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President-elect Donald Trump. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President-elect Donald Trump. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Nov. 21: Hearing hoofbeats. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Hearing hoofbeats

Re Trump Reaches Out To Former Foes (Nov. 18): President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed appointments show that we have every reason to be afraid for the future:

A national security adviser (Michael Flynn) who characterized Islam as a “political ideology” merely “hiding behind” the pretense of religion (I think Caligula might have said the same about Christianity); a CIA director (Mike Pompeo) who fiercely attacked President Barack Obama for closing the CIA’s infamous “black sites” and for instructing CIA operatives to stop using torture in their interrogations; and an attorney-general (Jeff Sessions) who criticized the NAACP for “forcing civil rights down the throats of people” and who said that the KKK was “okay” until he learned that some of its members smoked marijuana.

It feels like the horsemen of the Apocalypse are assembling.

Tom MacDonald, Ottawa


Re Trump Won’t Risk U.S. Housing Boom Over Softwood, Premier Says (Nov. 18): Well, I’ll certainly sleep better tonight knowing that Premier Christy Clark can predict what Donald Trump won’t do. World leaders and captains of industry should be encouraged to get in touch with her.

Bill Darling, Victoria


Re Stephen Bannon Is Not The Real Problem (editorial, Nov. 17): I am coming to the conclusion that the reason Mr. Trump wants his son-in law as part of the inner circle is that he realizes that he is in over his head and needs someone he can confide in who is as loyal as he can get.

I can’t recall any event Mr. Trump spoke at without a teleprompter where he actually put two coherent sentences together. The world has a real problem, and you have identified it.

David Vallance, Toronto


Mandate matters

Re Liberals Accused Of Trying To Skew Results Of Electoral Reform Consults (online, Nov. 17): How can the Liberals insist on the “broad support of Canadians” before delivering on their election promise (and mandate) to “make every vote count,” when it seems they are quite prepared – with neither consultation nor mandate – to pursue an aggressive agenda to deeply enmesh Canadian infrastructure with the private sector, delivering public assets and revenue streams into private hands?

At no time during the election did the Liberals mention privatization of airports, tolls for bridges, or user fees, and they most certainly aren’t interested in seeking “broad support” for their decidedly Harperesque infrastructure plans.

Freya Keddie, Victoria


Justin Trudeau very clearly stated during the 2015 election campaign that it would be the last one under the first-past-the-post method. It is troubling that he seems to be dragging his feet now that he is in power. Especially so since he was voted in by less than half the electorate.

The majority of the voters cast their ballot for parties that promised to change the voting system to one that better reflects the will of the citizens. That is a mandate. We do not need a referendum. We need the government to come to a conclusion and implement impartially investigated and reasonably considered reform.

Mixed-member proportional representation is the fairest and is used successfully in other countries. I urge the government not to reject MMP out of hand just because it might reduce its hold on power.

Peter Gurney, Toronto


Native policing

Re Either Fund Native Police, Or End Them (editorial, Nov. 15): While I expect the editorial questioning the skills and capacity of “native police” after the in-custody suicide of Lena Anderson was well-intentioned, may I point out that many indigenous Canadians have died in the custody of well-funded mainstream non-indigenous police forces?

Take for example, Solomon Uyarasuk, a young Inuk man in Iglulik who, after being taken into RCMP custody in 2012, died alone in his cell where he had been left naked, but for his belt. Despite inquiry after inquiry into the deaths of indigenous people in custody, many of which have stated that hanging points should not exist in cells, he was left alone with a belt and a hanging point.

Clearly, upstream solutions to complex mental health and societal problems are needed, but these repeated in custody scenarios are appallingly grievous.

Madeleine Cole, Iqaluit


Checking van Gogh

Re Van Gogh Canon Has Long History Of Disputes (Nov. 17): There has been astounding silence in interviews and media reports about verification of the age of the purported van Gogh art works using fundamental scientific analysis. Paper analysis, ink analysis, characteristic pressure points on the paper – where is the science?

Barb Heidenreich, Bailieboro, Ont.


Galloway inquiry

Re CanLit Community In Uproar (Nov. 17): We are writing to set the record straight regarding our open letter to the University of British Columbia asking for an independent inquiry into the dismissal of Steven Galloway. This inquiry should be interested in an outcome that provides fair treatment for Mr. Galloway and all those involved, including the women who registered complaints.

Joseph Boyden, Margaret Atwood, Susan Swan


To be clear

According to Navneet Alang, “we are all locked into a mindset, encouraged by the ubiquity and blinkered nature of our social-media feeds, with no clear voice to separate the false from the real” (How Can We Agree On The Truth Any More? Nov. 18).

I’m not so locked in. I've never been on Facebook – never Snapchatted or tweeted. For separation of fact from fiction, call me. My voice is particularly clear over my land line.

Rudy Buller, Toronto


Feathered friend

Re Gray Jay Named Canada’s National Bird (Nov. 17): The gray jay is a perfect choice for our national bird, especially because it used to be called the Canada jay. Its name was changed to gray jay by the American Ornithological Union in the 1950s. Its scientific name, Perisoreus canadensis, also emphasizes Canada.

If this is Canada’s national bird, we should adopt the old name – Canada jay.

Eric Tull, Sidney, B.C.

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