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Today, readers are responding to the temporary detention of a Canadian family while they were transiting through Beijing International Airport. This appears to be the latest reprisal against Canadians over the Dec. 1 arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Readers are also discussing Denise Balkissoon’s column about a recent controversial ad from Gillette. The ad, titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” has sparked heated debate about the nature of masculinity, femininity and the role of corporations in social discourse.

Ti-Anna Wang is seen holding photo of her father Wang Bingzhang, prior to testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing entitled, "Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: 'Let Our Fathers Go,! on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.

Susan Walsh/The Globe and Mail

The breadth and depth of our relationship with China, which Minister Freeland refers to, may make distancing Canada from China more complicated, but this is certainly the course Canada must follow. China has acted disrespectfully, with disdain, and with a bullying attitude towards Canada in arbitrarily detaining two Canadians, including a diplomat on leave from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and in quickly re-sentencing a Canadian to death in retaliation for Ms. Meng.

China has reminded us what it is. We cannot put eggs in the fragile basket of a relationship with an authoritarian country and expect they will not break. We cannot tiptoe around in fear of giving offence. We cannot treat China like they are our best and most trustworthy friend.

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Two actions that should be taken without further delay: Huawei should be banned from Canada in the interests of our national, corporate and personal security. Our universities should be prohibited from allowing Chinese joint ventures with students in taxpayer funded university premises. It is not for us to build China's future and endow it with IP developed in Canada. - res ipsa loquitor

Justin Trudeau has probably said many things that he wishes he could take back, probably none more so then his comment on how he admired the way China was able to get things done. China gets things done because it has no respect for law and has no intention of changing. The things it is doing now, like detaining this woman and her child, are simply the acts of a petulant dictatorship.

At one time, we were exploring the possibility of an extradition treaty with this country, fortunately we have come to our senses and this will never happen. In fact, close ties and expanded trade will never be mentioned on the campaign trail. The Huawei situation, has seen to that. The question remains as to when this government will issue a full travel advisory, although I expect that many people have already made their own travel advisory decisions. - JeffSpooner

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Travelling to China right up there with travelling to Syria or Iraq. Frankly I see the recent deterioration in our relationship with China as a positive development. Let's finally please stop pretending China is anything other than a corrupt dictatorship where human rights abuses are widespread and the rule of law non existent. About time we started warning people not to travel there. - TrueNorth065

In response to TrueNorth065:

In October 2018, Statistics Canada says approximately 64,000 people traveled back and forth between Canada and China. More even than to France, Germany, Mexico, etc. And they did so without any undue hassle. StatsCan doesn't even bother to mention how many Canadians traveled to Syria or Iraq, because Canadians don't travel there much.

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You see a deterioration in relations with the second most important country in the world (give or take) as a “positive development”? 64,000 people per month might dispute your claim. - Richard Roskell

I believe the acknowledgement of Ren Zhengfei that his daughter is being well treated suggests his awareness that China is seriously overplaying their hand. I think he realizes that China’s present and future relationship with Canada, and potentially many of their allies, is being permanently jeopardized. Our relationship with China is not “broad and deep.” In fact it is rapidly approaching zero. No wonder so many of those dual Chinese-Canadian citizens in Hong Kong are planning their exit to Canada. They may want to get out soon while the getting is good. - RSouthward

I think Canada is being played by both the U.S. and China in an orchestrated attempt to embarrass Justin Trudeau. Why doesn’t Canada just fly Ms. Meng to Washington, hand her to an FBI Agent, and say “You’re welcome”? - RayofLight

In response to RayofLight:

Because there are extradition laws that Canada has a habit of adhering to. The rule of law isn’t such a bad thing. Sending her to the U.S. with a “you’re welcome" card would be acting exactly as the Chinese do. The whole point is that we’re different than the Chinese. - TrueNorth065

What else readers are discussing today:

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Thin skin: Gillette’s poke at masculinity is barely a nick by Denise Balkissoon

YouTube frame grab from Gillette's recent commercial.

Gillette

As a man, I have no problem with the commercial or the message itself. But I do have a problem with being lectured by a corporation (Gillette) on appropriate civil behaviour. Corporations are often associated with any number of moral or real crimes, including child labor, environmental abuse, tax evasion, excessive political influence via lobbyists, etc. - hxd

Men will decide whether or not the Gillette ads are sexist and they will vote with their feet. Good time to walk away from the brand. - RKJ

I'd rather shave with a dull rock than buy something from a company that did anything like this. - JC12345

The ad is quite supportive of men in that it suggests alternatives to verifiably unhealthy “macho” attitudes. Those who have tried to conduct themselves in a gentlemanly way (not grabbing bums, not ogling or settling arguments with fists, etc.) are not alarmed by this ad. Many of the reactions in this comment thread suggest, however, that the ad has raised the threat level of some men to DEFCON 4. I believe based on my experience that most men conduct themselves well and welcome this ad. - AP_65946887

I think that identity politics has become a faith. As a faith, despite frequent talk of empathy, an absence that stands out is a lack of generosity. It is an angry, crusading faith. Too often, instead of raising standards of how to treat opponents, it lowers them.

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Opponents in a conflict become more alike than unlike. They mirror each other's tactics, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Nothing is solved, and collateral damage eventually outweighs whatever was originally at stake.

Compassion, shared humanity and shared identity - that is generous and all-encompassing instead of constrained and exclusive - has the potential to transcend the conflict. (Reason alone cannot do it.) If we want to beat the hate of identity politics, we must do it by embracing it with something larger and better. Picking tit-for tat fights doesn't do that. In short, identity politics is a faith without love. That, I think, is its weakness. - Geof

If this ad was about toxic femininity (and we all know it exists just as much as toxic masculinity) then all hell would break loose. - Victoria43

While toxic masculinity is a terrible thing, the Gillette ad isn't helping. Aside from enjoying outdoor cooking, none of my male friends engage in the kind of ridiculous behaviour this ad condemns. I don't need to hiss "Not cool, bro" at a friend catcalling women on the street for the simple reason that no man I know actually does that.

But my real objection to the ad is the tawdry and transparent use of a social movement to sell a product. It’s as saccharine sweet as that horrible Coke ad from the seventies, in which the everything is awesome kids wanted to teach the world to sing. Really, if Gillette wants to help, shouldn’t they have donated the money they spent on the commercial to worthy causes? - WhistlingInTheDark

Readers are also discussing:

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Canadian oil reserves at risk from policies to combat global warming, report warns

Canadian oil reserves at risk from doctrinaire politicians, academics and consultants.When these folks start bicycling across the country and rowing across oceans to attend meetings in support of their efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, they will have a much more credible case in the eyes of Canadians. Any investor is aware that if you lower the supply of a commodity that is in demand, it will drive prices for that commodity higher.

Until such time as technology can provide economically competitive energy sources that can replace fossil fuels, they are going to remain a mainstay in supporting the needs of our society. Trying to displace this dependence ahead of this condition by limiting supply, discouraging investment and adding to production costs of fossil fuel will only punish consumers by inflating their cost of living while diminishing their standard of living. The climate change warriors should take a look back over their shoulders as they jet into the fossil fuel battle - a lot of Canadians have decided that it is wiser to remain in the trenches. - sanctimonious

The oil business is on a precipice; it will contract rather than expand. Long haul aircraft will continue to use it in the near future but personal transportation will be electric sooner rather than later. Invest in renewables; a wiser choice ecologically and financially. - B.S.H.

In response to B.S.H.:

World oil consumption 2014 was 92.7 million bpd. World oil consumption passed 100 million bpd in 2018. That doesn’t look like contraction but a rather dramatic expansion in demand. Apart from lip service at conferences does anyone outside the West actually care about renewables? - Rock Doctor

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