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Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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A verdict's message

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Re Toronto Const. James Forcillo Guilty Of Attempted Murder Of Sammy Yatim (online, Jan. 25): I find that I am relieved by the guilty verdict in the Constable James Forcillo trial.

A minority of police officers need to be reminded that while they have a certain amount of authority, that authority comes with a duty to protect.

Indeed, their authority may be used exclusively in the exercise of that duty to protect. What Const. Forcillo seemed to have forgotten on July 27, 2013, was that his duty to protect included the protection of Sammy Yatim.

Jeff Breukelman, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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Pipeline pressures

While Keystone XL was under microscopic scrutiny, the good old U.S.A. was busy drilling, fracking and building enough pipeline to cross Canada twice (The Pipeline That Could Tear Canada Apart – Jan. 25). Internal opposition to America's energy ambitions were exported here in the form of planet-saving NGOs.

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Now, the world's second-largest emitter is eco-smug and energy self-sufficient. Should tanker traffic (from the bastion of stability that is the Mideast) be interrupted, the Americans will be laughing while we burn the furniture.

Richard Zylka, Calgary

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No one denies that oil and gas play a huge part in Alberta's economy and, to a much smaller extent, in Canada's. But this overdependence has to end. There will be a Canadian oil and gas industry well into the future, but it must shrink in size, and thus new pipelines are unnecessary.

The industry, especially the oil sands, is devastating environmentally, and not only to climate. Socially, continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels will be a disaster. The necessary move away from fossil fuels has begun and unless we adapt to the transition to renewables, we won't get an appropriate share of investment and jobs in the new low-carbon economy and Alberta will not be a happy place.

Time, money and political capital must be devoted to rapid development of clean renewables, not Energy East: We need urgently to move on.

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Janet Keeping, Leader, Green Party of Alberta

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Commerce within this country is dominated by tenuous east-west trade, intercepted by provincial boundaries, whose guardians behave like medieval robber barons guarding strategically important trade routes with the help of fortresses and armed men.

Canada thus is an unlikely economic entity, whose main components can see few trade opportunities beyond those lying across their southern border. East-west barriers, subject to provincial whims, are enthusiastically erected while north-south barriers, over which the provinces have virtually no control, are lamented. It is difficult to imagine a more contrarian trade situation to the detriment of Canada's well-being.

Perhaps the sesquicentennial celebrations next year can be used as a stimulus to bury this beggar-thy-neighbour policy characterizing the Canadian federation.

Boudewyn van Oort, Victoria

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Out of Africa …

Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry says youth unemployment and poverty are among the key causes of extremism in West Africa (Mounties Use Cellphone Data In Bid To Track Architects Of Terrorist Attack – Jan. 25).

He went on to pledge that Canadian mining companies – described as being among the country's major private employers – and humanitarian groups will be safe there.

In fact, a recent IMF report on Burkina Faso stated that industrial mining (private, foreign-owned) created 9,000 direct and 27,000 indirect jobs, whereas artisanal mining (citizens of Burkina Faso and migrants) hosted 700,000 direct and 500,000 indirect jobs.

Foreign industrial mining often eradicates employment opportunities for local artisanal miners when they are pushed off resource-rich concessions. The IMF cites evidence of strong links between artisanal mining and poverty-reduction as incomes earned stay in local communities.

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Canadian mining companies are in Burkina Faso not to create employment for youth or to reduce poverty, but to garner great returns on investment for Canadian shareholders.

Paula Butler, author, Colonial Extractions: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa;Toronto

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Stories we tell

Re #OscarSoWhite, And The Stories We Tell Ourselves (Jan. 23): Race is not a social construct, but culture certainly is. Yes, there is a need to bring empathy into the theatre with us, but that, of course, is not the easiest thing – after all, as Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival points out in his column, we are all predisposed by our own experiences and cultures. But then, isn't that the promise of film, that most modern and universal of art forms? To help us see the world through the eyes of "the other"? Certainly, that is the promise of TIFF.

Cultures evolve slowly, as we know all too well. But could it be that, after a few more #OscarSoWhites, we will see the day when categories such as "Best Foreign Language Film" disappear, and the year's "Best Actor" is acknowledged by all, regardless of race, creed, colour, nationality or even gender, as the best actor? Now there's a dream worth dreaming.

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Nelson Smith, past board member, Toronto International Film Festival

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Prices to chew on

Re Food Prices (Folio – Jan. 23): Trade talks always raise the issue of Canadian marketing boards. Most often, we are told our food prices would be much lower if producers (and consumers) weren't given benefit of the price stability guaranteed by quotas and controls on production.

Your list comparing food prices in December, 2011, with December, 2015, shows just how effective controlled markets are in keeping prices stable. The average increase in prices of five products from free-market traded livestock (beef and pork) was 38 per cent; while the average price increase in six livestock products from controlled markets (dairy and poultry marketing boards) was only 6 per cent. (Full disclosure: I am a retired dairy farmer, so my opinions may be biased, but your list reveals the facts.)

Ross Gould, Calgary

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Your headline on the price of celery was worth the price of the paper: Checking Up On The Stalk Market (Jan.23). Clever. Loved it.

Mark Edwards, Halifax

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From now on, I'm only eating things made of flour, bananas, apple juice (canned), white sugar and cooking or salad oil – the only things in your list that went down in price from 2011 to 2015. I'm open to recipes …

Steven H. Brown, Toronto

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Re Climate, Cauliflower (letters, Jan. 26): Cumin, "adventurous"? Adventurous is generous lashings of anchovy butter on fork-tender steamed cauliflower, tossed well and served with a spritz of lemon.

Helen Mitchell, Calgary

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