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Oil. To market?
Re Notley Orders Oil Patch To Cut Production (Dec. 3): Your article paints a chilling picture of what Alberta’s Premier rightly calls the “fiscal and economic insanity” caused by the oil crisis, and the few inadequate and desperate remedies that are left to deal with it.
This is not solely an Alberta problem. We are facing an economic crisis that affects all Canadians. The federal government must know that it would have the support of the majority of citizens if it were to find the political courage to start governing in the national interest, and legislate around the pipeline impasse.
It must not be cowed by a motley coalition of aged hippies, some First Nations – many First Nations support the pipeline – environmental zealots, and advocates for whales.
J. David Murphy, Barrie, Ont.
In frustration at Alberta’s inability to get its oil to market, Premier Rachel Notley has ridiculed the “coffee shop hipsters” who oppose increasing oil sands production out of concern for escalating emissions, and fear that “getting oil to tidewater” means getting oil on tankers, with increasing risks to marine life.
The most sensible step for Alberta to balance its books is to institute a sales tax, the lack of which Albertans have long trumpeted as the “Alberta Advantage.”
All across Canada, hipsters in coffee shops, and oldsters in Tim Hortons, pay provincial sales taxes in order to fund provincial services.
Alberta’s political class should end the “Alberta Indulgence” before they ask the rest of Canada to risk fouling its atmosphere and shorelines to help Alberta out of a fiscal hole many consider to be largely of the province’s own making.
Tom Warshawski, Kelowna, B.C.
I have lived in seven and worked in six of Canada’s provinces, Alberta among them. I have never felt ill will toward any province or region. Alas, I am once again hearing toxic talking points from certain Alberta political operatives incanting that anyone east of Manitoba doesn’t care about Alberta. This cheap, antagonistic falsehood is most disturbing. Unfortunately, there is great political reward in delivering this type of sloganeering, born of opportunism, intended to raise ire. “Them vs. Us” machinations drive wedges between provinces and regions solely for political advantage.
As with all nations, Canada has its differences – but “we stand on guard for thee” pledges that we all find ways to stand together.
Steve Sanderson, Quispamsis, N.B.
Trudeau, the middle
Justin Trudeau has more or less abandoned the middle class in Alberta by refusing to use his authority to get urgently needed pipelines constructed to the East and West coasts (Does Justin Really Care For The Middle Class? – Dec. 1). His green obsession, resulting in the passage of Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, pretty much means that no new pipelines or other major resource development projects will ever take place. Come election time, we can rest assured that Mr. Trudeau will once again portray himself as the friend of the middle class, but many Canadians won’t be buying into what he is selling.
Larry Comeau, Ottawa
The economic realities we are now facing as a nation are not Justin Trudeau’s fault. They are his inheritance. They have been with us for a while. To sneer at our Prime Minister’s efforts to spur on action on climate change and gender equality is egregious.
Our fundamental problems, as Pierre Trudeau said some 30 years ago, are our venture timidity, our conservative banks, the smugness of our businesses, our lack of encouragement for new enterprises and, most importantly, our near total dependence on the American market.
Robert Swain, Kingston
Your op-ed page on Saturday contained three headlines, each naming a world leader. There was “Macron” (Macron’s Carbon Tax Collides With France’s Forgotten Workers). There was “Putin” (When Putin Is Failing At Home, The World Needs To Be Careful). And there was Justin (Does Justin Really Care For The Middle Class?). I sniff a whiff of subtle disparagement that Canada’s Prime Minster is not called Trudeau in a headline?
Daniel Wood, Vancouver
Re Ontario’s Scaled-Back Climate Plan Takes On ‘Environmental Sophisticates’ ( Dec. 3): My dictionary variously defines “sophisticate” as both a noun (a person finely experienced and aware) as well as a transitive verb (to alter deceptively). An analysis of Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips’s climate plan suggests he may not be the former, but is certainly acting out the latter in using the word as code for that old populist dogwhistle, “elite.”
Chris Shrive, Dundas, Ont.
Elizabeth Renzetti is justifying radical options to fight climate change (Sit Down And Be Counted: Civil Disobedience Could Save The Planet – Opinion, Dec. 1). I suggest flipping ahead a few pages in the Opinion section and reading Konrad Yakabuski’s column on the anti-gasoline tax demonstrations in France (Macron’s Carbon Tax Collides With France’s Forgotten Worker). Mr. Yakabuski summed the situation up best when he said we have the elites “worried about the the end of the world” and workers “worried about the end of the month.”
Radical options can cut many ways, leading even to anarchy. Ms. Renzetti should be careful what she wishes for.
Wayne Ashbourne, Calgary
I usually admire Elizabeth Renzetti’s writing, and her passion. And I am a fervent believer that we need to act on climate change – now. But I disagree categorically with her argument. A crowd blockading a bridge quickly becomes a mob, and mobs do most of the damage. It doesn’t matter if the mob is on the left or on the right.
What we need right now is reasoned compromise, not as an excuse to do nothing about climate change, but to do something that our civil society supports. As we put the Liberals’ carbon tax (and dividend) in place, the Conservatives have a point that we cannot increase the carbon price per tonne too quickly (until we develop a global consensus to do so – and yes, we obviously need the U.S. on board, too). Alberta is part of Canada, so we have to build the Trans Mountain extension or Energy East. We are polarizing into mobs on the left and right on the most important global issue we are facing, and it is tragic.
David Konarek, Toronto
Help on the journey
Re A Letter To My Younger Self (First Person, Nov. 30): Bravo, Josh.
My thanks for the insight Josh Kozelj offered in his essay describing his struggle with mental health. Every school counsellor should keep a copy and hand it out to all his/her students who are seeking help. We need to tell our children life has all kinds of bumps and lumps but we can overcome them. Josh Kozelj’s personal journey is a testament to all kids who have life/emotional problems that these are all surmountable with support.
Yasmin Mussani, MD, London, Ont.