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U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney speaks to reporters outside of the Senate Chambers during a series of votes in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on May 11.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

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In hindsight

Re Political Psychology (Letters, May 12): I know one person who predicted that Vladimir Putin would go rogue to the extent that he has in Ukraine.

Mitt Romney very publicly identified Russia as the prime threat to international peace and stability, raising the issue during a 2012 U.S. presidential debate when he was the Republican candidate. Barack Obama dismissed him rather glibly, suggesting that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

Mr. Obama won that round with his sharp wit. But really, could he have been more wrong? Here’s hoping that Americans are afforded another chance to elect the intelligent and worldly Sen. Romney, for their sake and ours.

Ken Johnston Ottawa

Re As NATO-Russia Tensions Rise, Look To Kaliningrad (May 10): It would seem that the Ukrainian crisis, instead of triggering a collective European rethinking of how to rebuild the inclusive, collective security envisaged in the 1990 Paris Charter, will doubtless be exploited by the Biden administration to further enlarge the northern flank of NATO to include Sweden and Finland.

Such a move would condemn Europeans to once again living in a Cold War-style nuclear powder keg. To borrow Emmanuel Macron’s famous terminology: Not only is NATO “brain dead” but Europe as well, incapable of imagining security arrangements freed from the dead hand of history.

Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.

In the 1950s, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev offered the Kaliningrad district to be joined to Lithuania, but its leader Antanas Snieckus declined.

Kaliningrad’s former German population, when the main city centre was known as Konigsberg, had been replaced by Russian colonists and Lithuania did not want an enlarged territory that included about one million Russian speakers. Today, the country has fewer than 10 per cent Russians; that number is about 25 per cent in Estonia and Latvia.

Vladimir Putin could instigate disturbances by Baltic Russians, then justify an invasion allegedly to protect them.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.


Re Texas Abortion Law: A Preview Of What’s To Come For Racialized Communities If The U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (May 12): What happens when people are denied accurate sex education and safe, effective, convenient, affordable contraception? They get pregnant.

What happens when someone gets pregnant when they don’t want to be? They seek out safe ways to end the pregnancy.

What happens when people are denied safe, effective, convenient, affordable ways to end an unwanted pregnancy? They resort to dangerous – often lethal – ways to end it.

When will we learn?

Jerry Steinberg Vancouver

Burning up

Re Hi, My Name Is Canada. I’m An Oil Superpower (Editorial, May 9): Yes, Canada is an oil superpower: the fourth-largest exporter and producer of oil on Earth. But I still have to apologize to our NATO partners, allies and friends in Europe, where there is a critical, strategic need for non-Russian oil and gas.

We can’t help with our oil and natural gas because our federal government and some provinces, such as Quebec, seem intent on slowly smothering the oil sands and liquefied natural gas production and exports by blocking, or hindering to death, every new project.

Mike Priaro Calgary

It seems convenient for Canada to claim that no climate progress can be made while demand for oil remains high; it lets us off the hook from having to reckon with the need to constrain oil and gas production.

Experts, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency, are pointing to the gap between production and climate action. Countries including Canada are planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels than would be consistent with climate commitments.

While of course we should have policies to reduce emissions from the production of fossil fuels, focusing exclusively on production ignores 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the problem: emissions created when oil is used.

In clinging to our identity as an oil superpower, Canada is ignoring the truth that we need to wind down production of fossil fuels in order to limit catastrophic levels of warming.

Julia Levin National climate program manager, Environmental Defence Canada; Ottawa

Re When Gas Prices Rise, Politicians Looking For A Policy Solution Should Think Twice (Report on Business, May 13): One of the reasons for carbon pricing was to give people an economic motive to use less gas and drive less. Now that we have high gas prices, albeit for other reasons, the government is being urged to relieve the burden of high prices for people who buy gas. What irony.

I know that high prices create big problems for people with low incomes, but I also see an opportunity. Those who can afford it still drive their cars for even trivial reasons, and those who can’t suffer when they have no alternative but to drive. Let’s use our creative problem-solving skills to find a lever other than money to motivate those who can to drive less.

Surely we can find a way to help those who need to drive, while also achieving the goal of a decreased carbon footprint. Time to put on our thinking caps.

Linda Peritz Vancouver

Further reading

Re Assisted Dying Is Not Palliative Care (May 9): To reinforce the view that palliative care and medical assistance in dying are parts of a continuum of medical practice to reduce suffering, of which we should make available the most appropriate to near-death patients, see Stefanie Green’s new book This Is Assisted Dying: A Doctor’s Story of Empowering Patients at the End of Life.

The Victoria-based Dr. Green gives many Canadian case studies and quotes experience from another country: “Belgian pioneers of palliative care held the view that access to proper palliative care should be a precondition for assisted dying becoming acceptable and available; they felt that assisted dying and palliative care could and should develop together.”

She also describes a procedure often used in Canada called “continuous palliative sedation therapy.” This results in loss of consciousness, followed hours or days later by death from natural causes – quite resembling assisted dying.

Peter Browne Ottawa


Re MPs Resolve Impasse Over 440-page Budget Bill (May 13): I told my daughter about the proposed legislation that would subject Canadian astronauts working on the moon to Canada’s Criminal Code. She said there was a missed headline opportunity that could have read: “Parliament extends long Canadarm of the law to workers on the moon.”

Ken Paige Halton Hills, Ont.

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