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The final frontier
Re Fear, Hope And Reality In The Oil Sands (Editorial, Dec. 23): It would be wrong for the Canadian government to approve a massive new oil sands mine at a time when sharp reductions in global carbon emissions are needed to prevent catastrophic global heating. As a wealthy and influential country with a huge per-capita carbon footprint, Canada should be a leader – not a laggard – in transitioning equitably to a low-carbon economy.
We didn’t wait for all other countries to act before enfranchising women, banning or restricting harmful products such as leaded gasoline, DDT, CFCs and cigarettes, or recognizing gay marriage. Nor should we delay action when the future of our children – and our planet – is at stake.
Michael Polanyi Toronto
As I understand it, the bottom line in The Globe editorial’s call for approval of Teck’s Frontier mine is that government should allow market forces to determine the right result. Market forces have brought us the current climate crisis; they will likely not act in a fully informed and rational manner to ameliorate it.
If governments do not take a stand, market forces will do what they have always done: Serve those in a position to gain from them at the expense of those who do not; they will dictate that the most value possible be extracted from available fossil fuel assets, until the last barrel is taken or the last breath heaved.
Cheryl Lewis Toronto
During the scheduled 41-year operating period of Teck’s Frontier mine, the Earth will continue heating up and no conditions for approval today can anticipate what the Earth will be like in 41 years. If the Trudeau government approves the mine, at least one of the conditions should be that the mine can be ordered permanently shut down at any time, without any need for expropriation at taxpayers’ expense.
Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.
Show me the money
Re Albertans To See Highest Climate Rebate (Dec. 19): Albertans may well be slated to receive the highest carbon-tax rebate in the country, but they may not believe it if they don’t see it until filing their tax return the following year. There is an old-fashioned remedy for this: Mail everyone a cheque up front.
In 2008, B.C. residents received their first rebate cheques in the mail to coincide with the launch of the provincial carbon tax, concrete evidence of “revenue neutrality.” The cheques helped soften resistance to the new tax, a smart move that Ottawa could imitate.
Blaise Salmon Mill Bay, B.C.
Facing corporate crime
Re How A Bad Policy Led To A Worse Scandal (Editorial, Dec. 21): It is still not clear to me why it is ever necessary to prosecute a company rather than the individuals who initiate corporate misdeeds. Are we to understand that some companies are so large, so complex, that it is impossible to trace malfeasance to specific individuals? Would it be unreasonable to insist that well-paid CEOs know what is going on in their companies?
Apparently, the answer to both questions is affirmative, and we have to accept the principle of “too big to jail." But the very possibility of deflecting criminal responsibility from flesh-and-blood individuals to abstract corporations is the result of a political act, and the option of negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement further entangles the judicial process in politics.
Thus, the principle that the rule of law should be free from political considerations, so fundamental to the criminal prosecution of individuals, no longer seems to be relevant, and I find it very difficult to work up the sense of moral outrage that so many have managed to achieve in this sorry story of SNC-Lavalin.
J. Michael Pearson Montreal
Abuse and the church
Re Jesuits To Name Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse (Dec. 17) and Across The Country, The Catholic Church Is Under Pressure To Name Abusers (Dec. 14): Every time the issue of sexual-abuse crimes comes up in any industry or group, why is there so much trepidation in opening the whole can of worms? Could it be because a majority of the perpetrators belong to a particular gender?
No matter where it happens, they all seem to have one thing in common: Keep it under wraps and pay off victims when necessary. The dilemma of what to do preoccupies them all. The answer should actually be quite simple: Report it to the police as you would any other crime. Mind you, the inundation might overwhelm the police and disrupt the world order.
Jo Balet Mississauga
Re Three Teens Sentenced To Two Years Probation In St. Mike’s Sex Assaults (Dec. 20): As Ontario Court Justice Brian Weagant described, the offences of the three teens were “criminal behaviour” and would seem to demand more than the probation received from the judge. The 12 to 15 months suggested by the Crown would seem to be a fairer punishment for the victims and provide deterrent for other sex offenders.
David Millar Regina
The judge in this horrifying case seems to be more than fairly certain that the boys "have heard society’s voice loud and clear.” While this may well be true, I fear that the missing question is whether the victims heard society’s voice at all. I suspect not. It is to weep.
Annette Kavanagh-Turner Guelph, Ont.
The No. 1 answer is…
Re Family Feud Canada Is The Saddest Moment In The CBC’s History (Opinion, Dec. 21) and Can Family Feud Save The CBC? Survey Says… (Arts, Dec. 14): I’m reminded of a comment once made to me by a film producer who optioned one of my novels. He said that over the years, $2.5-billion in taxpayers’ money had gone to finance Canadian films that nobody sees.
Jerry Amernic Toronto
A once-proud public service seems to have become a national embarrassment – but only in English television, where the viewership has eroded. CBC Radio One, on the other hand, has a leading English-language share of 15 per cent, and all of Radio-Canada’s legacy media continue to draw enviable French-language audiences.
By all means, let’s fix what broken, but let’s also make sure we don’t toss the healthy babies out with the admittedly scuzzy bathwater.
Kealy Wilkinson executive director, Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation; Toronto
The next programs in the CBC’s strategic plan “to be a champion for Canadian voices and stories” should be “Say Yes to the Parka,” “The Real Housewives of Moose Jaw,” “Storage Altercations” and “Keeping Up with the Biebers.”
Tim Jeffery Toronto
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