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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, in 2017.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Trade war, translated

For Canadians and Americans, a translation of NAFTA/“trade war” coverage:

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1) When you hear “concession,” it’s usually a win for consumers/taxpayers (in both countries);

2) When you hear “protect,” “tariff,” or “retaliate” (from either country), it means consumers/taxpayers will pay;

3) When you hear “sovereignty,” it’ll come from someone living off of your taxes/union dues. They’ll tell you that your country will soon disappear. They’ve been saying that for 35 years;

4) When you hear “fair trade,” don’t assume you agree on what’s “fair”;

5) When you hear “corporations,” remember: Corporations are just business associations. All it takes to incorporate is fees, paperwork and humans. Good, bad, boring, there are all kinds of humans. The same goes for corporations.

The final tip isn’t mine, but it’s a good one:

6) “If your trading partner throws rocks into his harbour, that is no reason to throw rocks into your own” (economist Joan Robinson).

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Liam O’Brien, former director of policy for the Minister of International Trade (2010); Toronto

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Responding to President Donald Trump’s ill-considered tariffs on steel and aluminum via retaliatory tariffs is not Canada’s best option (Ottawa Strikes Back, June 1).

Instead, we should identify a range of politically sensitive U.S. exports to Canada and eliminate the tariffs we levy on imports of those same goods from other countries. This would punish the United States, but at the same time flag the need for freer world trade and provide a benefit to Canadian consumers.

We can get even and get smart at the same time.

Jim Davies, professor, Economics Department, University of Western Ontario

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Our Prime Minister’s soft management of the American President has all come to naught.

As we learned in the schoolyard, bullies often need a punch in the nose. Together with our friends in Europe and Mexico, it’s time to deliver that punch.

Ian Thompson, Halifax

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Who needs the Russians when the West is determined to self-destruct? It saves the U.S. some money on the Mueller investigation into whether the Russians colluded to make Donald Trump president, I guess.

Nothing like a good tariff war to make America great again!

Grace Deutsch, Toronto

Popular(?) in Ontario

If we assume Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne is so unpopular in Ontario that she’ll lose anyway and then quit, perhaps she should announce now that she’ll retire after the election, win or lose. Perhaps then the comparative policies can be weighed on their merits.

Pierre Mihok, Markham, Ont.

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I like Kathleen Wynne (Why Is Kathleen Wynne So Unpopular? – May 29). There, I’ve said it. She has guts. She knows she is unpopular but will show up at town hall meetings to face critics. I like her “competent, no nonsense persona.” I like her straight answers; her reliance on information and facts. I like that she is a woman.

As someone with two daughters and a grandmother, it has been hugely inspiring for me to see a woman of her calibre assume the office as Premier.

If sometimes her behaviour seems unsympathetic, her policies are not. You don’t raise the minimum wage, offer free drug coverage for seniors and those under 25, free university and college tuition for lower-income families, with plans for free daycare for preschoolers, out of mean-spiritedness. I like substance over sloganeering and empty sympathy.

Myrna Markovich, Toronto

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When Kathleen Wynne first assumed the Premier’s chair, she projected integrity and promised things would be done differently.

But it didn’t take her long to drop good policy-making in favour of vote-getting. Why did she veto John Tory when he stuck his neck out and asked for road tolls? She purports to be a champion of the environment but not when it comes to discouraging commuting in favour of transit; not when it will cost votes in the area outside Toronto known as the 905.

She was supposed to help tenants. Instead she extended rent controls to get the tenant vote, and choked off investment in creating more rental housing so now Toronto has even fewer vacancies.

The irony is that with Doug Ford, we know what Ontario will get: He doesn’t pretend to be anything but a local Donald Trump.

Howard Cohen, Toronto

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Re PCs Release Platform Without Full Costing (May 31): Those in a position to influence Doug Ford (assuming they exist) should advise him that his apparent strategy of it being “better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt” was seemingly refuted in the last U.S. presidential election.

Chester Fedoruk, Toronto

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Based on the results and performance of this Ontario government, the NDP governments currently in office in this country, the inability of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s people to carry out simple arithmetic (even ignoring the experience to which Ontario was treated in the 1990s by the NDP), the election of anyone but Doug Ford would appear to be risky at best, economically or otherwise.

Carl Ravinsky, Montreal

(Maybe) paid by Phoenix

Re The Phoenix Fiasco Needs An Inquiry (editorial, May 31): Auditor-General Michael Ferguson reports “a dysfunctional bureaucracy in which public-service employees are unable to work in the best interests of Canadians.”

I have been part of that public-service for some 30 years. It is an easy target for government cost cutting, and has endured round after round of policies meant to drive efficiency. The result was the wholesale elimination of complete directorates or the “consolidation” (read downsizing) of organizations within the public service that had provided timely guidance, expertise and governance to us – the workers.

New computer programs were to take the load off our stressed public service. That has not worked out so well. One only reads about the pay-system program; we have many other broken IT programs that require extensive time and input to make them work. The public service is now doing more with less people, less material, less money and almost no HR support these days.

We are directed to “get it done” and to have a “can do attitude.” Well, we cannot reliably do it any more, and the general public is now seeing the results of all this. Welcome to our everyday reality.

Sometimes we even get paid for our daily frustrations.

Sometimes …

Mike Welsby, Duncan, B.C.

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A letter writer asks into what positions the three senior public servants behind the Phoenix fiasco might have been promoted (Phoenix Fiasco, June 1). The likely answer is on another page of The Globe and Mail. My bet is that they are busy helping to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to determining refugee applications (Ottawa Looks To AI In Handling Issues With Immigration System, June 1).

Zorica Vukmanovic, Mississauga

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