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A woman marks her ballot behind a privacy barrier on October 19, 2015.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Lower the voting age?

Re Why Teenagers Should Get The Vote (Aug. 9): There are many reasons why I support Denise Balkissoon’s assertion that teens should get the vote. This generation is growing up in a hyperconnected world. Because teens are exposed to vast troves of information, broadly disseminated at light speed, they simply know far more at their age than any previous generation. We need to acknowledge the impact this phenomenon has had in allowing those born into this milieu to surpass the previous generation.

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The paradigm shift that is required to rescue us from our own excess and save the planet’s environment can be metaphorically compared to the biblical story of the exodus from Egypt: Only the new generation was prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to enter the promised land.

Suzette Blom, Toronto


No, no, no! Teens today have no idea of the world in general. A cousin of mine used to paraphrase to say: If you’re not a communist at 20, you have no heart, but if you’re not a capitalist at 30, you have no brain. That’s especially true today. With many universities mindlessly promoting leftism, no one should have the vote until they are at least 25 – and have spent a year travelling in the Developing World.

Anita Kern, Toronto


UNICEF Canada believes the voting age should be lowered to 16.

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Young people deserve to have a say in decisions that will shape their futures, such as responses to climate change.

Our #VoteForEveryChild campaign calls on all political parties to commit to lowering Canada’s voting age. Decisions by adults have created the formidable challenges young people are facing today. It’s time to give youth a voice in finding the solutions.

Terence Hamilton, Policy Specialist, UNICEF Canada

Justice won’t benefit

Re Chief Justice Urges Use Of Hearings For Appeal Court Nominees, Citing Transparency (Aug. 9): Public nomination hearings for prospective appeal court judges would be a mistake.

These hearings inevitably, as in the blemished process south of the border, would be about the motives and posturing of the questioners.

I suspect that politicians are mindful of re-election and being criticized, rather than the long-term preservation of, or praise for, how well the institutions in question are actually working. Their questions would almost certainly pry, and play into immediate-gratification scores. Prospective judges would deftly and properly decline to answer such questions.

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The Chief Justice is absolutely right when he says, “The days when judges were appointed without giving any explanations – where they came from, what they are doing, how they do it – I think those days are gone.” This is because there exist exhaustive application forms, and discreet inquiries and reviews, not to mention the media stories that accompany many appointments.

The Chief Justice is correct in undertaking public outreach, in engaging and explaining the work of the court more – but change for change’s sake to satisfy a transitory, often-concocted need for transparency will not serve the sanctity, respect or longevity of our great institutions of justice.

William Trudell, Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers

Internet taxes, content creation

Re Election 2019: Return Of The Netflix Tax Debate (Aug. 8): Hollywood productions filmed in Canada are not the same thing as Canadian-content productions, and cannot be used to support the mistaken position that Canadian content production volume is at an all-time high. It is not.

As the publisher of the research referenced in law professor Michael Geist’s article, we want to point out that the numbers in Profile 2018, our latest economic report on Canada’s media production industry, show Canadian film and television production volume at $3-billion, a decline of 9 per cent year-over-year.

While Canada’s total production volume did reach a record $8.9-billion, the majority was fuelled by international projects filmed in Canada.

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Ensuring a balance between Hollywood service production and domestic content production is a challenge facing governments around the world. Numerous countries, including Australia and many in Europe, are working to implement policies to safeguard domestic production. We look forward to the recommendations from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel on how we can best tackle these challenges in Canada.

Reynolds Mastin, CEO, Canadian Media Producers Association


Michael Geist says because the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel report is not due until January, recent statements by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez about mandated payments by digital services to support Canadian content production constitute “ignoring the results of a public consultation before the results are even in.”

But the panel is just one step in more than three years of consultations, from the “Creative Canada” policy framework in 2016 and 2017, which over 30,000 Canadians fed into, to a CRTC public consultation that followed. The government doesn’t have to ignore those findings, and it can make broad policy decisions while a panel works out details.

And what about the long term? Is a five-year Netflix commitment supposed to be Canada’s sole audiovisual-policy measure for the 21st century? We need a longer view, and one not based on cherry-picking data.

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Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada

Cities, look eco-inward

Re Curbing Our Appetite For Destruction (editorial, Aug. 9): First, you praise Prairie farmers for their efforts to reduce erosion – and then you advocate more production of crops that actually are a source of land erosion.

Grasslands, crop rotations that include livestock (and the production of their feed), and a holistic approach to food production are the ways that we can feed our nation while improving the health of our land and ourselves. Farmers and ranchers were taking action on proper land management years before climate change became a fashionable topic on Bay Street.

By the way, every time I fly into Pearson International, I see more and more prime agricultural land being paved over for subdivisions and golf courses. Maybe the big cities should look inward for their own climate-change solutions before pillorying the hinterland.

Don Mitchell, Ottawa

I want one of those

Re Gun-Control Politics (Aug. 9): Letter writer Michael Peters offered the best slogan to parody the gun lobby I’ve heard in ages. I want it on my bumper: “Nuclear bombs don’t kill people, people kill people.” If he produced those stickers, they’d sell like hotcakes, at least in Canada and Massachusetts. (Vermont, too, of course.)

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Ted Bradley, Montreal


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