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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds his first news conference as leader on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Aug. 25, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Conservative crush

Re O’Toole Reaches Out To Liberal, NDP Voters After ‘True Blue’ Campaign Wins Him Leadership (Aug. 25): Without a further-right party to cluster the social conservatives and climate-change deniers, Erin O’Toole’s Tories seem destined for permanent residency in opposition.

And if the Liberals dump their biggest liability – the Prime Minister, in my mind – they could guarantee a massive majority. That could also spare us the agony of watching Chrystia Freeland having to apologize for his actions.

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Nigel Smith Toronto

Re The Liberals Are Already Playing Hardball With The Tories’ New Leader (Aug. 25): If Stephen Harper’s pitching strategy, as viewed by Bob Rae, was “throwing the ball at your head,” surely that is preferable to Justin Trudeau continuously walking batters with the bases loaded.

W. Selby Martin Toronto

Not enough

Re Canadians Risk Becoming Addicted To Aid (Aug. 21): I am a Canadian senior who is trying to stay alive on less than $1,800 a month between the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. Divorced with a mortgage, utilities and maintenance to pay, I must resort to the Salvation Army for food baskets.

During a pandemic, I am trapped in a bad housing market with a bleak economic future.

Kenneth Balacko Morrin, Alta.

Fallback plans

Re Where Is The Government Campaign To Support The COVID Alert App? (Opinion, Aug. 22): I suggest it would be much wiser and cheaper to rely on monetary incentives as distinct from “a major public awareness and marketing campaign,” which would presumably consist of pious exhortations that are likely to be ignored.

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Just enter everyone who has downloaded the app into a draw, and hand out a prize of $25,000 every two weeks. News of the prize would spread rapidly through word of mouth and social media. I’m confident that the target reach of 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the population would be attained in no time.

I’m equally confident that the savings in health costs would far exceed the upfront outlay.

Adam Plackett Toronto

Re Flu Season Threatens To Make Coping With Coronavirus Far Worse (Opinion, Aug. 22): While I appreciate that new flus may be emerging in Asia, I don’t see the risk of the “usual” flu season for several reasons.

World travel is way down, so the usual spread vector should be much reduced. Most people are controlling their contact with respiratory viruses through physical distancing and mask-wearing. These measures are new to a flu season.

However, we should not be complacent. The threat of a double whammy should be leveraged to encourage everyone to keep staying safe.

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Carolyn Johnson Toronto

Climate clash

A letter writer from Toronto opines about “a new vision for Alberta’s economic future (Oil Opinions – Letters, Aug. 23),” a reminder of another Toronto letter writer’s lament that “if Alberta would only realize that the rest of the country is trying to help it climb out of a fossil-fuel hole and achieve clean prosperity (Change For Climate Change – Letters, July 17).” There certainly seems to be a view that the Canadian climate file is fundamentally an Alberta issue, and that solutions will come most readily through capitulation to the self-righteousness of a certain Toronto mindset.

It is a mindset that seems to think Albertans produce carbon for sport, that it is some kind of recreational activity for a population addled by avarice. The last time I checked, Albertans produce carbon because people all over the country, indeed the continent, want to consume it.

For those offended by Alberta’s carbon preoccupations, there is a simple solution: Stop buying the stuff. As it stands, too many Canadians seem to think that climate-change piety can be achieved by simply opposing a pipeline, or advocating for the destruction of a provincial economy – just as long as it is not their own.

Climate change is a problem of consumption, not supply. It’s a problem that all Canadians should take ownership of, and one that will likely not be addressed solely by what Alberta does.

Brian Geddes Calgary

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Re The Tories’ Choice Of Leader Doesn’t Matter – Not As Much As What The Party Does Next (Aug. 22): Not being a supporter of the Conservatives, I am actually quite happy to have them ignore, or even deny, our most important crisis in climate change. Then other parties who do recognize its threat may attract more Gen X and millennial voters, and hopefully be elected to make effective contributions toward keeping the planet livable for our children and grandchildren.

On the other hand, if the Conservatives do form our next government, what disasters await us?

Olga Eizner Favreau Montreal

Inside job

Re Sound Of The Police (Letters, Aug. 24): One doesn’t need to think that police are saints to recognize the benefits of criminology students interning with them. A letter writer seems to think that once students are in police clutches, they will be powerless against police influence. But if Carleton University is doing its job, students will have been taught to think critically.

Since no one is ever completely objective, I believe it is almost always better to know how an organization works in practice when critiquing it, rather than how an academic thinks it works in theory.

Liz Tinker Toronto

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Something old, something new

Re The Château Laurier Will Change. But Will Ottawa? (Online, Aug. 19): Architecture critic Alex Bozikovic, in making a case for adding modern architecture to old buildings, mentions the Louvre. The French museum’s iconic glass pyramid is on the grounds of the building, but not attached to it – an important distinction. If the pyramid was connected to the wonderful stone facade of the Louvre, there would likely be an outrage in Paris.

The proposed addition to the Château Laurier would see wonderful, old-world architecture fixed to a modern structure. The hotel is a landmark because of its architecture, and the new design would turn it into a head-scratching oddity. It would elicit a frequent comment: “Why did they do that?”

As Frank Lloyd Wright said: “A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines.”

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

Lend me your ears

Re Jack And Joe (Letters, Aug. 24): A part of Joe Biden’s speech had strong similarities to one by Jack Layton. Is everyone plagiarizing, from Shakespeare and others, if they write using iambic pentameter?

David Zitner Halifax

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