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Canada's Federal Court has sent the Trans Mountain expansion project back to the National Energy Board for more environmental assessment.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Clashing Pipeline hopes

Re Canada’s Real Problem With Pipelines (editorial, Aug. 31): You suggest we need “a reliable independent system for approving resource projects quickly, while respecting the environment and duty to consult …” Sometimes “respect for the environment” means no project, because it would simply cause too much damage. And sometimes consultation will discover that the people being consulted know best.

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That’s the case with the Trans Mountain expansion. In addition to horrific risks to the marine environment from tanker spills, the tar sands themselves carry clean-up estimates of $23-billion to $44-billion. This project would enable this situation to escalate further.

If the system you suggest were truly “reliable and independent,” it would nix this project.

Donna Sinclair, North Bay, Ont.

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It is a sad day for the reputation of the Federal Court of Appeal when it virtually abrogates what should rightly be a political decision by an elected government and its regulatory bodies.

Ron Freedman, Toronto

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This ruling shows the folly of allowing open-ended environmental regulations, coupled with a duty to consult First Nations, because it allows a small group of people to obstruct the creation of wealth that has given Canadians a high living standard, one that also benefits First Nations. Parliament must pass legislation that allows cabinet to limit environmental objections in the interest of the well-being of all Canadians, and overrule this obstruction to the Trans Mountain project.

Jiti Khanna, Vancouver

Free speech, better speech

Re Adopt Free-Speech Policies Or Face Funding Cuts, Premier Warns Postsecondary Schools (Aug. 31): Forcing postsecondary institutions to protect “free speech” is only half a plan.

Lost in this discussion is whether professors are adequately equipped to teach and facilitate respectful discussion or debate about opposing points of view. Teaching students critical thinking includes demonstrating how to listen respectfully, how to uncover and explore various sides of an issue, and how to construct an argument based on evidence rather than emotion. This is what a university president recently referred to as “better speech.”

Given the hysteria about academic freedom, the government should be more interested in ensuring that faculty are better prepared to teach and handle these difficult issues in classrooms.

Colleges and universities should be required to teach these skills to students in all programs. That is a learning outcome that the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario could actually measure. In today’s society, these skills are needed more than ever.

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Gary Kapelus, professor (retired), Toronto

At sea on labelling fish

Re Nearly Half Of Seafood Improperly Labelled In Canadian Stores And Restaurants, Study Says (Aug. 29): Unquestionably, mislabelling seafood is an issue. But as with many issues, it pays to look a bit deeper than the headlines.

Seafood is a complicated, often confounding category for retailers and restaurateurs because of the many species and confusing nomenclature. As the Oceana report notes, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency fish list allows for more than 200 species to be listed as “snapper”; more than 100 species qualify as “rockfish.” Contrast that to the simplicity of labelling chicken, pork or beef.

Saying “nearly half of seafood is improperly labelled” doesn’t take in account consumption frequency. Luckily for Canadians, the more-mislabelled samples (snapper and butterfish at 100 per cent) are among the less-consumed species. The most popular fish by volume (salmon) was only mislabelled 18 per cent of the time.

Finally, looking at city-by-city results, none of the salmon, halibut, scallop or lobster collected in Halifax were mislabelled. So, while waiting for CFIA to require Latin scientific names to be on seafood labels, eat more salmon and shellfish, move to Nova Scotia … and you should be fine.

Alan Archibald, Bedford, N.S.

Foods for thought

Last Saturday’s article, Is Meat Cooked? (Opinion), focused on the damage to the environment and the cruelty inflicted on animals by our model of factory farming. We are told this model is used due to the necessity of feeding the world’s ever-growing population.

Another article pointed out that although the human standard of living has never been higher, the life and health of the planet are in great danger (It Is The Best Of Times, It Is The Worst Of Times). Yet another advised readers that the world is running out of sand (Before The Fall).

What connects these issues is the seldom-raised inconvenient truth of relentless population growth. Why don’t the press and politicians dare focus on this existential problem? Back in the unenlightened sixties, the issue was widely discussed. Since then, the situation’s become far more dire.

Patty Benjamin, Victoria

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Your article on veganism attempted to shame people away from consuming animal protein. Why must the food fight continue? Health Canada lists meat and dairy as part of a healthy, balanced diet. There is great diversity among Canadian consumers, and all should have the right to make their own food choices.

My family and I produce a variety of foods, from grains and oil seeds, to eggs and beef. Environmental sustainability and the health and comfort of our chickens and cattle are among our highest priorities. Everything we produce on my family’s farm becomes food choices for other families, and we proudly stand behind all of it.

Clinton Monchuk, Saskatoon

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I couldn’t agree more that meat, like other bad habits such as smoking, is soon to be taboo, and am excited about the tipping point we seem to have reached.

Peter Singer brings up so many great reasons why people should be eating less meat, and the great news is that it is easier than ever before. With plant-based chain restaurants like Boon Burger, Copper Branch, and the vegan cinnamon roll shop Cinnaholic opening across suburban strip malls, with nearly every pizza chain carrying dairy-free cheese, and with fancy vegan restaurants such as Rosalinda and Planta spreading in cities like Toronto, there’s really no need to eat animals when dining out.

People interested in doing their part to fight climate change and animal cruelty should check out North America’s largest Veg Food Fest in Toronto, Sept. 7 to 9, and give the 7-Day Veggie Challenge a try at veggiechallenge.com.

Barbi Lazarus, volunteer co-ordinator, Toronto Vegetarian Association

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If future generations will see meat consumption as a moral abomination, perhaps we should remove any monuments we find in Canada to people who were not vegans. My guess is we’ll be tearing down Samuel de Champlain, Isaac Brock, Laura Secord and Louis Riel. On the bright side, the void might be filled with statues of Pamela Anderson.

Rudy Buller, Toronto