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March 7: Honouring René Lévesque. 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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'Old arguments'

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Re René Lévesque, Great Canadian? (March 6): If, according to your editorial, René Lévesque deserves to being counted as a "great Canadian" despite his separatist politics, which would have inflicted untold harm on his voters (and all Canadians), then surely Louis Riel should be enshrined in the pantheon of the Founding Fathers of Confederation. After all, we wouldn't want to be "trapped by old arguments."

Ron Freedman, Toronto

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You write that "It gains a nation nothing to remain trapped by old arguments and hardened opinions. Mature countries let passions cool, and move forward. Yes, René Lévesque was a diehard separatist, but he was also a liberal democrat."

A united Canada is not just some trivial old argument that we should forget about. It's a goal which we should continue to strive for passionately. René Lévesque tried to tear Canada apart. Just because he did it in a nice democratic way doesn't change that fact.

Tim Jeffery, Toronto

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Kudos to the federal government for helping to build a museum in Quebec that honours René Lévesque, and to The Globe And Mail for supporting Ottawa's decision. Mr. Lévesque's sovereignty-association proposal was not so much anti-Canadian as pro-Quebec; we should not forget that it was a time when the future of the French language/culture in Quebec was under significant stress.

Much has changed since, but what should not be forgotten is that Mr. Lévesque represented the values of liberal democracy in a most honourable way.

Yes, as ironic as it may seem, he was indeed a great Canadian. His civility and thoughtfulness are attributes in short supply in Canadian politics today.

Simon Rosenblum, Toronto

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His pay, her pay

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It's discouraging to read that the gender pay gap has barely moved over the past two decades, when on the surface it seemed as if we were moving forward (Who Is Minding The Gap? – Folio, March 6). More women than ever are in the work force and graduating from university, yet we still aren't being paid equally.

The societal effects of this are far reaching: How many women leave the work force to raise children because it "makes sense" as they earn less?

How many men don't get the chance to take paternity leave as their income is worth more?

I'm attending a conference for women in leadership in honour of International Women's Day this week with a renewed focus on how we can solve this for future generations. I hope for a future where I don't have to explain to my daughter why her work is worth less than a boy's.

Meghan Walsh, Waterloo, Ont.

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Publicly excoriated

Re Consent And The Halifax Ruling: Did The Judge Err? (March 6): We think it's worthwhile reminding everyone that this is an extremely complicated area of the law. These allegations, unlike almost any other crime, take place without any other witnesses being present.

It's also important to note that as much as we cannot rely on stereotypes about when a woman would consent, we cannot rely on stereotypes about when a woman would not consent. A judge has the unenviable task of having to try to assess what happened during an event of short duration where memories and judgment have been impacted by alcohol.

As much as it would appear simple to just accept the account of a complainant, the law for very good reasons does not permit this. We have constitutionally enshrined principles of the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

We cannot have a justice system where every time someone disagrees with a decision, the judge is publicly excoriated. The proper approach is to appeal the decision if Crown counsel decides it is appropriate to do so.

William M. Trudell, chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers

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#Machiavellian?

Re U.S. Allies Shaken By Trump's Wiretap Tweets As Putin Watches The Pot Stir (March 6): Donald Trump is clearly on the defensive as law enforcement and intelligence agencies investigate contacts between his campaign officials and the Russian government. I think he has calculated that the best defence is offence – and hence has claimed, without evidence, that then-president Barack Obama ordered that his phones be tapped prior to the inauguration.

This reprehensible tactic muddies the waters. Mr. Trump may win this round, at least with his supporters, whose only truths come from presidential tweets.

In short, Mr. Trump isn't irrationally out of control – he's attacking like a classic Machiavellian.

Michael Craig, Owen Sound, Ont.

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The stranger-than-fiction shenanigans – wiretapping, anyone? – coming out of the White House must have the executives at Netflix worried. After all, who's going to bother tuning in to House of Cards, when they can watch House of Trump?

Mary Anne Beaudette, Kingston

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Not small, not mean

The Globe and Mail reached peak self-fulfilling prophecy levels with your editorial, Dear Conservatives: Who Are You? (March 4), which argued that "Smallness and meanness of vision have become the hallmarks of the Conservative leadership race."

The premise for your conclusion is the dirty campaign of Kellie Leitch, one of 14 candidates. You ignored the positive campaigns of Andrew Scheer, Maxime Bernier, Erin O'Toole, Lisa Raitt, Michael Chong and almost all the others. These leadership candidates are all proposing exciting and inclusive ideas.

Because you only focused on Ms. Leitch's campaign, it is unsurprising that you came to this conclusion. Talk to the other candidates and you will realize this leadership contest is not small or mean by any measure.

(Daniel) William Heath, Blenheim, Ont.

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He, she, mess

I have finally figured out what bothers me so much about Stephen Marche's book, The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century (Stephen Marche On Why Squalor Is The Solution To Domestic Gender Politics – Life &Arts, March 3): His views sound like a variation on the time-honoured male argument that women's work doesn't matter.

The mess doesn't bother me, so it doesn't have to be dealt with; the dirt and dust don't bother me, so why clean it up; I don't see it, so it doesn't really matter. If it impinges on the man's life style, then it matters, as in: I can't find any mated socks, I'm developing asthma, why are the covers all on your side of the bed?!

I would remind men that the greatest advance in health was the recognition that sanitation and cleanliness matters – and what women usually do is take care of that minor problem.

Anne Tittler, Montreal

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