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Jan. 23: Asbestos – it kills and it kills. Plus other letters to the editor

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It kills and it kills

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We must continue the painstaking, expensive job of removing asbestos where we can (A Call For Asbestos Safeguards – Jan. 22).

Products containing asbestos must be banned. They wear. Fibres are released. These are breathed in. They kill. They killed my beloved husband, a professional engineering consultant. Mesothelioma, for which there is no cure, is a terrible way to die.

At every step, federal and provincial governments have spent too long taking action.

It will be years before we reach the peak of illness and fatalities, but so that some day that toll may decrease and eventually disappear, governments must act now.

Elizabeth Quance, Montreal


7,900 hires

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I was disappointed to see Canadian Pacific's announcement of 1,000 job cuts claim front page positioning (with a colour photo) in the Report on Business, while Irving's announcement of its intention to hire 7,900 people over the next three years garnered a small mention inside (CP Cuts As Freight Volumes Fall; Irving Looks To Hire 7,900 – Jan. 22).

What I expect from The Globe and Mail is balanced coverage. I appreciate that the country is facing challenging economic times, however, the sky is not falling in, there are positive business events every day across Canada.

Would it not make sense to give these occurrences equal play against the constant stream of negative stories that the media, including The Globe, seem so addicted to of late?

Mark Farrell, Ottawa


Teapots vs. cigars

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Re A Litvinenko Primer: The Killing, The Killers And Putin's Alleged Role (Jan. 22): Allegations that Vladimir Putin and or Russia's Federal Security Service approved the killing of Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko should be compared to how many times U.S. presidents and or the CIA authorized the alleged hundreds of attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Whether it is a poison-laced teapot or an exploding cigar makes little difference.

Ed Bodi, Oakville, Ont.


Deep dissatisfaction

Re Populism Trumps (letters, Jan. 21): A letter writer says of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump that "The greatest peril we face is the coming darkening of America and its flight from reason in favour of populism."

Certainly, Mr. Trump is a populist who appeals to extreme right-wing xenophobia with his demand for a wall between the United States and Mexico.

But populism can equally be left-wing. Bernie Sanders, who is also running for the U.S. presidency, is a left-wing populist. He wages a consistent attack on big banks and the "1 per cent." He advocates universal health care and free tuition. Like Mr. Trump, he appeals to anti-establishment sentiment.

Populism is not necessarily anti-rational. It arises whenever there is a perceived problem that has not been addressed through regular institutional means.

That we see two brands of populism, one on the right and one on the left, duelling in the current races for the American presidency suggests a very deep public dissatisfaction with American party politics.

Marcia Macaulay, Toronto


I hope Bernie Sander's social conscience leaves Hillary Clinton in the dust. I lost all respect for her when, after the torture and murder of Moammar Gadhafi, she joked, "We came. We saw. He died" in a sickening display of imperial hubris. I'd almost prefer as president the bombastic Donald Trump (a sort of Don Cherry with attitude) to the cold and calculating cynicism of Ms. Clinton. So I'm rooting for Mr. Sanders.

John Dirlik, Pointe Claire, Que.


Re Who Can Crash The Trump-A-Palooza? (Jan. 21): When Toronto had to deal with Rob Ford, America laughed. Then America had to start dealing with Donald Trump (and now the self-resurrection of Sarah Palin) and Canadians laughed even harder.

With Kevin O'Leary up on his hind legs, dancing to the Rob Ford/Donald Trump anxiety-provoking tune, how will Canada respond? Are we going to lose on a replay? Are the press going to cater to this dyspeptic campaign strategy and give it the oxygen it needs to survive? Will Mr. O'Leary forgo the profits he can generate via his reputation on U.S. TV and risk everything going up against the powerhouse that is Justin Trudeau? I'm curious to see how this all plays out.

Cynthia Amsden, Toronto


Buttery slope

Overlooked in the discussion of supply management is the paradox that this system of production controls can also result in shortages (Milk, Eggs, Prices – letters, Jan. 20; Sunny-Side Down – editorial, Jan. 19). A previous article told of shortages of butter and cream in Canada, and described an Ontario food processor who feared being unable to fill export orders for garlic toast owing to a lack of sufficient butter (Supply Management Falls Butter-Side Down – Nov. 23). Imported butter is subject to huge tariffs here.

This is a case of too much management and not enough supply.

Bob Tilton, Oakville, Ont.


'Tooned in

Often, I think that day's editorial cartoon is "the very best ever." Fridays' "Women's Studies" by Brian Gable about the Saudi campuses may really be the all-time best ever. My thanks for the creativity in concept and execution which delight me (us) day after day.

Nancy Mouget, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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