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The enemy next door

Re “U.S. white-supremacist league makes inroads in Canada” (Aug. 24): This article underlines why we need broad terms of reference for any inquiry on political interference in Canada.

It is not just China or India, Russia and Iran. U.S. groups are probably more active than any others in trying to influence Canadian political outcomes. We saw it in the funding of the anti-vaccine convoy that occupied Ottawa. We see it in the gun lobby, the anti-abortion movement, the attacks on LGBT rights.

In these days of post-Trump American chaos, the dangers to Canadian institutions that come from south of the border are as clear and present as any. An inquiry into political interference should not ignore them.

Tom MacDonald Ottawa

Pot calling kettle black

Re “Trudeau accused of stalling foreign-interference probe” (Aug. 22): The Liberal government has no hesitancy giving advice to other countries about their internal affairs and governance. For example, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told Israel in March that it must support democracy, the rule of law and the institutions that uphold them.

At the same time, this government seems to take joy in building barriers to public access to its information and in burying its head in the sand about foreign interference in our democracy and institutions.

Maybe it’s time for other democracies to lecture our government about preserving our democracy.

Morris Sosnovitch Toronto

Dangerous bedfellows

Re “South Africa rolls out red carpet for Xi as China looks to further cement its influence on continent” (Aug. 23): In saluting Chinese President Xi Jinping and honouring him with the Order of South Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is in effect endorsing China’s support for Russia in its war with Ukraine and its human-rights violations and genocide against Uyghurs.

Should Canada look favourably on South Africa and continue to provide aid when it supports a country that also unlawfully detained two innocent Canadians, interfered in Canada’s elections and violated societal norms?

If that is the company South Africa wants to keep, then perhaps it is time to re-evaluate Canada’s approach to that country.

Roger Emsley Delta, B.C.

Universalize contraception

Re “Ottawa should follow B.C. and make birth control free across Canada” (Opinion, Aug. 23): In her eloquent book The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates makes a persuasive case for the key role that birth control plays in allowing women around the world to improve their economic and family well-being.

At a time when our health care systems are beleaguered and at times overwhelmed, free birth control on a national scale should be a top government priority as it will result in major savings.

Paul Thiessen MD; Vancouver

It was with great interest that I read the Opinion piece on making birth control free throughout Canada. It was clear that Canada is one of the leading countries in the world to access abortions and has been since Jan. 28, 1988.

However, there was no mention of Henry Morgentaler, who was the moving force in making this happen. It was Dr. Morgentaler’s life’s work to not only provide safe abortions but also to lead the movement in making them legal in Canada, often at his own personal cost and safety. Dr. Morgentaler is a person to be recognized and admired for having the foresight and courage to change the antiquated laws governing abortions in this country and giving men and women the option in which to choose.

Selma Edelstone Toronto

Power for its own sake?

Re “There’s no quit in Trudeau. With an election loss, he could still be Liberal Leader” (Opinion, Aug. 24): Lawrence Martin’s piece on Justin Trudeau’s possible future looks at the entire discourse through the lens of power.

Nowhere does the argument mention what might be best for the country. With a divisive reactionary populist rattling at the doors, Canada needs a leader who can slay the beast and try to bring back a less polarized governing environment.

Nigel Smith Toronto

Who’s next?

Re “Our next prime minister?” (Letters, Aug. 23): A letter-writer’s high rating of Anita Anand is spot on.

Ms. Anand was proving to be the best defence minister in years. She previously demonstrated effective leadership in procuring COVID-19 vaccines. The Treasury Board president and Oakville MP has communications skills that are a cut above cabinet colleagues, who invariably stick to the script with bland messages that often don’t resonate.

Of all the potential Liberal successors to Justin Trudeau, Ms. Anand has clearly emerged as the person who would be the most formidable opponent of Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

Gord McNulty Hamilton

Cost of reconciliation

Re “Reconciliation, and the search for two victims” (Editorial, Aug. 23): What happened to those two women is tragic, but a search of the Prairie Green landfill site cannot proceed.

The odds of success are exceedingly low, and if even one search worker is exposed to toxins, accidentally injured or killed, the price is too steep. No reasonable person can expect the search to conclude on or under budget. Spending millions on the slim chance of finding some small trace of one victim is simply irrational.

Martin Stockton Stone Mills, Ont.

Free speech?

Re “Court rules against Jordan Peterson, upholds social-media training order” (Aug. 24): Sanctioning Jordan Peterson because of his views is a very grave assault on freedom of speech in Canada.

We can surely disagree with some of his comments and views without ordering him to be re-educated, a term we used to associate with communist or fascist states, and which we condemn when used by the government of China against the Uyghurs.

There was a time when Canadians had the freedom to publicly express their political and social views, so long as we were not calling for violence against those with whom we disagree.

Joe O’Brien Halifax

Monster mania

Re “A new generation is hoping to solve the mystery of the Loch Ness monster” (Aug. 24): If ever there was a time for the monster to appear it would have been on that grey October day in 1972, the air thick with mist, as I hitchhiked in Scotland’s Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness beside Loch Ness.

I asked the trucker who picked me up if there was any truth to the rumours of the beast’s existence, and his answer has stayed with me to this day. He said, “I canna say that there is, and I canna say that there isn’t. But it’s muckle queer that every year, right before tourist season, someone always spots it.”

Leslie Jennings Bracebridge, Ont.

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