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Re Under Siege (Jan. 7): The scene of Trump supporters, many of them armed, has an alarming resemblance to another scene of armed populists: The sans-culottes surrounding the Tuileries Palace and pushing their way into the assembly hall where French legislators were meeting.
Over the next few days, large armed crowds gathered and legislators were at their mercy, forced to yield to “the will of the people.” This was the start of what would become the Terror, a period of the French Revolution best remembered for the guillotine and “the blood of patriots.”
The violent Trump supporters at the Capitol, as well as the legislators inside it who challenged the confirmation of Joe Biden, could learn something from the tragic lessons of the French Revolution.
Suzette Blom Toronto
When protestors acted in Portland, Donald Trump advocated that anyone who damaged a federal building should be prosecuted under existing law and face 10 years in prison. Well?
John Barker Sarnia, Ont.
While the Russians allegedly hacked into highly sensitive U.S. computers, it only took Americans themselves to break into the U.S. Senate.
Ben Labovitch Toronto
Re Sympathy For The Politicians (Letters, Jan. 6): We would not “all” do the same thing as some politicians, as a letter-writer suggests – some of us are actually doing what we’re told is best.
We have a terminally ill family member but did not even mingle amongst households over the holidays, even though we had the ability and means. So yes, politicians who travelled should absolutely be punished. I will save my compassion for those affected by COVID-19 and the health care staff who deserve time away but aren’t getting it.
Jason Wheeler Calgary
A letter-writer asserts that in our society, citizens can do as they please “as long as they break no law.” The travelling politicians much in the news lately may have broken no laws. However, as putative “leaders” of society, can they not lead by example?
There are no laws against hypocrisy, efforts to mislead us and outright deception. But I thought we were all in this together. Not so.
I am glad to see these entitled individuals pointed out for their me-first actions. I hope that come next elections, voters will punish the travelling politicians accordingly.
Susan Stewart Vancouver
Re Civil Liberty Fears Mount Over Quebec Curfew (Jan. 7): I believe a curfew in Quebec is a step too far.
The province should enforce the present rules regarding gatherings, distancing and face masks, but it shouldn’t place wholesale restrictions on individuals when there should be no need. Increase penalties if that would help.
If there were riots in the streets, I could rationalize a curfew, but not for a pandemic where I find the benefit is at best questionable. I support temporary suspension of individuals rights when absolutely necessary, but a curfew is not absolutely necessary.
David Bell Toronto
Re Plastic Ban: Right Problem, Wrong Solution (Report on Business, Jan. 1): Contributor Domenic Di Mondo questions the sustainability of paper products. Our research finds that paper in fact has inherent sustainable features.
It is made with a renewable raw material: sustainably managed forests. Canada leads all countries in this area, with 35 per cent of global independently certified forests.
It is highly recycled and reused. Canada has one of the highest paper recovery rates in the world, at 70 per cent.
Much of the energy used to make paper is renewable. Canadian operations have cut emissions by 66 per cent since 1990, or nine million metric tonnes of CO2 per year.
By continuing to innovate, we can create greener products and help move Canada to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
Derek Nighbor President and CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada; Ottawa
Phil Riebel President, Two Sides North America Inc.; Chicago
Re B.C. Needs A Public Inquiry To Sort Out The Site C Mess (Opinion, Jan. 2): Toward the end of the major dam-building era in North America in the 1960s to 1970s, comparable projects to Site C in the western United States, with similar challenging geological conditions, were costing about US$300-million, such as the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River for US$340-million.
We are not economists, but we can apply the Engineering News-Record Construction Cost Index, based on the historical costs of labour, steel and concrete, to the above example. It suggests that if the Oahe Dam had been completed between 2020 and 2025, the cost would have been between US$4- to 5-billion.
Even allowing for variation in foreign exchange rates, we ask ourselves why the cost of Site C is heading toward $12-billion or more. What has gone wrong? As two old engineers in our 80s, perhaps we can be forgiven for recalling the adage that an engineer was supposed to be somebody who could do for 50 cents what any fool could do for a dollar. It would seem that Site C has turned this adage on its head.
Nigel Skermer P.Eng, West Vancouver
Ken Farquharson P.Eng, Victoria
Wrapped in layers of political, corporate and union messaging. Tied up with years of plans, promises and projections. Then topped with a bow of “clean energy” buzzwords. Many across Canada have been carried along with the Site C project as if it were a gift that everyone wanted.
However, the welcome media spotlight reveals yet another megaproject that sounds like it should be dismantled as quickly as possible. As a citizen who appreciates the gifts of water and alternative sources of truly clean energy, I don’t want my children to pay for what would likely be an energy-sucking sponge for the next 50 years, one that floods a prime agricultural valley and First Nations land.
On Site C, I hope John Horgan keeps reason and discipline close to mind, and thinks seven generations down the road.
Janet Gray Victoria
Re The Top 10 Canadian Films From A Year Without Rules (Jan. 2): I hope film critic Barry Hertz’s list passed over Inconvenient Indian because it was merely a celebrated festival release not yet in distribution. No matter director Michelle Latimer’s Indigenous lineage controversy, it was a remarkable realization of Thomas King’s vision.
The documentary deserves recognition, and release.
Gord Meyer Toronto
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