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U.S. President Donald Trump pumps his fist to supporters as he arrives in Dallas on May 31, 2018.


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Ready, aim, trade war

Re Trump To Impose Steel Tariffs On Canada (May 31): What is it that U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t get about macro-economics? Everything!

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China, Mexico and Canada depend on trade to stabilize their economies. Mr. Trump, by installing tariffs on imports to the United States, will only increase costs to the American consumer. It was self-centred greed that was behind manufacturing jobs and industry leaving the U.S. in the first place. The U.S. could reclaim its powerhouse status if only …

Ernie Ilson, Mississauga


Donald Trump should brace himself to find out how, in his words, “easy it is to win a trade war.”

Jack Tennier, Toronto

Pipeline: stormy days ahead

Why we are prepared (fiscally and politically) to spend billions on a dilbit pipeline that British Columbians breathlessly tell us is a mortal wound to them, but we are not prepared to spend the same amount on a new refinery in Alberta that would keep our dilbit in the province, and send refined products through the pipeline, presumably to the applause of B.C.’s quacking greenies?

Why are we even hesitating at the cost of a refinery, when building the facility would answer the loudest complaints from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and her friends in the nursery?

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David May, Calgary


In 1957, the federal Liberal government of Louis St. Laurent guaranteed the financing of the TransCanada Pipeline which then became Trans Canada Pipeline Corp., one of Canada’s largest companies.

It opened markets for Alberta’s natural gas, and allowed Ontario to use Canadian natural gas for heating and industry. Fifteen years later, another Liberal PM, Pierre Trudeau, was asked by Alberta to bail out the first big oil sands project, Syncrude, when ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Co.) pulled its 30 per-cent share, effectively killing it. The feds, with Ontario and Alberta, made up the 30 per cent, allowing the oil sands in Fort McMurray to develop and create all that it has for Alberta and Canada. That’s vision! The St. Lawrence seaway is another project.

Canada is a small country that needs government support and/or direct investment in national-interest projects. Imagine Alberta with a much reduced market for its natural gas and no oil sands.

Code Clements, Cherry Grove, Alta.

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It’s shocking to see Paris’s climate “Rock Star” showing his true colours. Imagine what $4.5-billion could do to help transition Alberta away from a fossil-fuel economy destined for bust, toward being a renewable-energy leader. We need to send MPs a message: Help Alberta with a plan for a green energy future and stop the pipeline that will send billions to Texas-based Kinder Morgan.

David Quigg, Toronto


Justin Trudeau’s privilege is showing. He likes to negotiate, consult, and be inclusive … until he doesn’t like to any more.

With the court cases around the pipeline still unsettled, he is demanding that he have his way – financial, political and environmental costs be damned.

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The price paid by taxpayers will be exorbitant, the strain on federal/provincial relations long-lasting and destructive, and the effect on the climate devastating. Those of us who believed he would bring us sunny ways must now replace our parasols with umbrellas. Stormy days are coming.

Elizabeth Hay, Ottawa

Phoenix fiasco

Re The Phoenix Fiasco Needs An Inquiry (editorial, May 31): Apart from examining governance and public-service culture, a Phoenix inquiry should look into what the actual IT people who worked or are working on Phoenix – as opposed to public service managers – have to say. It’s as if a bridge fell down and no one bothered to talk to the engineer.

Is the problem really with the system – or is it with the federal payroll business? There are some 84,000 pay rules in the federal government. Is it reasonable to expect any system to deal with that many rules?

Jim Paulin, Ottawa


Re ‘Pervasive’ Work-Culture Problems Led To Pheonix Pay System Failure, Auditor-General Says (May 30): As a federal government retiree who spent a number of years working in compensation, first as a pay adviser and then as a manager, I’ve followed the story of the catastrophic Phoenix roll out with interest.

With the release of the second Auditor-General’s report, we are beginning to learn of the three senior public-service executives who were responsible for this “incomprehensible failure.” Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough says “measures have been taken against the executives and they are no longer working in government pay administration.”

What I would like to know is: If things are running true to form, into what positions were these three executives promoted?

Brian Caines, Ottawa

Mental heath: Discuss

Re How Many Actually Suffer From Mental Illness? (May 22): I never thought obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was the source of my suffering. “Work stress,” I thought. Nothing to talk to my doctor about. No one saw my hyper sense of responsibility as anything short of an exceptional trait that propelled my career. Which it did, while wreaking havoc on everything else. It wasn’t until my ability to work was impaired that I realized something was terribly wrong.

But even in crisis, I initially had trouble getting a psychiatric referral from my family doctor. That’s why I was dismayed by André Picard’s interpretation of the Sun Life poll that 49 per cent of Canadians have experienced a mental health issue as telling us “more than anything else… that we are pathologizing normal emotions.”

This claim trivializes people’s experiences and does a grave disservice to efforts to normalize talking about mental health. We need to encourage people to talk to health professionals openly and freely, so we can improve early detection and treatment before mental-health problems become life-threatening illnesses.

The last thing we need to do is shame people away from talking about mental health.

Stephanie Coen, mental health advocate, London, Ont.

A more important cup

Re Lord Stanley’s Unlikely Legacy: How The Donated Cup Etched A Name In History (Sports, May 29): So a “non-entity,” whose obituary in 1908 didn’t even mention hockey, donated a bowl he only paid 10 guineas for and got inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

What about Jack Cartledge, who, in 1927, on behalf of the Guelph Elastic Hosiery company, patented the much more important cup that thereafter protected the boys of our hockey-playing boys? This hard-cup invention built the confidence to block shots and the capacity to build families. Surely Mr. Cartledge deserves to be in the hall in the “builder” category.

Jocularity? Bollocks to that!

Rudy Buller, Toronto

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this letter incorrectly said GCOS was the subject of bail out talks. It was Syncrude. This version has been corrected.
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