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April 28: He shoots. But does Donald Trump score? Plus other letters to the editor

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing a Memorandum on Aluminum Imports and Threats to National Security in the Oval Office on April 27, 2017. (Pool/Getty Images)

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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He shoots. He scores?

Approaching 100 days of presidential posturing is akin to watching the Maple Leafs play hockey. We love it, we hate it, yet somehow, we want to watch it all the more.

O, the excitement of it all …

The American President has the ability to shock, amaze, amuse, engage, enrage and absolutely frustrate friend and foe alike.

Canada is choking as the U.S. leader emerges as the Lord of Lumber and the Count of the Cows. When the 100-day milestone is reached this weekend, is it possible that Mr. Trump, like Napoleon, will place the Crown of the Republic upon his own head without assistance?

One hundred days in, it’s time to drain the swamp as he has promised and reveal his errors, omissions … and taxes, too.

Don Webb, Innisfil, Ont.

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Re Trump Changes Course On NAFTA, Drops Threat To Back Out (April 27): Can anyone be surprised at Donald Trump’s outbursts against Canadian softwood lumber and dairy, and his threat, now rescinded, to end NAFTA?

Mr. Trump has played the tough guy for decades, as indicated by his reported involvement in legal filings some 3,500 times. Since taking office, he has been sued 34 times – and counting.

Scorched-earth negotiating tactics in business are nothing new, and often effective. The toughest hombre wins. The problem among nations is that tough-guy diplomacy can literally scorch the Earth and kill people. His tendency to pull out his gun and shoot the “bad guys,” as he defines them, will inevitably bring us to – and beyond – the brink of war.

We don’t need tariff bazookas at the border aimed at our lumber. We need rational, evidence-based, mutual-interest discussions to solve disputes. But we’re forced to take Mr. Trump seriously because his finger is on the trigger.

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Donald Trump initiates every discussion with a temper tantrum. Dairy, lumber, NAFTA or anything else, his strategy is to raise his voice and call the situation “a disgrace.” What to do?

What you do with any six-year-old who demands all the toys in the sandbox: Corner time. “Go to your room, Donald, and when you feel better you can come out and we’ll talk about trade legislation like grown-ups.”

Never overreact to a hissy fit.

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Donald Trump is within his rights to designate Canada’s supply management system as protectionist, anti-competitive and as distorting market forces. In the process, Canadian consumers – who pay higher prices, endure lack of competition and choice (or pay premium prices for imported products) – suffer just as much as American producers.

“Free trade” or at least “fair trade” was supposed to open the Canadian market to competition – as in having U.S. banks set up branches in Toronto, or Time Warner cable offer services in Kamloops. But Canada’s shielding of key sectors from NAFTA-based market forces by various overt or covert guises makes me conclude that Mr. Trump is right and NAFTA is grossly redundant.

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‘Gendercide’

Re Study Finds Gender Imbalance In Births (April 24): The sex ratio statistics from this study are appalling. I have not seen such dismal ratios, not even from India. In Ontario, among females born in India whose previous two births were girls, 192 boys were born for every 100 girls; with Punjabi-speaking mothers, it was 240 boys for every 100 girls.

These numbers translate to 520 girls to 1,000 boys and 416 girls to 1,000 boys, respectively. Sex statistics from India vary widely between states but it is extremely rare to find a ratio below 500. Ever since Nobel laureate Amartya Sen brought up the problem of “missing women,” India has been regularly in the news for its falling sex ratios. The problem is blamed on the practice of marriage dowry for girls and on continuation of (male) family names.

What can we blame it on in Canada? Poverty? No. Dowry? No. Lack of education? No. Continuation of family name? Maybe. Worry about old-age support? Maybe.

Canada is one of the best places in the world to live, from welfare, to free health care, to child support subsidy, to old age security. With all these supports in place, you would think the preference for boys over girls would not surge high enough to succumb to committing gendercide.

This study should ring alarm bells all over Canada.

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Outsiders’ humanity

Re Define It, Document It, Reform it, End It (editorial, April 21): Thank you for your attention to Adam Capay’s case and the Ontario Ombudsman’s report that his solitary confinement was corrosive and unnecessary.

Kashif Ali is arguing in Ontario Superior Court that his 103 consecutive days of solitary confinement while awaiting deportation also constitute “cruel and unusual” punishment. His case and Mr. Capay’s taken together raise troubling questions about how we criminalize and detain “outsiders” in Canada. The abuses suffered by Mr. Capay and Mr. Ali are being attributed to a disorganized bureaucracy, not to a lack of guidance and oversight bodies in Ontario prisons. In other words, the system is being held liable without individual responsibility.

We need to acknowledge the unfortunate reality that both men are racialized “outsiders” to the community. Mr. Capay is a young First Nations murder suspect, seemingly “forgotten” in pretrial detention in Thunder Bay; Mr. Ali is a West African drug-user and petty criminal whose lack of identity documents landed him in indefinite immigration detention outside Toronto.

As we discuss the propriety of solitary confinement in Canada, we would do well to disrupt the social processes that render “outsiders” like Mr. Capay and Mr. Ali as seemingly less deserving of human rights, both in prison and beyond.

Stephanie J. Silverman, Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research, Toronto

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The O’Leary show

Kevin O’Leary dropping out of the Conservative leadership race because he didn’t think he would get the Quebec vote? Well, Quebec isn’t the only sensible province (O’Leary: He Didn’t Come Back, For You – editorial, April 27). I live in Ontario and I’m not alone in my happiness to see “Donald O’Leary” drop out.

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My thanks go to Kevin O’Leary for running and pulling out in such a spectacular fashion. He has provided a valuable public service.

By initially arguing that he didn’t need to be fluent in both official languages, then announcing he’d learn French and finally admitting he needed Quebec on side to become PM, he has used his celebrity status to remind all Canadians that Quebec matters not just to succeed in Canada, but for Canada to succeed.

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Your editorial described Maxime Bernier as a possible “shoe-in” for the Conservative leadership. Is this because Mr. O’Leary walked?