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Justice Marie-Josée Hogue at Université de Sherbrooke on on Aug. 22.Université de Sherbrooke

Democracy now

Re “Conservatives decry judge’s decision to limit their standing in foreign interference probe’s first phase” (Dec. 6): The decision by the commissioner not to allow full standing to the Conservative Party at the inquiry raises serious questions about democracy. If I had voted Conservative (or for any other party not forming government), I would feel that my views were not being represented at this inquiry.

Every Canadian deserves to be represented equally in Parliament, regardless of their MP’s party. I sometimes tell friends that my favoured form of governance would be a “benevolent” dictatorship. I believe we have a de facto dictatorship now – the Prime Minister’s Office, led by Justin Trudeau – but it is hardly benevolent.

Perhaps it is time to have a serious look at how our democracy functions, and find a way to give every Canadian a voice.

Ted Parkinson Toronto

Who pays?

Re “Revenues from the carbon tax should be funding adaptation measures” (Dec. 6): Here in the Maritimes, carbon pollution gave us Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Fiona gave us wrecked power grids. Now, electrical utilities are set to hike power rates to cover the repairs.

This is a carbon tax of sorts, but a perverse one because folks who pollute the least (electric vehicle drivers) will pay the most while those who pollute the most (commuters in oversized pickup trucks) will pay the least.

Floods, droughts, fires and cyclones caused by carbon pollution cost enormously. The question is whether these costs will be paid in a way that encourages more pollution and more damage, or less pollution and less damage.

Axe-the-tax campaigners are intensely interested in tax policy. I invite them to propose honest and fair ways to pay the costs of carbon pollution.

David Cairns Stratford, PEI

Go electric

Re “Canada must do more to connect the electric vehicle supply chain, industry executives say” (Report on Business, Dec. 4): Surely it would be better for our country if the headline read: “Executives must do more to connect the electric vehicle supply chain, Canadians say. "

Timothy Bond Toronto

Federal and provincial governments are urged to invest millions of dollars in an energy source that may be replaced by hydrogen in the near term, to service an automotive industry located in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Meanwhile, the federal government announces regulations (consultation to follow) for the oil and gas industry, primarily located in Western Canada, that will raise the cost of derivative products we likely still need for decades.

Am I missing something here?

Dan Cameron Regina

One stone

Re “Climate challenge” and “Good choice” (Letters, Dec. 5): A letter-writer advises that we should invest in more adaptation to climate change. Another would prefer we buy Canadian aircraft, but Bombardier does not have what Canada needs. How about addressing all these issues at once?

De Havilland Canada has started production on the DHC-515, the upgrade to one of the world’s best waterbombers. The final assembly is done in Alberta.

The government should order 50 of these aircraft to fight forest fires at home and in countries that can’t afford them. It would help create jobs in Alberta, helping that province transition to less oil and adapt to climate change, and provide help to poorer countries.

Gilles Fecteau Toronto

Public access

Re “Public lands hold the key to Canada’s housing crisis. If only we knew where they were” (Dec. 4): True, as far as it goes, but the real question should be how public land will be developed, and by whom?

If public land were to be sold to private developers, that would likely do nothing to solve the crisis, because most would insist on developing for maximum profit.

The development industry cannot solve the housing shortage. I believe it is part of the problem, not the solution.

Development on public lands should remain in public hands.

James Duthie Nanaimo, B.C.

Get in

Re “In selecting Bonnie Crombie, Ontario’s Liberals choose the path of restoration – and least resistance” (Dec. 5): In selecting Bonnie Crombie, the Ontario Liberals get several things: broad name recognition and her experience as mayor of a large Canadian city. She is also generally viewed as a good manager and a successful fundraiser.

What they don’t get is a sitting member of the provincial legislature. The previous disaster of a Liberal leader, Steven Del Duca, never obtained a seat and was largely invisible throughout his tenure.

With no provincial election scheduled until 2026, and a government currently stumbling, it should be crucial that Ms. Crombie figures out a way to obtain a seat before then.

This should be job No. 1 in efforts to renew the party.

Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.

All quiet

Re “McGill University to impose immediate hiring freeze in response to planned tuition hike” (Dec. 4): One has to wonder what the reaction would be from our federal leaders, of all partisan stripes, if any other provincial government did what Quebec is doing: discriminating against out-of-province students by doubling tuition rates. Would it be what we have now: total silence?

Indeed, I haven’t heard this much deafening silence from our federal leaders since Quebec introduced the equally discriminatory religious symbols ban.

Brian Bergman Calgary

Young at heart

Re “Technically, I’m a senior but I’m very good at hiding it” (First Person, Nov. 30): This essay vividly portrays an energetic, stylish and edgy senior from Toronto, dashing by sports car to trendy cafés while buzzing with cannabis and hip hop. At the same time, The Globe ranked Toronto 82nd among Canadian cities for retirement (“Canada’s most livable cities” – Report on Business, Nov. 25), assuming that “an average retiree seeks a safe, peaceful environment with good health care facilities, pleasant climate and a range of leisure activities.”

Like the essay-writer, my urban senior peers aim beyond this cautious “average” by valuing learning, challenge and diversity, as well as stretching comfort zones by being active participants in a fast-paced, often disturbing city.

The report demonstrates the dangers of overreliance on averages, and of clinging to a stereotype of seniors that is more appropriate to lifespans in the 70s. With 65-plus a large and growing segment, perhaps research using 10- or 15-year bands for younger age groups should similarly consider differentiating younger and older seniors.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

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