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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks at a press conference after the Speech from the Throne in Edmonton, on Nov. 29.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

First strike

Re From ‘Just Watch Me’ To ‘Just Trust Me’ (Editorial, Nov. 29): A more relevant precedent to the Ottawa protests may be the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

The strike brought the productive life of Winnipeg to a grinding halt and shook the city for six weeks. It also shook Canadian politics and left a legacy of political consequences.

When the strike climaxed on Bloody Saturday, the literal Riot Act was read and the RCMP entered the crowds on horseback. Strike leaders were arrested and bail was originally denied. Among the leaders arrested was J.S. Woodsworth, who was charged for quoting from the Book of Isaiah: “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees.”

A provincial royal commission headed by Justice H.A. Robson later investigated the strike and concluded it was not a criminal conspiracy by foreigners.

Gary William O’Brien Ottawa

Alberta attack

Re Alberta Goes To War With Ottawa. Again (Editorial, Nov. 30): More accurately, Alberta goes to war with the federal Liberal Party. Danielle Smith would be happy as a clam if the federal Conservatives were in power.

Craig Sims Kingston

For 117 years, many Albertans have accepted an inability to influence federal government policy (and would kindly ask to be spared protestations that all Canadian votes are equal). In the West, a federal election often feels like a fait accompli when the last vote in Ontario is counted.

People in one-sided relationships eventually tire of being party to a dysfunctional arrangement. Ottawa could have considered various means of giving voice to Canada’s less populous constituent parts. Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s now-hollow promise of electoral reform must have sent paroxysms of apprehension rippling through the Liberal hierarchy.

Many of us applaud Alberta’s new-found steel, and regret only that it took so long to find.

Gregory Longphee Victoria

If Alberta’s cabinet can “by fiat rewrite existing Alberta legislation,” that feels akin to authoritarianism. And “harmful” to Alberta could easily be interpreted to mean something that “reduces our chances of winning the next election,” “costs Alberta more than $1 to implement” or “directs more than $1 to Ottawa.”

Bob Zarnke Waterloo, Ont.

Show me

Re If Indo-Pacific Strategy Falters, It’d Be ‘Our Country’s Future That Is Being Stolen’ (Nov. 29): There are lots of good words in the security sections of the Indo-Pacific Strategy document that represent a startling shift in position on China. But it does not announce many actions needed for implementation.

There is no foreign agents registry, despite Chinese “police stations” operating in Canada, allegations of Chinese money funnelled to federal election candidates and the harassment of ethnic Chinese, Tibetans and Uyghurs in Canada.

While the paper acknowledges the strategic importance of Canadian leadership in areas such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology, the government has not developed a list of research areas where Chinese collaboration will not be allowed. There was nothing that would assist in weaning university researchers off a dependency on Chinese funding.

We should be hopeful and watchful. As they say, the proof of the pudding.

Marc Grushcow Toronto

Slice and dice

Re Sales Of Protected Lands Now Set To Be Carved Up Raise Questions (Nov. 28): Having never been a farmer or developer, I’m struggling to get my head around “7,400 acres.” How much is that anyway?

And what about a “big chunk?” I’m guessing it’s a lot.

I just can’t get a handle on how much of Ontario’s Greenbelt we’ll lose. I’ll leave this to Doug Ford. He must know what he’s doing.

Farley Helfant Toronto

With the More Homes Built Faster Act, Ontario is taking an important step toward the goal of building 1.5 million homes over the next decade. The act is criticized in some circles, but more of the same won’t get the job done.

The fundamental reason for the housing crisis is a lack of supply. Canada wants immigration to flourish and is seeing record immigration, but projects can take six to eight years to complete and costs are skyrocketing. This has resulted in chronic underbuilding of housing for decades, especially purpose-built rental housing.

More housing supply requires a commitment from all levels of government to streamline approvals, cut red tape and reduce fees and charges. We believe Ontario has demonstrated strong leadership by acting boldly to enact meaningful change.

The time to build is now. We can’t delay any longer.

Tony Irwin President and CEO, Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario Toronto

Statistics Canada tells us that food prices increased at a faster rate than all other Consumer Price Index items for 10 consecutive months. People think food is expensive now? Wait until the Ford government paves over parts of Ontario’s Greenbelt.

It is risky to rely on food imports to fill our baskets and bellies. Nearly 40 years ago, when I worked at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, I learned one absolute: We cannot create productive farmland. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Doug Ford says he will build more homes faster. I picture new homeowners gazing out their windows, at a vast expanse of identical homes where food was once produced. That’s a nightmare scenario that only a myopic government would create.

Rita Scagnetti Thornhill, Ont.

After working more than 50 years in Ontario land and housing development as a consultant and a senior municipal approvals engineer, I have broad insight into Bill 23. I find that this act is put together without any knowledge of land or housing development, nor any desire to protect the environment and generate significant affordable housing.

The dropping of development fees is not likely to increase the number of homes built, as this is mainly affected by the economy. Historically, new utilities and municipal services have been paid by developers. Now municipal homeowners (taxpayers) will pay more without those fees.

Why has Doug Ford passed such a misguided act that puts money in developers’ hands at the expense of homeowners?

Robert Leroux Welland, Ont.

Re B.C. Isn’t Ready For The Next Flood (Editorial, Nov. 26): Ontario has experienced little recent flooding damage. If British Columbia had a system as efficient as Ontario’s, monitored by conservation authorities, the province would have been prepared for last year’s floods and be able to prepare for future ones.

But with Ontario trashing conservation authorities through Bill 23, this province will likely be just as vulnerable as B.C.

Peggy Hutchison Clearview, Ont.

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