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Everything she could
Re Emotional British PM Theresa May Resigns Over Brexit Failure: ‘I Have Done Everything I Can’ (May 24): Call me a cynic, but my take on Theresa May’s having been chosen to lead the Conservative Party after the David Cameron-authored fiasco of Brexit has all the elements of the old boys network banding together.
They needed a fall guy and who better to choose than a woman? What’s next for the U.K.? That bungling buffoon, Boris Johnson?
Elizabeth Jansze Ashby, Toronto
No wonder Theresa May became the leader of the Tories “by acclamation.” It was a thankless job, trying to unite a deeply divided nation and a deeply divided party on a deeply divisive issue. It will take more than Boris “Trump” Johnson’s bluster to get the disunited kingdom to pull together internally on Brexit, let alone negotiate externally with the EU.
I doubt any of the hounds baying for her job will do better than Ms. May did.
Sarah Andrews, Calgary
Washington, Tehran, war
Re The Last Thing Trump Wants Is A War With Iran (May 23): If U.S. President Donald Trump does not want a war with Iran, he has an awfully bizarre way of showing it. He reneges on the nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement, imposes harsh sanctions, and threatens the free world with punitive sanctions if it doesn’t impose the same on Iran. He tweets what amount to genocidal threats to a nation of 80 million people, and surrounds the country with air and naval military power meant to intimidate and provoke.
Mr. Trump may not want a war, but he and his bloodthirsty Saudi proxy sure are girding for one.
Ali Manji, Thornhill, Ont.
While giving scant attention to Iran’s “destabilizing” behaviour and missile program, Dennis Horak offers no real plan to counter this threat. Dictators respect and understand strength. Appeasement is seen as weakness, and as an invitation to demand more. History has often shown us that in the pursuit of peace, one must prepare for war.
Gerard Shkuda, Burlington, Ont.
How sending 120,000 troops to Iran would be in the best interests of the U.S. boggles the mind. To assume that the United States could violently create a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iran disregards just about everything known about Iran and the surrounding Arab world. Where would John Bolton find an Iranian leader who can hold Iran together, and who is pro-American?
Miles Tompkins, Antigonish, N.S.
Re Mad Gassers, Toxic Buses And The Havana Syndrome: What Society Still Gets Wrong About The Way Stress Can Make Us Sick (May 22): The point is this: Do these diplomats and their families have real organic diseases, meaning lesions of central nervous tissue, or have their symptoms arisen from “suggestion”? Even if the investigations, which have not yet been concluded, find no form of organicity, it doesn’t mean that organicity is not present. One recalls that gynecological investigations of women’s deep pelvic pain found nothing – until endometriosis was discovered.
Edward Shorter, Jason A. Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine, professor of psychiatry, University of Toronto; author, From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era
Trump’s tariff game
Re Liberals’ Success In U.S. Trade Talks A Political Win (May 22): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims a big pre-election success in eliminating American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum; President Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed great negotiator, claims a big success in eliminating those terrible Canadian tariffs on all manner of American products.
In reality, the offending American tariffs, about which the self-proclaimed “tariff man” had boasted for over a year, were only removed under intense domestic pressure from within the United States: farmers whose markets had been disrupted; consumers fed up with paying more for products made with Canadian steel and aluminum; and Capitol Hill, where powerful Republican congressmen and senators had made it clear that until the tariffs were removed there was no chance of passing legislation to implement the latest NAFTA.
Canada threatened legal action and encouraged allies but in the end, as it always does, it came down almost entirely to the play of American domestic interests.
The tariff damage to American farmers and a range of other exporters and consumers was entirely self-inflicted. Furthermore, the new agreement, which Mr. Trump rebranded USMCA but nearly everyone else calls NAFTA 2 (more pointedly, NAFTA 0.8), adds little to what was there before. Mr. Trump may be an incompetent negotiator, as his trail of real estate and casino failures makes clear, but he is a brilliant huckster, a reshaper of the truth to serve his purposes.
We should not play his game.
Gordon Ritchie, former Canadian ambassador for trade negotiations, deputy chief negotiator of the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement; Ottawa
Ethical gardening’s roots
I would add one more point to last Saturday’s How Ethically Does Your Garden Grow? (Opinion, May 18). Shop at businesses whose year-round livelihood depends on the sale of plants. Buy from nurseries, small garden centres, and farm stands or markets. Resist the shiny bargains of large hardware stores, big box stores and supermarkets.
Those businesses make a quick buck for a few warm months, then go back to selling household items and food. Ethical gardening begins with shopping locally and benefiting from the knowledge of those who sell plants for a living.
Carole Costello, Victoria
Tourism, gone to pot
Re Ottawa To Launch New Tourism Strategy (May 21): The government’s five targeted areas to grow tourism are listed as winter travel, Indigenous tourism, rural experiences, culinary visits and LGBTQ2 visitors.
A sixth area immediately springs to mind: cannabis. As only the second country in the world to legalize pot, Canada has a huge advantage over its competitors and should be promoting weed tourism as a major drawing card for stoners the world over. Just as Amsterdam hit the jackpot with its famous cannabis coffee shops, we could attract thousands of travellers wishing to sample some sweet, now totally legit, Mary Jane.
Not only would these tourists drop oodles of cash on homegrown and government-taxed cannabis, they would also empty their pockets on hotel rooms, local attractions – and, of course, poutine and beavertails by the bucket load when the inevitable munchies kick in.
Rachel Judkins, Toronto