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People attend a demonstration in Montreal, on Aug. 29, 2020.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Long game

Re Huawei Draws Up ‘No-spying’ Pledge (Sept. 17): The story of Huawei is like the gift that keeps on giving.

One wonders what lies behind the company’s effort to preserve an operation in Canada in the face of insurmountable odds. The idea that Huawei could preserve that access by entering into a legal agreement not to spy is, to say the least, a little bizarre. One would have thought that Criminal Code provisions with respect to espionage would have been sufficient.

Even expanding an agreement to encompass its Chinese parent would be a stretch, as it is hard to imagine a court in China ever enforcing any Canadian judgment in respect to actions in compliance with Chinese law. All that such an agreement would do is postpone the inevitable, while leaving a significant cloud hanging over the company.

To go back to the basics, this has never really been about Huawei but rather about China, which runs extensive intelligence operations around the world. While trade with China ought to continue as a goal for Canada, allowing Chinese companies into industries with significant national security implications would be unwise.

In that context, it is instructive that China never embraced Nortel when it existed, probably because of concern that the company could instead be a vector for espionage.

W.P.D. Elcock Ottawa

Read up

Re Literacy Deficiency (Opinion, Sept. 12): I have a problem with the statement that “teachers teach children to read.” The idea completely abrogates parents of responsibility for this vital skill.

I read to my kids every day from the day they were born. It is my contention that early and consistent exposure to books is what makes a reader.

School is important, but no more than involved and dedicated parents.

Jane McCall Delta, B.C.

As contributor Julia O’Sullivan notes, some children begin school with rich literacy backgrounds and others do not.

More children would start out ready to learn to read if their families had resources to support early literacy development at home, high-quality early childhood education and timely identification of learning differences. Approximately 25 per cent of children start school without the fundamental skills they need to learn.

This can change with the right investments in the early years. We need a quality education system for all, as Prof. O’Sullivan writes.

Ariel Siller CEO, Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation; Toronto

The mother of all answers

Re The Mother Of All Questions (Opinion, Sept. 12): Contributor Hadiya Roderique’s essay was an excellent read. Several of the statistics were familiar to me, but the overall breadth provides a lens on the way structural racism affects outcomes of Black children. I very much welcome more content by Black writers in Globe Opinion as I seek to better educate myself on these topics.

Andrea Corey Toronto

Contributor Hadiya Roderique’s personal perspective has been so helpful to me. The evidence she cites drove home to me how little I knew as a middle-aged white man, and how much more I could learn.

I am also just finishing the book Me And White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, and will work daily on all the things she has guidance on. I encourage all white people to work and learn as much as they can, to help change what is a “rigged system” against people of colour.

Justice and fairness should stand tall for all.

Tom Tinsley Sayward, B.C.

Contributor Hadiya Roderique’s essay was heart-rending. I hope that writing it has been cathartic for her, so that she can set aside these fears and look more optimistically to the future.

Nothing is as wonderful as bringing a child into a warm and supportive family. Our civilization’s hope for a better world can only be achieved by investing everything we have in making justice and fairness a reality for everyone.

Have that baby!

Barbara Horvath Caledon, Ont.

Peace, order and good government

Re This Wonderful Place Called Canada (Sept. 12): Marcus Gee’s excellent column is a timely reminder of things for which Canadians should be grateful. Near the top of the list should be our democratic system, which throughout our history has enabled our leaders to respond effectively to crises. The problems we are witnessing in the United States are caused, in no small part, by its dysfunctional political system.

What is surprising about our leaders' reactions to COVID-19, and what Mr. Gee has so eloquently highlighted, is the way politics has become almost irrelevant. Who would have thought that my Mayor, Premier and Prime Minister would all be on the same page on any significant issue?

Doug Ford is the most surprising to me. My hat goes off to him for the responsible way he is responding. A year ago, I could never have imagined saying anything good about the man.

Peter Love Toronto

I could relate to columnist Marcus Gee tearing up while looking up at the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

In the summer of 2017, on the day of the solar eclipse, one of our kids was admitted to ICU with an extremely rare brain bleed. He turned 11 at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and I looked out the hospital windows and north to the Peace Tower. I promised him we would fly around Parliament Hill in a biplane when we got out of there, which we did.

There are many things to be grateful for in Canada, as well as things that our constructive criticism and civic engagement can help change. Excellent and publicly funded health and education systems, for which access is not based on ability to pay, remain fundamental to equity and our national success.

Madeleine Cole MD, Iqaluit

Ain’t no mountain

Re MEC’s Descent (Letters, Sept. 16): A letter-writer says that the sale of MEC to a U.S. firm makes him feel a fraction less Canadian. Where has he been over the past few decades?

I have felt many fractions less Canadian since the arrival of cable television and all the U.S. channels, topped off with the failure of a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup for more than 25 years and counting.

What keeps me more Canadian is our parliamentary system, which ensures we don’t have a prime minister like Donald Trump.

Bruce Hutchison Ottawa

Re MEC Co-op Members Object To Deal To Sell Outdoors Retailer To U.S. Firm (Sept. 16): So the new owners of MEC “will look at new options for what the letters will stand for.” A small tweak will do: Mountain Equipment Capitalists.

Brian Preston Victoria

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:

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