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Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

Plane and simple

Re ‘We’ve Made Mistakes,’ Boeing CEO Tells U.S. Senate (Oct. 30): The witches’ brew responsible for the Boeing air disasters has several ingredients.

The first is an airline industry that seems willing to risk safety for competitive advantage and shareholder profit. The second is a conflicted regulatory system caught between ensuring safety and promoting economic interests. The third is the conservative mantra to cut red tape by allowing industries to regulate themselves.

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The airline industry is hardly alone in this matter as governments yield regulatory oversight across many sectors. Watching politicians blame executives for these disasters feels like a loathsome experience.

James Heller Retired policy adviser in health, energy and the environment; Toronto

Regulators seem to have missed the obvious question about the 737 Max: Why was the MCAS control system necessary in the first place?

The bulkier fuel-efficient engines on the 737 Max would not fit under the wings – they had to be moved forward and higher. The result is that the aircraft does not respond in the way pilots expect from their training and experience. Under pressure in unexpected conditions, pilots respond instinctively, which will get them into trouble with the 737 Max. That is why the MCAS system was designed to take control from the pilots.

Over the history of aviation, aircraft have been designed that did not respond conventionally to common inputs and conditions. They are now mostly twisted metal in junk heaps.

Robert Mills West Kelowna, B.C.

More money, more problems

Re Between Two Provinces (Letters, Oct. 30): A letter writer compares Alberta’s apparent mismanagement of resource riches to Norway’s US$1-trillion oil fund. It seems to need reminding again that this conflates the actions of a province within a confederation to a sovereign country. A recent study from the University of Calgary found that, since 1961, Alberta has contributed $611-billion to Canada’s equalization program – close to two-thirds of Norway’s fund.

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A fairer question would be to ask: What has Canada done with Alberta’s treasure? Ironically, many Albertans are currently wondering if indeed this contribution to the country hasn’t been a gross mismanagement of our funds after all.

David McClurg Calgary

Re Alberta Nears Deal To Unload Crude-by-rail Contracts To Private Sector and Alberta Budget Reminiscent Of Klein’s ‘Miracle On The Prairie’ (Report On Business, Oct. 28): As Jason Kenney backs out of a $3.7-billion crude-by-rail agreement, he leaves Alberta with a bill of as much as $1.5-billion to cancel it and none of the projected $6-billion in revenue. Next on the agenda? The new oil pipeline capacity – so crucial for Mr. Kenney to meet his 2023 deficit-elimination goal – to be paid for by all Canadians. Miracle on the prairie, indeed.

Cathie Campbell Masham, Que.

Lend an ear

Re Hundreds Protest Controversial Talk At Public Library Branch (Oct. 30). I support the right of my fellow citizens to protest outside the Palmerston library in Toronto. We must be particularly vigilant to protect individuals who are facing discrimination, such as the trans community. I also support the right of journalist Meghan Murphy to free speech inside the library, even if I disagree with what she said there. One can be both progressive on social causes and progressive on free speech.

When we shut down free speech, we are narrowing the range of permissible discourse and lose the subtlety and clash of views that serve truth.

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Robert Girvan Toronto

Re The Targeting Of Other Women Shows Meghan Murphy Is No Feminist (Oct. 29): I am 70 years old and one of the first women admitted to graduate school in Texas for philosophy. I know firsthand the discrimination women have faced. I believe columnist Denise Balkissoon misrepresents feminism and its gains if she thinks criticizing other women is unfeminist.

In my mind, the most hated group in the world – the most discriminated against, the most repressed – has always been women. I think the trans community should take a knee.

Laura Rust Toronto

Denise Balkissoon’s column was the perfect, thoughtful response to journalist Megan Murphy’s controversial presentation on trans identity. Free speech is not denied; rather it is combatted with a well-researched and intelligent discussion explaining the shortcomings of the other argument.

Bruce Richter Waterloo, Ont.

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Help wanted

Re: To Improve Health Care, We Need to Plan Our Work Force Of The Future (Oct. 25): Columnist André Picard quotes Mark Britnell of KPMG International: When it comes to health care, “we are hurtling toward a global crisis.” That crisis has already arrived in Victoria, where we are experiencing an acute shortage of family doctors.

My husband is 73. His doctor recently retired and now he has none. I have several friends in their 70s and 80s who also have no doctors. The retiring physicians of the baby-boom generation are not being replaced, because it seems young doctors do not wish to take on the burden of general practice. They are graduating from medical school with huge amounts of debt, and they cannot afford to open a practice that carries expenses for equipment and administrative help. It seems many new graduates would rather join the staff of a hospital or become specialists than go into family medicine.

Our population is aging. Seniors are finding that, just at the time when they are experiencing more health problems, there are fewer physicians to help them. My husband is desperate and he is not alone.

Something has to be done. Perhaps some kind of debt-relief program could be put in place, one that allows young doctors to write off some or all of their medical-school expenses if they enter family practice.

Elizabeth Tumasonis Victoria

Keep them separated?

Re On Bill 21, Ottawa Needs To Find A Spine (Oct. 29): Contrary to The Globe and Mail’s editorial, I believe the federal election demonstrated that Quebec’s position is the correct one to take on the separation of church and state.

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This is a good time to reflect on how we vote. What does one notice at the polling station? Was there an absence of political materials, logos and colours? Polling stations must present a place to vote which is neutral and impartial, without any political symbols. Such a presence can be perceived as trying to influence the vote.

This idea seems similar to Quebec’s law on laïcité. People should feel that government authorities are neutral, impartial and free of religious perspective. The wearing of religious symbols can be perceived as religious bias.

Symbols are important.

Louise Manga Victoria

Isn’t it amazing that Justin Trudeau can criticize Andrew Scheer for not wanting to march in Pride parades, but it seems the Prime Minister will not stand up to Quebec and the discriminatory nature of Bill 21?

Gerald McLarty London, Ont.

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