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The view looking down the Douglas Channel from Kitimat, B.C. on Tuesday, June, 17, 2014. The Federal government has announced it has approved the Northern Gateway pipeline. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The view looking down the Douglas Channel from Kitimat, B.C. on Tuesday, June, 17, 2014. The Federal government has announced it has approved the Northern Gateway pipeline. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

June 19: Gateway’s fraught go-ahead – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Gateway’s go-ahead

Re Approved* (June 18): Any project that must meet 209 conditions before it can proceed probably shouldn’t.

Karin Treff, Hamilton

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For years, “Ready, Fire, Aim” has been the Harper government’s preferred approach to real or imagined problems. This government can’t get past an ideology that brooks no compromise, that sees problems where they don’t exist, science as belief rather than fact, and enemies nearly everywhere.

The irony with the Northern Gateway pipeline is that opposition isn’t so much about whether it should be built, but the way in which concerned groups are consulted, and how such a project is investigated and planned.

We now have an even stranger abrogation of responsibility by Stephen Harper – a decision by memo, silence and the leaving of explanations to Enbridge.

Next up will be 21 B.C. Conservatives armed with talking points looking to move the blame for possible failure as far away as possible.

Edward Carson, Toronto

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Re Harper’s Big Political Risk In Saying ‘Yes’ To Gateway (June 18): Given the economic importance of export revenues to the Canadian economy – and the fact that natural resources, including oil, are a big part of that revenue – it would have been a greater risk to say “no” to the pipeline.

Historically, one wonders if the railways and the St. Lawrence Seaway – both essential for moving Canada’s resources to market – would ever have gotten off the ground if they had been subjected to the same level of consensus.

John R. McClement, Regina

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The fact the Canadian government approved Northern Gateway is news? You could have used a headline to that effect when the issue surfaced.

The Prime Minister’s recent performance at the G7 merely underlines the shameless predictability of it all.

Bring on the appeals, protests, outrage, mayhem, etc., etc.

Andrew Milner, Peterborough, Ont.

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I will not hold my breath to see if any of these West Coast pipeline proposals go through. We like to trumpet Canada’s huge inventory of natural resources but there are serious commercial problems attached to them, never mind the environmental issues.

The quantities of natural gas and bitumen locked under the Prairie landscape may be vast, but unless they’re brought to market, they’re worthless – and the costs and complexities involved in doing that boggle the mind.

It may be that the only parties who ultimately benefit from these never-ending pipeline proposals are the lawyers and advisers who dutifully attend the hearings and information sessions.

Boudewyn van Oort, Victoria

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Re Pipelines: Predict At Your Peril (June 18): Jeffrey Simpson begins his column by suggesting history is “just one damn thing after another.” Not quite. Where the debate about pipelines is concerned, it’s the same damn thing over and over.

John Lawrence Reynolds, Burlington, Ont.

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Mum on asbestos

There is a simple answer to why government is “mum on asbestos” (Government Mum On Asbestos Policy – June 18). Asbestos is a mineral and in the federal government minerals are managed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). NRCan views all minerals as economic resources and has for decades ignored and disputed health studies on the harm caused by controversial minerals, defending their use with disregard for public health.

To put a point on the extent to which the government places mining interests ahead of public health, more Canadians now die from asbestos-related disease each year than were employed in the Quebec asbestos mines in their last years.

Bruce Lourie, president, Ivey Foundation

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Oh, oh. Rookie pilots

Transit needs to be removed from political agendas and banned from political debates so planners and experts can get to work (So Long To Adult Talk On Transit Revenue; LRT Vs. Subway Familiar Refrain In Debate – June 17).

Right now I feel like I’m in a Boeing 747 over the Atlantic, with passengers taking turns in the cockpit. The future of Toronto should not be in the hands of amateurs.

Ulla Colgrass, Toronto

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Unwilling to fight

Re This Disaster Was Not Inevitable (editorial, June 16): The seeds of Iraq’s chaos were planted long before Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to power, when Great Britain – still nursing Imperial ambitions – created an artificial entity called Iraq consisting of incompatible Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, and when the United States – still operating with a 19th-century balance-of-power mindset – decided to maintain this artificial “unified” Iraq as a political counterweight to Iran.

Rod Yellon, Winnipeg

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The Iraqi army’s collapse does not bode well for the West’s other “nation building” army in Afghanistan.

Despite having a “paper strength” of over 200,000 soldiers and having received billions of dollars of arms and training, the Iraqi army simply ran away from a fanatical but comparatively lightly equipped Islamic militia numbering only 5,000 to 10,000.

Afghanistan’s army is a similar straw giant: riddled with corruption, low morale and unwilling to fight.

The Taliban must be glued to social media accounts as they watch ISIL achieve its brutal victories and wonder: Is it their turn next?

Simon Trevarthen, Toronto

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Old gang, new club

Re Will Wynne Get It Right? (June 17): Margaret Wente writes that Ontario’s “old Mike Harris gang is finished, and good riddance.” But they aren’t finished – they moved into Stephen Harper’s cabinet eight years ago, and have been very happy there!

Martha Gould, North Bay, Ont.

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So Ontario should be taken to the shed for a whipping, huh? (Ontario’s Way Ahead – letters, June 16).

I agree that the Liberals deserved to be sent packing but as far as I can tell the only reason that didn’t happen was because they were running against people who are more incompetent than they are.

Robyn Pugash, Toronto

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Commenting on Ontario’s decade-long descent into have-not status and the dangers facing the province if Kathleen Wynne’s newly elected Liberal government fails to alter its fiscal practices, Preston Manning warns in his letter to the editor that “The million jobs envisioned by Tim Hudak will be created, not in Ontario, but in provinces like Saskatchewan, B.C. and potentially Alberta” (Ontario’s Way Ahead – letters, June 16).

Whether from politeness, or to soften the blow, Mr. Manning omitted the corollary to his argument: Many of those new jobs will be filled by ex-Ontarians.

Jonathan Skrimshire, Pincher Creek, Alta.

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