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June 16: ‘Mother Canada’ and Cape Breton Highlands National Park – and other letters to the editor

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Not mother's nature

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Re The Best Way To Show Our True Patriot Love ? (June 15): Canada has two major war memorials at Vimy and in Ottawa, and thousands of smaller ones in cities and communities across Canada and overseas.

Buildings, streets, bridges, plaques, mountains, lakes, parks and cemeteries already commemorate our war dead in the places they once called home. Environmental impact aside, this oversized, aesthetically and morally dubious confection known as Mother Canada can claim no such relevance or significance.

Laura Brandon (retired historian, war and art, Canadian War Museum), Ottawa


A monolithic statue within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a violation of its core mandate under the Parks Act – preserving ecological integrity.

The most disturbing part of this story is that the Harper cabinet, with zero local consultation, carved out a piece of the park and gave it to a Toronto businessman. He will build the monstrosity dubbed "Mother Canada" and operate for-profit a gift shop and cafeteria inside the park. Oh, mother!

Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada

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If there is going to be any statue called Mother Canada, it should be a giant hockey mom, not some sort of quasi-religious Virgin Mary dashboard figurine.

Barbara Klunder, Toronto


Spend and …

Re Tories To Roll Out Pre-Election Infrastructure Spending Spree (June 15): If the Liberals were "tax and spend," then the Conservatives can legitimately claim to be "spend and spin."

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Normand Frenette, St. Catharines, Ont.


Climate costs

Your editorial It's The Economy, Stupid (June 13) should be cast in stone, it has the situation so right. In the third paragraph, you wrote: "If you don't believe in global warming, you can stop reading right now. We won't try to persuade you." I read it through, even though I am not a full believer (nor am I a full denier) of the science. Here's why:

To quote from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 summary for policy makers: "Greenhouse gas emissions … their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers … are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

Isn't that a little bit like Einstein saying: "I think that probably E equals MC squared?"

Gordon Rogers, Toronto


It's not Hollywood

Jane Fonda, her sights set on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, says she will use the rest of her life protesting the extraction of fossil fuels ('I Hope I Get Arrested': Jane Fonda Sides With First Nations Against Kinder Morgan Pipeline – June 13).

Why do these famous people of wealth think they know what's best for the world, especially when they live in luxury most of us only dream of?

It will be a long walk back to Hollywood from her protest in Vancouver, since fossil fuels are used by most every form of transportation. Where will she live, and how will she eat, since fossil fuels are used to energize homes, and produce and deliver food. Will she bathe and wash her clothes in a river? She'd have to go back to living in caves – minus the use of cooking fires (not on her carbon-friendly list).

I think Ms. Fonda has lived in the fantasy world of Hollywood for much too long.

Ron Whitehorne, Almonte, Ont.


On a mountain

Re Mountain Climbing Is The Height Of Empty Egotism (June 13): As a newly arrived flatlander from Saskatchewan in Zurich, I once asked my workmate Peter, a passionate climber, why he did it.

He thought, then explained that the essence of a good sporting experience lies in your complete, enjoyable absorption in an endeavour to which skill is applied.

In mountaineering, particularly navigating difficult reaches near a mountain top, this absorption is greatly compressed. The world is reduced to the rock face and your concentration on every cautious movement of foot and finger. Then, the final hoist onto the summit and – suddenly – the world explodes to a vista of enormous distances and horizons.

For him, the experience was rapture combined with humility, never conquest and egotism.

Mass tourism has become a particularly pernicious debilitation, when what should be deep personal experiences in nature are confounded by the universalized narcissism of Facebook.

Such a pity.

Greg Michalenko, Waterloo, Ont.


Mount Everest should be closed to the public. It has become a reality show, a graveyard, a garbage dump, and a business catering largely to people with too much money and empty time on their hands. Sign should read: Closed Due To Narcissism And Misguided Egoism.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa


Loved that column

Re A Proustian Take On Harper's 'Aspirational' Goal (June 13): Congratulations to Jeffrey Simpson for the magnificence of his circumlocution.

He writes two simple sentences, then runs on with 729 words in his third sentence! A magnificent mimicking of Stephen Harper and his agreement to cease burning fossil fuels by 2100.

Christine J. Cannon, Kingston


Proust himself would be envious.

Marion Hrabi, Toronto


Congratulations to Sir Humphrey, er, Jeffrey Simpson for his superb piece. You'd better give Mr. Simpson a hefty raise, else he'll be stolen away by someone seeking a script for a reprise of Yes, Minister.

Colin Read, London, Ont.


Senate sagacity

Take that $12-million in auditing costs that is directly attributable to the Senate and divide it among the about 25 million Canadians who file tax returns, and the cost is about 50 cents each (Auditing The Auditor – letters, June 15).

So our household paid $1.20 for the audit – a cost benefit that appeals greatly, when the Auditor-General's report shows the disgusting use some senators make of our tax contribution.

John Thompson, Fredericton


There are almost three times as many MPs as there are senators. Are we naive enough to believe that expense account "errors" don't exist in the House of Commons?

Hope Smith, Calgary


All of us, lawyers especially, should be fearful of any thought of abolishing the Senate. Over the years, many senators have been successful lawyers who helped the party in power. If there was no Senate, they'd probably have become judges!

Karl D. Jaffary, Toronto

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