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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has restructions on achieving trade agreements with countries such as China.LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images

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: letters@globeandmail.com

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An economic Dunkirk?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Prime Minister may want to exercise caution in declaring victory on the trade accord. In 1940, after the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of Dunkirk in France, Winston Churchill said: “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” Similarly, trade wars are not won by making 10 concessions instead of 20.

Examined in the cold light of dawn, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, unlike NAFTA, now contains a sunset clause. Canada’s dairy farmers are the worse for wear. New drugs will cost more. Steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place with no timeline for their removal or even any guarantee they will be removed. The possibility of auto tariffs remains, with simply a higher ceiling on vehicle exports before tariffs might apply.

Canadian sovereignty may have been compromised with the requirement for USMCA oversight on exchange-rate policy, and the potential termination of USMCA if Canada enters into a free-trade agreement with a “non-market economy” (PM To Seek Closer Trade Ties With China Despite USMCA – Oct. 3).

This is a Pyrrhic victory at best, and to claim this is what Canada’s government was steering toward all along is damage control at its worst. I would invite them to name major areas not already in place under NAFTA where Canada is now better off under USMCA. If these outnumber the concessions, we can start talking about a “win.” Right now, USMCA looks very much like Canada’s economic Dunkirk; noteworthy for what was salvaged rather than what was won.

Roy Schneider, Regina

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When there seemed to be the distinct possibility that North American free trade was headed for history’s dustbin, fearful Canadian voices were once more raised decrying our longstanding status of economic tutelage vis-à-vis the United States; the vital need to seek new economic partners was yet again posited as urgent and essential.

Having breathed a short-lived sigh of relief that economic Armageddon had been averted at least temporarily with the proposed USMCA, Canadians now learn that it includes a clause that will accord the U.S. de facto veto power over any future trade treaties our country may wish to conclude with a “non-market country.”

Any effort Canada makes to achieve this very necessary trading-partner diversity can, and inevitably will be thwarted by Uncle Sam. “The Maple Leaf, Stars and Stripes entwined, A vassal state forever!”

Alan Scrivener, Cornwall, Ont.

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The Maple Leaf has accepted third place in the list of nations. To a distant observer, Canada comes across as subservient, an also-ran in its own continent. That is not the proud Canada I know. Your negotiators served you poorly.

Star Carey, Canyon Lake, Tex.

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“Shift over, Neville Chamberlain. Make some room for Justin Trudeau,” a letter writer says (Imbalance Is Dependence – Oct. 2).

How else was Mr. Trudeau to deal with a maladjusted buffoon of a “President” who spends most of his time channeling Mussolini, than to dig in and scrap for the best deal possible, under absurd circumstances?

Alan Rosenberg, Toronto

Banned in Quebec

Re Legault To Use Notwithstanding Clause To Ban Religious Symbols For Civil Servants (Oct. 3): If Jewish kippot and Muslim hijabs are to be forbidden attire at work for civil sevants, Christian crucifix-depicting jewellery needs to face the same consequences. As it is, I’m left to wonder if premier-elect François Legault has completely thought his idea through.

Amy Soule, Hamilton

Let her light shine

Re Nobel Shines Light On Canadian Physicist (Oct. 3): When asked about her status as an associate and not full professor at the University of Waterloo, Nobel prize winner Donna Strickland responded that with the amount of time required to marshall support and documentation for the academic review committee, “to me, it just wasn’t worth the bother.”

Putting her time into research rather than into administrative actions that might enhance her personal status reflects her dedicated approach to science, and it is a genuine example that young scientists should learn from.

We need more Dr. Stricklands.

Jacques Konig, Toronto

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What a fantastic, fantastic role model Donna Strickland is for Canadian girls considering a career in the sciences. “I just wanted to to do something fun,” she says of her teen self some 40 years ago.

Long may the fun continue for only the third woman to win a Nobel for physics. Shame about the lack of tenure. Maybe the University of Waterloo can get on that?

Susanne Evans, Calgary

Gender-neutral nasty

Re ‘A Gender Transgression’: Why Women Cheat (Oct. 2): Infidelity in a marriage is hardly a gender transgression. Men and women cheat for the same reasons – poor character, selfishness and entitlement. The characterization of women who blithely enter illicit relationships as being bold and provocative is offensive.

An affair of a few months that “serves as a release valve” can result in a divorce that permanently implodes a family, traumatizes children, incurs financial hardship and potentially introduces the spectre of harmful STDs.

Either talk out marital differences or get out of the marriage. An affair is a gender-neutral nasty act of cowardly duplicity, not an awakening sexual liberation.

Teresa Flanagan, London, Ont.

Trump and taxes

Re Trump Implicated In Family Tax Evasion (Oct. 3): This headline was irresponsible, and at a muckraking level. All that was done by Donald Trump Sr., the President’s father, was normal vanilla estate planning. Would the same headline apply to the Kennedy or Sulzberger families?

Bruce W. Aunger, Maple Ridge, B.C.

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It is heartening news that The New York Times has uncovered evidence of alleged tax fraud by President Donald Trump and his family. I especially like the touch that thanks to his father’s alleged manipulations of the family fortune, “By the age of 3, [Donald] Trump was earning US$200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by 8.” However, the downside of this is that he will soon be publicly boasting that he earned every penny of it while still a small child all by himself, thanks to his very, very large brain.

John Lazarus, Kingston

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Coming soon to a bookstore near you, The Art of the Steal, by Donald J. Trump, published by The (“failing”) New York Times.

Neil McDonald, Ottawa