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Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 11, 2011. (Richard Drew/AP)
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 11, 2011. (Richard Drew/AP)

What readers think

Sept. 10: Cutting off Iran and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Out of Iran

Canadian embassies, like the one just closed in Iran, exist to serve a number of purposes. One purpose is to speak for Canada, and to listen.

When you close an embassy, you are closing your ears, shutting your eyes and covering your mouth. Why?

Daniel Molgat, former Canadian diplomat, Vancouver


Perhaps Doug Saunders (By Cutting Ties To Iran, We Just Shot Ourself In The Foot – Sept. 8) could offer even one example of a significant diplomatic success that we have achieved with the government of Iran in the last thirty years. Perhaps he could point to movement on crucial concerns expressed by the international community in the last two years? Continuing to “negotiate” with an entity that uses negotiations to distract and delay (at best) renders us chumps. In any negotiation you have to be prepared to walk away. We just did.

Greg Hart, Calgary


Make or break

Your article Ukraine: Pariah Or Partner (Sept. 7) is spot on. Canada has been a stalwart friend to Ukraine’s democracy with interventions at the highest levels to President Viktor Yanukovych to “do the right thing” and warning of “serious consequences” for failure to revert to the rule of law. Like-minded democracies have done the same.

Regrettably, it may be too little too late. The free world reverted, years ago, to Russo-centric approaches in dealing with emerging democracies of the former Soviet Union. Its petro-dollars spoke loudly, too. Now the world may be facing a colossal reversal of the colossal gains for freedom made by the Cold War victory. Shades of Afghanistan 1989?

The global lesson for Canada and other democracies is this: Do not fall back to old ways of thinking when new eras arise. Develop new instruments to deal with usurpers taking advantage of nascent states to reverse the democratic process. This is as true for Ukraine as for the Arab Spring countries, and others. A better way must be found.

Meantime, hold on tight to Ukraine. It’s the make-or-break country for democracy in the region.

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine


Higher what, exactly?

It is a sad commentary on the state of postsecondary education in Canada that these institutions now appear to want to be considered as “places of higher earnings.”

First, there was Paul Davidson from the Association of Colleges and Universities telling us how high tuition fees are a real bargain because of how much graduates earn (University Is Still The Surest Path To Prosperity – Sept. 3). Now we have Linda Franklin from Colleges Ontario making the case that college graduates make good incomes, too (Typical Earnings – letters, Sept. 6).

Whatever happened to our universities and colleges being known as places of higher learning, where students learn to think, expand their minds and gain new knowledge and skills while the institutions they attend are places for groundbreaking research, innovation and contributing to the betterment of society?

Kimble Sutherland, Ingersoll, Ont.


Don’t strike out

CAW president Ken Lewenza (Auto Workers Threaten Triple Strike – Report on Business, Sept. 6) is threatening to call strikes against all three auto makers if union demands are not met.

Mr. Lewenza should curb his hubris and negotiate in a spirit of co-operation rather than truculence. North American auto producers are managed by American head offices. The “Big Three” compete in a world market and want to produce their vehicles in the most cost-effective locations. Let’s not make Canada’s auto industry a second-choice production location.

James McKinney, Toronto


Include the etc.

Re Tory MP Calls For New Rules That Would Allow Public Servants To Opt Out Of Union Dues (Sept. 6): There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting people opt out of those big bad union dues. But MP Pierre Poilievre shouldn’t forget to include in his rules that people who opt out of the fees must naturally also opt out of the benefits negotiated by unions – workload, pay, work-life balance etc.

Zeba A. Crook, Ottawa


Silence kills

All survivors of sexual assault need to assert their voices; this is merely one way (Why Sex Assault Victims Are Going Public – Life, Sept. 7). Silence kills. Support services can give strength to the victims, and empower them to not only recover from the violence but to become more resilient as a result.

It will be a good day when media stories stop making the inference that all victims of sexual violence are female. The stats suggest that sexual violence against children affects boys almost as much as girls, sexual violence against men occurs all too often and, in some contexts, sexual assaults against men occur in numbers beyond our imaginations (think of prisons).

We will truly make strides in addressing community safety when we recognize all victims of sexual violence, regardless of their gender.

Rick Goodwin, executive director, The Men’s Project, Ottawa


Helpful hints

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford seems to have great difficulty understanding conflict of interest rules (Lawyer Says Mayor ‘Willfully Ignorant’ Of Rules – Sept. 7).

Maybe this simple example will help. As a football coach, would he let a player go on the field if the player refused to play by the rules? If a player refused to attend a meeting about the rules of the game, would that player still be dressed for the next game? If a player said he wanted to play by his own rules, would coach Ford allow him to remain part of the team?

Bruce Budd, Toronto


Sans comic

I just about choked on my cereal when I read Fisher’s farewell (Comics, Globe Arts – Sept. 8). It’s over? We will no longer be able to chuckle over Paul’s comments on adult foibles, or sigh as Tom once again fails to start his novel? Philip Street’s saga of Tom and his family and friends is uniquely Canadian. His gentle irony and beautiful drawing reflect our ordinary, messy lives.

Kit Pearson, Victoria

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