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British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Minister of Environment and Climate Change George Heyman speak to the media regarding the federal government's decision to go ahead with the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion during a news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday June 18, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Hypocrisy to Spare on Canada’s climate files

The House of Commons declares that “climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity” and that “Canada is in a national climate emergency.” The very next day, the government approves expanding the Trans-Mountain pipeline (a clear conflict of interest, since it owns it!), thus helping to further increase Canada’s carbon emissions.

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Meanwhile, B.C.’s NDP government opposes the pipeline, while granting billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives to expand LNG. Not to be outdone, federal and provincial Conservatives say they want to act on climate change but oppose – and where they can, scrap – carbon taxes, one of the most effective approaches to reducing emissions.

Rather than declare a climate emergency, the House of Commons should declare a climate-hypocrisy emergency.

Trevor Hancock, Victoria

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While I am a strong proponent of sustainability, and very aware of the need for the world to reduce carbon emissions in the interest of saving the planet, the reality is that, pipeline or no pipeline …

1) The global consumption of oil (wherever the source) is not going to change in the near term;

2) Transport of Alberta oil by rail is potentially far more dangerous than by pipeline;

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3) A viable, competitive Alberta oil industry is important to the Canadian economy.

And – just a guess – a Conservative government in Ottawa would approve pipeline construction in a heartbeat, while reducing/eliminating federal carbon taxes.

Bruce Walker, Oakville, Ont.

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Preston Manning suggests an economic assessment of major energy projects (Pipeline Pain Vs. Gain – letters, June 20).

Many observers of Canada’s review and approval processes for large energy projects would welcome the incorporation of economic viability evaluations into the review process – particularly in a carbon-constrained world.

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Such a requirement would almost certainly have been appreciated by the residents of B.C. and Newfoundland and Labrador regarding the Site C and Muskrat Falls projects respectively, as Canadians in both provinces will be haunted by the projects’ unassessed economic consequences for decades.

A similar review of the Trans-Mountain expansion project would have yielded equally illuminating results.

Mark S. Winfield, co-chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Influencing the elephant

Re Our Prime Ministers Have A Long History Of Setting The U.S. Straight (June 19): Kudos to Lawrence Martin for reminding us that, whatever their partisan imperatives, our leaders have consistently sought to do what they felt best served the interests of Canada. We’re constantly bombarded by the gloomy prognostications of political pundits, as well as the biased stink bombs lobbed by social media zealots. So, it’s nice to recall that our PMs (whatever their party colours) have done a rather admirable job of maintaining the country’s integrity in the face of often-aggressive agendas laid out by the behemoth nation on our southern doorstep.

Gary Schlee, author, Unknown and Unforgettable: A Guide to Canada’s Prime Ministers; Toronto

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Hubris, thy name is Canada. What Canadian prime minister, pray tell, ever had any impact on American foreign policy? Whether or not a given Canadian position was ultimately vindicated by history has nothing to do with influence over events in real time.

Pierre Trudeau had it right. In his sleeping-with-the-elephant metaphor, he was also telling us that America is the elephant in every room in the house. In his political twilight, he changed tack, attempting to influence or marginalize the beast with his North-South Dialogue and World Peace Tour. Up until then, we didn’t know elephants could snicker.

Howard Greenfield, Montreal

In Ontario, Less is … less

Re Ontario Government Signals More Layoffs Ahead Under New Autism Plan (June 19): Did Lisa MacLeod – the minister of Children, Community, and Social Services until Thursday’s cabinet shuffle – read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as an instruction manual rather than as a dark warning about doublespeak?

It might explain why she said, “In order for our organization to be able to continue to provide much-needed services to children with autism and their families in this new environment, we have had to make some significant staffing reductions.”

On second thought, maybe she didn’t read Nineteen Eighty-Four after all. Maybe she just inhaled the current political atmosphere.

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Olga Eizner Favreau, Montreal

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Re Ontario Cuts More Than 400 Jobs At Health Agencies (June 20): So Doug Ford, “man of the people,” and his Conservative government are going to save $250-million this fiscal year – at the expense of our health care, schools and libraries, all services that improve our lives.

And what are the Conservatives going to do with the fruits of these sacrifices? Probably pay the money to big beer in the form of court-ordered penalties, because their pride wouldn’t let them simply leave the contract with the Beer Store to expire.

What a waste.

Carol Town, Hamilton

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Eeyore’s hoop dreams

Re Canadian-Flavoured Joy At Winning? (June 20): Who would have thought Winnie the Pooh’s sidekick Eeyore would find so many like-minded purveyors of gloom as have darkened The Globe and Mail’s letters to the editor in the wake of Canada’s collective expression of once-in-a-generation euphoria for the Toronto Raptors?

To denigrate the Raptors’ management for a spectacular rebuilding job that produced instant results, to not get it that so much of the team’s appeal lies precisely in the international flavour of its roster, to carp about the fact there was one (1!) non-fatal incident in a crowd of more than a million in what has become known in recent years as “The City of the Gun” makes me feel nothing but pity for these cynical unfortunates who are unable to park their contrarian impulses for a few days and climb on board this train of dreams.

One can only hope these sad souls can find it in themselves to stop and sniff a few roses this summer.

Bruce Stapley, Stouffville, Ont.

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The Raptors are “Ringers”? With nary a player a top draft pick, the highest at No. 15? With a bunch of scrappy, rag-tag types and bench players? Good luck in finding better balance and – ahem – ethics anywhere in pro team sports.

Andrew Milner, Peterborough, Ont.

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After reading some of the letters regarding the Raptors, I am reminded of my grandfather’s take on a gentleman who could only be happy if he was miserable.

He said he was a good man, and he would die and go to Heaven – but he wouldn’t like God.

Miles Tompkins, Antigonish, N.S.

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