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April 17: Moving forward on pipelines. Plus other letters to the editor

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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Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Pipeline solutions

Under no circumstances should Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Finance Minister Bill Morneau permit our federal government to be pushed around and held hostage by British Columbia more than they already have (Pipe Dreams, April 14).

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This is not a time for our federal government to worry about votes in British Columbia. Paving the way for Kinder Morgan to build this pipeline, already approved, is now a matter of principle, and when it comes to principles, you either have them or you don’t. If our federal government had dealt decisively with this issue six months or a year ago instead of showing continuing weakness and hoping against hope this problem would just go away, we would not be in the present pickle. With the passage of time the issue has festered into a homemade crisis and a national embarrassment. True leaders sometimes have to ruffle some feathers, break some glass and make some people unhappy to do the right thing.

Fortunately, the way forward is clear. Immediately, put the interim backstop debt financing in place, petition the Supreme Court for a formal ruling on interprovincial pipeline jurisdiction for this and future projects, and then enforce the law. I know what former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau would do if a premier tried to hold him hostage on such an urgent matter.

A.S. Fell, Toronto

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This issue has played out very poorly to the detriment of all. It is time to simmer down, put the negotiator’s hat on and come up with a solution that, while not satisfying everyone, will be practical, workable and a benefit to all (except hard-core environmentalists).

How about proposing that the bitumen shipped through the new pipeline be taxed at say, US$5, a barrel. This money goes to the B.C. government (about US$4-million a day). It costs nothing to Kinder Morgan (the oil producers pay it), and it serves as an incentive for producers in Alberta to upgrade this product. Other hydrocarbons (diesel, fuel oil, gasoline, jet fuel) will not be affected by this new.

If anyone has a better idea, please show it to us.

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Ken Neros, Coquitlam, B.C.

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Our current pipeline conflict points to a major problem in the world’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Most people take the need to reduce emissions seriously and support international efforts to control them. Today these efforts are being made on the demand-side of the market for fossil fuels, under a global agreement. Unfortunately there is no corresponding agreement on the supply side.

As argued by German economist Hans-Werner Sinn in his 2012 book, The Green Paradox, the lack of an agreement to reduce fossil fuel production is probably the main reason the world has been unable to control its GHG emissions. Understandably, without such an agreement, no country, Canada included, feels it is its responsibility to restrict production. We should work with other countries to achieve a fair and rational system for controlling global production of fossil fuels. Until that is done, we can expect that the constant effort to produce more hydrocarbons and bring them to market will continue everywhere. So also will our march toward irreversible climate change.

Jim Davies, professor, department of economics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.

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Growing pains

Thank you John Doyle for your fine piece on CBC’s new The National (The National Now: Confusing, Well-Meaning And Maddening, April 14).

Instead of a comprehensive, thoughtful roundup of the day’s news, I now feel like I’m getting the Coles Notes version — quick, easy to digest with just enough content to pass the teacher’s test. While I’m sure the news team members do their best given the format in which they’re constrained, it’s as if they think viewers don’t have the attention span to grasp the full story and instead have to be fed “news lite.”

Irritating and disjointed. Pick an anchor and give us news for grown-ups.

Joni MacFarlane, Hillcrest, Alta.

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Mr. Doyle’s piece certainly struck a chord. I thought perhaps it was just me that found the new format scattered and incoherent. Maybe it appeals to the infamous shortened attention span that we’re all supposed to be suffering from today, but to this baby boomer, it just comes across as breathless and irritating.

My suggestion would be to concentrate on the big news stories of the day in the first half hour, relayed to viewers by a trusted anchor, say Ian Hanomansing, and present in-depth interviews and mini-documentaries in the second half hour, presented by a well-respected and experienced interviewer, like Rosemary Barton. They could dispense with the other two “anchors.” Perhaps they could call the first half The National and the second half The Journal. I think it has potential.

Kevin Bishop, Saanich B.C.

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Mr. Doyle is being too harsh on The National. The lighter, conversational style of four co-anchors delivering the news is conceptually okay, in my opinion. Chemistry among the four of them is good.

It may be that more coherence is needed, and less attention to offbeat stories would be helpful, but the format is sound, I would say. For other perspectives and wider selection of stories I turn to BBC and PBS – but we still need our own public network national news.

Rob Picard, Richmond, B.C.

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As for the numbers, the drop may simply reflect the departure of the fan base that former anchor Peter Mansbridge built up over 28 years in the job (As CBC’s New The National Rises, Ratings Fall, April 13).

Give the new kids a chance. They’ll attract their own supporters.

Michael Fox, Stratford, Ont.

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Touching tributes

When I turned to the two-page spread on the Humbolt story, I didn’t want to read it all over again, but I’m glad I did (Healing Humboldt, April 14).

I must admit, in my 63 years on this planet, I’ve never cried while reading the paper. But when it came to the therapy dogs in the emergency room, something just let go. At that moment, I think all of us with children (or not) could see ourselves in that position, and feel the emotion of the crippled parents, and anyone whose lives have been suddenly changed in the blink of an eye.

I did play hockey, like most children in Canada did while growing up. But even if you never felt the camaraderie of the parents and players on a hockey team, please take time today, and just remember the fallen.

Steven H. Brown, Toronto

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On heaven’s glittering sheet of ice,

With golden sticks and silver pucks

The Broncos fly from end to end

With flashing blades of steel

Their bright blonde hair

The colour of the sun

And Gordie’s skating with them

To show them all the moves

The great ones know

That they have missed

The laughter of the young men fills the rink

And time is left behind

Roger More, London, Ont.

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