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Flags of the United States of America and Canada fly in Calgary.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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:


Trade, tariffs, tactics

As I gaze out my town hall office window and contemplate the closing of the Magna/Grenville Castings manufacturing plant here, and the loss of 350 jobs, I can’t help thinking Donald Trump’s trade doctrine is working. Canada’s response, reciprocal tariffs on goods from specific U.S. states, will have zero impact on his protectionist stance. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 4 per cent, stock markets healthy and the GDP growing, if some Americans find themselves out of work as a result of reciprocal tariffs, he isn’t going to lose sleep over it.

We must protect our vulnerable manufacturing sector. First, our government must enact legislation that stops the dumping of overseas products that undermine our manufacturers. Call it quotas or safeguards or security measures, call it whatever you want, just make a stand.

Second, we must lower energy costs. Why would I pay 21 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity in Ontario to make things, when the same electricity in some U.S. states costs five cents? Third, the government must cover the cost of tariffs for manufacturers whose goods are subject to U.S. tariffs. Finally, we as a country, must shift our current north/south trade paradigm to an east/west pattern.

Some experts will tell me it’s more complicated, that my ideas aren’t good ones. Know what? A mantra is growing inside me that supersedes the experts’ advice. That mantra? “Canada First.”

John Fenik, Mayor, Perth, Ont.

Promised, in Ontario

Labelling Doug Ford as “Premier No” misses the point in that premiers should have begun to say “No” a long time ago (Premier ‘No’ – letters, July 12).

Our provincial debt is such that we pay about a billion dollars per month as simple interest. This is precisely the money that we need to, for example, build and run hospitals, speed up wait times, build rapid transit and improve road infrastructure, and improve mental-health care.

We have forgotten that all moneys come from having a healthy and robust business sector. I applaud Premier Ford’s seemingly pro-business stance, because without it, money for social programs will be hard to find without tilting further into the debt abyss.

Evan Mac Donald, Markham, Ont.


Re Ford’s PCs Offer Throne Speech In Line With Campaign (July 13): Back in 1981, when mortgage rates were in the high teens and businesses were struggling with costs, I listened intently to the vice-president of my then-employer tell us that we had overdone efficiencies and should be targeting effectiveness. Efficiency is doing even the wrong things right, while effectiveness is doing only the right things, once determined, right.

This is a crucial difference, which the new provincial government would be wise to note and, because of an unhealthy dose of “election promisitis,” may be struggling to understand.

E.L. Springolo, Aurora, Ont.

Carbon’s price

Re Political Rhetoric Clouds How Carbon Pricing Could Work (Report on Business, July 11): According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, cattle production generates about as much greenhouse gas as the world’s petroleum-powered vehicles and aircraft. Forests are being decimated to provide pasture.

Are Canadians willing to stop eating red meat to help save the environment? Of course not. Cattle production is an important economic activity here.

Estimates of Canada’s carbon-absorption capacity indicate that our huge boreal forest is absorbing 20 per cent to 30 per cent more CO2 than we generate. We are also told that Canada accounts for some 2 per cent of global CO2 from fuel combustion (2015 figures), as compared with about 15 per cent for the U.S. and 28 per cent for China.

In spite of this, we are being asked by our federal government to pay a carbon tax that will, as Konrad Yakabuski observes, have very little effect on the world’s climate. It should also be noted that carbon pricing will have a greater financial impact on farmers and on other rural Canadians who do not, like city dwellers, have ready access to public transportation.

Michael Czuboka, Winnipeg


Konrad Yakabuski’s conclusion that carbon pricing alone is unlikely to be sufficient to prompt a viable low-carbon transition in the economy comes as no surprise to those who follow climate change policy. It has long been recognized that carbon pricing is but one of the range of tools – regulatory, economic, and informational – that will need to be employed if we are to avoid what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has termed “dangerous” climate change.

In technological terms, the major barriers to the deployment of the key transitional technologies – low-impact renewable energy sources, energy storage, energy efficiency, and the smart electricity grids needed to manage and integrate these resources – are no longer the economic or technological barrriers they once were.

Rather, the central obstacles are regulatory and institutional structures, which remain oriented around conventional, unsustainable technologies, of which the nuclear options which Mr. Yakabuski so favours are prime examples.

The costs, security and weapons proliferation risks, and legacy of wastes that will last over hundreds of thousands of years of nuclear energy, rule it out as a significant component of a sustainable low-carbon transition strategy.

Mark S. Winfield, Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Strategic interests

If Donald Trump sees aluminum imports from a long-time ally as a threat to national security, and thinks that ally should increase its defence budgets, there is a solution. We should stop threatening U.S. national security by ceasing such exports and enhance our own security by expanding military budgets to cover a strategic stockpile of the metal until the Genius-in-Chief tells us the threat has passed.

The U.S. consumes more than three times the aluminum it produces. Alternative sources of the metal are Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Trump might prefer those trading partners, but he could find that shortages and higher prices impact interests that are even more strategic than the military – such as the manufacture of beer cans during summer weather.

David Sweanor, Ottawa


Re Police Say They Made An ‘Error’ In Arresting Stormy Daniels (July 12): There are Thai and Sanskrit words with the approximate meaning, but do we have an English word for an unanswerable question? For example: Is it more disturbing to think the Stormy Daniels arrest was politically motivated – or to think that the Columbus police assigned three officers to a night at a strip club where she “smacked” their faces “with her bare breasts,” and that the force “engages in these operations routinely”?

I just hope everyone’s okay.

Looking for work? The Columbus police are recruiting. Concerned about job security? There are more than 15 Columbus strip clubs on Yelp, so although the work is dangerous, it’s plentiful.

Elizabeth Bernhardt, Caledonia, Ont.

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