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Prime Minister Stephen Harper Welcomes his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott to Parliament Hill before a meeting in Ottawa on June 9, 2014. (PATRICK DOYLE/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Welcomes his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott to Parliament Hill before a meeting in Ottawa on June 9, 2014. (PATRICK DOYLE/REUTERS)

WHAT READERS THINK

June 11: Climate? Let’s be frank – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Climate? Let’s be frank

Re Won’t Bow To U.S. Pressure, Harper Says (June 10): Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he won’t take serious action to reduce carbon emissions because it will hurt the economy. Okay, but tell me how the escalating cost of trying to deal with wild fires, drought, floods, rising sea levels, killer storms and the other impacts of climate change isn’t already affecting our economy?

We’re spending billions to clean up the mess and to try to adapt – and we’re only scratching the surface of the long-term costs, which will be in the trillions. Let’s not forget that these so-called “natural disasters” are exacting – and will exact – an as-yet-unfathomable toll in suffering and lives.

What a legacy it is that we’re leaving our children and grandchildren. How selfish of us. How short-sighted. How very sad.

Ken Cuthbertson, Kingston

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Stephen Harper says, “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country. We are just a little bit more frank about that.”

Where is the evidence that a carbon tax kills jobs? A March, 2014, study by Analytica Advisors found that after implementation of the revenue-neutral carbon tax in B.C., provincial GDP grew more than the Canadian average and the clean-technology sector grew by 48 per cent. Wouldn’t it be lovely if Canada were truly frank about climate change?

Cathy Orlando, Canadian Citizens’ Climate Lobby

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Funny that Finance Minister Joe Oliver believes that “responsible development of our resources” for future generations involves accelerating tar sands growth.

I’m not saying the pipelines are wrong, but I agree with the West Coast aboriginal groups that maybe today’s profitability doesn’t necessarily spell sustainability or responsibility for Canada’s children. Why the rush?

Chris Mills, Fort Erie, Ont.

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Fly-away-free card

Mathieu Lavoie, president of the Quebec prison guards’ union, says “The rules of engagement do not allow us to fire on a vehicle, let alone a helicopter” (Judge Allowed Prisoners To Be ‘Cuff Free’ – June 10).

So it would appear that if you have a helicopter and want to free someone from jail, you simply need to drop in and carry them away – knowing full well that the prison guards are not going to interfere with your plan.

Clearly, the rules of engagement need to be changed or we will see more dangerous inmates being freed from captivity.

Paul Buccini, Calgary

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Politics’ pendulum

Re There’s No Stopping Our March To The Right (June 10): Lawrence Martin’s comment – “The values once deemed to be integral to the character of this country are continually being overturned” – would position him as prescient, had he written it 35 years ago. The societal pendulum, zealously poked, prodded, legislated and adjudicated to the left, may be going where it belongs, neither right nor left, but at the centre position.

Doug Allison, Ottawa

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The PM’s apprentice

Stephen Harper has found a deferential kindred spirit in Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister (Australian PM, Harper Cut From The Same Cloth – June 9). Mr. Abbott told Canadian business leaders that his new government, much like Mr. Harper’s, is committed to reducing regulatory burdens and lowering environmental hurdles for business.

You may be wondering if Canada’s No. 1 Conservative sorcerer revealed all his dark secrets to his Australian apprentice.

To decide, watch to see if Mr. Abbott’s government divides rather than unites Australians; if support for environmental research and public broadcasting is curtailed; if access to government information is limited; if veterans are praised while the injured are ignored; if promises of openness disappear behind partisan bafflegab; if democratic institutions are denigrated and disregarded; if international corporations are rebranded as “The Economy” and given preferential access to the politically powerful.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon, B.C.

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Correlation? Well …

Gwyn Morgan uses correlation to make his claim that Ontario lost 250,000 manufacturing jobs be-cause of high hydro rates (Worry About The Fiscal Cliff, Not Job Creation – Report on Business, June 9).

Elsewhere in The Globe, Alex Hutchinson writes about the danger of relying on potentially spurious correlations (When Good Science Loses Its Way – June 9).

Perhaps Mr. Morgan can explain the equally strong correlation between the lost jobs and the Harper Conservatives’ rule in Ottawa?

Ian Craine, Toronto

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When Good Science Loses Its Way (Life & Arts, June 9) quotes Tyler Vigen, a Harvard law student, stating that “correlations are an important starting place because they can influence the way we research.”

It’s very easy to mislead with statistical tests if we don’t use our common sense. That is why pre-election polls sometimes prove to be an absolute failure.

If we start with a useless hypothesis, we arrive at useless results. Here is a well-travelled example of a useless hypothesis: A researcher amputates one leg of a cockroach, puts the cockroach on the table and shouts at it to run. Of course, it will try to run to hide. Then the researcher amputates all the remaining legs except one, shouts at the poor cockroach and it moves a little.

When the researcher amputates the last leg, then shouts at it to move, it can’t. The researcher hypothesizes that when we amputate all the legs of cockroaches, they lose their hearing: perfect correlation, but does not imply causation.

Avtar Dhanota, Toronto

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Domestic terror?

I am surprised you didn’t use the terms “homegrown terror” or “domestic terror” to describe the tragic events in Las Vegas and Moncton (Two Police Officers Killed In Las Vegas Shootout; Bourque’s Neighbours Live In Fear – June 9). People who shoot cops while yelling about revolutions certainly pass the smell test on terror. Or is it just “good kids gone bad” when it involves perpetrators who aren’t Muslims?

Naeem Siddiqi, Markham, Ont.

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No problem (Cringe)

Add me to the list of people who cringe at the evolution of language (Grab My Awesome Parameters: Perfect! – Facts & Arguments, June 9). Last week, my husband and I endured a server who, after every particular of our order, chirped “No problem!”

By the fifth time, it was.

Jo Meingarten, Toronto

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Hilarious essay. Amazing. Total genius. But, IMHO, dictionaries and definitions are so 20th century. Like, brutal. In the meantime, get used to it – and have a wonderful day. (No problem.)

James Schaefer, Peterborough, Ont.

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