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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran's nuclear program at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2018.

JACK GUEZ/Getty Images

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Talking to Iran

Re Talk To Iran, But Be Wary (editorial, May 2): It is hard to believe that the Islamic theocracy in Iran will change its domestic and foreign policies by any diplomatic engagement. The election of a so-called moderate President has only resulted in more arbitrary detentions, torture and executions. Any talk between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and the regime’s representatives must include the atrocities in Iran.

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Your editorialists are right that “sometimes grown-ups must speak to and do business with people they don’t like.” The key word is “sometimes.”

Farrokh Sedighdeilami, Thornhill, Ont.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a thinly veiled bid to influence Donald Trump, proclaimed he had documents proving Iran lied about nuclear weapons. It’s now known that these documents had been seen by UN officials as early as 2005.

In all the hype, I was surprised there were no questions about Israel’s nuclear stockpile. According to various sources, including the Federation of American Scientists, Israel likely has around 75 to 200 nuclear weapons. These days, it seems the adage should be: There are lies, damn lies, and the Donald’s and Bibi’s lies.

Steve Berube, Riverview, N.B.

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Iran and Hezbollah have threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Jews learned from the Second World War that when someone says they are going to annihilate you, you should take them at their word. Unless there is regime-change in Iran, the Iran deal must be renegotiated.

Robert Yufe, Toronto

Not sold on a sales tax?

Re Let’s-Face-it Finances (letters, May 2): The primary “let’s face it” of many Albertans appears to be that they don’t understand Canada’s equalization system.

Equalization payments are only paid out of the federal treasury, which is where all Canadian federal personal income taxes are deposited. Residents of the two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, contribute by far the largest proportion of the equalization pool of monies via their income taxes. The equalization system is based on per-capita GDP, and Alberta has one of the highest per-person GDP figures of any province (along with the lowest per-capita taxes). Real world translation: Albertans, you are the fiscal elite of Canada.

Diana Shields, Toronto

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No, Alberta doesn’t need a sales tax, it needs to get its oil to market or to stop paying into the federal government’s equalization coffers, only to see some of that money distributed to provinces which stand in Alberta’s way.

The problem with sales tax, or any tax for that matter, is that taxes are insidious. Once governments get hooked on them, it becomes a slippery slope with an expanding bureaucracy.

Ontario and the other provinces have sales taxes. Most are running deficits; Ontario’s is obscene. The way to increase economic output is to have as few taxes as possible so people have more money to spend and create employment opportunities.

Shael Greenwood, Thornhill, Ont.

Ontario’s poor choices

Re Ford Recants Comments On Greenbelt Development (May 2): Slim pickings to choose between the ridiculously poorly performing (and most likely outgoing) Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, and opportunistic Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford. If pre-election promises and sudden retractions on major issues like the Greenbelt are any indication of Mr. Ford’s knee-jerk policy platform, we may be in for a Trump-like era in Ontario.

I have great difficulty understanding why we can’t attract better, more qualified, professional-calibre managers interested in leading Ontario. Perhaps the salary is too low compared with the private sector. Or is it simply that the political game has become so disreputable that Wynne-Ford are all we can attract to the job?

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All voters can do in the meantime is hope and pray for the best from what is likely the worst cast of characters we’ve seen in awhile.

Neil McLaughlin, Burlington, Ont.

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Based on Doug Ford’s recent backtracking on the Greenbelt issue, his policy book appears to be based on the concept: There go my people, I am their leader, I must follow them.

Larry Phillips, Winnipeg

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That those who are not doing well in society are likely to vote for Doug Ford is not exactly an Earth-shattering finding (Ontario Is Not Immune To Political Populism – April 30). But Mr. Ford will not secure victory simply by appealing to the disaffected. I think there are many Liberals who are so fed up with Kathleen Wynne’s government that that they would hold their nose and vote Ford just for a change. There may also be Liberals who feel that Ms. Wynne, in courting the soft NDP vote, has moved too far to the left.

If, instead of ill-judged comments on the electricity sector, housing in the Greenbelt and sex education, Mr. Ford were to promise to remove defined pension benefits for new government hires, merge the public and Catholic school systems, privatize the liquor control board, allow the private sector to sell cannabis, and abolish interprovincial trade barriers, including those governing wine sales, he would have a pretty decent platform and many people who are doing just fine might even vote for him.

Adam Plackett, Toronto

UN is not a corporation

Re Trump Offers No Apology For Alleged Comment About Africa (May 1): As Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley’s failure to understand the international body in which she serves is not surprising.

In Mr. Trump’s transactional world, money calls the shots: Ms. Haley expects other nations to vote with the U.S. because it pays 22 per cent of the UN’s budget.

But the UN is not a corporation. It is an extraordinary global political body based on the sovereign equality of all its members. And, despite its warts and failures, the dividends are a more peaceful and prosperous world that benefits everyone.

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If Ms. Haley thinks she can bully sovereign nations into voting with the U.S., she is mistaken. Only by reinforcing the values and responsibilities that underpin the UN Charter can the U.S. persuade others to share its point of view.

Barbara Martin, former diplomat, Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; Chelsea, Que.

One of life’s moments

When my wife and I arrived to attend our niece’s wedding last month, I realized at the hotel check-in I’d lost my wallet. Imagine our reaction on returning home 12 days later to pick up a voice mail from a Torontonian who had found the wallet at Pearson International and contacted me via my business card.

The wallet and I are now happily reunited. My finder has flatly refused a reward. Well done, Toronto. Well done, Canada. The rare ignominy of being a Scotsman who lost his wallet will however define me for some time.

David Watson, Cumbernauld, Scotland

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