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Rules of the rule of law
Re We Must Stop Using The ‘Rule Of Law’ As A Weapon (Opinion, Feb. 22): I believe contributor Corey Shefman articulates our current dilemma in the historical context it deserves. Had we achieved progress in settling long-outstanding treaties and land claims and in defining clear rights of entitlement, we wouldn’t continually find ourselves in a state of confrontation.
Over a period that has seen 23 prime ministers, 43 parliaments, countless studies, reports and time before the Supreme Court, one would expect a path to fair and equitable settlement with our partners to emerge. That this has not come to pass seems to me a failure and the burden we – all of us – bear today.
Lyle Halcro Toronto
Many First Nations are located in remote areas where natural resources could become a realistic basis for economic activity. Could not the government more deliberately sponsor a vision which foresees First Nations benefits from every resource development on traditional lands?
For example, what if First Nations along a pipeline received one cent per litre of oil, gas or whatever flows through it? What if they were offered training for pipeline jobs, with the ultimate goal of First Nations accepting full responsibility for operations and maintenance?
Joe O’Brien Halifax
I believe Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole is correct about the need for special legal tools to remove protesters blocking critical transportation infrastructure, however moving their cause. In five years working on the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, I learned how dependent Canada’s international competitive position is on sophisticated export and import supply chains. The precedent that these precious public goods can be held hostage by any interest group seems to me a dangerous one.
John Higginbotham Senior fellow, Carleton University, former federal assistant deputy minister; Chandigarh, India
The good ol’ days
Re Bombardier’s Share Price Drops In Wake Of Alstom Deal (Report on Business, Feb. 19): Recent news about Bombardier brought back memories of Canada Wire and Cable’s sale to another French giant, Alcatel, in 1991. Established before the First World War, CWC was a major military supplier to the Allies in both wars. It became one of the largest Canadian manufacturers and at one time employed about 4,000 people.
Prior to its sale, CWC manufactured and sold cable to Ontario Hydro and fibre optics to markets all over the world. After the sale, Alcatel restricted the company to selling only in Canada. Thereafter it struggled to make a profit; Alcatel shut it down, moving the jobs, technology and tax revenue to France. Former employees say that after selling the land and special equipment, Alcatel actually made a profit.
Here goes another one.
Alan Redway PC, QC, former MP, former mayor of East York; Toronto
Imagine for a moment that Quebec-based Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin were actually headquartered in Alberta. Would these companies have received billions in federal funding over the years, or avoided prosecutorial reality in one case? Or imagine that the Athabasca oil sands were actually located in, say, Quebec’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. How different Canada and Ottawa would be.
Jerry Amernic Toronto
Re A Dark Journey From Broadcaster To Bank Robber (Feb. 20): I was saddened to read about the fate of Steve Vogelsang. I met Steve at Ryerson in 1986. He was a charismatic, confident and talented guy with a successful television career written all over his handsome face. He was a few years older than his cohort, a little more mature and wiser than most of us. It came as a shock to read how his life unraveled as he desperately felt he had to hide his struggles with depression.
I wish Steve a bright future and a chance to start over. How brave of him to go public with his story.
Helayna Shekter Toronto
Don’t bank on it?
Re Ottawa Needs To Reboot Infrastructure Bank, Or Shut It Down (Feb. 17): I do not believe a leadership change will fix the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s fundamental flaws – nor build the public systems and facilities Canadians desperately need.
The bank pushes expensive private lending for public infrastructure. That seems a far cry from the Liberals’ 2015 campaign promise to give municipalities low-cost public loans. I’ve done the math and this “bank of privatization” model could dramatically increase project costs. No wonder I am not seeing cities and towns clamouring for this so-called help.
We could generate revenue to pay for public infrastructure in a fair and equitable way, by raising taxes and closing loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Canadians. That’s a plan we could all bank on. I believe it’s time to scrap, not salvage, the CIB.
Mark Hancock National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees; Ottawa
Re Telus Says Spending, 5,000 Jobs At Risk If CRTC Pushes MVNOs (Report on Business, Feb. 21): The Big Three telcos appear to be ratcheting up responses to the suggestion that smaller, independent wireless companies be allowed to buy unused network capacity. Are these companies worried that the independents will sell it for less, without having invested in the network buildout? Well guess what: They will.
Look, it’s widely held that consumers hate the Big Three, which have responded by offering slightly better deals. So why not buck up and really show that Rogers, Telus and Bell have the best networks, service and prices? They should compete like they mean it, and stop pretending any independent is going to ruin business and put stock prices in the dumper.
Doug Rushton North Vancouver
Re Here’s What The TTC Should Do Instead Of Chasing Fare Evaders (Drive, Feb. 21): Nothing much changed in the 31 years I worked for the Toronto Transit Commission and since I finished in 2015: The culture of disrespect and violence against fare enforcement and other rules of safety have been at issue since the concept of TTC constables first began. They have long been hamstrung by a lack of full policing powers that generates a “mall cop” attitude toward them. Until the TTC allows the Toronto Police Service to act as the sole arbitrator of security on transit, I believe this issue will continue. It’s worth noting that in New York, once police were fully integrated into the transit system in 1995, only then did fare evasion become truly remedied.
We as station collectors were always chided as being overpaid and non-essential to the collection and enforcement of fares. However, one employee sitting in a booth, with little else at his disposal than a turnstile and telephone, seemed to garner more respect and payments than the tactics being used today.
Daniel Kowbell Toronto
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