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Nov. 14: General Betray-Us, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

General Betray-Us

Isn’t it ironic that David Petraeus, esteemed for leading men into war, must step down in disgrace for making love (Anatomy Of A Scandal – Nov. 13)?

Wendy Fredricks, Toronto


All that talk about courage and bravery. In the end, David Petraeus was a coward. He chose to cheat, lie and deceive his wife and family. A brave man would have ended his marriage before starting his affair.

Catherine Orion, Caledon, Ont.


The head of the world’s most elite spy agency doesn’t know that his e-mails can be traced? Isn’t this the same agency that tried to eliminate Fidel Castro using exploding cigars?

Mary Tivy, Guelph, Ont.


There’s one thing you can’t fault Paula Broadwell on, and that’s the thoroughness of her research. Now that she has raised the bar so high, life and lives have become more difficult for us more circumscribed biographers.

R.B. Fleming, Argyle, Ont.

Free trade? LOL

Re Free Trade With Europe? Absolutely (Nov. 13): How about free trade within Canada first?

Jerry Grafstein, former chair, Senate committee on banking and trade, Toronto


Not mentioned by this group of former international trade ministers is the actual cost of meeting the European Union’s requirement that Canada’s drug-patent period be extended by three years – that is, $3-billion annually.

They also have ignored Canada’s 300-per-cent tariff barrier on milk and milk product imports. The EU will surely demand the elimination of this tariff barrier.

Are these mavens suggesting our government has the courage to eliminate dairy tariffs and get rid of supply management? No Canadian government has taken on the dairy farmers, especially those in Quebec.

George Fleischmann, lecturer, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Oil forecasting

The alarm raised by your front-page headline Canada Sees Risk In U.S. Oil Boom (Nov. 13) needs to be put in perspective. Oil forecasting is political. Even International Energy Agency forecasts are political, vetted by member governments and selected oil companies before they go public.

I was a forecaster at the World Bank and Petro-Canada. An oil company once told me that it had forecasts for everyone – which one did we want?

Forecasters test scenarios – they assess economic and energy trends to produce numbers. Among the enormous range of possibilities, one forecast is chosen for public purposes.

Governments and oil companies have their own agendas. They want a forecaster to justify fracking, pipelines, Middle East embargoes. Earlier, the concern was about Peak Oil. Now the story is a dramatic drop in U.S. oil imports.

The question is: What agendas are behind this forecast? Anything concerning Iran? Promoting particular pipelines?

John Foster, energy economist, Kingston, Ont.


Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says “If we don’t find new markets, the resources will be left in the ground and the legacy will be lost. So it is crucial.”

What about leaving some for future generations of Canadians, in case they need it?

Ken Hamer, North Vancouver

Patent bargain

Your editorial Pharmaceutical Hide-And-Seek (Nov. 12) on the Supreme Court of Canada’s Viagra decision suggests that Pfizer does not respect the patent “bargain” – disclosure of the invention in exchange for a limited period of protection.

When the Viagra patent was written in the mid-1990s, Canadian law did not require a patent to disclose which of the compounds was best suited to treat the condition. The federal government issued the patent after ensuring it complied with all legal requirements.

The validity of this patent was then upheld – twice – by both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.

We are disappointed with the court’s decision to change the bargain, based on a highly technical and opportunistic attack some 18 years after the patent was filed.

As the Federal Court said in this case, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”: Our opponent in the Viagra case and four other generic competitors all obtained regulatory approval for drugs to treat erectile dysfunction mere hours after the Supreme Court’s decision.

They were clearly not fooled or deceived, since the active ingredient in all of their products is none other than the compound that The Globe accused Pfizer of “burying”: sildenafil.

John Helou, president, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Que.

Professional bullying

Re Trying To Teach Empathy To Stop Bullying (Nov. 13): It’s widely accepted that bullying occurs when children are frustrated or unfairly dominated by parents or others in an unequal power relationship. Those children then come to school and take out their frustrations by dominating others weaker than them.

We have teachers in Ontario who’re frustrated or think they’re being unfairly treated by those who have power over them: the provincial government. So those teachers come to school and take out their frustrations by harming students – withdrawal of services, threat of a full strike (Job Action By Teachers Has Boards Considering Closings – Nov. 13).

The children had no hand in bringing about this situation, and have no ability to change it. They’re an innocent third party, and they’re being bullied. The teachers’ argument is with the Ministry of Education. So they should devise a strategy to press the government directly, not vent their unhappiness on students.

Sheldon Fischer, Toronto

Please remain calm

While Ottawa decides if CNOOC’s purchase of Canadian-owned Nexen is good for the country (CNOOC Bid Puts Nexen’s Reputation In Play – Report on Business, Nov. 13), some Canadians are worried that the “deal could unravel Nexen’s human-rights accomplishments.” Others are worried that “CNOOC is just an arm of the Chinese government, whose human-rights record has been heavily criticized.”

Some of us are even worried whether this buyout will be good for workers in the many parts of the world where CNOOC will operate ex-Nexen’s oil and gas production and transportation.

None of these people have noticed that our government has this under control. After twice asking CNOOC for more time to make a decision, Ottawa has promised to announce it on Dec. 10. Yes, Dec. 10: International Human Rights Day.

Alex Hay, Ottawa

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