Choose your fighter
Re “If history is any indication, the Trudeau Liberals are doomed” (Nov. 16): If the Liberals go down in flames, as polls suggest, Canada would end up with Pierre Poilievre as our prime minister.
We would become the laughing stock of the world and our country would descend into a mean-spirited, right-wing, mini-version of the United States, regardless of Mr. Poilievre’s attempts at a new persona. No thinking person can want that.
Justin Trudeau should step aside and let someone else take on Mr. Poilievre, for the sake of Canada.
Dan Hewitt Ottawa
Back on the ranch
Re “Cut it out” (Letters, Nov. 15): I had to laugh at a letter-writer’s recommendation that Alberta “throw in the towel” and let oil and gas run the province. Laughable because I know with certainty that he has benefited from Alberta’s oil and gas industry, as have all Canadians.
Fossil fuels provide the feedstocks to make everything created from plastic, including glasses, lenses and more. There are also the billions upon billions of dollars that Alberta has transferred to support so many other provinces.
One can only hope that, as polls are saying, this Liberal government is finally taking its last breath, although still at the expense of taxpayers.
Stephen Mackisoc Fall River, N.S.
Re “Albertans should stick with Canada Pension Plan, says its CEO” (Report on Business, Nov. 15): Albertans might also consider these trends if the province withdraws from the Canada Pension Plan.
In Alberta, higher incomes and strong labour force participation rates have been almost exclusively thanks to fossil fuels over the past 50 years. Revenue streams and oil-sector jobs will likely decline before long.
Projections vary, but 10, 20, 30 years can go by in the blink of an eye. Once that occurs, Albertans would experience a different economic reality.
Politicians like Danielle Smith seem short-sighted by nature. The adults in the room, then, will have to do the right thing.
Martin Stockton Carleton Place, Ont.
Re “Alberta COVID-19 panel calls for consideration of ‘alternative scientific narratives’ for future health emergencies” (Nov. 16): What Preston Manning calls “alternative scientific narratives” sounds too much to me like “alternative facts” to weigh as factors in life-and-death decisions for Albertans, including my own.
I do agree that ultimate decisions regarding public-health policy should rest with government, because other considerations for which it is responsible may have to be considered. But the public has a right to know what advice is being received from public-health authorities. Otherwise, we may be condemned to relive the COVID-19 resurgence following then-premier Jason Kenney’s “open for summer” announcement, which certainly did not follow public-health advice.
It looks as if the choice of Mr. Manning to chair this panel reflects the outcome desired by Danielle Smith, herself a demonstrated friend of “alternative” facts and narratives.
Manuel Mertin Calgary
At what cost?
Re “China’s lithium plants generate jobs in Zimbabwe, but expansion is pushing some locals out of their homes” (Report on Business, Nov. 16): The environmental and social problems identified here are just the latest in a series of issues concerning the production of metals needed to achieve net zero. The environmental mess associated with rare earth mineral recovery in China is another; the deplorable conditions under which cobalt is recovered in Africa is yet another.
Vaclav Smil, an expert on energy transitions, is unequivocal that net zero can only be achieved in the next few decades by denying the developing world any chance to improve economic fortunes. In other words, net zero is advanced on the backs of the poor.
We in the developed world should take a step back and look at the ethical and moral implications of what we are doing.
John Sutherland Calgary
Re “With flawed labour bill, the Liberals strike a blow for the Liberals” (Editorial, Nov. 16): It’s no shock that employers invariably push back on laws that give workers greater rights. Bill C-58 not only aims to prevent employers from hiring scabs while workers are on strike or locked out (yes, current rules allow employers to lockout employees and hire scabs), but also stop them from using this as a threat at the bargaining table.
Unifor strikes in the auto and grocery sectors never involved the use of scabs. There are other disputes, including at Co-op Refinery Complex (201 days), D-J Composites (740 days) and Delastek (1,074 days), where the employers’ willingness to hire scabs coincided with their unwillingness to settle a deal – devastating the lives of workers and their families in the process.
Lana Payne, National president, Unifor Toronto
Pop down to a picket line, such as the recent one at Rogers Communications in Vancouver, and explain that because some industries are paying decent salaries, we should just wait for corporate largesse to come our way.
In my case, Rogers had locked us out and imported workers before we reached a tentative agreement. We can argue that strikers should perhaps be classified differently, but a lockout and scab replacements for skilled workers felt beyond despicable and cruel.
The Globe and Mail recently published an article on how hard it is to survive on six-figures (”Is a $100,000 salary enough for a comfortable life any more?” – Report on Business, Nov. 4). We don’t exactly earn C-suite salaries. Meanwhile, Rogers wanted more rights to contract out work.
Corporate Canada should give their heads a shake; the workers are not the problem.
James Molesworth New Westminster, B.C.
Re “Will a new product force Canada to rethink its anti-tobacco strategy?” (Nov. 16): Although smoking rates are much reduced from historical highs, millions of Canadians still smoke.
The latest findings from Health Canada’s Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey for 2022 indicate that among the population aged 15 and older, 3.5 million reported current cigarette smoking. Well in excess of 40,000 Canadians still die annually from diseases caused by tobacco smoking.
Tobacco may be down, but it is certainly not out. The fight against Big Tobacco should remain the No. 1 public-health priority on all fronts.
Mary Jane Ashley MD; Professor emerita, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Nicotine is an extremely addictive, poisonous neurotoxin. But it is still allowed to be inhaled into human lungs and now sucked like candy in children’s mouths.
Tobacco companies are now nicotine pushers. I see them sanctimoniously and hypocritically advertising that they want a smoke-free world, but not a nicotine-free world.
It is time to develop an anti-nicotine strategy in Canada.
James Wigmore, Forensic toxicologist Toronto
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