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Same old 'same old' partisan litany

Re New Government, Same Old Litany (Feb. 26): Preston Manning would be a truly inspiring political voice if he could, for once, set aside his highly partisan biases when reflecting on our new government.

Mr. Manning criticizes the Liberal government's decision to rack up an $18-billion deficit in year one – without mentioning that the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper took a 2006 Jean Chrétien-made $14-billion surplus and transformed it into a 2009 $56-billion deficit. When the economy needs a boost, a responsible government, Liberal or Conservative, will and should stimulate it.

One political brand, it seems, will never acknowledge its own shortcomings, or the good side of the other. That is the same old litany.

Jacques Taillefer, Ottawa


Dsquared2 apologizes

Re A Gold-Medal Performance In Bad Judgment (Feb. 18): We would like to officially apologize to the indigenous peoples of Canada. Our Dsquared2 women's fall-winter 2015 collection paid homage to the beauty and strength of the indigenous peoples of Canada, who have shaped our country's cultural identity. We are sad that our collection, which was meant to be a celebration of cultures, might have caused hurt through our inappropriate use of words. Our intentions were in good faith but we now understand how this terminology is offensive. We are truly sorry, and apologize for the disrespect this may have caused. We can only hope that by making this mistake we have brought attention to this issue, and learn together more about our country's history. We will continue this journey, learning and educating ourselves about the diversity of the indigenous cultures of Canada: First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

We are proud Canadians and our birthplace is the driving force of the DNA of our brand, Dsquared2. We are pleased and honoured to speak about Canada and carry its flag with us around the world.

Dan and Dean Catan, founders, Dsquared2


All about obstructionism

Re The Fight To Replace Antonin Scalia (Folio, Feb. 25): When Barack Obama was a senator, he objected to president George W. Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Comparing the refusal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to even hold hearings on Mr. Obama's pending nomination to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court with Mr. Obama's behaviour when he was a senator, Paul Koring writes: "What goes around comes around."

The two situations are hardly equivalent. Samuel Alito is now sitting on the Supreme Court. Whoever Mr. Obama nominates will not even get a hearing. Republican obstructionism has reached unprecedented heights. That's the real story here.

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg


A most amazing dabbler

The Moment in Time (Feb. 25, 1723) item on Christopher Wren mentioned his having dabbled in astronomy and mathematics before turning to architecture. This most amazing dabbler was Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford from 1661-73 and the mathematician who discovered the method of measuring a cycloid curve. During his years of designing St. Paul's Cathedral he also found time to supervise the shutters and locks of London's beaver-skin warehouses in his role as deputy-governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Alison Mackay, Toronto


F-35? 'No' is logical, fair

Re Canada To Stay In F-35 Buyers' Club (Feb. 25): Canada remains, as your report notes, a member of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. But that is a U.S.-led 12-member consortium where Canada had little influence over the aircraft the group finally produced – the F-35. Joining the JSF never meant automatically buying whatever aircraft emerged. Had that had been the case, the CF-18 replacement decision would have been made in 1997.

Canada entered the JSF program in 1997 for two reasons: to get access for the Canadian aerospace industry to a major U.S. military development and production program, and to monitor developments in contemporary fighter technologies. Canada was not joining a buyers' club; it was joining a producers' club. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada "will not buy the F-35 fighter jet," it wasn't an illogical rejection of the JSF, it was the eminently logical rejection of the F-35, given the Liberals' conclusion that "stealth" and "first-strike" capabilities do not fit Canadian requirements.

Is it unfair to reject the F-35 before a selection process has even begun? Only if you think it's unfair to go into a showroom and announce you're looking only for a four-cylinder sedan. The dealer may want to show you a V-8 SUV, but there is nothing unfair about declaring in advance you're not interested.

Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.


A new friend for the FBI …

I don't get it: If the FBI wants to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, and Apple won't do it, why doesn't the FBI just hire a couple of Chinese, North Korean or Russian hackers to do the job? These folks seem to be able to creep into just about any computer going. It probably would only take them a few days. The FBI director might even make some exciting new friends. Win-win.

Ken Cuthbertson, Kingston

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