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A voter stands in line at a polling station in Toronto's Spadina-Fort York district on Sept. 20 , 2021, waiting to cast their ballot in the federal election.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

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An American in Canada

Re Scenes From A Campaign (Opinion, Sept. 18): Contributor Sean Michaels proves that novelists can also mock politicians for their inauthenticity. But as a U.S. voter visiting Toronto during the election campaign, I am struck instead by the good fortune of Canadian voters.

Canadian candidates believe, at least to some extent, in the need to fight climate change and compete from coast to coast for votes, rather than in just a few swing states. Sure, Ottawa could do more to help many, especially Indigenous people. But if one wants to see dysfunction, check out Washington.

Canada’s short campaigns de-emphasize fundraising and lead to governments closer to and more responsive to the needs of its citizens.

Mark Sternman Somerville, Mass.

Hard times

Re Henry Warns Of Difficult Fall, Winter As Delta Variant Continues To Spread (Sept. 20): In defending her COVID-19 decisions, Bonnie Henry states: “I’ve tried to adhere to key principles that underlie what we are doing. And one of those is trying to manage this disease while having a minimum impact on people’s lives. It’s a balancing act.” A serious public-health issue should not need “balancing.”

Dr. Henry should err on the side of public health, rather than compromise lives by trying to minimize “inconvenience.”

Baily Seshagiri Ottawa


Re Alberta Prepares Critical Care Triage Plan (Sept. 20): It is to be hoped that Albertans enjoyed their “best summer ever.” The bills are beginning to arrive, and they are horrific.

Colin Lowe Nanaimo, B.C.

Canadian diplomacy

Re Canada Caught Off Guard By Exclusion From Security Pact (Sept. 17): Oh how I wish the headline had read, “Canada opts out of U.S.-Britain-Australia deal.”

This new partnership is condemned by the Stop the War Coalition in Britain as an unnecessary and provocative move which “can only ratchet up what is already an alarming Cold War with China.” Although I’d be heartened to learn that Canada intentionally declined to participate, I hope our defence officials will resist any push by our allies toward military confrontation with China.

As in Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout Latin America, surely Canada’s leaders can see that fear-mongering and foreign military intervention most often do not result in security, but rather in economic, environmental and humanitarian disasters.

Marguerite Warner Winnipeg


Re Sidelined (Sept. 20): A letter-writer and former diplomat points out that the U.S. government was opposed to Brian Mulroney’s decision to purchase a fleet of nuclear-propelled submarines in the late 1980s. But it was always my understanding that Ronald Reagan, a close confidante of Mr. Mulroney’s, had eventually approved the transfer of sensitive submarine nuclear propulsion technology to Canada.

Hardly anyone could argue convincingly that Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Reagan were on the outs, or that his relationship with George Bush was strained. Having said that, the bilateral relationship during the Mulroney years was too cozy for my liking.

Peter McKenna Professor, department of political science, University of Prince Edward island; Charlottetown

In total

Re Six Years After… (Report on Business, Sept. 18): To say that “Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio hovered just above 30 per cent as the pandemic struck” refers to only federal debt.

A more appropriate measure of debt-to-GDP ratio would consider the entire government sector, including provincial governments. By this measure, it would be approximately double that of the federal government.

Constance Smith Victoria

Outside the box

Re Canada Needs A Real Innovation Strategy (Report on Business, Sept. 17): I would add another dimension to the call for our government to think beyond Silicon Valley models of innovation to generate good jobs for all. Indeed, a system that accelerates product development and delivery is crucial for a healthy society, but our national concept of innovation should expand to embrace such aspects as service delivery and social infrastructure.

The pandemic pushed naysayers and foot-draggers aside as ordinary people experimented with better ways to handle routine medical appointments, re-evaluated the utility of office buildings and exchanged curbside parking for al fresco dining. This spirit of everyday innovation often draws on hidden talents that ultimately enrich all our lives.

Such can-do momentum will continue if we learn to see innovation potential everywhere.

Sharon VanderKaay Toronto

Troubling news

Re Court Unable To Steer Jewish Judge From Cases With Muslims (Sept. 20): It is very troubling to me that the chief justice of the Tax Court of Canada felt it necessary to keep cases involving Muslims from a judge, that the process failed and that the judge heard such a case. Thank you for reporting this information.

Robin Richards Toronto

Immigration issues

Re In Brampton, Federal Campaign Pledges To Boost Immigration Are Creating Friction Among Classes And Generations (Sept. 16): It is a sentiment that often echoes on Punjabi radio programs: Many callers want a level of immigration that is economically viable. But more importantly, it should be socially and culturally viable.

They bring up the need for integration in Canadian civic culture. The sentiment often expressed is, “We do not want the social ills of back home brought here.”

For these community members, increased immigration also sets up competition for jobs. They believe vested interests have come to infect immigration.

For example, there are universities and colleges dependent on expensive international student fees. These students, who see potential passage into permanent residency and are allowed only 20 hours of work, often accept rates below minimum wage for extra hours off the books.

Many settled immigrants believe the policy choice is not between increased immigration or no immigration, but an absorbable level of immigration.

Mohammad Qadeer Toronto

Let’s play ball

Re Toronto Isn’t Sweating The Small Stuff (Sports, Sept. 20): Columnist Cathal Kelly wonders if fans at Rogers Centre are a tad too enthusiastic in cheering for the opposing team, citing applause for former Blue Jay Josh Donaldson among other examples. Maybe.

Whatever it is, I think it all started when the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera hit his 500th career home run on Aug. 22, a game my son and I were fortunate to attend. We witnessed a cheer turn into a sustained standing ovation, with Mr. Cabrera coming out of the dugout to tip his hat to a crowd that must have made him wonder if he was in Detroit.

Could it be that Canadian baseball fans, after the disruption of the past 18 months, are just showing their love for good baseball? Imagine us, wearing our hearts on our sleeves.

Ross Holden Gatineau


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