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Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a statement regarding the federal government review of the $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen Inc. by China’s CNOOC Ltd. and the $6-billion takeover of Progress by Malaysia’s Petronas on Dec. 7, 2012. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a statement regarding the federal government review of the $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen Inc. by China’s CNOOC Ltd. and the $6-billion takeover of Progress by Malaysia’s Petronas on Dec. 7, 2012. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Dec. 11: Political lines in the sand, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Lines in the sand

Lines in the sand are subject to shifting as the wind blows (Harper’s Line In The Oil Sands – Dec. 10). They can even disappear. A good contract describes the benefits to each party. We gave, but apparently China didn’t reciprocate.

Dorothy Madge, Windsor, Ont.

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Did the “select group” whose “insights were given great weight” by the Prime Minister include an environmentalist or a member of a first nation? Plenty of representation from oil companies, though. Hmm: “Select” is the word, alright. Wish it could have been a “broad” or “wide-ranging” group that spoke for all Canadians – not just those committed to a process as dense as the tar-laden sand in which they have planted their feet.

Donna Sinclair, North Bay, Ont.

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In typical fashion, the Prime Minister announced his approval of the CNOOC takeover of Nexen at 5 p.m. on a Friday, the end of the typical weekly news cycle. One could say he saved the worst for last, except that it appears he is also determined to ram though the Canada-China trade agreement (FIPA).

When? I’m betting 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Nicholas Read, Vancouver

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China is a totalitarian dictatorship. What are our human-rights principles if we pretend it is just another country? It isn’t.

Mitch Banks, Burlington, Ont.

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Okay, I’m officially fed up. NAFTA, Nexen, FIPA, pipelines, container ships. What is the hurry? What about the environment and future generations?

PetroCanada was privatized because our government doesn’t belong in the oil patch, but China’s government does

Mike Sanderson, Toronto

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Is the reason that the Harper government has yet to come up with a “net benefit test” for foreign takeovers their difficulty in determining the “net benefit” to the Conservative Party?

Graham Steeves, Port Elgin, Ont.

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Standard of humanity

The “key message” for the general public from the Rasouli case, according to André Picard (Rasouli Case Shows Need To Be Proactive About Treatment – Dec. 10), is that you have to articulate your choices ahead of time.

Suppose Hassan Rasouli had requested that his life be prolonged indefinitely in the ICU, even after he has become irreversibly vegetative. Suppose he also stipulated that he wants any organ transplant that might prolong his life in this state. Would it make sense to honour such requests?

Surely, physicians should not provide “care” that meets neither the standard of practice, nor the standard of humanity. Despite his “living will,” had one existed, his physicians would be ethically bound to inform the Rasouli family that ICU care is for patients who can recover to be discharged – not for irreversibly vegetative or near-vegetative patients who can be harmed but not benefit by such treatment.

Mr. Rasouli’s religious freedom requires that others not interfere with his religious practice. It does not entail that society must provide him with an ICU bed at a cost of $1-million a year. Other patients could genuinely benefit from such care and they are entitled to receive it.

Arthur Schafer, Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of Manitoba

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Hold the tears

Re Why We Mourn Fallen Cyclists (Dec. 10): I am incensed. You have no idea how many times, as a pedestrian, I have come close to being run down by a cyclist at an intersection, or as a driver, have had to take evasive action to avoid hitting a cyclist who ignores red lights and stop signs.

If cyclists want respect on the road, they should play by the rules. Until then, they should keep their alligator tears off me.

Kevin Lancey, Toronto

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Silence kills

Since going public with my injury in the fall of 1997, I have fought to help members of the Canadian Forces and their families struggling with operational stress injuries, directly linked to mental illness and suicide (An Open Discussion Is Lifting The Stigma – editorial, Dec. 8).

The silence around mental illness and suicide has been part of the problem. The war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 158 Canadians, but this number does not include Forces members and veterans who, upon their return, could no longer bear the psychological trauma of their experience and took their own lives. Records of these deaths are not publicized. They are not even well-kept.

Operational stress injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can take time to manifest. The number of Canadian deaths caused by the war in Afghanistan will rise long after the troops are home. These deaths may be preventable if Canadians break the stigma of mental illness and encourage the Forces to keep improving how we care for those who serve.

Through the latest technology, families of Forces members live the operations right alongside their loved ones. This creates unimaginable stress on families; we are now seeing the impact of this on the mental health of soldiers’ children.

Recognition of the operational costs borne by military families needs greater attention. Canadians cannot appreciate the true toll of operations if silence around military mental health persists.

Roméo Dallaire (Lieutentant-General, retd.), Senator

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No to contact

Much of the information about the detrimental effects of concussions was around four years ago when we – a group of parents of rep-hockey-playing kids – established the Toronto Non-Contact Hockey League (Mother Knows Best – Sports, Dec. 8). After our similar pleas to Hockey Canada fell on deaf ears, given all the medical and empirical evidence in front of us, we felt we had no choice but to set up a league.

In four years, we’ve grown from three to 13 teams of rep-level players. Throughout the hockey season, we continue to get e-mails from parents of players who have been injured playing contact hockey, and who want to join our league so they can still play the game they love. That’s right: With or without bodychecking, it’s still the game they love. It’s time for Hockey Canada to get with the program. If they want to protect the health of the nation’s game, they need to start by protecting the health of the nation’s hockey-loving youth.

Bill Robertson, president, Toronto Non-Contact Hockey League (TNC Hockey)

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Voting in favour?

I have a sinking feeling that, win or lose at the Ontario Court of Appeal (Appointed-Mayor Option Forgets One Tiny Thing – Dec. 8), the Rob and Doug Ford Show may present a motion to Toronto City Council for reimbursement of the court-turfed mayor’s legal expenses. I hope that we can count on at least one abstention.

John J. Donohue, Toronto

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F-35 EAP …

F-35: The Conservative government’s Economic Action Plane (‘It’s Panic All Over’ As Ottawa Rethinks F-35 Purchase – Oct. 8).

Peter Hume, Peterborough, Ont.

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