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Feb. 22: Bombardier bailout, and other letters to the editor

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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Let it crash?

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Barrie McKenna says that continuing to give Bombardier piles of taxpayers money is the right thing to do (Letting Bombardier 'Crash And Burn' Isn't An Option Canada Can Afford, Feb. 20). This is nonsense. Either the business cannot survive as a going concern or it can.

In the first instance, giving it more money won't help. In the second instance, even if it goes bankrupt, someone will be willing to pick up the pieces, in which case the employment the business provides and the supply chains it supports will remain. If the present management crashes and burns, maybe the rescuer will be a company that knows what it's doing. Mr. McKenna should read Brian Lee Crowley's article in the same edition that dismisses government subsidies for innovation (Ottawa Risks An Economic Error Of Trumpian Proportions, Feb. 20).

Brian Grier, Calgary

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Mr. McKenna is correct in listing all the ways Bombardier benefits Canadians. However nowhere in his article does he mention the egregious share structure that enables the Bombardier and Beaudoin families to control the company while owning a minority of the shares. These two families bear some of the responsibility for a number of poor business decisions made over the years, resulting in a constant need for infusions of taxpayer money.

The federal government has missed an opportunity to apply pressure to change the share structure to one that allows stakeholders to exercise more influence over how the company is run. This would not result in the company's demise and might remove the need for taxpayer support.

Colin Lowe, Nanaimo, B.C.

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.......................................................Death of facts

It's easy to share Mark Kingwell's well-argued outrage at what he sees as the Trump administration's blithe disregard for notions of fairness and objective truth (To Trump, Fairness Is Just Another Alternative Fact, Feb. 21).

But as a philosopher, Prof. Kingwell might also have recognized the possibility that, in Mr. Trump and his cabal, we are simply witnessing the first postmodern political moment, one in which the foundational narratives that have previously shaped our culture – equality, the collective good and reason among them – simply have no relevance. As Nietzsche, the forerunner of the postmodern mood, wrote: "There are no facts, only interpretations." It's something that Mr. Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, might have said.

John Reardon, Toronto

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Preston's populism

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I have never agreed with Preston Manning, and his latest column really got me steamed up (Getting To The Roots Of Populist Uprisings, Feb. 20).

He criticizes two female provincial leaders and then spouts the "Canadian" value of equality. I guess all the male leaders out there are doing a fabulous job.

He says Alberta's government is incompetent. That is unfair. Premier Rachel Notley inherited Alberta's declining economy after years and years in which Conservatives kept their heads buried in the oil sands and did little to help diversify Alberta. They also squandered former premier Peter Lougheed's Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

Mr. Manning also criticizes supporters of diversity, immigration and multiculturalism, believing somehow that they threaten Canada's identity, whatever that is. Mr. Manning is also upset over our new Foreign Affairs Minister because she is a former journalist and U.S. President Donald Trump doesn't like journalists. He even thinks we should stop denouncing Mr. Trump's appalling conduct and understand his positions. Mr. Manning seems to forget that Mr. Trump did not win the popular vote. His supporters are people who cannot accept that automation and trade have changed the world forever.

Susan Ellis, White Rock, B.C.

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I would agree that the rise of populism in our country occurs when voters realize their voices are not heard. Parliament is supposedly the place where voices are heard through chosen representatives. However, because of the resulting skew of our first-past-the-post voting system, the majority of voters have no representation within the House of Commons.

Leaders don't even acknowledge the voices of the people – never mind respond to those viewpoints with appropriate policies. Our present democracy isn't working because neither voices nor votes count in a meaningful way. Absolute power resides with a party that gets less than 40 per cent of the votes.

Proportional representation would give a voice to all, a vote that counts to all, and representation to all. We must stop trying to silence the voices.

John Rudan, Kingston

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Mr. Manning makes an important point when he says we must address the public concerns that give rise to populist uprisings. Our policy toward refugees is a case in point. Whether the fear that refugees pose a threat is groundless or not is irrelevant. It exists. According to a recent poll by Angus Reid Institute, 41 per cent of Canadians feel we are taking in too many refugees.

The way to combat their fears is not to contemptuously dismiss them as bigots, but to inform them of the steps that are being taken to protect our security. Few Canadians, I suspect, are aware of the vetting process. Reassuring Canadians that a stringent vetting process is in place would go a long way to allaying the fears of the 41 per cent. Refusing to acknowledge their concerns will not.

Michael Betcherman, Toronto

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I never delight in the comments of Mr. Manning without nostalgia about the fabulous prime minister we never had. Though his column reveals more than a little impatience on his part with the endless criticism of the unfathomable Mr. Trump, Mr. Manning's call for open democratic dialogue, as a long-term cure for contemporary populist malaise, could not be more appropriate.

Rick Willick, West Quaco, N.B.

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Follow the money

Human trafficking is a major problem to which insufficient effort has been made in Canada to quell it. It was reassuring to read that our banks and police have had "a quiet new initiative that targeted traffickers by following their money (Banks, Police Following Money Trail To Target Human Trafficking, Feb. 21). Congratulations to them for discovering the "follow the money" advice made popular in the All the President's Men movie about the 1972 Watergate scandal.

David Platt, Toronto

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White remembered

Bob White was a true visionary who demonstrated both the intellect and morality to lead where union members were willing to follow (Bob White, Instrumental In Creating Canadian Auto Workers Union, Dead at 81, Feb. 20). The quality of this man will be missed and his sacrifices appreciated for many generations in labour to come.

Daniel Kowbell, Mississauga

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