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WHAT READERS THINK

June 4: When cops get political – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

When cops get political

Re The Police Get Political (June 3): Police say they put their lives on the line every day. Not so. The people who really put their lives at risk every day are those who served in Afghanistan – and at a fraction of what police are paid.

I don’t know what police should get in pay and benefits because there’s no competition to measure them against, but I have opinions based on what I read about other occupations. What worries me most, though, is how on Earth we got to the place where the Ontario Provincial Police are better paid than any other force in the province.

I can understand Jim Christie, as president, using any argument he can to maintain and improve the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s position – but then again, sometimes I can’t. Something like “ask not what your country can do for you” springs to mind.

Roy Smith, Whitby, Ont.

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I’m a police officer in Alberta. I’d like to make a few points about Margaret Wente’s column.

1. So what if the cops in a depressed small town or rust-belt city are paid far higher than other wage earners in that area? Police do a unique job, with attendant dangers and risks unheard of in other professions. Yes, I know, more loggers or fishermen get killed and injured on the job than police – the difference being, a logger or fisherman can refuse unsafe work, and a falling tree never decided to kill a logger. Police cannot refuse unsafe work, and people decide to assault police all the time.

2. Because police are trained to a provincial standard in Ontario, see what happens when you pay the cops in East Podunk significantly less than cops in the Greater Toronto Area. All your Podunk cops will migrate to the GTA. They may still live in Podunk, but they’ll work in 52 Division.

3. I will accept the moral and economic righteousness of Tim Hudak’s arguments when he, his cronies in the Ledge, and the hordes of appointees on special boards and committees cap or roll back their remuneration.

I, like most of my colleagues, do enjoy being well paid, but we became cops because we actually want to help people and contribute to the betterment of society. I wish I could believe the same about our elected officials.

Mike Foster, Calgary

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Rich, kinda famous

It’s important for the press to provide earnings disclosure of the top-paid executives in Canada because of their power and impact on our economy (CEO Compensation – Report on Business, June 2). But it does come across as something akin to a business version of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Instead, why not develop a list of those CEOs who, for their renumeration, provided the best results for shareholders and employees. It would be more inspiring and more relevant to our world today.

Murray Pratt, Tsawwassen, B.C.

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Climate: Heat’s on

Re On Climate, Obama Just Turned Up The Heat (June 3): Lawrence Martin’s column reminded me of the old saying: “Some will change when they are smart enough to see the light – others will only change when they feel the heat.” Given our Prime Minister’s intransigent ideology, Barack Obama is probably going to have to call in blowtorches and flamethrowers before Stephen Harper finally sees the light.

Ray Arnold, Richmond, B.C.

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The U.S. rules on emissions from power plants come two years after Canadian regulations, which are tougher and will affect new power plants sooner. The U.S. rules are expected to contribute to a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the sector by 2030; Environment Canada estimates our regulations will contribute to greenhouse gas reductions of 46 per cent.

Canada boasts one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with 77 per cent of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases.

Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minister of the Environment

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Re U.S. Urges Canada To Act On Climate Change (June 3): Ottawa seems to lack the foresight to significantly invest in renewable energies, although we have the capacity to lead this frontier. We are stymied not by our lack of technology but by the especially egregious comfort our politicians seem to have with peddling oil.

The urgency Barack Obama has shown on climate change is truly admirable. Stephen Harper must follow suit.

Anuj K. Rastogi, Toronto

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Fossil-fuel ‘filth’

Archbishop Desmond Tutu made extremely disparaging remarks about the “dirty” oil sands while in Fort McMurray (Tutu Calls Alberta Oil ‘Filth’ – June 2).

He should spend a little more time in his native South Africa before he condemns Canada. Having just spent one month travelling from the southern tip to the north of South Africa, mostly by road, I can suggest he “takes on” Eskom, the state-owned electricity company that produces 95 per cent of the country’s electricity, almost all of it from coal.

Emissions from coal-fired plants cast a yellowish haze across parts of this beautiful country. The government has ordered Eskom to install scrubbers, but according to the media, nothing’s been done.

If the archbishop believes that greenhouse gases will change the planet, and as particulate matter impacts the health of South Africans, perhaps he could return home and use his moral authority to convince Eskom to act.

Allison Budd, West Kelowna, B.C.

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Desmond Tutu’s use of the word “filth” in reference to the tar sands is understandable. We still need fossil fuels – at the present time. But in steadfastly reminding us of the larger picture, the archbishop just might be the person we need to save the planet. There are alternative sources of energy that must be developed.

Anthony Ketchum, Toronto

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Name that pol

He is extremely partisan, a control freak who expects MPs to toe the party line. He is apparently short tempered in private, prone to expletives when angry. His party has been found to have used public funds for purely partisan purposes; instead of accepting responsibility, it is saying it didn’t break the rules, that the other parties are involved in “partisan” gamesmanship, that it is being subjected to a “kangaroo court.” His party’s reaction is not to apologize and do the right thing, but instead to disparage its accusers.

No, I’m not talking about Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. I’m talking about Thomas Mulcair and the NDP (Speaker Says NDP Mailings Broke Rules, While Party Charges ‘Kangaroo Court’ – online, June 3).

John R. Manning, Nanaimo, B.C.

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Name that party

Re Ontario Election To Get Nastier, Experts Predict (June 2): I think it’s time to start a new party. It could be called the Innovative and Progressive Yet Not Spendthrift, Well-Researched, Moderate, Never Way Out in Left Field but Still Socially Considerate, Truthful, Less Nasty Party of Ontario.

I think swarms of voters would gladly sign up – right after June 12.

Deborah McLean, Napanee, Ont.

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