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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to party faithful at the United Conservative Party annual general meeting in Calgary, on Nov. 4.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Cut it out

Re “Alberta gives hint of changes to follow renewables pause” (Report on Business, Nov. 13): I am left wondering what Alberta’s future generations will say about the politicians currently in charge.

Danielle Smith and the United Conservative Party’s denial of man-induced climate change and favouritism shown to the oil and gas sector seems to persist in the face of reality. Who will pay the $60-billion to clean up the oil patch?

Maybe Albertans should throw in the towel, cut out the UCP middleman and let the fossil fuel industry govern the province.

Steven Diener Toronto

Capture results

Re “Carbon capture moves from science fiction to reality. The next step is the tough one” (Editorial, Nov. 13) Yes, the climate emergency requires us to use every tool in the tool chest, including carbon capture. However, rather than being automatic, federal funds should be conditional upon the effectiveness of these efforts.

Oil and gas companies should have to apply for federal funds and indicate the amount of carbon they expect to capture. Funds should only be granted if targets are met.

Rewards for results should be the demand of fossil fuel companies, which are earning record profits and hardly in a position to take public funds without public benefit.

Liz Addison Toronto

You endorse the continuation of further expenditures for a technology which the International Energy Agency calls a “great disappointment.”

An alternate way to reduce emissions from oil sands crude might be for governments to mandate the use of green sources of energy to separate oil from sand. Previously, contributor John Vaillant calculated that one-third of our natural gas production is used for that very purpose (”We built a volcano, and then threw Alberta in” – Opinion, May 20).

Such action, then, would not only take the industry a long way to meet its targets without the need for taxpayer subsidies, but would make our oil sands product more saleable in world markets when it produces fewer greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to conventionally sourced oil.

Bill Pearce Victoria


Re “Natural gas is a dying commodity, and Canada needs to stop supporting it” (Report on Business, Nov. 8): Natural gas in Canada is abundant, reliable and, for consumers, affordable.

Without it, we likely can’t meet our heating, cooling or electricity demands. What’s more, it can play a critical role in helping the world navigate the energy transition, without the chaos that would ensue by simply abandoning this key commodity.

Natural gas is a lower-carbon energy source with half the impact of coal. By displacing coal in countries such as China, Canadian liquefied natural gas would meaningfully reduce global emissions and energy costs.

Why not LNG to help reduce the 98.5 per cent of emissions produced beyond our borders? The International Energy Agency says that “affordability and resilience are watchwords for the future” – both attributes of natural gas.

Instead of throwing in the towel on natural gas, government should support sustainable production and export, reduce barriers to LNG development and create conditions that drive robust economic growth.

Michele Harradence Executive vice-president, Enbridge; president, Enbridge Gas; Toronto

In support

Re “SDTC CEO, chair defend embattled federal agency at committee hearing” (Report on Business, Nov. 9): It is hard for me to think of a Canadian with more integrity and ability than Annette Verschuren, as those who know her would agree.

From humble farm roots in Cape Breton, through hard work she rose to be the hugely successful CEO of Home Depot Canada. She had her pick of high-paying CEO jobs. But instead, she chose to dedicate herself to fighting climate change.

She started a small energy-storage company (ahead of her time) that has played a key role in helping Ontario move to clean energy and create jobs for First Nations communities. We are fortunate that someone of her integrity, ability and selfless dedication to Canada gives so much time to serve on charities and public-advisory boards, such as Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Mike Wilson Executive director, Smart Prosperity Institute, University of Ottawa

Up in smoke

Re “Health Canada-approved Zonnic flavoured nicotine pouches target teens, say health experts” (Nov. 14): The Health Canada officials who approved the sale of nicotine pouches should be demoted.

I recall, when my Non-smokers’ Health Act of 1988 was in committee, the cigarette companies denied that smoking caused any harm, even to children. Now they say it is so harmful that vaping and pouches must be offered to help smokers to quit.

The cigarette companies are in it for the money and addictive products sell. Young customers are needed, as smokers die much earlier than the rest of us.

Don’t believe a word they say.

Lynn McDonald CM; former MP; Toronto

Teaching gaps

Re “Ontario classrooms struggling with lack of support, large numbers in destreamed courses” (Nov. 13): The results of the People for Education survey remind me of the lack of context in most educational policies.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, we had discussions and reports on the issue of streaming students on the basis of “abilities,” and realized how unfair that system was. We worked to destream students and have classrooms better represent the diversities in society. I worked in this area as a teacher, then as a school-board consultant and a doctoral student.

In the mid-1990s, the Ontario government retreated to a version of the old system. Guess what? We now have problems similar to the ones we had before.

So if we are to help teachers in their efforts to teach the range of students we have, let’s do some research of past efforts. If we do not learn from the past we shall, again, sadly repeat it.

John Myers Toronto

I read, with little surprise but great concern, about the difficulties that Ontario schools are having with “destreaming.” I wonder whether, in the effort to maintain the appearance of equality, we are not sacrificing student learning and potential achievement.

Perhaps it is time to reread Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron.

Alma Estable Ottawa

Selling point

Re “Nearby bus stop makes suburban Calgary house a hard sell” (Real Estate, Nov. 10): A hard sell? The bus stop on our doorstep was one of the reasons we moved to our current home. That and a library branch a 10-minute walk away.

Giving my head a shake.

Marg Heidebrecht Hamilton

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