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U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa on February 23, 2021.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Friends like these

Re Line 5 Pipeline A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ That Must Be Shut, Michigan Says (May 6): Softwood lumber, aluminum and steel tariffs and now a pipeline shutdown: It’s clear to me that we can no longer expect much economic co-operation from our neighbour. We should have all-Canadian routes for our pipelines.

Rae Waring Cobourg, Ont.

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Early start

Re Is Quebec’s Daycare Program Really The Model To Be Followed By The Rest Of Canada? (Opinion, May 1): Yes. Quebec’s non-profit centres de la petite enfance ensure affordable fees, decent wages for staff and quality services for children, and that many (not enough) parents can work or study. It is true that there are waiting lists and low-income families need better access to CPEs, which haven’t developed equitably across neighbourhoods or regions.

Quebec has also developed a large parallel sector of less affordable, generally poorer quality – and lower in demand – for-profit child care. Funded since 2008 through a tax credit, this seems to be the kind of “give parents money to choose” policy that columnist Andrew Coyne recommends.

Commendably, the Quebec government has announced public consultations aimed at remedying these and other concerns. As Quebec learns from its mistakes and successes, hopefully so will the rest of Canada.

Laurel Rothman Toronto


As an early childhood educator, I worked with hundreds of families as diverse as our country. They included students with student loans, medical providers, small business owners and new Canadians. All knew the value of early childhood education.

We should put aside the idea that child care is babysitting and see it for the enriching, socializing experience that it should be. Like columnist Andrew Coyne, I am opposed to $10-a-day daycare, but my reasons are different: Nowhere in this conversation has there been wide acknowledgment that the best staff need training, mentoring and decent wages.

Early childhood education is education. Most European countries recognize this. So should Canada.

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Mary Stewart Vancouver

Blame game

Re Who Is To Blame For The Vance Scandal? (May 5): Stephen Harper appointed Jonathan Vance as chief of defence staff in 2015. Apparently Mr. Harper was aware of some concerns about Mr. Vance at the time. According to his former chief of staff Ray Novak, it is possible that Mr. Vance was “not truthful” with Mr. Harper.

I suggest that the only fault of the current Defence Minister and Prime Minister was believing that Mr. Harper’s appointment was done with due diligence.

Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.

Easy: Jonathan Vance.

Margaret Smith Toronto

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CRTC conclusions

Re Wireless Competition Is Now On Hold (Editorial, May 1): If the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission did not go as far in its decision as some might have hoped, the reason seems very simple: It found that evidence did not support alternative proposals.

Advocates of service-based competition want to share in the upside of network access. However, they do not want to take on the cost or risk of building and operating networks themselves. The CRTC found few benefits to such regulation, concluding that it would only have “a moderate positive impact on price” and likely be unsustainable. It reaffirmed that positive consumer outcomes are more likely to arise from sustainable competition among network builders.

It should be noted that, with today’s economic conditions, Canadian wireless prices are already declining and fell 23 per cent in the past year, according to Statistics Canada.

The CRTC also concluded that facilities-based competition drives investment in new technologies and the expansion of network coverage, including in rural and underserved communities. As we have learned during our current health crisis, Canada’s future depends on connectivity. Our members remain committed to investing in that future, and delivering world-class wireless services to Canadians.

Robert Ghiz President and CEO, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association; Ottawa

Comment ça va?

Re Canadian Movie Theatres Staring Down a Cruel Summer (April 30): I was surprised to read the Movie Theatre Association of Canada’s statement that the Canadian government (unlike Quebec’s) seems to have forgotten “who is showing Canadian films to the Canadian public.” Film exhibitors in Canada are notorious for not showing Canadian films.

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Historically, English-language Canadian films have received about 1 per cent of screen time. The industry has been and continues to be Hollywood-oriented. The Quebec government has aided its industry because Quebec films are shown regularly in theatres, garnering about 10 per cent or more of screen time.

Quebec’s French-language cinema is alive and well. Its exhibition industry deserves support. That does not seem the case in English Canada.

George Melnyk Professor emeritus of communication, media and film, University of Calgary

Ethically speaking

Re Cut It Out (Letters, May 5): A letter-writer believes it was to be expected that the University of Alberta would forge ties with China, given cuts to funding. Another writer asks if the university has an ethics class. I offer a first lesson, one learned in kindergarten: Two wrongs do not make a right.

Rainer Kaufmann Toronto


I don’t know about ethics courses at the University of Alberta today, but I did learn something about research as a student there.

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For example, in the six months ended June, 2020, the top province exporting to China was British Columbia and the top importer (by about $15-billion) was Ontario. The same study noted that “providing the means to reduce reliance on China trade and reshaping trade patterns has merit.” The source of these insights? The China Institute at the University of Alberta.

Digs at the university seem well-deserved, but the same institution can teach us that all of Canada should brush up on our business decisions and ethics if we really want to help Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Ian Glassford Edmonton


The University of Alberta said it has “received no directives related to China” from the government. The government has not, however, remained silent.

The House of Commons unanimously declared that China is conducting genocide against its Muslim minorities. I find this relevant since the primary issue between the university and China should be morality.

Science’s greatest contribution to civilization has been its insistence on the freedom of thought. It was this freedom that enabled Albert Einstein, stateless patent clerk (third class), to revolutionize 20th-century science.

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We treasure our universities so long as they come to the defence of minority views everywhere.

John Polanyi University of Toronto


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