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(The Canadian Press)

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Sept. 1: Quebec’s fate, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Quebec’s destiny

Re Quebeckers Must Think About What’s At Stake (editorial, Aug 31): The rest of Canada must also think about what’s at stake.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa


Separatist politicians often make a peculiar error. They say, “We need a separation to preserve and grow our culture.” The evidence-based view is the reverse: They need a culture to preserve and grow their separation.

Culture is an identifying behaviour that provided the separation of a group, and the separation provided the evolution and adaptation to the group’s environment (the mountain group adapted to the mountain environment, and the plains group to the plains environment).

This is still reality for most social mammals, but humans no longer live in separated groups.

Ken Money, Toronto


The Quebec election campaign could have been about bread and butter issues. But Premier Jean Charest decided that his electoral bread and butter depended on making a referendum on separation the key issue. He portrayed Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois as a hard-line separatist, and she obliged.

Not so long ago, Ms. Marois almost lost her job because the party base believed that she had never been sufficiently committed to the cause. During the campaign, she played the part of ardent separatist. But she knows, or will soon find out, that there’s no appetite for a referendum.

The separatists can be kept at bay and ultimately defeated if Quebec functions well within Canada. Amongst other things, that requires a change of government every nine years or so.

Howard M. Greenfield, Montreal


Having lived in Ottawa for 48 years, I am sad to see Pauline Marois talking about this separation thing again. I think that, just as the European Union should throw in the towel over Greece, Canada should swallow its pride and sentimentality and send Quebec packing.

Enough is enough.

Hellmut Komenda, Neuberg an der Mürz, Austria

Republican antics

In Romney Goes For The Personal Touch (Aug. 31), Konrad Yakabuski quotes several of the presidential contender’s supporters who testify how he helped them in times of need.

That’s fine at the retail or individual level. But where it counts is at the wholesale level.

And on that, Mitt Romney hasn’t set out in any detail what he’ll do for the thousands of Americans out of work, homeless, facing eviction, without health insurance, dependent on food stamps, welfare or extended unemployment benefits or facing deportation.

To the contrary, his vow to dismantle Obamacare and his choice of running mate, Paul Ryan (with his plan for Medicaid reform and aim to reduce the role of government in providing social assistance), portends yet more hardship.

Jack Tennier, Toronto


If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are as dedicated to their respective religions as they appear to be, how are they ever going to agree?

This situation reminds me of a joke: A cardinal rushes into the Pope’s office in hysterics. “Pontiff, I have astounding news, but it’s both good and bad. Jesus has returned; he’s on the phone!”

The Pope jumps up and says, “The second coming! That’s great news. What could be bad about it?” “Well,” says the cardinal, “He’s calling from Salt Lake City.”

Then again, maybe Catholics and Mormons are ganging up on Barack Obama because they think he’s a Muslim.

Gordon Thompson, Peterborough, Ont.


If it’s acceptable for Clint Eastwood to mock Barack Obama and Joe Biden by engaging an empty chair in conversation (Clint Eastwood Steals The Republican Show, But Did He Lose The Plot? – online, Aug. 31), then it’s also acceptable for George Clooney to engage Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in mock conversation by conversing with two empty suits hanging in a walk-in closet.

William Wiebe, Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

Gender equality

I think that any reasonable person should appreciate the truism that “the apparel oft proclaims the man,” as Polonius told his son in Hamlet.

So why on earth should it spark outrage if Krista Ford was just paraphrasing Shakespeare (Mayor’s Niece Gets A Dressing Down After ‘Advice’ Tweet – Life, Aug. 31). Does it apply only to men and not to women?

I don’t see many men on the subways or on the street in their underwear or figure-hugging boxers. It’s only fair to expect women to dress modestly. Baring more skin than one should simply conveys a lack of social etiquette or decency.

Sridhar Nadamuni, Toronto

Soviet message

Roy MacSkimming (Hockey Put Canada’s Cold War Perceptions On Ice – Aug. 31) says Soviet excellence in the Summit Series forced us to revolutionize our game, as we realized that “our reliance on grinding physical play and sheer heart was no longer enough. We put new emphasis on skating, passing and teamwork, moving to the faster, more skilled, more sophisticated style now played everywhere.”

Quick, someone go tell Don Cherry.

Andrew Matthews, Toronto

Polley message

Michael Polley certainly deserves credit for his equanimity in taking his wife’s historical affair in stride, continuing to father Sarah Polley (‘It’s A Wonderful Story About Fathers’ – Life, Aug. 31). We need more fathers like him.

But do we expect so little of men that we celebrate exceptions such as Mr. Polley, while many women continue to be faithful mothers, unheralded, in the face of their discoveries of infidelity in their own marriages?

They – and men in similar circumstances – continue to do their jobs (parenting). By all means, let’s give credit where it’s due, but let’s spread more of it around.

John Gawthrop, Victoria

Say, is that a cello?

Re So This Guy Walks Into An Airport With A Cello (Arts, Aug. 29): In 1990, during takeoff from Hong Kong, our Tokyo-bound United Airlines flight experienced an emergency when a blade from the aircraft’s cooling system broke loose and cut a rather large hole in the lower left side of the fuselage. We dumped fuel over the sea, then returned to Kai Tak Airport.

The next day, we tried again. This time, I was flabbergasted to discover that the tall, refined “occupant” in the seat in front of me was a valuable cello. When asked by a flight attendant if I minded the cello’s presence, I said I was just glad to be alive and that nothing, even King Kong in the seat, would faze me.

Yvonne Pagani, Queenston, Ont.

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