Mr. Trump’s heart, like Pennsylvania (Hershey). Mr. Trump says that he wants to apply tariffs in a “loving way” (whatever that means). Maybe we can do the same – and say it with chocolate.

Tom MacDonald, Ottawa


This whole drama with Canada and Donald Trump’s tariffs reminds me of Aesop’s fable about the wolf and the lamb which find themselves drinking from a spring. The wolf says to the lamb: “I’m going to eat you,” to which the lamb replies: “Why? I’m not doing you any harm.”This whole drama with Canada and Donald Trump’s tariffs reminds me of Aesop’s fable about the wolf and the lamb which find themselves drinking from a spring. The wolf says to the lamb: “I’m going to eat you,” to which the lamb replies: “Why? I’m not doing you any harm.”

The wolf says: “You’re polluting my drinking water!” The lamb counters by pointing out that it is drinking downstream from the wolf, so how can it be muddying the water?

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The wolf says: “Well, that may be so, but I’m going to eat you anyway.” And does. End of story.

Ellen Pye, Delta, B.C.


There are at least three areas where amateurs can often equal and sometimes vastly exceed professionals: cooking, gardening and love-making. Trade experts aren’t on that list, and the apparent dominance of amateurs in the current White House is quite disturbing (The Amateurism At The White House Is Absolutely Astonishing – March 5).

Economist David Rosenberg suggests Donald Trump and his fellow protectionists take an Econ 101 course – but it may be too late to suggest that for White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Mr. Navarro has a PhD in economics from Harvard, so presumably he’s already been exposed to the ideas in an introductory course.

If Mr. Navarro believes that granting an exemption to the tariff to some countries means it would have to be raised against other countries (as he recently said), that suggests he believes the tariff is for raising revenue, as opposed to national security.

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That indicates a breakdown of communications within the White House – or not enough time to prepare speaking points? A history scholar or political scientist could have told Mr. Navarro that the U.S. and Canada haven’t taken up arms against each other since the War of 1812, and that Canada, as a NATO member, is unlikely to withhold steel or aluminum from the U.S. in time of war.

Bruce Couchman, Ottawa

All about revenge

Re Maxed Out On Minimums (editorial, March 7): Having worked in the criminal justice system for 30 years, I know two things about minimum sentences: first, they have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a desire for revenge; second, any individual who put into action the same misanthropy involved in that desire for revenge would find themselves being hauled up before a judge.

Steve Soloman, Toronto

Overdue for pharmacare

Re National Pharmacare Is Possible – But It Won’t Come Easy (March 6): Every developed country with a universal health-care plan already has a national drug plan – except Canada.

Take the United Kingdom, which introduced a national drug plan in the 1940s that provides necessary medication to the whole population. Children, students, everyone over 60, those on low incomes and those with many serious illnesses receive their drugs free of charge. So does everyone in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For others, the maximum charge is the equivalent of $188 per year.

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Does this cost the U.K. a fortune? No. It is paying just more than half what Canada pays for drugs. Why? Because a national plan gives it the power to negotiate lower prices with the big pharma companies. Also, the U.K. doesn’t pay insurance companies to needlessly administer many different private plans for most of the population.

Canada is way overdue for a national drug plan: Various economic studies have shown it would save billions of dollars.

Julie White, board member, Canadian Health Coalition

Teachers with guns

Florida has passed legislation permitting some teachers to carry guns in its schools (Florida Senate Passes Bill To Put Limits On Rifle Sales – March 6). In all the discussions about arming American educators, are legislators considering the effect on children of having teachers with guns in their schools? Doesn’t this just advance the normalization of a weaponized society, and perpetuate the concept of guns being the go-to solution for any problem? Surely it’s not healthy to increase children’s exposure to guns.

Tuula Talvila, Ottawa


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Teachers generally choose their profession for reasons other than “to serve and protect” using firearms. But consider the possibility of a teacher who is pushed over the brink by a mouthy, abusive or violent kid (there are some in every high school). A teacher who “snaps” in a confrontation could pull out their gun. Protect teachers from themselves and others. Guns have no place in a school.

Diane Paget, retired teacher, Toronto

Honouring our own

You report that the legacy of Viola Desmond, who is mostly remembered for being arrested and fined for sitting in the whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., in 1946, “is being increasingly recognized” (New $10 Bill Honouring Viola Desmond To Be Unveiled In Halifax, March 3). Well, it’s about time!

But let’s not forget the advocacy and contributions of other black Nova Scotians who have fought to end racism in Canada.

For example, Carrie Best from New Glasgow was arrested with her son, Cal, in 1942 for sitting in that same whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre. In 1946, Dr. Best founded The Clarion, the first black-owned newspaper in Nova Scotia. It was Dr. Best who publicized the case of Ms. Desmond through The Clarion.

As an equal-rights advocate, she fought to end racism against black property owners in Nova Scotia, and tackled racism in Canada’s legal and political institutions. She also fought for better conditions for First Nations peoples. March 4 would have been her birthday (1903-2001).

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Vaughn Borden, Sheila Petty, Regina

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