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Two Hercules aircraft sit beside a hangar at the Inuvik airport. The federal government is buying the privately-owned hangar, which is located adjacent to a NORAD airbase, after a Chinese buyer expressed interest in the facility.Supplied

Northern touch

Re “Ottawa bends to U.S. push to purchase strategic hangar in Arctic sought by Chinese buyer” (April 4): Thank God for foreign interference. I continue to be amazed at Canadian naïveté when it comes to threats to our national interests.

Over an extended period of time, it took the weight of the U.S. government and two dogged defence attachés to finally convince our government that, if a Chinese entity purchased the hangar near a NORAD site, it would heighten the threats to our mutual interests in the Arctic.

While I applaud this friendly U.S. interference, I wonder why our national security apparatus failed to recognize what should be an obvious threat from China in the Arctic and act with more haste.

One hopes it came down to bureaucratic bungling and not to bean counters or, at a more nefarious level, innocent people within this government influenced by China.

Bruce McDonald Ottawa

Player politics

Re “The National Hockey League has a war crimes problem” (March 31): A lot of people have a problem with Alexander Ovechkin having seemly endorsed Vladimir Putin in the past. They cite the continued presence of Mr. Putin’s picture on his Instagram page as a sign of continuing support for the Russian leader, and by extension, the war in Ukraine. It’s not as simple as that.

These same contributors should read the many stories about critics of Mr. Putin dying mysteriously. Perhaps Mr. Ovechkin now regrets that picture, taken long before the war in Ukraine, but is concerned about what could befall his family, many of whom remain in Russia, should he take it down. Does anyone put Mr. Putin past tactics such as that?

Many of us regret past shows of political support; I sure wish I’d never voted for Justin Trudeau. I’m willing to bet Mr. Ovechkin has similar regrets, but he’s just not able to voice them.

Graham Farrell Toronto

Force change

Re “The RCMP is less than the sum of its parts. It must change, or die” (April 3): The report on the tragedy in Nova Scotia clearly indicates to me that changes to the RCMP must occur immediately.

No longer should it continue being both a national and provincial police force. Currently, it seems to excel at neither and has never mastered multitasking

Canada needs a strong national police force. But the RCMP should choose one or the other.

Ken Robertson Hamilton

Risk assessment

Re “Moltex vows to help Canada recycle its nuclear waste. Critics say the byproducts would be even worse” (April 3): This article on the proposed molten salt nuclear reactor in New Brunswick highlights a critical weakness in the federal government’s clean industrial strategy.

It has, at times, shown a tendency to pour taxpayer money into anything that claims to be “clean” or “green,” and to pointedly not ask difficult questions. The latter point has been emphasized to me by the federal government’s decision to subsidize this project while declining to review it under the Impact Assessment Act.

This is despite the extraordinary technological, economic, environmental and security risks and uncertainties highlighted by critics, some of which could leave dangerous legacies measured in hundreds of millennia and billions of dollars in management and clean-up costs.

Mark Winfield Co-chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, faculty of environmental and urban change, York University Toronto

Crossover

Re “Former B.C. premier John Horgan joins board of coal business” (April 1): Teck Resources has been fined $16-million by British Columbia this year and more than $60-million by Canada in 2021 for its release of toxic selenium and other contaminants into the Elk River, as a result of its mountaintop removal open-pit coal mines in eastern B.C.

A cynic might wonder if this Teck spinoff, and the appointment of John Horgan to the board, is part of a greenwashing plan to divest itself of this disastrous, and expensive, environmental legacy.

As for metallurgical coal being less odious than thermal coal: perhaps. But there are more sustainable means of making steel that either avoid coal completely or use much less of it. Electric arc furnaces, hydrogen reducing agents and alternate sources of carbon are available, and being used, to replace coal.

David Ross Edmonton


Does new Teck Resources spinoff company Elk Valley get to start fresh as a new polluter? Has Teck paid its penalties? Lots of questions for John Horgan, which he may not want to answer.

How can Mr. Horgan, in all conscience, join this coal company? We were assured that his B.C. NDPs were the greatest environmentalists of all time in Canada.

Not so much, it seems.

Marianne Freeman Vancouver

Broken promise

Re “Canada’s watchdog for corporate abuses abroad struggles to act, leaving devastated communities behind” (April 1): The Liberal government’s project to create the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise was endorsed by the late John Ruggie, former United Nations special representative on business and human rights, on the basis of a promise to empower the ombudsperson with hard law investigatory tools, including subpoena powers.

Prof. Ruggie made clear that success would only come “once the full legal powers of the ombudsperson are in effect.” At the time, I advised him that it was important to hold the Canadian government firmly to its promise. “Keep on it,” I urged him.

The implementation efforts soon stalled. Visibly disgruntled, Prof. Ruggie shared with me assurances he had received. But as it turned out, efforts to establish powers through legislation, or by a cabinet-level order in council, were contested within government and, ultimately, powers were never granted.

The government’s promises to the public and to Prof. Ruggie were never fulfilled.

Malcolm Rogge Lecturer, business and human rights, University of Exeter law school Exeter, England

Man on the moon

Re “Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen to join Artemis II mission, first lunar flight in more than 50 years” (April 4): This story was exciting to read. I look forward to following the progress of the mission and I extend my eager congratulations to all.

The story also reminded me of a delightful bumper sticker that I saw in the late 1970s, on an old truck in Toronto: “If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we send them all!”

I don’t want to go to the moon, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Brian Emes Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


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