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Age of disruption
Re Oil Logic? It’s Complicated (letters, Nov. 30): How can we still believe the economics of our oil industry make sense?
We can’t sell it at a profit. We can’t get it to market, except in rail cars that sometimes explode and destroy towns. We can’t afford to clean up our idle wells.
Our automakers want to stop building cars that use it. And, oh yes, we can’t burn it, lest we face devastating economic fallout from climate change as pointed out (most recently) by the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Speaking of the Americans, they don’t need our oil, thanks to massive increases in shale oil production.
Our leaders’ attempts to resuscitate this industry are looking as quixotic as Donald Trump’s quest to reinvigorate West Virginia coal.
It’s over, folks. It is to be hoped that voters will realize this, even if the politicians will not.
James Worrall, Ottawa
Re GM’s Closing Is A Warning Shot: We’re Not Ready For The Age Of Disruption (Nov. 29): Sunil Johal has got it partly right: We do lag in social spending to soften the blows of major disruptions such as the closing of the GM plant in Oshawa. But what is missing is the responsibility of General Motors.
Modern capitalism allows for GM to do what it has done. It is the responsibility of industry, along with government, to help soften the hard landing brought on by technological change.
A national plan is needed to have all companies pay into a plant-closing/tech-change fund/program that is large and rich enough to help transition redundant workers into other sectors of the economy. The realization and function of such a fund should be integrated into Canadian law.
Yes, a challenge. Yes, long term. But vitally necessary and long overdue.
Robert Milan, Victoria
An MPP’s matter of principle
Re Ontario MPP Simard Quits PC Caucus After Party’s Cuts To Francophone Services (Nov. 30): Perhaps Ontario Premier Doug Ford is right and the Conservative caucus is indeed “more united than we’ve ever been.”
Or perhaps Mme Simard is just the tip of the Titanic.
Louis Desjardins, Belleville, Ont.
A politician with principles. Amanda Simard is okay in my books.
James R. McCarney, Oakville, Ont.
I’m no fan of Doug Ford, but he is right to refuse to spend $40-million for Ontario’s share of the start-up costs for a francophone university here: provincial deficit: estimated at $15-billion; provincial debt: circling $350-billion; population: about 13 million, of which 600,000 are francophone. Those numbers say non.
Hats off to Amanda Simard, though. Ontario’s only francophone MPP has my support for anything that we can do to encourage bilingualism, short of building a university.
Sarah Pelletier, Toronto
‘Only reasonable option’
Re Is TDSB Spending Extra Cash To Destroy A Historic Building? (Nov. 29): The Toronto District School Board looked at maintaining the original 1960s building that housed the Davisville Public School, but it just was not possible. As it was originally designed as a school for the deaf with smaller classrooms and less than half the required pupil places needed now, we would have had to tear down most of the interior walls. Throw in the required upgrades to heating, electrical, data, fire alarm, accessibility and safety systems, and the entire interior design of the school would have been destroyed.
Architectural features such as the main staircase don’t comply with building requirements and were a safety risk to students. The roof would have had to be completely removed and replaced at significant cost. In addition, a new city-owned aquatic centre is being built on the site with underground parking which is required due to space constraints.
When all of these factors were considered (not to mention that we don’t receive any money from the province for heritage projects) the only reasonable option was to build a new school.
The TDSB makes every effort to retain our older buildings even if they are not considered heritage, but if it comes at the expense of our students not getting the space they deserve, we haven’t done our jobs.
Robin Pilkey, Chair, Toronto District School Board
‘Climate’ spoken here
Lawrence Martin’s use of the phrase “climate cancer” may be the most apt and accurate framing of the current climate-related danger in which we live (Call Climate What It is: A Crisis – Nov. 28). However, it is not “planetary destruction” that is at stake, but ours.
The planet existed for billions of years before humans came into being. It survived molten heat, glacier-creating cold, earthquakes, volcanoes and asteroid strikes.
We should recognize what we are doing to the future of human beings on this planet. Earth will endure after we have become extinct from planetary cancer. We can and should hold our own feet to the climate-change fire and demand the same from politicians and business leaders worldwide.
Jim Sanders, Guelph, Ont.
Since I am not on social media, and don’t get out much, the insults I am subjected to normally come from my wife and daughters. Thus I thoroughly enjoyed Lawrence Martin calling me a “climate cancer denier,” a “climate troglodyte” and a “fossilhead.”
But his timing was bad. On the same day and on the same opinion page was a column urging respect for the willingness “to engage in discussion without defaulting to ad hominem insults” (In Academia, Censorship And Conformity Have Become The Norm – Nov. 28).
Rudy Buller, Toronto
One bag. Ready
Re The Art Of Single-Bag Travel (Nov. 28): As a devotee of travelling with only a carry-on, the amount of luggage others take never ceases to amaze me. I am no back-packer: A hard-sided, clam shell-type, four-wheel carry-on and a small shoulder pack has taken me on two- to three-week trips to Europe, including bicycle tours, for decades.
This summer, I topped off my bucket list with a return trip to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2, a week each way, and a week visiting family while there, all with my trusty carry-on. Mix-and-match simple outfits, easy-care fabrics that dry quickly (no cotton or wool), layers to cope with the vicissitudes of weather are all essential.
Even formal dinners were no problem with one pair of silky, black-knit pants and a variety of tops to suit the occasion.
The pluses? Your luggage arrives with you, the ease of using public transit in Europe, no temptation to buy bulky things to bring home …
I wouldn’t know how to fill a larger suitcase!
Lyn Robinson, Burlington, Ont.