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A question of security?
Re U.S. Senators Urge Trudeau To Block Huawei From 5G (Oct. 12): The U.S. no longer considers traditional allies like Canada to be real allies. Donald Trump not only imposes duties citing spurious “national security” considerations, but uses his country’s elephantine weight to coerce trade concessions. Even U.S. businesses take advantage of Mr. Trump’s support for protectionism, as Boeing did with Bombardier.
Today, being dependent on American technology would be foolish – which is what the U.S. senators with the chutzpah to advise Canada to block Huawei from 5G technology effectively want.
We already gave up some sovereignty under the USMCA, and now effectively need U.S. permission for a free-trade agreement with China. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should politely respond to the senators that we will make our own assessments on national security, and that we are well-qualified to do so.
Masud Sheikh, Oakville, Ont.
Now that we have a more accurate view of Donald Trump’s pugnacious style, it leaves me wondering how much the American demands on Huawei have to do with security. Or is this another tactic to hold down competition from Chinese businesses?
I say let the Americans squirm long enough to consider how much like thugs they behaved during the remaking of NAFTA before making any decisions on Huawei. That strategy would be something directly out of Mr. Trump’s playbook.
Bill Bousada, Carleton Place, Ont.
To win at tech
Re Why Are Canadian Governments Funding American Tech Innovation? (editorial, Oct. 10): You say many “leading figures” believe Canada “should play the cheap-labour card to attract foreign branch plant jobs.” You then quote a speech I gave to support this assertion when I argued in relation to Amazon’s HQ2 that our core advantage is “great talent at a very competitive cost.”
The implication is incorrect. I do not in any way support the view that Canada’s technology strategy should be built around low-cost labour for branch plants.
Quite the opposite, I and others have argued two key propositions. First, Canada should not compete in the low-wage game, which is a race to the bottom. Rather, we must win in the knowledge economy, directly by building great technology businesses, and by helping our existing firms to be “best in class” at using tech to be more competitive. Yes, at today’s exchange rate, our tech talent is quite cost competitive, but these are not low-wage jobs. Our key advantage is the availability of highly qualified professionals.
Second, we should not use subsidies to compete. Canada is a place which produces great talent, attracts talent and retains it, because people want to live here, and because companies want to and can grow here.
This was the core of argument in the Amazon bid. Jurisdictions that hand out cheques to lure employers are confessing their lack of competitiveness. Toronto was virtually unique in offering no subsidies or tax gimmicks, and was rewarded by being chosen one of 20 finalists out of more than 280 submissions.
Ed Clark, former CEO, TD Bank; Toronto
I read your editorial and felt a slow burn: The situation is much worse than that. Here in Canada we have a not-for-profit entity called CMC Microsystems, which promotes high quality training for students by providing best-in-breed design-software and access to fabrication facilities worldwide. We do this very cost effectively because we buy these commodities in bulk, share the fixed costs among many researchers, and provide the first-level support and training to make it easier for students to use these complicated, industrial-grade services. The result is that “great talent at a very competitive cost” that you mention.
The recent government reorganization has let us fall through the cracks between science and industry; we will soon be defunded. CMC Microsystems’ national network of research support for approximately 10,000 professors and students at 60 Canadian universities is at risk. In November, CMC will begin Canadawide announcements and discontinuation of its numerous products and services, and issuing layoff notices to its employees – unless we can reverse a federal government decision to end its funding.
We have been making the rounds of government offices at both the federal and provincial level and no one wants to take responsibility. They all like the results we produce but no one will provide the $5-million per year we need to function, a cost of about $4,000 per highly trained STEM grad we produce.
Gordon Harling, CEO, CMC Microsystems
All not in the family
Re Belinda Stronach Offered To Settle TSG Dispute Weeks Before Father’s Suit (Oct. 12): What a pathetic chapter in the life of such a visionary and accomplished man.
In their later years, so many other highly successful individuals surround themselves with family and friends. They devote themselves to charitable endeavours and humanitarian efforts. I feel sorry for Frank Stronach.
Marty Cutler, Toronto
Age seems to have little effect on ego, whether it’s an 86-year-old father’s or a 52-year-old daughter’s. That said, what, at 86, can possibly be more important than family? I feel sorry for everyone caught up in this sad, shabby saga.
Anna Nguyen, Victoria
Though perhaps well-intentioned, Mark Critch’s article last Saturday, Small Province, Big Heart (Opinion), contains exactly the kind of unhelpful nonsense that is consistently being peddled about Newfoundlanders, including that ghastly metaphor of us nobly clinging to this bald rock like tuckamores in a gale.
He frames falling oil prices and the rising cost of Muskrat Falls as unfortunate economic tsunamis that created NL’s dire financial situation. I disagree: Lower-priced oil, with proper planning and preparation on the part of government, doesn’t have to result in such hardship. As for Muskrat Falls, he might want to consider the alarming democratic deficit that allowed it to happen in the first place.
The late Ray Guy, a satirist true to his calling, once referred to Newfoundland voters as “a suicidal bunch in a dory.” I really miss that kind of honesty. After ingesting disturbing bromides, I miss it even more.
Paul Rowe, St. John’s
1,2,3,4 – 4 Leafs!
The last Toronto Maple Leaf to lead the NHL in scoring for a season was Gordie Drillon in 1937-38. The Second World War hadn’t even started yet! That’s even a longer time frame than the current 51-year drought for a Stanley Cup. But in checking the NHL stats Friday morning a humble grandfather who clearly remembers the last Cup championship sees Maple Leafs occupying the first four spots in the scoring race.
Hmm. Must be a dream. I really should get back to sleep.
Jerry Amernic, Toronto