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One reader writers that Justin Trudeau, seen here on Jan. 6, 2020, 'should not be asking me to help pay for cleaning up orphan wells in Alberta.'


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

5 to 7

Re In The U.S.-Iran Debacle, The PM’s Strategy Is To Stay Mum and The Brewing Situation Between Iran And The U.S. Is Very Much Canada’s Problem (Jan. 7): Both columnist John Ibbitson and contributor Hugh Segal refer to Canada’s obligations under Article 5 of the NATO Charter concerning collective defence. But neither writer references Article 7, which could have huge implications for the peace and survival of this planet.

Article 7 states: “This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” NATO members should not support another member’s aggressive acts.

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Randal Marlin Ottawa

By certain measures

Re The Perils Of Ignoring Climate Change (Editorial, Jan. 6): The Australian Energy Minister claims that his country produces “only” 1.3 per cent of global emissions. We hear a similar argument from climate change minimizers in Canada. The trouble is that the effects of carbon are cumulative: It’s the entire history of industrialization that should count, not the annual amount. It’s the large residual lake of legacy emissions we should be owning, not the small river of annual input – and it’s first-world countries such as ours that have contributed most of that.

There is also the issue of fairness, which means the relevant climate change number shouldn’t be total greenhouse gases, but rather per-capita emissions. By that metric, countries such as Australia and Canada are very significant polluters and words such as “only” should hardly apply.

Brian Green Thunder Bay

Gas money

Re GasLink Halts Construction After Access Road Is Blocked (Report on Business, Jan. 6): For the Coastal GasLink pipeline project to have received approval in British Columbia, the company would have had to meet every stringent legal and environmental condition imposed upon it. Otherwise, it would not have been approved by the courts. For the Wet’suwet’en Nation to continue to oppose and block this project ignores that wealth generated from oil and gas often helps fund Canada’s First Nations.

In other words, what’s in the ground is where the money comes from. You have to get it out to convert it into funding.

Nancy Marley-Clarke Calgary

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Re B.C.'s Fiscal Position, And Its Possibilities (Editorial, Jan. 2): The Globe and Mail’s editorial recommends the B.C. government spend more, saying the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio will grow only “slightly” from 14.6 per cent to 16.1 per cent. By my math, that amounts to a substantial 10.3-per-cent increase, and represents billions of dollars.

With British Columbia already planning to increase the province’s debt by 22.7 per cent in 2022, any advice to further increase spending seems to run contrary to what would be appropriate countercyclical policy for a strong economy. It’s curious that countercyclical policy seems widely accepted as a justification for greater spending during a downturn, but is often forgotten when it implies governments should show fiscal restraint.

Constance Smith Victoria

Re Orphan Wells Problem: Plenty Of Fixes, All Of Them Awful (Report on Business, Jan. 2): The conundrum of who should pay cleanup costs for orphan wells isn’t limited to Alberta – northeastern British Columbia is riddled with the same problem. The number of orphan wells in B.C. increased sevenfold in the three years ending in 2018, with decommissioning costs now more than $3-billion, according to a 2019 report from the province’s auditor general.

Elsewhere, The Globe and Mail’s editorial touts B.C.’s strong fiscal position. Unfortunately, this potential strength seems all but erased when orphan-well cleanup costs are taken into consideration. Worse, the province’s big bet on exports of liquefied natural gas will almost certainly increase these costs in future.

Brennan Strandberg-Salmon Burnaby, B.C.

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I’m a PhD graduate with years of experience, struggling to make a go of it in the biomedical private sector. I earn less than many truck drivers in the oil sands. Please, Justin Trudeau should not be asking me to help pay for cleaning up orphan wells in Alberta.

Jonathan Bishop Toronto

Future thoughts

Re Canada’s Future Is In Its Cities (Editorial, Jan. 4): The Globe and Mail’s editorial identifies the problems for cities and some of the potentials for growth, and points out that in the past growth has, in most respects, been a successful story. In Toronto, however, a sufficient change in degree requires a change in kind.

Historically, Toronto adjusted accordingly from a provincial city with a unitary city council to a larger municipal makeup befitting a metropolitan city. Next came the Greater Toronto Area, which recognized a wider economic contour and the required governance and infrastructure. However, the Mike Harris government thwarted the next urban calibration.

We need to understand the potential of the regional city: This means incorporating and co-ordinating land use, transportation, governance and taxation from Hamilton in the west to Oshawa in the east. The potential of getting this right could be enormous, but the opportunity cost if we do not could be equally great. The benefits of such a well-planned city are many: regional accessibility for employment, recreation and the economy, among other factors affecting the quality of urban life.

Should Toronto succeed in realizing this plan, it could once again be a global exemplar of life in the city.

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A. J. Diamond Diamond Schmitt Architects, Toronto

If The Globe and Mail’s article makes one thing clear, it’s that the single biggest problem facing Canada is … overpopulation. So what, if anything, are we doing to curb it?

Jim Harris Ottawa

In the Netherlands, the issue of national water management is isolated from political meddling and relies on hard evidence for one reason: Without it, vast swaths of the country would be flooded and society put at risk. What possible hope do cities have when mass-transit investment in Canada remains political and ideological, rather than evidential? Witness the surprise cancellation of the LRT in Hamilton due to costs, or the reassessment of a new highway for the western Greater Toronto Area after such a proposal was closed by a previous provincial government for sound reasons.

The Netherlands will likely stay dry because it’s an unfettered national imperative. Guess what Canadian cities may look like in the decades ahead?

Ken Westcar Woodstock, Ont.

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The Globe and Mail editorial states that life in big cities is the way of the future. Others argue that with instant communications and improved transportation networks, Canada should be promoting and financing smaller hubs.

The reasons should be obvious: less crowding, less congestion, less noise, closer contact with nature. What’s wrong with that?

Catherine Sinclair Thornbury, Ont.

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