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The Nexen building is seen in downtown Calgary, Alberta, July 23, 2012. China may soon get control of a large slice of UK North Sea oil supply, which is key to determining global oil prices, if bids by its state firms for assets of Canadian oil companies Nexen and Talisman are cleared by the regulators. China's top offshore oil producer CNOOC on Monday offered to pay $15.1 billion for Nexen while China's top refiner Sinopec will buy 49 percent in the UK unit of Talisman for $1.5 billion. REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY)


Just say no

Re Foreign Suitors Circle Oil Patch As Ottawa Weighs Nexen Deal (front page, Sept. 21): When Canadians urged the federal government to stop the sale of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan to an offshore company, our government listened. So, once again, we have to protest against another proposed sale, this time of energy company Nexen Inc. to a "private" firm controlled by the Chinese government.

Our policy must be to deny this sale, on the grounds that we must not give up control of our valuable resources.

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Patrick Hill, West Vancouver


When you have a golden goose, sell the eggs, not the goose.

Len Giles, Surrey, B.C.

Where's the sweat?

I'm pleased that technology is not seen as a panacea for low voter turnout (Elections Canada Wants More People To Cast Ballots, But Online Voting Is Still Out – online, Sept. 21).

Point and click democracy is cheap and easy, just like hitting a hypertext link on a website. But we all sometimes click on links based on nothing more than momentary attraction. And we do so not really caring about the information to come, or even with the patience to wait a few seconds for the page to load.

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Far better to have voting take a bit of effort. Constructive engagement and thoughtful consideration of voting choices would seem a better outcome than widespread but inattentive participation.

Eric LeGresley, Ottawa

Outside the box

The only Canadians who could suggest that Canada run the United States would have to be comedians ('Yes We Canada': Comedians Encourage Americans To Let Canada Run The U.S. – online, Sept. 20).

Their one-liners wouldn't be quite as funny as Woody Allen's Bananas, where the new dictator says: "All citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check."

But Americans could still get a chuckle out of lines such as: "From now on, all your heads of state must be English and live in England; and all your senators must be appointed until they are 75; and 25 per cent of your population must be represented by those who want to separate."

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Craig Gordon, Fonthill, Ont.

Carbon politics

Re Conservative Carbon Amnesia (Sept. 21): O the irony.

A revenue neutral carbon tax, which distributes the dividend back to citizens, is probably the most conservative policy to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and unleash market-driven innovations that Canada so desperately needs.

It's also the most effective policy, judging by its success in other jurisdictions, in diversifying economies while reducing emissions. Perhaps this is why the Conservatives, so in love with the oil sands, are so vehemently opposed to it.

Cheryl McNamara, Toronto

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You is an idiot

While Yunel Escobar's homophobic insult is appalling (The Blue Jays' Black Eye – Sports, Sept. 19), few seem to realize that Spanish readers (and teachers) everywhere are also offended by his egregious ignorance of basic grammar.

"Tu ere maricon" drops the "s" in "eres," which is equivalent to saying: "You is an idiot." Which is appropriate in this case.

Myron Echenberg, Montreal

Pay at the pump

As a B.C. resident, I can assure letter writer Clara Rubinstein (Pause On Pay-First – Sept. 21) that prepaying at the gas pump is simple and efficient.

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You choose a dollar amount or fill up. If you don't need as much gas as you thought, the machine adjusts the figure. People can go inside to prepay, but this rarely happens – virtually everyone pays at the pump.

Human lives are worth more than some perceived inconvenience.

Katie Hyde, Vancouver

Greenpeace solution

Margaret Wente's column on genetically engineered rice in China (Greenpeace's Golden Rice Stand Should Appall Us All – Sept. 13) was a decidedly one-sided tale. She accuses Greenpeace of turning a blind eye to the benefits of so-called Golden Rice. But the safety of GE food and feed is unknown. On the other hand, scientists have raised concerns about the potential threats of GE crops.

Supplements are readily available now to help malnourished children suffering from vitamin A deficiency. They don't cost tens of millions of dollars in research and development, and they're safe.

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In this context, Greenpeace takes a precautionary approach. We wouldn't suggest feeding any unknown product to any human or animal, particularly when options are available.

Corporations are in the business of profit, not public safety.

Bruce Cox, executive director, Greenpeace Canada

Gender surprise

There's never been a doubt in my mind that children experience the burden of parental disappointment in their gender (Disappointed With Your Baby's Gender? – Life & Arts, Sept. 21). How else to explain the rush of emotions I still feel half a century on, knowing that the long-awaited postwar baby was not quite what was hoped for in those pre-equality times?

It was fun being coached to wield a cricket bat and catch high balls, to march and present arms with a pretend rifle, by an ex-army sportsman Dad, but not quite what little girls did in the 1950s. There was also difficulty finding given names for a girl who maintained the family tradition of passing on the same initials.

Fortunately, I was much loved. But 50 plus years is a long time to feel badly about one's gender, and I urge parents to consider carefully their response to the arrival of a surprise package.

Jackie Norris, Dundas, Ont.

World class?

Referring to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's visit to Chicago, letter writer Michael Gilman (Charming Chicago – Sept. 20) says "we should all be working together to show the world we are a world-class city." If you have to keep telling people you're world class, then you aren't. It's as simple as that.

Christopher Grounds, Mississauga, Ont.

Lift and separate

Mammary glands are breasts (Boobs: A Big Deal For All The Wrong Reasons – Life & Arts, Sept. 21). Silvio Berlusconi and the paparazzi are boobs.

Frances Werry, Regina

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