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March 1: Rating performance. Plus 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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(Under)performer?

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So Conservative leadership contender Kevin O'Leary wants Canadians to believe – in effect because he has more money than the other candidates – that he "can't be bought." In other words, just trust him (O'Leary Says He Can't Be Bought, Sets $50,000 Appearance Limit, Feb. 28).

We don't have to look very far to see how big money can influence an election. It seems to me that Mr. O'Leary thinks Canadian voters are naive … or could it be the other way around? My motto is beware of the guy who has nothing to lose.

J.L. Isopp, Nanaimo, B.C.

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If Kevin O'Leary runs Canada the way he ran his mutual funds, underperformance will be the norm. Ottawa we have a problem: lots of bluster and poor performance! But then, that's politics in a nutshell.

Scott Barker, investment adviser, Toronto

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Re O'Leary Looms (letters, Feb. 28): After the Liberals selected Michael Ignatieff as their leader, the Conservatives effectively targeted his past, accusing him of "just visiting" because of the years he spent outside Canada.

I would be delighted to see the Conservatives select Kevin O'Leary as their leader, because then the tables could be turned nicely.

Walter Schwager, Toronto

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What Canada accepts

Margaret Wente's column (Trudeau Needs To Have A Merkel Moment, Feb. 28 ) is a timely warning to Canadian policy makers. Dramatic increases in German hate crimes against migrants have been reported, and elsewhere in Europe extremist anti-immigrant parties are serious contenders to win elections in a number of countries, including France.

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Not coincidentally, these developments have occurred while undocumented immigrants, from the Middle East and North Africa, have flooded into Europe.

Anyone who thinks that such things could never happen in Canada is no student of history.

Peter Love, Toronto

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Our country has a vast geographical expanse, unlike Germany or any European country. In Canada, there are immigrant communities everywhere. They come, as they have for years, and make a place for themselves and help enrich our country in so many ways.

Compassion has its limits? Maybe for Margaret Wente …

Elizabeth Smith, Ottawa

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Japan, with its policy of not accepting unskilled labourers for permanent immigration, is expected to have eight million fewer workers by 2030, and 86 per cent of Japan's employers are having difficulty in filling vacancies (Immigrant-Averse Japan Finds Itself In Need Of Foreign Workers, Feb. 25). Will this be U.S. President Donald Trump's America in the near future? Probably. Meanwhile, Canada will accept immigrants – and grow and prosper.

Peter Fedirchuk, Ottawa

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Kids' commissioner

Re Why Is Canada Still Waiting For A Children's Commissioner? (Feb. 28): Canada is one of the few developed countries that has no national youth suicide prevention strategy. Some 70 per cent of all mental illness starts before age 20, but only one out of six children gets the help they need, and mental-health literacy, promotion, and illness prevention are nowhere to be seen on the federal stage.

Kids don't vote, and so they are easy to ignore. What do they have to do to get a children's commissioner? Have a gigantic, nationwide temper tantrum? Parents need to rise up and translate the love they have for their children into activist advocacy.

Marshall Korenblum, psychiatrist-in-chief, Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children and Families; Toronto

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Water failures

Re The Trouble Behind Canada's Failed First Nations Water Plants (online, Feb. 24): The chief and council at Kahkewistahaw in Saskatchewan had little input into how their water treatment process was selected. This is similar to other First Nations communities. The engineering company selected a water treatment process. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) approved it, a manufacturer built it, and the community was left to run it.

Equipment malfunctions at Kahkewistahaw were frequent. The band tried in vain to make safe water for its community. From a technical point of view, this was an impossible task.

INAC should not be pointing the finger at the community, it needs to take accountability and ensure the causes of the problem are addressed.

Kahkewistahaw is not the first First Nations community to get a treatment process that fails. It is actually quite common.

Engineering companies need to select proven water treatment technologies that meet the needs of a community's raw water quality challenges. Manufacturers need to produce water treatment systems that work for the intended specific raw water conditions, and INAC needs to make sure that the manufacturers have actually treated the type of water that a community has.

When water stewards fail miserably, the problems should be put squarely at their feet – and not on the Kahkewistahaw community.

Hans Peterson, scientific adviser, Safe Drinking Water Team; Saskatoon

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Trump-sponsored

Re When Will President Trump Finally Act? (editorial, Feb. 28): Russian-sponsored aggression is only part of the story in Ukraine. Independent observers of the fighting, including those from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have reported escalating violence on both sides of the conflict. The situation is further complicated by deep and bitter divisions on the Ukrainian side (see Ex-Pilot Sets Sights On Poroshenko, Feb. 28).

Is it realistic to imagine that Donald Trump, who has shown little grasp of the complexity of international relations, could somehow make things better?

The U.S. has demonstrated more than once in its recent history that untimely intervention can make a bad situation worse. Please, don't ask Donald Trump to pour oil on troubled fires.

R.E. Johnson, Toronto

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Re Enemy Territory (editorial, Feb. 28): 1) The United States already spends about as much on its military as the rest of the world combined, and now Donald Trump plans to spend even more. In his own words, sad!!

2) How about starting from the premise of getting into fewer wars, rather than worrying about winning them?

3) Since Donald Trump managed not to fight in his generation's war (Vietnam), what does he know about the costs of war to those who do go and fight?

Bob Curran, Toronto

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Donald Trump likes to say he "inherited a mess." The military, the economy and employment are a "disaster." No one, especially Mr. Trump, had any idea how "complicated" health care is. Still, the ridiculously coiffed President assures us he is a trooper who will carry on regardless. Thus his new slogan: We Shall Overcomb.

Norman Rosencwaig, Toronto

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