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Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced Canada is breaking diplomatic relations with Iran.

The Canadian Press

An attack on ...

To say the Quebec shooting was An Attack On All Of Canada (editorial, Sept. 7) is to lift it out of context and drain it of its meaning. It was a Quebec event, not a pan-Canadian one, spurred by racial tensions and political developments unique to that province.

That innocent blood was shed again over such division should be a matter of grave concern to Quebec's political leaders.

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Patrick O'Flaherty, St. John's

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As an allophone living in Quebec for some 35 years, and in this great province and country by choice, I am very disturbed by the tragic shooting death during the victory speech of Pauline Marois. The Globe is right in concluding the shooting was "an attack on the Canadian belief in the primacy of discussion and debate." Long live Canadian democracy

Jalaluddin Hussain, Brossard, Que.

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While I concur with the main point of your editorial, I also can't help thinking that you've granted this horrific event far too much significance. While the tragedy for the families involved cannot be overstated, this was a solitary act of madness, plain and simple.

Michael Lennick, Toronto

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Brothers, eh

In spite of the PQ win, I don't believe for a minute that Quebec will leave Canada – Canada as a nation is just too good a deal for everyone who lives here. Still, it made me think of us as a nation of brothers.

Brother 1, Alberta: Brash, bold, works hard, but hey, he also won the Lucky Sands lottery. Lucky, lucky guy.

Brother 2: So cool, he only uses his initials. B.C. likes to fish, sail, wear sandals with thick grey socks and drive an old VW van. Happiest outdoors.

Brother Ontario: Had it all, great job, big income. When he spoke, everyone in the family listened. But, he lost his job, ran up really dumb debts, then still tried to throw his weight around. He'll come back, but needs to realize he's not the kingpin any more.

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Brother Saskatchewan: Likes working in the summer sun growing food, then takes his motor home south for the winter. If the growing-food thing fails, really likes the family to pitch in with the bills. Won the smaller "Pot Ash" lottery, so he's feeling pretty good these days.

Three of the brothers on the East Coast live together. The Maritime Boys love life. They also like to fish, but making a living at it hasn't gone so well for them.

Another brother lives apart: Newfoundland and Labrador likes to fish too, but enjoys the solitude and likes lots of ice in his water.

Brother Manitoba doesn't say much, keeps a low profile. Not flashy but a really good guy.

And then there is Brother Quebec: Always upset with the family, always asking for more, always living slightly higher than he can afford. What can I say, we love him and he loves life but here he is talking about leaving ... again.

Of course, I asked our Northern family if they wanted to be called our brothers, but they just said they wanted "Nunavit."

George Brookman, Calgary

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Very bad diplomacy

As a Canadian and an academic who studies Iran, I must say that the decision to sever ties with Iran makes no practical sense (Citing 'Threat To Global Peace,' Canada Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Iran – online, Sept. 7).

With the U.S. and U.K. no longer there, for the past year Canada has been an important source of information on Iran. Canadian diplomats may not have been hobnobbing with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi at dinner parties, but they were in regular contact with people who were. That is how intelligence works in countries where access to high-level ministries is restricted.

Foreign Minister John Baird cited fear for Canada's diplomats as the primary basis for severing ties. The reality is that the decision is based on the Harper government's narrow-minded ideology and not a realpolitik calculation of national interests. Indeed, if it were the latter, Canadian diplomats would be allowed to continue observing and reporting on the internal dynamics of this incredibly important country.

In this time of growing uncertainty, we need people on the ground, lest we follow the same path the Americans took in 2003. In short, this decision is perhaps one of the most ill-conceived ideas in modern history. At least when the Americans and British cut ties, they had good reason.

Bryan R. Gibson, Department of International History, London School of Economics

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Obama redux

Just like "on TV," where problems are solved within an hour, Americans expect their one-term President to have redressed all the errors of his predecessor's two terms and fixed their catastrophic fallout. One error was starting two very expensive wars while cutting taxes. Not one, two. Another was continuing the wholesale deregulation of the pillars of their economy (taking the rest of the world down with them).

Starting a war and quickly declaring it won is a great piece of theatre. The reality is something quite painful and much longer lasting – and expensive.

Rebuilding America's raped and pillaged economy will take decades (Obama Banks On The Economy – Sept. 7). Reintroducing guidelines and regulations to control the rapacious among them is near impossible in the face of some of the most malicious personal – need I say racist? – attacks I've ever seen.

Claudette Claereboudt, Regina

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Margaret Wente admits she was all into what Bernie Goldberg has coined as the media's 2008 "slobbering love affair" with Barack Obama (Hope And Change Won't Cut It Now – Sept. 6). Yet, four years into Carter-redux, she's troubled at the prospect of seeing Mr. Obama ousted by a "decent enough man taken hostage by a bunch of lunatics."

Like every jilted lover, Ms. Wente clings to the hope that he'll change: "If only he could bring himself to say, as he did in 2009, that it's time for a 'new era of responsibility.' " Oh, if only Barack Obama would softly coo more sweet platitudes, it could work. We could tell my dad some stranger maxed out his credit cards.

Gary McGregor, Ladner, B.C.

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Kinda close

For a while there, I naively bought into the idea that Barack Obama had a more enlightened perspective than his predecessors regarding the relationship between Canada and the U.S., but his (Great Britain) "our closest ally" comment at the convention indicates nothing has really changed.

In spite of the trade between our two countries, the sharing of the world's longest undefended border, shared involvement in two world wars, Korea and Afghanistan, and numerous other traditional and productive connections, we seem forever destined to be an afterthought for Americans and their politicians.

Would Mitt Romney think differently about Canada? No matter. More than likely, he would be inclined to see the Grand Caymans as America's greatest ally.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.

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George Brookman, the author of a letter to the editor on the Quebec election, lives in Calgary. Incorrect information appeared in Saturday's print edition and an earlier online version of the letters.

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