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Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain Expansion Project sit on rail cars at a stockpile site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada May 29, 2018.Dennis Owen/Reuters

Access granted

Re Supreme Court Dismisses B.C. Bid To Limit Heavy Oil Shipments (Jan. 17): I believe the BC NDP government’s handling of this file has been irresponsible. I don’t know of any lawyer who believed its appeal would succeed. This conduct has now cost the province millions in legal fees and the federal government billions in construction delays. In addition, the delays look to have damaged the provincial economy and poisoned relations with Alberta. All so, it seems, Premier John Horgan can say he fulfilled his promise to use "every tool in the tool box” to stop the project.

Garth Evans Vancouver

In solidarity

Re Union Leaders Holding Parents ‘Hostage’ In Education Contract Talks, Ford Says (Jan. 17): If Ontario teachers’ concerns have nothing to do with financial gain, why don’t they just accept a 1-per-cent wage increase? Doesn’t that show it’s not really about the children? But here’s the thing: Recent legislation passed by the Ford government to limit public-sector contract increases isn’t just about money. I believe it limits public-sector workers’ right to collectively bargain in the future.

If the government can say workers can’t collectively bargain on issue X, what’s stopping them from saying workers also can’t collectively bargain on issue Y or Z? The wage increase issue seems much bigger than teachers not getting an extra few hundred dollars. But I do think if the government restored former class size averages, teachers would gladly eat the pay cut so they can get back to work. But I don’t blame them for not conceding on wages.

Michael Evans Toronto

Isn’t it equally valid to say that the Ford government is holding parents “hostage” to an ideology of cuts and privatization?

Michael Arkin Toronto

Waste not, want not

Re Better The Government Pay Than The Consumer In Next Downturn (Report on Business, Jan. 16): Columnist David Parkinson suggests more consumer or government debt is the only available path forward for the economy, but I believe he missed another approach. As one whose business has been helping companies improve operational and financial performance, it continues to amaze me why we don’t hear more about making publicly funded sectors more efficient.

I help private companies maintain or improve product or service quality, and almost always without reducing staff. I rarely fail to find substantial wastes of time, money, energy or resources in my work. Through the implementation of stronger formal processes, money can be freed up to spend where it’s needed – without taking on more debt.

This methodology would apply to both federal and provincial services, and the bigger the budgets, the more savings available. How about more focus on saving and less on borrowing?

Don Bowes Burlington, Ont.

Another one bites the dust

Re Meghan and Harry’s Very Millennial Struggle (Opinion, Jan. 17): The Royal Family’s present set of difficulties reminds me of the common fate of a popular family-run restaurant.

An earlier generation truly believes in the business, building up its reputation and overseeing all aspects. Then they leave it to the next generation, born with more wealth, comfort and choices, but without the same passion for continuing the restaurant. They watch it stagnate before deciding to sell or close.

Hopefully, the Queen will never see a sign outside Buckingham Palace with the words: “Closed. Thank you for your patronage.”

James Thompson Toronto

When done with dialysis

Re Withdrawal From Dialysis: Why One Patient Halted All Treatment To Begin Transition To End Of Life (Jan. 8): My beloved father discontinued his dialysis and passed away seven weeks ago. It was a journey that initially was filled with so much hope and optimism that it would extend and improve his life after a diagnosis of acute kidney failure.

It was painful to watch him go through dialysis. He hated every long minute of it, but at the time he desperately wanted to live and so endured the procedures. But after five hopeful weeks, when the doctors advised him that dialysis wasn’t working, he immediately said what’s the point of taking up valuable hospital space; of having hospital staff work so hard on his behalf for nothing; of being a burden to his family and the health system. He unselfishly thought of others while making his brave decision to discontinue treatment.

We were devastated and initially opposed it, but then had to respect his decision. It took 21 days for him to pass. That’s a long time to face mortality when told that it will be fairly quick. But my father chose to have his family by his side right to the end of his journey. There was time to laugh, to cry, to reminisce, to both seek and dispense forgiveness and create new memories.

It takes incredible courage to discontinue treatment, to place others before yourself in this way. I salute all of them and their families.

Helen Arsenault Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Walk on the wild side

Re How Golf Courses Can Solve Vancouver’s Housing Crisis (Jan. 1): The idea of repurposing Vancouver’s golf courses has been around for years and, thankfully, I am at an age where I probably won’t see the vision become reality, at least not in its entirety.

McCleery Golf Course is a gem in the realm of Vancouver’s public spaces. I am not a golfer, but just knowing it is there in all its open, scenic, wildlife-friendly splendour down by the Fraser River is a comfort to me. I am heartened that Vancouver and its parks people have a vision beyond cramming as many worker bees as possible into the tallest towers that can be slapped up on the nearest open space.

The course and surrounding neighbourhood abounds in bird life, from snow geese just in from the North to eagles, hawks and owls. There are coyotes in abundance, beaver in the Fraser just a putt from one of the greens, and otter and mink in the ditches. There is a public path between the course and the river that would only need to be extended a few hundred metres to create an uninterrupted recreational route around the entire west side of the city.

McCleery shouldn’t be regarded as just another patch of vacant ground ripe for redevelopment. It is a unique, beautiful part of what makes Vancouver a livable city.

Larry Emrick Vancouver

Aging boon

Re Aging Boom (Letters, Jan. 16): I have to wonder if a young whippersnapper of a letter writer could have avoided neck-vertebrae fusion and knee replacement if he perhaps hadn’t engaged in vigorous exercise in his earlier years.

At 84, I still have all the parts I was born with. I go to the doctor once a year so that the Ministry of Health doesn’t think I’m dead. I credit my good health to avoiding all gyms, sitting in my recliner watching CNN and eating Irish stew. Bah humbug.

Elizabeth Thompson Oakville, Ont.


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