Benjamin Netanyahu's stage
Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and, indeed, spoke to Congress on Tuesday about issues with Iran, I would encourage the Knesset to invite President Barack Obama to address it about his understanding of those issues. It's only fair.
Mei-fei Elrick, Guelph, Ont.
Current Canadian policy is not so much support of Israel (steadfastly agreed to by all Canadian prime ministers in the decades gone by) but unquestioning, ideological support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Tension On Display Ahead Of Netanyahu Speech To U.S. Congress, March 3).
As a result, we now find ourselves wrong-footed with the U.S. administration over crucial and politically charged policy toward Iran (any surprise about the President's veto of Keystone?) and at odds with our British, French and German allies who are part of the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
We also will face a policy conundrum if the Israeli electorate in the coming national vote decides to replace Mr. Netanyahu with the Chairman of the Labour Party, Isaac Herzog, who is said to support the diplomatic negotiations with Iran and a fresh start with the Palestinians.
Gary J. Smith, former diplomat, Perth, Ont.
There is one state in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal, Israel. If and when the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) gain an agreement with Iran, they might usefully seek nuclear disarmament and parallel conditions from Tel Aviv. Peace-minded people and a Canadian government committed to peace should pursue only one path: a nuclear arms-free Middle East.
John W. Foster, Ottawa
My belief system
Re Judge Loses Mind Over Head Covering (March 3): After much soul searching, provoked by your inspirational editorial's endorsement of Canada's freedom of religion and conscience, I've decided that instead of questioning the arbitrary nature of this freedom of religion with its quaint sacred gear, I'm ready, like the other true believers, to claim some of that wonderful sacred freedom for myself.
In fact, your clear assertion of the right to be religious without qualifying what this holy gear actually constitutes according to the sacred texts or practices was so inspirational, I confess a change of mind: From now on, I intend always to wear a red hunting cap, as worn by my fictional saviour in my sacred book The Catcher in the Rye. I have faith in the holiness of my respecting Holden Caulfield's virtues – and I have faith in the good will of The Globe and Mail not to challenge the validity of my belief system.
Tony D'Andrea, Toronto
Vladimir Putin's sabre
Re Kiev's War Effort (letters, March 3): Kirill Kalinin, the Russian embassy's press secretary, is absolutely right when he concludes his letter to the editor with the admonishment that it is high time for diplomacy and not for sabre rattling. Vladimir Putin, stop rattling your sabre!
Reiner Jaakson, Oakville, Ont.
Russia invades Ukraine and Ukraine is a war monger? Kirill Kalinin, press secretary for the Russian embassy, represents a government that, in the words of the late Boris Nemtsov, "is sinking into lies, violence, obscurantism and imperial hysteria," where the President personally takes charge of the investigation into his political foe's murder (Speculation Swirls Over Nemtsov Shooting – March 3).
Does Mr. Kalinin really believe that the revolution in Kiev was a "coup d'état"? It was a revolt against corruption, lies, deceit and the rule of kleptocracy that was directed by the Kremlin.
The government of Canada is right to help Ukraine.
Jury Kopach, Thornhill, Ont.
Brian Graham says "it is amazing" that the United States, with a population of more than 319 million, can only come up with a rerun of a Clinton-Bush presidential race in 2016 (Clinton Vs. Bush? – letters, March 3). This from someone in Canada, where we don't even get to elect our head of state – and where one of the esteemed political parties has the Trudeau brand at its helm?
Naim Alper, Vancouver
Re Dental Students Can Return To Clinical Practice (March 3): Following the ongoing story of how Dalhousie University is handling the case of the male dental students who made sexually offensive comments about their female counterparts is turning out to be more painful than actually going to the dentist.
Thanks to Dalhousie's restorative justice process, 12 of the 13 men can return to clinical practice – all except the one who actually blew the whistle on his male colleagues. Something is really wacky there.
Simon Rosenblum, Toronto
Re Feds Quietly Canvass Provinces For Climate Change Measures Ahead Of Paris Talks (March 3): The Environment Minister "is seeking feedback from her [provincial] counterparts on how initiatives in their jurisdictions will factor into Canada's overall commitment" at the UN climate change talks.
Translation: The minister is asking her provincial counterparts what initiatives in their jurisdictions the federal government can take credit for.
Kudos to provinces that are taking action, but that's no excuse for the crippling lack of federal leadership: Bowing out of Kyoto; setting weak Copenhagen goals and failing spectacularly at them; promising an awkward, large-government, sector-by-sector regulation approach, then backing out of that, too – these are not the actions of leaders. Nor is the Liberal plan to "encourage provinces to develop their own policies." Leadership will come only if we demand it: Fortunately, this year we have an opportunity to do just that.
Jack Morton, Toronto
A tunnel near you?
Re Mystery Tunnel A Well-Made Man Cave (March 3): It is ridiculous that someone – in this case, two dumb someones – can dig a bunker on land they do not own and not face criminal charges. What's to stop the next person from doing something equally stupid, perhaps in a park or other public space? An innocent pedestrian could break through into a poorly dug structure and be badly hurt.
The culprits in this case should be named and shamed. Why aren't the police disclosing their identities?
Marilyn Rogers, Winnipeg
Torontonians are relieved that their mystery tunnel was merely a subterranean pied-à-terre, the work of two men looking to "hang out" together. An act of terre-ism, plain and simple.
Farley Helfant, Toronto