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Thank you, Canada
Reading the letters to the editor about the two Canadian women freed from Somaliland caused me to reflect on something that happened a few days ago (Demands On Diplomacy, May 14).
After two weeks in the U.K., I was re-entering Canada at Pearson International. As I made my way through numerous spacious corridors with a wave of humanity, I came across a single, tall, gentleman in his fifties rooted to the centre of the corridor, and staring at some distant spot on the ceiling. I could hear him speaking aloud in a moderate tone of voice, and because he was alone, I assumed he was on a hands-free cellphone.
As I got closer, I heard him repeat, “Thank you, Canada. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Canada …” I turned to see that he was not on the phone. I wanted to ask him where he had come from, but didn’t. It seemed too intrusive.
Nevertheless, I thought less about Brexit, Irish backstops, Donald Trump, Huawei and 5G, China and trade, measles outbreaks, flooding – and thought more about how great it is/was to be back in Canada.
David Ankrett, Port Perry, Ont.
Down 5-0 trade tactics
Re Trade Tensions Trigger Pullback On North American Stock Markets (May 14): President Donald Trump’s response to the plunging stock market after increasing tariffs on Chinese imports, plus China’s strategic targeting of tariffs on American agriculture – not to mention the impending cost of living increases on American citizens – reminds me of the bizarro hockey coach. Down five-nothing to the opposition in the closing minutes of the third period, he shouts to his players, “Don’t worry, guys. We’ve got them just where we want them!”
David Chambers, Burlington, Ont.
Canada’s fighter jets
Re Like It Or Not, The U.S. Must Be Part Of Our Next-Generation Jet Decision (May 14): On Feb. 7, 2002, on behalf of Canada, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S., committing Canada to phase two of the Joint Strike Fighter Program. As such, I am intimately aware of the facts surrounding our entry into the program.
Our main objective was not to purchase the jet, but to allow Canadian industry to participate in the awarding of contracts worth billions of dollars to build these jets. Our industry has risen to the challenge and, as Elinor Sloan indicates, has garnered more than $1.3-billion in contracts. We also hoped to learn a lot about the leading-edge technologies, materiel, and logistics, so that we would be in the optimal position when Canada was ready to embark on a competition to meet Canada’s needs.
Kudos to the officials who have found a pragmatic way to ensure openness, fairness and transparency in the process. We are a sovereign country with our own military requirements. We should buy the best asset that meets our requirements, including those that specify compliance with any relevant U.S. and NATO standards. None of the competitors should have a problem in so doing. We are our own masters, dependent on no outside party for approval.
Alan Williams, Ottawa
If Canada does not maintain the integrity of its territorial boundaries, it risks losing vast tracts of the Arctic, where our presence is distinguished mainly by its absence.
Climate change is having its greatest impact in the Arctic. Increased ocean traffic and economic activity are looming. Canada’s claims to sovereignty are being challenged, even by our closest neighbour.
Our air presence should be a twin-engine (for greater reliability), long-range interceptor. We have no need to project our power into foreign combat zones.
Robert A.R. Mills, West Kelowna, Ont.
Onex, flying high
Re Schwartz’s Firm Steps Back Into The Limelight With A Rich Takeover (May 14): I see that Onex leader Gerry Schwartz is well-positioned to make a small fortune in the airline business. He’s starting with a large fortune.
Ken Ohrn, Vancouver
Barriers to pharmacare
Re Cracks In The System: Without A National Pharmacare Strategy, Who Is Left Behind? (May 14): Kelly Grant has done a wonderful job in exposing the human face of suffering because we do not have a national, universal pharmacare system.
In the battle for medicare during and after the Hall Commission (1961-1964), the principal opponents of pharmacare included the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the private insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry (represented by the Canadian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association) and pharmacists (represented by the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association). We must recognize that there are those who benefit from the current patchwork system, and may try not to completely relinquish those benefits. Therefore, strong political advocacy is needed to develop a system with no cracks.
Sid Frankel, associate professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba
Re Majority Of Canadians Oppose Campaigns Against Carbon Tax: Poll (May 13): Nearly 64 per cent of Canadians surveyed say it’s not acceptable for provinces to opt out of the federal carbon tax. The same percentage oppose spending taxpayers’ dollars fighting the law. Unfortunately for that group of Canadians, it only takes about 36 per cent to win a majority in our Parliament.
Agostino Di Millo, Toronto
A mom’s diagnosis
I recently received a diagnosis of stage 2B breast cancer and started chemotherapy last week. I’m told that it is good for me to express my emotions: Good thing, because while reading Sarah Hampson’s When Cancer And Motherhood Collide (Opinion, May 11), I was doing a lot of expressing (crying). Ms. Hampson nailed just about every emotion I have experienced since my diagnosis.
The minute I found out I was pregnant with my now 14- and 16-year-olds, I had their lives planned right down to graduation from university. I’m not kidding. Now that they’re teens, they insist on having some say in it. Either way, none of us planned on mom getting cancer. Now that I have, and always being a believer in having a “plan B,” I have plans A, B and C for my life. Plan A: die of old age. Plan B: make it nine years, so I can see them graduate from university as planned when they weren’t yet born. Plan C: make it as long as possible. I am turning 55 this month (getting my third chemo treatment on my birthday), and never again will I complain of getting old. Every day with my children and my family is a gift.
Thank you, Sarah, for your wonderfully moving article and for sharing the most personal of journeys. I’m expressing again just writing this!
Hilary F.E. Warder, mom, lawyer, cancer patient; Kingston