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March 17: Pinochio-rated tactics on native child welfare. 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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Pinochio-rated tactic

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Re Tribunal Can't Enforce Native Child-Welfare Ruling, Ottawa Says (March 16): I was appalled and ashamed to read that the federal government has again deployed a high-powered team from the Department of Justice to insist that it is under no obligation to comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's ruling that it must end the discriminatory underfunding of Indigenous child welfare and education.

The government claims that it has gone as far as it can and that the problem is that there are information gaps regarding the needs of specific agencies. That argument earns at least four Pinochios. The documentary record is clear and complete regarding the needs, and the tribunal has already twice determined that the federal government is not in compliance with its ruling.

As a former senior government official, I find it astounding that the national government, especially a government led by Justin Trudeau, would take such an intransigent – many would say racist – position on an easily solvable issue.

For less than the rounding error in the next federal budget ($200-million this year against a $30-billion deficit), the government could immediately start to remedy this shameful discrimination and take one small step, as strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, toward putting Indigenous children on the path to a better future for themselves and for Canada.

Gordon Ritchie, Ottawa

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Polarizing words

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Re Canada's Elites Could Use A Crash Course in Populism (March 16): The assumption that only right-of-centre political doctrines represent "populism" against the "elite" is one of the major myths of our time.

Preston Manning's own evidence militates against this claim: The 60 per cent of people who voted against Brexit in London or the 91 per cent who voted against Donald Trump in Washington do not, of course, include only the "elite" in the government and media in these diverse metropolitan areas. These city-dwellers belong to the "people" as well.

Polls suggest that the right-of-centre attitudes identified with "the people" are in fact concentrated in certain regional and demographic groups.

The attitudes identified with the "elite" – a welcoming attitude toward immigrants, advocacy for the government's role in supporting the disadvantaged, among other opinions – are held by the majority of people in both Canada and the United States.

We need to get rid of the inaccurate and polarizing language of the "people" against the "elite."

Nicholas Hudson, Vancouver

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Just who are these Canadian "elites" Preston Manning is whining about? And why do they seem so opposed to "populism"?

If you take Donald Trump's explanation, elites seem to be the people who understand the political system and the way diplomacy can work – while populism seems to be those who want short, simple, logo-style answers to complex questions. I know where I would go for answers to questions I might have.

Personally, I find the term "elite" somewhat akin to "middle class": a term sometimes used to denigrate people we don't agree with or don't like.

But on its own … really nothing.

Joy Ruttan, Gatineau, Que.

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The art of the lie

Re The Lying And The Damage Done (editorial, March 16): Noting that Donald Trump lies constantly, you ask: Why is it working for him? It seems to me that he has refined lying to an art.

When challenged to support some of his most outrageous assertions, rather than back down, he is given to simply repeating an earlier lie, a variation of sorts on the technique employed by Joseph Goebbels, who knew that a big enough lie repeated often enough takes on a certain (if somewhat questionable) validity in people's minds.

For years, Donald Trump insisted that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He claimed to have private investigators working in Hawaii, asserting they had some very good stuff, and were working on putting it together.

Confronted this week on Fox News by Tucker Carlson about his accusation that president Barack Obama wiretapped him, he responded, without batting an eye, "I think we have some very good stuff, and we're in the process of putting it together …"

Mr. Trump's book, The Art of the Deal, should more properly be called The Art of the Lie.

Al Lando, Toronto

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Donald Trump is not really interested in communicating with the likes of your editorial writers or me. He essentially talks directly to his faithful, on the theory that they will accept the word of their prophet over anything else – and that if he can get that word out fast (Twitter), it will insulate them against any heresy they might stumble across.

Chris Marston, Toronto

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I thoroughly enjoyed your editorial, which was very amusing but also very sad. Your image of Donald Trump as an Oracle put me in mind of Johnny Carson's famous Carnac the Magnificent, who could physically "divine" unknown answers to unseen questions. If only Mr. Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, had the same skill, we might all be able to really understand "what President Trump meant when he said that."

Paul Moulton, Edmonton

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A damaged brand

Re Tim Hortons Franchisees Gear Up For Battle With RBI (Report on Business, March 14): Your article on the looming battle between Tim Hortons franchisees and 3G Capital, which is directing the chain's management, has only confirmed my suspicions.

I've tasted the decline in the quality of Tim Hortons products. At first, I thought it was just a single location. Not so! For some time, I've refused to purchase goods from the chain based on this obvious race for profits at the expense of the customer experience. When a company like Maple Leaf Foods walks away, I would say that is more than a "canary in a coal mine" as to what is really happening in the restaurant chain. The damage is done.

Congratulations to 3G for driving up shareholder value and select corporate individuals' bonuses – while destroying the core of a business.

Brad Mulligan, Toronto

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Wrong way round?

Re Centre-Left Shift In Dutch Election Deals Blow To Populism (March 16): So when it comes to The Globe and Mail's front-page priorities, the headline about another of Donald Trump's shenanigans – Trump Targets Fuel-Efficiency Standards – outranks a milestone result in the Dutch elections? Do please get serious.

Hal C. Hartmann, West Vancouver

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Re What Is Trump Up To On Twitter? (March 16): Trump fan Darlene Martin of Chesapeake, Virginia, says of Donald Trump's Twitter feed: "I feel like we're getting it from the horse's mouth."

I'm pretty sure she's got the right beast, but I think she may have it the wrong way round.

Gary Draper, Kitchener, Ont.

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