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A million votes, here
We write as the last four U.S. ambassadors to Canada, Republican and Democratic.
Each of us is quite capable of partisan politics. But we save that for another day.
During our tenures in Canada, we each came to understand the importance Canadians place on U.S. politics. Our recent visits give us a sense of heightened interest in the upcoming election. On street corners, in restaurants, around kitchen tables, Canadians are talking about Trump versus Clinton. While that interest is important and appreciated, more than a million people living in Canada can do something more – much more. They can vote.
Any American citizen – that includes dual Canadian-U.S. citizens – who is 18 on Nov. 8, 2016, can vote by absentee ballot. But you need to act soon. Start by going to www.FVAP.gov to complete a new Federal Post Card Application.
This needs to be done every year. Print and sign the form. Return it to your local election office in the United States. You will receive a ballot about 45 days before the election. (Don't worry: Voting for candidates for federal office does not affect your federal or state tax liability.)
Someone once said, "Every election is determined by the people who show up." One million people living in Canada have a chance to show up. Please exercise that special right.
David Jacobson, David H. Wilkins, Gordon D. Giffin, James J. Blanchard, former U.S. ambassadors to Canada
Americans in Canada
Let me add a personal note to Elizabeth Renzetti's instructive welcoming piece for Trump-troubled Yanks and Brexit-bothered Brits (Welcome To Canada, Americans! We Put The You In Neighbour – July 2). I left New York to resettle in Canada in 1967. My ignorance of my new land became obvious the morning of my arrival at the Toronto bus terminal when I ordered breakfast in French. The waitress's "eh?", I soon learned meant: "Huh?"
My first winter was a shock, but the two things which most drove home the difference between America and Canada came in the first few months. Walking down Bathurst Street in Toronto one day, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't in fight-or-flight mode. I felt safe.
The second revelation came when a wisdom tooth became painfully impacted and, at the urging of friends, I went to a hospital to have it removed. I was dumbfounded when I asked for the bill and was told no charge.
One thing, though: Americans would not think Judi Dench graces our currency, when obviously it's Helen Mirren.
Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.
Just what is an "elite"? I always thought that a member of the "elite" was a rich and powerful person (like Donald Trump is or Rob Ford was) and the dictionary seems to agree with me.
However, in the midst of the Brexit and Trump debacles, the word "elite" seems to be used by rich and powerful people (like Donald Trump) to describe educated people who are not necessarily rich or even powerful, but who use their brains to think about things and seek knowledge for its own sake.
Please, can we give "elite" a rest? It is used indiscriminately by everyone to label the opposition, whomever that may be.
Claudette Claereboudt, Regina
SMA is many stories
As the father of a five-year-old who has spinal muscular atrophy, I felt it important to more broadly describe what SMA is. There are generally four types. The challenges faced by individuals tend to increase from Type 4 (adult onset) to Type 1 (birth to six months). The diversity of experiences with SMA is great within and across the "types," the vast majority of children diagnosed with Type 1, for example, do not survive beyond the age of two.
We cannot presume to "know" the suffering of others; we should respect Julia Lamb's response to her experience of SMA and her concerns about her life (Woman Challenges Assisted-Dying Law – June 28). It was also a pleasure to read about letter writer Ing Wong-Ward's excellent quality of life with SMA (It's Life. And Death – letter, July 1).
Both stories highlight the range of experiences with SMA. How these stories end should be left to the individual story tellers.
Ron Buliung, Toronto
Happy Canada Day?
I am sorry that I am not as sanguine about Canada in its 150th year as national affairs columnist Jeffrey Simpson was in his farewell column in The Globe (State Of The Nation – July 1).
I live in Toronto, where 29 per cent of families with children are living below the poverty line.
Canada continues to be the subject of ongoing rebukes from the United Nations on issues of poverty, women's rights, aboriginal rights, food insecurity and hunger, and housing security and homelessness. Our public policy profile increasingly resembles that of the United States, and our relative standings in life expectancy and infant mortality continue to decline in relation to other wealthy nations.
Dennis Raphael, professor of health policy and management, York University
What a wonderful, poignant last column from Jeffrey Simpson. His clear thinking on the state of our nation compared to other democracies and his insights on other journalists are succinct. We will certainly miss his contributions.
Dean Dewey, Collingwood
Jeffrey Simpson retired. My Canada Day was spoiled.
John Pringle, North Saanich, B.C.
In defence of crows
Re Crows And Criminality (Facts & Arguments, June 27): Congratulations to Paul Grant for his well-written and humorous piece. Never having been assaulted by a crow, I'm probably not one to talk, but as a close observer of them for many years (and a consumer of all the information I can find about them), I would like to say a few words in their defence.
It seems that both crow-hating and crow-loving spring from the same source: the crows' intelligence. If it weren't for how smart they are, they wouldn't vex us so much. Crows have learned to remember faces; in their world, vigilance means survival. They, like other birds, are an evolutionary product of 150 million years (give or take). Ever since we (homo sapiens) came along a mere 200,000 years ago (give or take), crows have had to defend their space and safety to be able to bring up their young. You've got to admire that.
I find crows' history and behaviour so interesting, I recently wrote a novel that uses a crow as a character. The role of the bird in The Company of Crows is both realistic and metaphorical, its unfamiliar perspective casting new light on the actions (and spiritually inferior aspects) of the human characters.
Some of us leave food out for crows. They remember our faces, as well. I suggest Paul Grant make peace with his crows.
Can't we all just … get along?
Karen Molson, Laggan, Ont.