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Letters to the Editor July 8: Alberta’s inquiry into environmentalists. Plus other letters to the editor

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage says environmental groups backed by foreign investors have devastated 'virtually every single pipeline project.'

Adrian Wyld/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: letters@globeandmail.com

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Insulting inquiry

It’s fascinating that Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage can even fix her mouth to say that she has witnessed “the devastation” that foreign funding of environmental groups has brought to “virtually every single pipeline project” (Alberta To Probe Environmental Groups, July 5).

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She makes no mention of witnessing the devastation to the environment, from the collapse of polar sea ice and the vanishing of the glaciers that supply the very water in the Athabasca River that makes oil sands “development” possible to wider global climate change, caused (largely) by the petro industry.

Environmental groups have never hidden, indeed have celebrated, their global focus. The petrochemical industry has opposed every attempt to address global climate change due to CO2 emissions, even though, as U.S. environmentalist Bill McKibben has documented, they were among the first to recognize, then try to hide, the problem. And don't buy the “let’s adapt, not prevent” mantra. That amounts to saying, “Keep digging that hole to nowhere.”

David Checkland, Toronto

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is shameless. He has approved an audit of all left-wing charities to see whether they are getting their funding support from foreign sources.

He says Alberta has been plagued by outsider political funding under the guise of charities, and that this has helped hamstring the province’s oil and resource industry. Conservatives have had a bee under their bonnet for years about this.

What is of note here is that conservative think-tanks and groups have received support from the billionaire Koch brothers and other right-wing and rich Americans to politically support the conservative movement and fight the left. Massive amounts of money have flowed north to Canada from the United States.

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Craig Proulx, Fredericton

Bring them home

It is time to acknowledge that defending the welfare, health and freedom of Canadians are the most important things the Canadian government must do (PM Insists Canada’s Approach Working In Seven-Month Detainee Standoff With China, July 5).

Let the arrested Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou go. Don’t worry about what anybody thinks of us backing down. Don’t worry about what our friend to the south may think or do. Bring home the jailed Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

John Lenard, Toronto

Cruel punishment

How does one respond to the cruel pettiness of Chinese authorities, who have reportedly confiscated Canadian prisoner Michael Kovrig’s reading glasses (China Escalates Pressure On Ottawa Over Detainee Often, July 3)?

Sadly, I suspect those same authorities can stoop even lower. It is time for all Canadians to protest this outrage. It is time for all Canadians to demand more spine from Ottawa. The gloves have to come off.

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Marshall Webb, Vancouver

Industry does its part

In claiming that we have already paid for new drugs as a result of government, charity and hospital research spending, Tom Koch ignores the half-a-trillion dollars (U.S.) that pharmaceutical companies have invested in research and development of new medicines since 2000 (Yes To National Pharmacare – Because We Already Paid For It, July 1).

Further, these companies pay hospitals to conduct trials and provide treatments, saving taxpayers large sums every year.

Dr. Koch claims that under a national pharmacare program, “drug companies would still be free to set the market price for their products.” This is not true even now.

Patented medicine prices have been regulated by government for more than 30 years, and more recently the federal and provincial governments have been using their buying power to negotiate discounts estimated by Ontario’s Attorney-General to be at least 30 per cent.

Dr. Koch suggests a complicated new system of calculating a “fair return” for spending on drugs. However, we already spend less than five cents of every public health-care dollar to pay companies for non-hospital patented medicines. That’s an excellent rate of return for all Canadians.

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Jason Field, president and chief executive officer, Life Sciences Ontario, Toronto

The science isn’t hazy

Cannabis industry advocates attempt to frame the link between cannabis and psychosis as debate (The Cannabis-Psychosis Debate Is Being Driven By Fear Mongering, Not Facts, July 1).

Unfortunately, the science is clear. The 2017 National Academy of Sciences Report says “there is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia and other psychoses, with the highest risk among the most frequent users.”

Cannabis use doubles the risk of developing psychosis with greatest risk to those genetically predisposed, use cannabis heavily, and/or experience paranoia with cannabis use. Cannabis users develop psychosis 2.7 years earlier than non-users. Psychosis from alcohol use is rare and psychosis is not caused by air contaminants or fatigue.

As cannabis use contributes to developing psychosis and can worsen psychosis, clinicians recommend not using or, at least, reducing cannabis to potentially minimize needing antipsychotic medication. Cannabidiol (CBD) for psychosis is preliminary with two of three randomized controlled trials showing no clinically significant benefit.

Reporting the science is not fear mongering, but it is our responsibility to highlight that psychosis is linked to cannabis use, especially high potency cannabis used daily or almost daily, starting in adolescence or young adulthood.

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David Crockford, Rob Tanguay, Wip Lambda, Charl Els and Phil Tibbo, MDs

Standing his ground

I appreciated reading Nancy Macdonald’s article on Lil’wat hereditary chief Hubert (Hubie) Jim (Man Of The Mountain, July 2).

Ms. Macdonald has captured the essence of a man and a culture that I completely respect and am growing to respect more and more. I don’t know why more of us “white people” don’t learn enough lessons from what this man’s example can teach us.

He is willing to die for his sacred lands – land that we take for granted. I’m not proposing we have to go as far as death to keep our country as pristine as possible, but I am suggesting we learn from Hubie’s passion and Indigenous ways taught to him by his grandmother.

I was happy and relieved to read that the developers of a proposed ski hill see that their project will not happen, and if it ever does, it will happen under the guidance of the St’át’imc Chiefs Council.

Stephanie Leon, Oakville, Ont.

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