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Liberal-leadership candidates Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau: Both say the long-gun registry was a divisive issue. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)
Liberal-leadership candidates Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau: Both say the long-gun registry was a divisive issue. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

What readers think

Dec. 5: Liberal long-gun politics, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

A winning slogan?

Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau’s position on the long-gun registry is consistent with the Liberal Party’s proud tradition of taking brave stands (Trudeau Says Federal Gun Registry Was A Failure Because It Was Divisive – Dec. 4).

“Gun registration if necessary, but not necessarily registration” is a slogan sure to win many tens of votes in the next election.

H.B. Hutter, Toronto


Smart-guy gallery

Lawrence Martin suggests we need a few more PMs with a financial background (Brains Aren’t Everything, But These PMs Had ’Em – Dec. 4). I might agree if it weren’t for the fact that we’ve seen 12 federal surpluses in the past 45 years, and nine of them were provided by the “lawyerly” governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

Two others were inherited from the Chrétien/Martin years by Stephen Harper, who, in short order, turned a $13.8-billion surplus into a $5.8-billion deficit (since adding $100-billion-and-counting to our debt). Mr. Harper had to be one of the few trained economists in the world not to see the recession coming (remember the “it won’t affect us” speeches). With “financial” men like that, bring on the lawyers!

Guy Greenaway, Calgary


Lawrence Martin should be roundly chastised for describing president Ronald Reagan as having had “less mental equipment than any leader I ever covered.” Reagan had the “mental equipment” to bring down the Soviet Union and end the Cold War; he was truly one of the “giants of the 20th century.”

Anita Kern, Toronto


R.B. Bennett was a shrewd land speculator and investor, but much of his wealth he inherited from the Eddy family of forest products fame. This led the late Leonard Brockington, first chairman of the CBC, to paraphrase Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in describing Bennett’s rise to riches: “There is a tide in the affairs of men,/Which, taken at the Eddy, leads on to fortune.”

Michiel Horn, professor emeritus, history, York University, Toronto


It’s about the poor

International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino is apparently “puzzled” at the backlash against his comments that Canadian aid should promote Canadian business interests abroad (Fantino Defends CIDA’s Corporate Shift – Dec. 4). Analysts of foreign aid have long recognized that the motivations for giving aid almost always include a mix of humanitarianism and self-interest. However, what is so concerning about Mr. Fantino’s comments is that humanitarian concerns have so clearly been pushed into the back seat, if not left behind completely.

Canada’s Development Assistance Accountability Act, which became law in 2008 with the unanimous support of all parties in the House of Commons, specifically states that “poverty reduction” – not the promotion of Canadian economic interests – should be the “central focus” of “all Canadian official development assistance abroad.”

John Cameron, chair, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax


Did the Good Samaritan, by helping the man by the wayside, expect “to promote Canadian business, the Canadian economy, benefits for Canada”? Does international trade trump Canadian charity?

Robert Binhammer, retired Lutheran pastor, Toronto


‘Brain bucket’ fan

For 20 years, I cycled to school and work; for several years, I competed in triathlons, clocking thousands of kilometres in training. In all that time, I fell only twice. Once was because of a purse strap (long story, too embarrassing to go into here). The other crash, much worse, occurred at very low speed. My bicycle chain skipped while I was out of the saddle and pulling hard up a hill. The downward pull threw me off balance and into the pavement with all my weight (admittedly less than it is today) behind it.

My head whiplashed into the ground, breaking my helmet in three places. So yes, bike crashes are thankfully rare (Helmet Danger – letters, Dec. 3), but if it weren’t for my wonderful “brain bucket,” I’d probably be dead.

Christina Boase, Vancouver


Asian opportunities

Re Complacent Canada Missing Out On Vietnam (Report on Business, Nov. 29): Not all Canadian companies are as a complacent as this headline might suggest.

Manulife was the first foreign-owned life insurance company to enter Vietnam after the government opened up the market; today, we have more than 400 employees and 12,000 agents in 16 cities. We see a bright future in Vietnam.

According to the Bank of Canada, 85 per cent of Canada’s exports are targeted at the world’s slowest-growing economies, while only 8 per cent of our exports are with the world’s fastest-growing economies. More than a billion people will enter the middle class in Asia in the next 10 years. Canadian companies should tap into this opportunity for their own sake and for the benefit of those countries.

Canadian companies have much to offer with our world-class knowledge in natural resources, technology and finance. For example, Manulife has partnered with the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the Vietnam Women’s Union to launch a pilot project for the distribution of micro-insurance to more than 100,000 rural families.

Let’s show the world what Canadians can do.

Donald A. Guloien, CEO, Manulife


At the engine

So Rob Ford, hoping he can get re-elected as Toronto's mayor, wants city council to call a by-election (Ford Urges Council To Let The People Vote – Dec. 3). That way, the public that Mr. Ford claims to put first is stuck with a $7-million bill for his malfeasance – the estimated cost of another citywide vote. I’d say the man who rode into office shouting “stop the gravy train” now wants to drive it.

Terry O’Connor, Toronto


Get outta town

You report that Graham Towers, Bank of Canada governor from 1934 to 1954, “with his wife, Molly … lived the high life in Ottawa as part of the establishment” (The Governor And The Bank – Report on Business, Dec. 1).

There was no high life in Ottawa then. Establishment or not, one was working in a city of modest salaries and few cultural amenities. Yes, there were cocktail parties and perhaps the odd frisson of excitement over a new martini recipe or the tale of someone’s grand slam in a bridge game the night before. But if you wanted “high life” in Ottawa, you went to Montreal.

Gillian O’Reilly, Toronto

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