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Rows of steam generators line a road at a Cenovus facility south of Fort McMurray, Alta.,in 2013.

Todd Korol/Reuters

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Price drop

Re Alberta Is Scrambling For Oil-crash Solutions As Its Economy Enters Uncharted Territory (March 11): Millions of Albertan voted for Jason Kenney because he vowed to support a moribund oil industry, despite evidence that the province should diversify its economy, and to continue to resist calls for a sensible sales tax. There’s probably a lot of buyer’s remorse right now.

Now Mr. Kenney – who often complains about the federal government and other provinces – expects the rest of Canada to bail his province out of its current quagmire. Talk about chutzpah!

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Luke Mastin Toronto

By continuing to eschew a sales tax, successive governments, and therefore the people of Alberta, seem to have decided that they are the generation that should benefit from oil revenues underpinning their budgets – future generations are on their own.

David Chalmers Toronto

Re Canada’s Biggest Fiscal Crisis Isn’t In Alberta. It’s In A Province Much Farther East (March 11): Isn’t it interesting that Newfoundland, which seems to be in more dire straits as a result of the oil crash, isn’t indulging in complaints and threats of separation unlike a certain province? Alberta could learn a lesson or two about how to behave in the face of adversity.

Jane McCall Delta, B.C.

Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

Re Ottawa Set To Declare Plastics As Toxic Substances To Regulate Some Products (March 11): It is high time the government stood up on this file. Consumers have been pushing retailers to move away from single-use plastics, yet there has been tepid response to those demands. That the industry and the Alberta government are opposed to Ottawa’s position suggests neither has any strategic sense as to where the world is going. Further, it suggests there should be a continued focus on profit before people.

If the industry truly understood the challenges at hand, it would be focused on alternative products and strategies – ones that are more friendly to the environment, people and the animal kingdom with which we share this world.

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David Wartman Calgary

I remember when we were all concerned about chopping down so many trees for bags and packaging. Finally with plastics, because the industry won’t participate in solving the problem, the government has stepped in.

The industry is full of bright, creative people that should be using their talents to find a better solution. And I believe many Canadians will be rooting for them to succeed, and to do something new instead of the same old protectionism and protestations.

E.M. James Toronto

Who’s right?

Re Drip, Drip (Letters, March 11): Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada advocates well on behalf of First Nations for incorporating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law. However, the government has obligations to other people as well, including those Indigenous people who support resource development, of which there are many. Legislation to adopt UNDRIP should be enacted with a proviso: In decisions on proposed development projects, Indigenous peoples will be treated fairly, but will not have a veto.

Peter Love Toronto

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Brian Pallister seeks clarity and predictability for business when it comes to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Here’s something clear and simple: If you have title, you should have veto. Period.

Anya Hageman Kingston

I believe Brian Pallister got it right that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is no solution to Canada’s search for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

British Columbia leaped ahead on its own last year when it incorporated UNDRIP into provincial law. Bill 41 states that "the government must take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of British Columbia are consistent with the declaration,” and article 19 of UNDRIP provides that the government must "obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” One might note that this article is not limited to actions dealing with traditional lands, and B.C. is the province with the fewest treaties settling Indigenous claims.

Is the B.C. act constitutional, dealing as it does with a federal power? Perhaps a new court case will be needed to answer that.

Michael Robinson Toronto

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Teacher defence

Re Yet Another Own Goal For Doug Ford (Editorial, March 11): On the education file, the Ontario government initially required students to take four online courses, before public pressure forced a revision to two. Some people would say this is a reasonable compromise, but upon further examination, many would realize these courses are about saving money and privatization, not quality public education for all students.

And in order for students to opt out of them, the current proposal requires parents to meet with a guidance counsellor. If parents are unable to get time off work or don’t fully understand the issue due to language constraints, then the choice is ostensibly removed. Instead of opting out, how about allowing students to opt in to online courses?

It is also important to note that the government has typically announced proposed changes at press conferences. These sound like empty words until they are presented at the bargaining table. The fastest way to end school disruptions would be for the government to commit to meaningful talks with teachers.

Jill Yokoyama OCT; Burlington, Ont.

The Globe’s editorial states that “it’s the job of elected officials to set and implement education policies, and they answer to voters if they get it wrong.” Apparently those with expertise in education (teachers and educational assistants) and those who are justly concerned (parents and students) just need to wait until the next election, when education may or may not be the ballot question.

Two years from now, when the next Ontario election takes place, current Grade 9 students will be in Grade 11. They will have missed the chance to take specific courses that are no longer offered. They may struggle because individual help is not available in larger classes.

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Imagine claiming that elected officials should set health policies without input from health experts, and then answer to voters in two years. It seems just not good enough.

Kate Lawson Kitchener, Ont.

Risky business

Re Mathematical Feats (Letters, March 11): A letter-writer believes Vancouver is so perfectly positioned to repeat the Winter Olympics in 2030 that the decision ought to be “a simple yes.”

“But am I missing something?” he muses. He sure is: I wonder when he last signed a contract where he took on all of the risk?

David Musser New Westminster, B.C.


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