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Jody Wilson-Raybould turned down the offer to be minister of Indigenous services, reportedly because of her opposition to the Indian Act.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Change from the inside

Re PM Says Former A-G Was Great Fit For Job Wernick Knew She Would Turn Down (March 8):

What am I missing? When I read that Gerald Butts testified that Jody Wilson-Raybould turned down the opportunity to be minister of Indigenous services, I was astounded. Was this not a chance to change the course of history in relations with First Nations – like getting rid of the Indian Act she despised? I think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau selected her for this position because it is an extremely important file and he knew she could make a difference with a lot of hard work. I just don’t know why she wouldn’t have said yes.

Nancy Dickson, Cambridge, Ont.


I agree with Ms. Wilson-Raybould that the Indian Act should be, ideally, abolished – or at least significantly revised if that’s all that realistically can be achieved in the short term. So I’m disheartened that she rejected the portfolio of Indigenous services, reportedly because she didn’t want the job of enforcing that act (whether this narrow definition of scope was self-imposed or provided by others, we can’t yet know).

Having performed various consulting assignments at the House of Commons, I’m left with the impression that an important function of ministers and legislators is to, well, legislate.

Abolish, amend, revise, draft, discuss, propose, enact – that sort of thing. To work for, and effect, positive change. As minister, Ms. Wilson-Raybould would have had a platform and the departmental resources to work for positive change. Now she would seem to be left with only the capacity to criticize and complain. What a wasted opportunity.

Ross Greenwood, Vancouver

To whom it may concern

Re SNC CEO Pushed For Meeting With Trudeau Over Prosecution (March 8):

The headline and story infer that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have done something wrong by being the recipient of a letter from senior management in SNC-Lavalin.

Last time I checked, anybody can write to our Prime Minister. There is an easy link on the government website to do it. Is it a crime for anybody to send a letter to the Prime Minister or for him to receive it? I would hope not.

I hope that our Prime Minister is receiving lots of letters from businesses and private individuals and passing them on to his relevant ministers to consider and act upon them as they see fit within the law. I also understand that SNC-Lavalin wrote to the leader of the Opposition.

Michael Brophy, St. Catharines, Ont.

Credible witnesses

Re The Full Opening Statement Of Former Trudeau Aide Gerald Butts (March 8) and Read Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Opening Statement On SNC-Lavalin Affair (Feb. 27):

Many of your regular columnists appear to believe Ms. Wilson-Raybould implicitly and disbelieve Mr. Butts as a matter of principle. In a classic case of “she said, he said,” she presumably sounds entirely convincing but his testimony is presumably not solid enough.

Well, I read both her and his speaking points word for word. All I can say is that they both sound sincere, and that they are both entitled to their impressions. The fact remains that nothing illegal happened in what has been presented as a major scandal.

Stan Szpakowicz, Kamloops

Coming soon ...

Re A Master Class In Taking Down An Adversary and Is There Something Rotten In The OPP? (Opinion, March 7):

Retired English teachers are all rejoicing when they see two Shakespeare plays referenced in two columns on the same page – Julius Caesar and Hamlet. We eagerly await to see the next reference. Will it be The Tempest or All’s Well that Ends Well?

Norah Bolton, Toronto

I’m so looking forward to the Netflix movie about SNC-gate, Justice for Jody, starring Jody Wilson-Raybould as herself (“Nobody speaks for me”), the earnest Gerald Butts played by a young Donald Sutherland, Michael Wernick played by Larry David (“Frankly, I’m worried somebody’s going to get shot!”), Melissa McCarthy as Jane Philpott, Glenn Close as Lisa Raitt and a young Tom Hanks as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It’s a tale about strong personalities grating on each other, but, spoiler alert: The cleaving of justice minister and attorney-general into two portfolios is a shocker, and the long sustained group hug at the end is a tearjerker.

Ron Charach, Toronto

Deep-sea destruction

Re The New Frontier: Deep-Sea Mining (March 1):

This article explains how mining deep-sea polymetallic nodules could be a bountiful source of minerals, essential to the expansion of renewable energy. I disagree with the statement that “the ocean minerals could be a sustainable alternative to metals mined on land.”

The definition of sustainable is “a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged” As the article explains, these nodules take millions of years to form; thus their extraction is unsustainable because of permanent depletion.

The words “less resource intensive” should be used when comparing deep-sea mining with land mining. Not doing so could lead to the widespread notion that deep-sea nodules are an inexhaustible resource.

Tristan Brun, Woodbridge, Ont.

Coal continues

It seems that the common refrain among politicians and oil patch executives these days is to justify moving Canada’s oil and natural gas to tidewater as a way to get these “cleaner” fossil fuels to Asian markets and replace coal (In The Face Of Skepticism, Enbridge CEO Continues His Charm Offensive, March 5).

I suppose the logic is this: a bit more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions here for a lot less emissions over there. But, coal isn’t going anywhere.

The Globe and Mail reported recently that the International Energy Agency predicts overall demand for coal will remain stable “as stronger demand in high growth Asia offsets declines in Europe and North America” (Coal-Cap Ploy A Clever Win-Win For Glencore, March 2).

The costs of installing the centrally-controlled oil and gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to offset this future coal use would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Clearly, the future of energy supply and demand in Asia is through decentralized – and GHG emission-free – distributed energy systems (based on solar, wind and biomass) serving smaller areas “off grid.” Yes, energy storage is a conundrum for renewable energy but solutions are being commercialized. Better an investment in distributed energy than costly future stranded assets and still-growing GHGs.

Chris Gates, Quinte West, Ont.

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