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A man is silhouetted walking past a Conservative Party logo before the opening of the Party's national convention in Halifax, on Aug. 23, 2018.

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

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Kind of blue

Re Top Tory Contenders Oppose Carbon Tax (Jan. 30): We have just re-elected a government that introduced carbon pricing and returns virtually all carbon revenue to Canadian households. Who are the voters to whom the Conservative leadership contenders are hoping to appeal with their promises to revoke the carbon tax?

It would be a difficult sell as well to youths. Recently, the dating app OKCupid added a new filter to screen for those who think climate change is “fake news.” Its surveying found that more than 97 per cent of users believe in the climate crisis. Perhaps Conservatives should worry not only if they can get elected without a viable climate platform, but whether they can even get a date.

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Ruth Allen Toronto


Re There’s More To Being A Tory Than Winning (Jan. 29): I believe columnist Andrew Coyne is right. You can change the singer, but if you don’t change the tune, nobody’s going to clap.

David Stone Toronto

Aging how?

Re Aging Out (Opinion, Jan. 25): Raising the pension-entitlement age to 67 would do little to solve the problems of a rising dependency ratio, but mainly shifts costs to senior citizens, many of whose quality of life would suffer without such income. Real solutions should increase our real-world capacity and involve renewing our health, education and research infrastructure, as well as providing increased training and jobs so that young people today will be better prepared and productive tomorrow.

Framing the problem as a fiscal one merely invites austerity, but government cutbacks would only exacerbate the gap between services needed and future services available. If we are concerned about the declining worker-retiree ratio, surely we could mobilize the millions of unemployed Canadians who could be pro-actively providing services to the sick and elderly.

Larry Kazdan Vancouver

The quiet place

Re The Quest For Quiet (Pursuits, Jan. 25): I walked my dog last evening – in my formerly quiet suburb – to the sounds of EMS sirens, a circling helicopter, jets bound for the airport, a pickup truck sans muffler and yapping dogs. It’s even worse in summer, when all the lawn equipment comes out and road and other construction work is under way.

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At some point, we’re going to have decide how much noise we can tolerate and enforce nighttime and other restrictions on non-essential noises. Our health will likely depend on it.

Jane Hillard Calgary


I was lying on a rock shelf deep inside a cave in Belize to experience the silence. It was profound, except for the liquid that dripped off the stalactites. The subtle pitches made me smile. For us humans, there really is no complete silence. Just cover your ears with both hands and you’ll hear a constant mild roar in your head.

Our addiction to sound and constant information seems a sure way to stop personal thoughts. But we are creative beings; we need to reflect and grow our own gardens. Quiet times can become our most productive and offer the most joy in life.

Ulla Colgrass Toronto

Pay as you go

Re If Ottawa Wants To Lower Wireless Bills, It Should Tackle Smartphone Prices (Report on Business, Jan. 25): I don’t really want to see the government wasting time on smartphone prices.

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No one is compelled to purchase a crazily expensive smartphone. If someone wants the latest high-tech phone, that is their personal decision. Perfectly good, unlocked phones are available from a variety of suppliers, for prices from less than $100 to perhaps $300. The technology on these devices is often only a year or two out of date. Anyone paying $1,000 or more for a phone is choosing to do so – no government legislation should be justified.

I bet if we all refused to pay for fancy new tweaks to phones, manufacturers would either lower prices or stop bothering to make them.

Bill Mercer Oakville, Ont.

Whose rights?

Re Who Speaks For The Wet’suwet’en People? (Opinion, Jan. 25): Jody Wilson-Raybould writes that “reconciliation requires transitioning from the colonial system of government imposed on First Nations through the Indian Act,” and that governments "must get their own houses in order, by fundamentally reshaping legislation, policy and practices.” I imagine that was what Justin Trudeau had in mind when he asked her to become minister of Indigenous Services.

As an Indigenous lawyer, she seemed the perfect candidate for the job. So why did she not accept it?

Adam Plackett Toronto

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We often hear how Indigenous rights are constitutionally protected. But so what? Indigenous people still have to go to court to prove their rights, seemingly a next-to-impossible task.

Presently, Indigenous people are saying a number of things: We reject the thinking that Section 35 rights are good enough. I find that they are not, that they rather establish the Crown as holding a superior legal position on Indigenous affairs. But as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action 45 through 47 make clear, Canada should repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. Further, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples means to transform Canada back to a legally pluralistic state, where a fair and open legal process gives, as laid out in Article 27, “due recognition to Indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems."

Unilateralism is out, it seems, and balance is in – let’s put Indigenous and Western legal systems on an equal footing.

Bob Burgel Fisher River Cree Nation; Surrey, B.C.

The other royal couple

Re What It Takes For British Royalty To Truly Become Canadian (Opinion, Jan. 25): As historian Carolyn Harris suggests, Lord Lorne and Princess Louise left an indelible mark on Canada during his 1878-83 governor-generalship. They plunged into Canadian society and culture, understanding that the country was a coast-to-coast nation and travelling as far west as Victoria. But despite this mutual energy, Louise at times sought to escape her emotionally cold marriage (other historians have noted that Lorne may have been gay – the couple never had children) and Ottawa’s chilly winters.

In the winter of 1883, Louise fled to the semi-tropical warmth of Bermuda. She charmed the island. To this day, as with Lake Louise and Alberta, her name lingers in the name of Bermuda’s two grand hotels, the Hamilton Princess and the Southampton Princess. Back in Ottawa, Louise’s exquisite watercolour sketches of Bermuda’s verdant landscape are occasionally put on display at the National Gallery as proof of the power of the royal touch in faraway lands.

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Let’s hope that Harry and Meghan, a very different couple, find a way to leave their own distinctive mark on Canada.

Duncan McDowall Kingston


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