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United Conservative Party Leader Danielle Smith speaks following the debate in Edmonton on May 18.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Time out

Re “Bill Blair took months to approve CSIS surveillance of Liberal powerbroker, national-security source says” (May 19): Each day amounts to further revelations concerning Chinese interference in this country going back years.

For this reason, an inquiry is required to ascertain between the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and our politicians as to who was receiving briefings, from whom and when. It certainly should recommend in the future how this important information is transferred to the responsible decision-makers in a timely manner.

There cannot be indecision and finger pointing when it comes to national security in this country. Canadians deserve better.

J.G. Gilmour Calgary

Track record

Re “Alberta Ethics Commissioner rules Danielle Smith interfered in justice system” (May 19): Danielle Smith is found to have breached the Alberta Conflicts of Interest Act.

Imagine if this keeps happening. Pretty soon she could run for prime minister.

Jonathan Taylor Lethbridge, Alta.

Money spent

Re “Pay me now, pay me later, pay me again: the Trudeau government’s industrial strategy” (Editorial, May 18): Of course our governments, be they federal or provincial, have already surrendered on electric-vehicle subsidies, and only the terms remain to be announced.

The various supply chains, beginning with exploration, mining and refining of rare earths, can be just as bad for the environment, or possibly even worse, than the exploiting activities of the fossil-fuel industry. Our desperation for sources of “cheap” fuel to continue with our planet-destroying habits carries the seeds of its own and mankind’s eventual demise.

Colin Lowe Nanaimo, B.C.

Mines in Canada for critical minerals are few and prospective mines can be bogged down in the approval process. They will likely need more funding to proceed.

Our governments should streamline the approval process, pour more money into miners and increase taxes to pay for it. Then we can afford an electric-vehicle battery plant.

William Penman Toronto

Clean up

Re “Ottawa’s new clean fuel policy will add up to 17 cents to gas prices in 2030, watchdog reports” (May 19): I find that Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is correct when he says the Parliamentary Budget Office report on the Clean Fuel Regulations was done “without accounting for the economic and environmental costs of letting climate change run unchecked.”

In fact, most of our costing and estimating is done without looking at future effects. The PBO defends the report by essentially saying, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.”

We should be changing to more realistic modelling methods.

Bob Walker Vancouver

Re “The massive potential of clean power in Alberta and Saskatchewan” (Editorial, May 16): It was gratifying to read that in the quest for net zero by 2035, the need for abundant and reliable power, at reasonable prices, is difficult to achieve in the transition off the carbon molecule.

Perhaps The Globe and Mail was too harsh on Danielle Smith and Scott Moe for their rejection of net zero by 2035. They may be a voice of realism in the quest, a rarity for politicians.

It could be that they have done the simple math. Between Saskatchewan and Alberta, approximately 13,000 megawatts of generation must be replaced by non-carbon sources. In the task of reducing carbon emissions, more reality is required in planning and action.

Mr. Moe and Ms. Smith should be applauded. And so should The Globe for pushing the quest when there are so many diversions to share the focus.

Byron Turner Calgary

Many of Canada’s major oil companies, including Canadian Natural Resources, Suncor, Cenovus Energy and Imperial Oil, are aiming for net zero by 2050, as evidenced by their participation in the Pathways Alliance. The federal government is implementing a clean-fuel standard that forces them to do what they are aiming for.

So what, exactly, is wrong with that?

Glen Estill, Lion’s Head, Ont.

One by one

Re “The Liberals promised two billion trees by 2030. Only 2 per cent have been planted. What’s going wrong – and what needs fixing” (Editorial, May 19): Canada is home to 9 per cent of the world’s trees, which cover about 40 per cent of our land mass. In fact, Canada has 318 billion trees.

Which means the great photo op – sorry, climate-change promise – of two billion trees would increase the current tree population by 0.6 per cent. Which would decrease our carbon footprint by, well, pretty much zero. Nada. Hardly a single measurable unit.

While the editorial brings attention to the intentions of the tree-planting program (climate-change impact, biodiversity, social involvement), the only existing component of the program is something I think this government is superb at: virtue-signalling.

Tom Curran Prince Edward County, Ont.

How long?

Re “Ottawa unveils lower credit-card fees for small businesses, but some industries say measures fall short” (Report on Business, May 19): I’m wondering why it will take until the fall of 2024 for credit-card fees to be reduced for retailers. Transactions are instantly recorded on our banking apps, yet it will take 16 months to take effect?

Certainly an example of “sticky-down,” the tendency of a price to move up easily but prove quite resistant to moving down.

David Enns Cornwall, Ont.

Public service

Re “I remember: Marc Lalonde” (Obituary, May 18): I am old enough to remember another brilliant idea and innovative program that Marc Lalonde helped introduce as minister of health and welfare: a trial program of guaranteed annual income in Dauphin, Man., in 1973.

This program was successful. But once the timeline was over for research, it was stopped. Mr. Lalonde defied convention with this needed experiment.

Marianne Freeman Vancouver

It’s so easy to fashion oneself as a cynical free-thinker and hard-to-impress contrarian simply by denigrating the political class. Words like “mediocre,” “venal,” “power-hungry” and “pandering” come to mind (some certainly are).

But reading the obituary page, the lives of Marc Lalonde and Charles Pascal (”Public education expert Charles Pascal helped usher in Ontario’s full-day kindergarten” – Obituary, May 18) remind me that most people are in public life for the right reasons. They are community-minded idealists and doers.

Rather than be smirking, all-knowing poseurs who take good government for granted, we should be grateful for the contributions of such fine public servants.

Brian Green Thunder Bay

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