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David McGunity has stepped down as the Liberal’s energy critic after saying Conservative politicians who defend the oil patch are small-minded and should “go back to Alberta.” (Canadian Press)
David McGunity has stepped down as the Liberal’s energy critic after saying Conservative politicians who defend the oil patch are small-minded and should “go back to Alberta.” (Canadian Press)

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Nov. 23: Haves, have-nots and David McGuinty, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Haves, have-nots

I clearly remember my Grade 6 teacher explaining the virtues of Confederation. She stood at the blackboard and helped us divide the 10 provinces into “haves” and “have-nots.” Alberta, at the time, belonged to the second list. I clearly remember feeling a flush of pride when she explained how some of Ontario’s tax revenues would be sent to help the have-nots. We loved Canada that day.

After that, things changed. Pierre Trudeau was reviled for his energy program, which claimed the oil patch for Canada. Then came the bumper-sticker days of “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”

The only thing Liberal energy critic David McGuinty has to apologize for is his choice of words, not his sentiments that Conservative MPs should speak for the energy concerns of the country, not just their backyard (Liberal Energy Critic Quits Over Oil Quip – Nov. 22).

The pandering apologies from Mr. McGuinty’s colleagues suffer from a shortage of credibility and an ignorance of history.

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, the haves no longer want to help the have-nots.

Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.


Gadzooks, now I've heard everything: Alberta “environmentalist” Harvey Locke wants to open up new markets for Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Wait – ah, that explains it, I see that he’s the Liberal Party’s by-election candidate in Calgary Centre. Phew, I almost lost faith in politics.

Frank de Jong, Toronto


The rich cost too much

Margaret Wente writes of the cost to taxpayers of providing social services for a homeless man in Toronto’s financial district (Can Goldman Sachs Help The Homeless – Nov. 22). I’d like to know what an investment banker costs us. A banker’s “entitlement” program is not the government revenues he might qualify for, it is the legal right to place income offshore. What do the lost taxes on this cost Canadian taxpayers?

Then there’s the irony of a company, such as Goldman Sachs, helping the homeless (for a profit, of course), when so many people lost their homes or are still suffering financial hardship directly or indirectly as a consequence of the greed of the investment business.

It is not the poor we cannot afford – it is the rich, and their entitlement culture.

Bruce Parsons, Portugal Cove, Nfld.


Man-made ceilings

You quote former York University president Lorna Marsden as saying “Many [women] are not having the same access as men. And if that holds for women, it would hold for other minority groups in our society” (Why Women In Ivory Towers Keep Hitting The Glass Ceiling – Nov. 22).

Hold it. According to Statscan, “Women and girls comprise just over half of Canada’s population. In 2010, 17.2 million females accounted for 50.4 per cent of the total population, continuing a slim female majority that has held for over three decades.”

With friends who make Ms. Marsden’s kind of statement, who needs enemies?

Germaine Warkentin, Toronto


For 12 years, the Church of England has debated a point that seems so obvious as not to warrant a moment’s debate (Church Of England Says No To Female Bishops – Nov. 21). There is nothing inherent in the state of being female that disqualifies any female priest from the role of bishop. What possible rationale can there be for any debate, let alone one that lasted 12 years?

The leaders of the church look out over empty pews and wonder where the heck everyone is. The answer is simple. They’re at home debating the merits of going to church.

John Barker, Sarnia, Ont.


Prenup bliss

The public is indebted to Noreen Rasbach for her article I Thee Wed, Prenup In Hand (Report on Business, Nov. 20). As a family-law lawyer, I think this article is a useful starting point for couples considering a marriage contract.

I wanted to clarify a point, however: A matrimonial home can be dealt with in a marriage contract. Take, for example, a woman who owns a house and is planning to get married and live in it with her spouse. A marriage contract can ensure that she remains the sole owner on title to the home, and that she retains the entire value of the home. What a marriage contract cannot do is allow the spouse to give up the right to possess, i.e. reside in, the house.

Jennifer A. Krob, Toronto


Quarry quandary

Re Coalition of Farmers And Urban Foodies Halts Quarry (Nov. 22): It’s too good to be true. I say Highland Companies will be back. There is too much money at stake.

Alistair Thomson, Oshawa, Ont.


In killing the proposed limestone quarry, a vocal minority has once again persuaded public opinion that its particular interests should override other considerations.

Quarries provide material necessary for making concrete used in the construction of buildings, bridges, overpasses, subways, sewers. The growth of the Greater Toronto Area and the aging of its infrastructure will require a continuous supply of quarry material.

One major quarry relatively close to Toronto might produce fewer truck-miles then several smaller ones scattered around the province, and a single route would be easier to control and regulate than a network. A railway connection might be a realistic alternative to trucks, given a single source of supply.

Andrzej Derkowski, Oakville, Ont.


Two men, two footprints

While I am reluctant to defend anyone who has broken the law (Two Men, Two Cases – letters, Nov. 22), Prof. Audrey Macklin’s dismay at the differing response to Saeed Jama (to be deported) and Conrad Black (allowed back) can be readily explained, for there are important distinctions.

Among other convictions (including possession of stolen property, resisting a police officer), Mr. Jama’s criminal record includes possession of crack cocaine for the purposes of trafficking: in other words, making money out of the drug-addicted. Surely one of the most despicable of crimes.

Despite his fall from grace, Mr. Black at one time ran a large newspaper chain, is the author of two memoirs and three biographies and is a witty and erudite columnist. We all leave a footprint of sorts in society. It so happens that Conrad Black’s is the more distinctive and lasting.

Gordon S. Findlay, Toronto


Just wondering

Re Arctic Cruise Lands Aussie Tycoon In Hot Water (Report on Business – Nov. 22): Under the picture of a very handsome ship, your caption reads: “Paul McDonald’s 34-metre yacht, Fortus, left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last July with a plan to circumvent North America.”

Was that after first circumcising Florida?

Michael Feld, Vancouver

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