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SNC-Lavalin: The end?
Re SNC-Lavalin Pleads Guilty To Fraud (Dec. 19): After nearly bringing down the Liberal government, and following the Quebec Superior Court ruling against former executive Sami Bebawi, SNC-Lavalin seems to finally realize that the gig is up. The only question remaining is how much of the $280-million fine will actually be collected? My guess: not much.
Cam Kourany Kelowna, B.C.
In the end, how will history tell the tale of Jody Wilson-Raybould?
The construction division of SNC-Lavalin will now pay a $280-million fine, plead guilty to one count of fraud and face a three-year probation order, while the company at large appears to have avoided debarment from federal contracts. Ms. Wilson-Raybould could have cut this deal more than a year ago with a deferred prosecution agreement, and all of the uncertainty for thousands of workers and the future of a century-old company could have been avoided. If SNC could not qualify for a DPA, then what company going forward will be able to get one?
Is Ms. Wilson-Raybould some kind of hero or martyr? Give me a break.
Trevor Amon Victoria
Trump: Definitely not the end
Re Trump Impeached On Both Counts (Dec.19): A key point of impeachment in the House of Representatives seems to be populism versus rule of law within the democratic constitutional framework. Populism does not trump the law, even if your name is Trump.
The deficiency and danger of populism, as embedded in the U.S. Constitution, greatly concerned Sir John A. Macdonald, and avoiding it was a goal of the founders of Canadian Confederation.
Over and over during impeachment proceedings, Republicans defended the President with a refrain of: "He won the election! Elections matter!” Of course they do, but its victors still must operate within legal framework.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ended his speech with the challenge: “Do you trust the wisdom of the people?” Hence the populism trap.
Carol Vignale Delta, B.C.
We can do it!
Re The Rationale For Rationing (Opinion, Dec. 14): Contributor Eleanor Boyle says that we have a very short time to deal with climate change, yet she also dismisses carbon pricing. I believe she completely overlooks the fierce battle recently fought over carbon pricing at the national level, won by its defenders but leaving one of our major national parties still vehemently opposed. Instead, she sketches out what I find to be an untested and administratively complex scheme of rationing.
While it’s always fun to build castles in the air, I would respectfully suggest that people who want more aggressive action on the urgent problem of climate change should focus on convincing the Conservatives to accept carbon pricing, even if it’s grudgingly, and pressing Ottawa to raise the carbon price floor faster.
Russil Wvong Vancouver
As I attempt to do my personal part in preventing climate change, I am often left feeling isolated and unsure, as there is no way of knowing how my individual effort actually contributes to the cause. Contributor Eleanor Boyle offers a tangible way to tackle the climate emergency with the seriousness and specificity it deserves.
A carbon budget with personal allowances would engender meaningful action with measurable results, and ensure that everybody does their part. These policies can be developed justly and workably, and governments should consider them very seriously.
Susan Angel Vancouver
Contributor Eleanor Boyle seems to lay out a fantastic plan – if we ignore the powerful totalitarian governments and superrich corporate giants all in the big room.
But if she’s right that tax-paying working stiffs are going to have to make sacrifices to save our collective bacon, our time may be better spent planning for mass migration, food shortages and general logistics à la wartime, because it looks like this ship ain’t turning around fast enough.
Roscoe Kerr La Pêche, Que.
Rationing has a place where supply is limited. Carbon emissions are not limited by scarcity. In fact, that is the issue facing humanity; this is why economists broadly support the carbon tax.
Canadians have seen how controversial carbon taxes are. Carbon rationing would be even less popular. The only argument I see is that it would make carbon taxes seem more attractive.
Rick Carpenter Ottawa
Let’s not just look at rationing flights and hamburgers. What about the biggest carbon-producing decision most of us will make in our lifetimes? That is whether or not to have a child.
According to one study, having a child equates to almost an extra 60 tonnes of carbon a year. So maybe we should ration children as well.
Evan Bedford Red Deer, Alta.
Afghanistan: The end
Re The War In Afghanistan Was Doomed From The Start. What Should Have Happened Instead? (Opinion, Dec. 14): The Afghanistan Papers reveal what people have known for many years: This war is going nowhere. It has devastated Afghanistan instead of building and democratizing the country. The war didn’t even defeat terrorism, the main reason for waging it.
I believe the problem was that Afghans never saw it as their war and considered the Western troops as occupying forces. They often resided in fortified sections of the country, isolated from ordinary Afghans as countless innocent people suffered.
As the United States loses appetite for the war, it seems fair to ask: What will happen to Afghanistan? Its people will face not only the onslaught of a rejuvenated Taliban, but also the task of rebuilding a shattered country.
Ali Orang Richmond Hill, Ont.
While former diplomat and politician Chris Alexander offers numerous mea culpas, he ultimately lays the blame for the West’s failures in Afghanistan at the feet of Pakistan. This seems disingenuous.
General Rick Hillier’s boastful threats against Taliban “murderers and scumbags” and Stephen Harper’s multiple assurances that we would never “cut and run” typified the hubris and overreach that defined Canada’s Afghan mission. Blaming Pakistan or Vladimir Putin leads me to believe we haven’t learned a thing from our failures in the country.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
Dieter Neumann Kemble, Ont.
Re Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash (Opinion, Dec. 14): Citing Charles Dickens’s Micawber Principle, contributor Mark Kingwell draws the following conclusion: “When you don’t have it, don’t spend it.” But the character of Wilkins Micawber was not an economist.
As John Maynard Keynes once observed, it depends on the sums involved. If you are in debt to the tune of $100, you have a problem; if you are in debt to the tune of $100-million, it is your creditors who have the problem.
Bernard Katz Toronto
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