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Canada's Premiers gather in Saskatoon on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Love is taxing

Re Fumbled Fund (letters, July 10): Living in the always-hated Toronto, I can empathize with letter writer Dan Petryk and other Albertans who feel Alberta doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. Although Toronto is the economic driver of Canada, and Torontonians have always contributed our share to the federal equalization program (probably more than our share, considering what leaves the city in taxes and what comes back to it), and we pay sales tax, we usually get no love from the rest of the country – except, of course, for the Raptors.

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Yet, when I look at the rest of the world, I feel enormous gratitude that I live in this country.

Every day, I see people in situations that would be catastrophic if they lived elsewhere. And who do Albertans think our federal government and Canadian taxpayers were helping when they bought a pipeline? If that doesn’t show our love for Alberta, what would?

Marcia Zalev, Toronto

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I’m sorry Mr. Petryk feels other provinces don’t appreciate Alberta’s contributions to equalization in our country. I live in a “have not” province, and I am grateful for the payments. However, I feel Alberta shows no appreciation for what we have sent its way for generations – our children.

Edna Pollock, Fredericton

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Dan Petryk said in his letter to the editor that all Alberta wants in exchange for its contribution to the equalization plan is a simple thank you. Thank you!

John Harder, Priceville, Ont.

Cleaner ways in Canada

Re Scheer Vows To Scrap Clean-Fuel Standards (July 9): Does Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer really live on the same planet as the rest of us? Doesn’t he see how concerned most Canadians are about climate change? He’s challenged the carbon-tax, now he wants to scrap the standards for burning cleaner fuel. This is irresponsible. As citizens, we must all take responsibility for what we’ve done to the environment.

That means thinking twice before driving when walking or cycling might do, consolidating errands to save on gas, opening windows instead of cranking the AC. The carbon tax is a reminder to all who truly care about this Earth to do our part. The Conservatives’ plan does not read the will of the people. How many other progressive ideas will Mr. Scheer quash if he succeeds at the ballot box?

Carol Victor, Burlington, Ont.

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In his letter about an alleged secret tax of four cents per litre on gas, Andrew Scheer writes “for some families living paycheck to paycheck, an extra $100 a month matters.” At four cents per litre, the family would need to buy 2,500 litres of gas every month to rack up a “secret tax” bill of $100. With that much gasoline consumption, it’s no wonder they’re living “paycheck to paycheck.”

Patrick Flanagan, Huntsville, Ont.

Can’t innovate? Unravel

Re Kenney Proclaims War Against Imaginary Foes (July 10): Despite claiming to be careful financial stewards, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, like Doug Ford in Ontario, seems to have no problem finding money to fund unicorn hunts. Both men excel at throwing good taxpayer money after bad in a specious court challenge alleging the federal Liberals’ carbon fees encroach on their jurisdictions.

Mr. Kenney is now funding a foolish probe of environmental groups exercising their rights to free speech by protesting against Alberta’s oil-sands extraction efforts. This probe is a chimera – as Gary Mason writes, nothing more than a public relations exercise. The anticipated report will be thin gruel, gathering dust the minute after it is published.

With no governing ability themselves, the primary legislative effort of both these incompetent administrations seems to be limited to unravelling the work of their predecessors.

Frank Malone, Aurora, Ont.

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Shopkeeper premiers

Re Kenney Rallies Premiers Ahead Of National Meeting (July 9): Ah, summer, and with it that summer festival known as the annual premiers’ conference. The familiar rituals are all there – smiling premiers in matching outfits (or in this case, chefs’ whites). A thin substantive agenda, and plenty of time for sightseeing along with a generous helping of fed-bashing, even though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney swears this is not a partisan meeting.

Of course, the highlight of these meetings is the communiqués, which can generally be summed up in two categories:

1) The federal government (the words “Government of Canada” rarely appear) should do more. Translation: More federal money to provinces with no conditions;

2) The federal government should stay out – since jurisdiction (real or not) trumps all, even when premiers swear they are working together for the common good. One need only look at the never-ending saga of interprovincial trade barriers, or ongoing provincial legal challenges to a national carbon-pricing regime to see the emptiness of that commitment.

Those looking to this collection of shopkeeper premiers for national leadership will look in vain.

Michael Kaczorowski, Ottawa

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Transit doublespeak

Re Bombardier To Cut Up To Half Of Work Force At Thunder Bay Rail-Car Plant (July 10): Ontario’s Minister of Transportation issued a statement protesting the loss of 550 jobs at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant, which manufactures street cars and trains for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Government of Ontario (GO) Transit respectively. How ironic that at the same time, the Ontario government is cutting a subsidy that provides funding for discounted fares for riders using both the TTC and GO Transit on the same trip.

While progressive governments around the world are encouraging wider use of public transit, our provincial government continues its assault on the environment by doing the opposite. It’s also interesting to note that funding for public transit is typically termed a “subsidy,” while funding for highways is an “investment.”

David Sisam, Toronto

Hmm …

While scanning the Sports pages to see if the fuss about the departure to L.A. of a certain athlete had reached Gretzyesque proportions, I was momentarily stunned to see that a French tennis player in the twilight of his career had beaten our formidable mens U20 rugby team: Canadian Men Fall To Tsonga At World Rugby U20 Trophy Tournament (July 10).

A careful perusal of the body of the story of course revealed that the victor was, in fact, Tonga. This made our loss somewhat more palatable – until I considered that Tonga has a population of about 100,000 and is not easy to find on a map.

Given that rugby is a wonderful activity for all ages and sexes, and now an Olympic sport, isn’t it time to raise the profile, funding, etc so we can give Tonga and, dare I say it, even Samoa, a sportsmanlike thrashing?

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Bryan Caddy, Red Deer, Alta.

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