Pipeline fight has just begun
Re Now The Heavy Lifting For Enbridge, First Nations (Dec. 23): Jim Prentice, the former minister of Indian and northern affairs, implicitly asserts that all future discussions about the Northern Gateway pipeline will merely be about the economic, legal and regulatory process – suggesting that the political fight is over.
It isn’t. It has just begun.
Marcel Schlaf, Guelph, Ont.
Until this year, I’ve been a “sustaining” supporter of the Conservative Party, but this pipeline to the “coast” discussion that has been going on ad infinitum is the last straw.
Anyone who has looked at a map of the B.C. coastline can plainly see that Prince Rupert is on the coast. Kitimat is almost 100 kilometres inland via the Douglas Channel, a storm-prone, foggy, twisting passageway with many tributaries.
Anyone who thinks that supertankers can navigate this channel without mishap is delusional. I have been in this area numerous times and fail to see why a “coastal” northern port was not chosen as the terminus for a pipeline.
British Columbians and some First Nations might have supported a true northern coastal port. Northern Gateway, as it sits, is environmental and political suicide. I hope Stephen Harper realizes that.
Leo de Bruin, Victoria
Rights that collide
Re How To Decide When Rights Collide (editorial, Dec. 21): You note that the Charter’s protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation does not override its guarantee of freedom of religion: Neither right trumps the other. Sad, but true.
I can only yearn for the day when one’s religion, which can change on a whim, must yield to immutable characteristics (gender, race, colour, sexual orientation). These are so much more deserving of protection.
Tim Moseley, Toronto
Sex for sale
Re Swedish Sex Services (letters, Dec. 23): Stephen Moss recommends that Canada follow the direction of the the Swedish model for prostitution laws which makes it illegal to buy, but not to sell sexual services.
That is discriminatory.
If it illegal to buy sexual services, then it should be illegal to sell them.
Jiti Khanna, Vancouver
The problem is not women selling sex; it is men buying sex. And that is what the Supreme Court did not address in striking down the law against soliciting, and in the court’s ostensible focus on the safety of women selling sex through the provision of bodyguards and drivers (also known as pimps). What women need are exit strategies, not pimps masquerading as drivers and accountants and receptionists, not slavery dressed up as choice.
Collette Oseen, Vancouver
Re Toronto’s Density Plan Is Working, So Keep It Going (Dec. 23): I live in an area of Toronto that is experiencing hyperdensity. Sidewalks are overcrowded, making walking unpleasant. Transit, especially at rush hours, cannot deal with the demand and crush. Roads are clogged with vehicles whose noise and emissions assault ears and lungs. There are a few pocket-parks to provide the connection to nature that everyone needs, but not enough to meet the needs of the population.
Towers are often uncomfortably close to each other; from inside, often there is just a glimpse of the sky. The same monotonous glass-and-metal structures are hastily being erected, without enough thought about what makes for a decent living environment.
Don’t residents in intensification areas deserve the same services and quality of life that people in other parts of the city receive?
Vera Callaghan, Toronto
Re A Disheartening Year In Canadian Politics (Dec. 20): So isn’t it up to the “plenty of honourable and hard-working people” of Canada to change the unacceptable “culture of deceit, backscratching and venality” that appears endemic in political life and that caused the annus horribilis?
Jeffrey Simpson asks a good question: “How was it, with so many people complicit in the corruption for so long, that no one blew the whistle?”
If we want to see a change to the way of doing business that will promote a culture and system of legality and honour, this can only be done by Canadians who are “mad and disillusioned.”
The answer is not turning off. It is becoming more involved in order to challenge what is wrong.
Working together to stamp out the disease of “widespread, prolonged and systemic corruption” wherever it happens to be in our society is the first step to recovery.
Electing exemplary leaders who will shape our future and create a legacy that reflects and defines our national character is the only way to create the best from Canadian politics.
Caroline Wang, Vancouver
Re Power Outages Could Hammer Retailers (Dec. 23): Hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents lost power in the ice storm. I am angry. Very angry. Most of us are.
About six weeks ago, Toronto Hydro started replacing old hydro poles on our street. As the first section of the street had had the wires buried about 10 years ago, one would have hoped that rather than replacing the poles, the utility would decide to continue putting the wires underground.
Almost 70 years ago, a Toronto mayor said hydro poles were on the way out, yet Toronto still has all those wires and cables hanging about, subject to adverse weather. Not to mention that it makes the city look shabby and prehistoric.
I’d like to see an analysis of financial losses incurred in this storm. What were the costs to restore power, what did the outage cost businesses, governments and other offices?
Dana Dvorak, Toronto
Re Senate Reform Or Abolition Unlikely Despite Scandal, Experts Say (Dec. 23): Most Canadians want the Senate reformed or abolished but constitutional experts say this is nigh impossible. I suspect constitutional attempts to replace our British head of state would meet similar obstacles.
In Gulliver’s Travels, there’s a race of people called the Laputans who devote their lives to writing intellectual and abstract theories – but in all practical matters, they are totally useless. I’m convinced it was the Laputans who wrote our Constitution. When a nation’s development becomes paralyzed by incompetently written rules, it’s time to throw in the towel.
Craig Gordon, Fonthill, Ont.
Re The Dairy Way (Dec. 21): The notion that old milkboxes are useless since the home delivery of milk ceased is incorrect. I converted mine into a mailbox.
Oh, wait a minute. Right …
Catherine Birt, Toronto