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B.C. Premier Christy Clark. Today’s topics: At sea on a pipeline deal; say yes to China on Nexen?; ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough; pulling The Dark Knight Rises from theatres … and more (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Premier Christy Clark. Today’s topics: At sea on a pipeline deal; say yes to China on Nexen?; ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough; pulling The Dark Knight Rises from theatres … and more (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

July 27: At sea on a pipeline deal, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

At sea on a deal

You report that B.C. Premier Christy Clark says British Columbians want our “fair share” of the pipeline spoils (Pipeline Feud In Spotlight As Oil-sands Prospects Dim – July 26).

Many, many of us simply do not want to risk our coastline or inland environment. We do not want the pipeline under any circumstances or at any price. The proposed tanker route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline is too dangerous a route for any large vessel, let alone 200 to 250 large tankers annually.

Frederick Botting, Penticton, B.C.

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B.C.’s Premier would do well to tone down her rhetoric. It is not acceptable for a province to threaten to block interprovincial works or undertakings, any more than to block, say, transshipment of goods through the province.

A better route to an acceptable solution would be to work out an agreement, among all the relevant parties, as to taxation arrangements which would be economically and politically workable, and also agreements on conditions, to be federally imposed, respecting pipeline construction and operation sufficient to meet B.C.’s legitimate interests on such matters as safety.

Stephen Scott, professor emeritus, law, McGill University

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Albertans are already backpacking a lot of dead financial weight with transfer payments to the Rest of Canada. It’s in Canadians’ – all Canadians, including British Columbians – financial interest to back the pipeline. Who’s going to send them money if they choke out Alberta?

G.M. Roberts, Edmonton

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Say yes to China?

I was surprised to read in the latest report from the National Bureau of Asian Research that the Canadian presence at the 2012 Pacific Energy summit was limited to two embassy functionaries. Similarly, the 2011 summit in Indonesia included only two Canadians, again embassy people. Significantly, other participants almost doubled from 2011 to 2012, reflecting the intense focus on finding alternative sources of energy for both the developed and developing economies throughout Asia.

Jim Prentice, who argues in support of approving the Nexen deal (Should Nexen Go To China? Two Views – July 26), admits Canadians have awakened slowly to the potential of the Asian markets, particularly in energy, relying on the media rather than first-hand intelligence. Absence at major Asian energy conferences suggests we are still more “never” than “late.”

Dennis Dicks, Senneville, Que.

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Nexen belongs to its shareholders, who elect its directors. Those directors have recommended that shareholders accept the offer from China National Offshore Oil Corp., as well they might, as the offer involves a healthy premium over the current share price.

I am bemused by Canadians who are not shareholders in Nexen pontificating about what “we” should do with Nexen, as if it belonged somehow to them. The Canadian government retains some ill-defined right of veto over the sale pursuant to the Foreign Investment Review Act, but individual Canadians who are not shareholders should not presume they have anything to say about the purchase and sale, and should butt out.

J. David Gorrell, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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It is becoming more than tedious reading articles that cite Canada’s refusal to allow BHP Billiton to take over Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan as some sort of irrational refusal to accept the market’s function. The proposed takeover was at a cyclical low, with a minimal premium to market, and should be described as opportunistic at best, or more accurately predatory.

Perhaps it makes sense to an academic with an unswerving belief in classical capitalism for the investors of a country to furnish the capital to create a company to be sold to a foreign buyer at a huge discount, but the government is hardly to be faulted for protecting its citizens from such legalized theft.

John Chivers, Grimsby, Ont.

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‘Idiot with a gun’

I’ve just returned from Jamaica, where I attended Sumfest, the “Greatest Reggae Show on Earth.” Everybody was searched before being admitted, and I felt pretty happy about that. Nothing spoils a good party like some idiot with a gun.

Those people who complain about similar tactics proposed for Toronto are more worried about politics than they are about safety (Security Fears Result In Cancelled Festival – July 26).

Steve Lipscombe, Aurora, Ont.

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‘Good enough’ isn’t

The quality of music, social commentary and now creative writing is declining rapidly, not least because digital technology has made it easy and cheap for moderately talented people to distribute the products of their hobbies (‘There Will Be No More Professional Writers In The Future’ – Arts, July 26).

The Internet is a powerful tool, but because it has no filter, it empowers mediocrity. That said, it would be wrong to simply say digital technology is to blame. An educated, thoughtful society would apply standards and oversight. After all, a scalpel is a useful tool but we don’t allow just anyone to perform surgery.

I recently had a conversation with a young university graduate who insisted all self-expression is art; that a banal graffito spraypainted on a public building has the same value as a novel by Robertson Davies or Margaret Atwood. This is a symptom of what George Carlin called “the ascendancy of ignorance,” and that is the phenomenon we need to examine. We need to ask how a whole generation came to believe that “good enough” is acceptable and that quantity is more desirable than quality.

John Scott MacMurchy, Toronto

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Don’t pull the film

As horrific as Colorado shooting was, it has no relationship to the rest of society’s right to choose to watch The Dark Knight Rises, or any other film (Where Is The Unstoppable Force Of Public Anger? – Arts, July 25). Would-be censors of rock’n’roll or rap or erotica or video games or action movies always think that by removing such stimuli, various acts of madness or social deviance will stop.

It would show more respect for the victims if brave political leaders in the U.S. (and Canada) intensified the battle to ban assault weapons and purchases of massive amounts of ammunition, and to repeal the permission to carry weapons in public (in the U.S.), and yes, to retain the gun registry in this country. That’s where the public anger should be focused. Alas, that’s much harder than withdrawing a movie.

The painful truth is that gun sales in Colorado increased in the days following the shooting, and no politician dares raise the subject – movies are not the problem and banning them is not the solution.

Eugene Bolvary, Toronto

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Were they fleeced?

Re How Sheep Try To Flee (Social Studies – July 26): You quote BBC News as telling us that: “Researchers are the first to show that sheep behave this way using GPS technology.” Okay, so how does this work? Does their GPS device have enough RAM for this? Or have I got it wrong and GPS actually stands for Group Positioning Shepherd?

Michael J. Wills, Toronto

 

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