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Re Only Pipelines Can Rescue The Oil Patch Now (editorial, Nov. 16): Western Canadian Select is trading at less than US$14 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude is more than US$57, largely because Canada has no pipelines.
Quebec sells hydro power generated in Newfoundland to the New England states, while Ontario stares down an abyss of debt to rebuild nuclear plants. If only we had a plan. A national plan. A national plan for energy. Let’s call it a “National Energy Plan.”
Tim I.G. Hyde, Oakville, Ont.
Western Canadian Select trades below US$14 a barrel, a historic and horrific discount to other world crude prices. On Friday, the journal Nature Communications put Canada, along with China and Russia, at the top of the heap of major countries whose current climate policies, if they remain unchanged, will contribute to a 5 C increase in global temperatures by the end of the century.
Shouldn’t we consider leaving our fossil fuels in the ground until, at the very least, we receive a significant percentage of global prices? Surely building Energy East to satisfy our domestic needs makes more sense than building Trans Mountain for export?
If we do have to pollute, let’s get a fair price and have the responsibility lie with the domestic consumer.
John Nicholson, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Western Canadian Select stands at US$13.46 as I write this, discounted to almost a quarter of West Texas International’s price. That’s hard to stomach, but it’s harder yet to understand why pipelines are not being built.
Consider for a moment what the reaction would be if cars manufactured in Canada were not allowed to cross provincial borders – and sold at 75 per cent less.
Another “what if?”: Say Manitoba only let cars made in Ontario into Manitoba if Manitoba is part of a profit-sharing deal. But cars built in Saudi Arabia, no problem. Right – that would never happen.
J.A. Revell, Nanaimo. B.C.
Who will explain why the Canadian oil sector has not built refineries to upgrade bitumen? Shipping dilbit is a serious problem for the communities it goes through, and an even greater threat to the already distressed oceans. Oil companies must stop treating Canada like a Third World country and start adding value and safety to this resource.
Carolyn Cleland, Toronto
There’s another glut not mentioned in this editorial. And another market failure. The glut is too much carbon in the atmosphere. The market failure is the oil industry’s avoidance of the real costs of production. This is evidenced by the IPCC report, giving Canada and other countries 12 years to substantially decarbonize their economies if we are to prevent catastrophic climate change, and the Alberta Energy Regulator’s assessment of the underfunded, untold billions needed to clean up orphan oil wells and the mess left by the tar sands.
The only real long-term solution is to stop building pipelines and require oil producers to pay the full costs of production. Maybe then we’ll have a slight chance of keeping our climate livable.
Dave Carson, Dundas, Ont.
Thank you for your concise editorial. It seems getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built is the only thing that will demonstrate that this country has not completely lost its way.
Bruce Johnston, Toronto
It is gobsmacking that your editorial, which amounts to a major cheerleading screed on pipelines, doesn’t even mention climate change.
Michael Tenzer, Vancouver
Lose the monarchy
Re Prince Charles At 70 (letters, Nov. 16): A letter writer’s suggestion that Canada not “adopt” Prince Charles as our head of state is interesting, but doesn’t go nearly far enough. If we were to select our own head of state, I fear Adrienne Clarkson might apply! Abolish the position altogether.
Peter A. Lewis-Watts, Barrie, Ont.
Private, public schools
Re Toronto Private School Failed To Notify Police About Alleged Sexual Assault On Student (Nov. 16): Every teacher certified to teach in Ontario is automatically a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. Certification does not change based on workplace any more than a doctor or lawyer’s certification changes depending on where they work.
It’s true that private schools may hire teachers who are not certified Ontario teachers. But the vast majority of teachers in Toronto’s independent schools (in most cases more than 90 per cent, in many 100 per cent) are OCT certified precisely because these schools wish to protect their communities. The tragic incidents at St. Michael’s College School should not become an indictment of independent school teachers any more than an incident in a public school would be.
Ruth Ann Penny, Vice-chair, Governing Council of the Ontario College of Teachers, 2009 to 2012
The new lead
I’ve been following the conversation in the letters section this week about the plastics scourge (Perils Of Plastic – Nov. 15; Progress? – Nov. 14). Along with a carbon tax, we need a plastics tax. Force stores to charge a dollar for every bag and remit the money to the government. Then watch what happens to plastics consumption – literally, since they’re now finding the stuff inside us.
Anna Church, Winnipeg
Re Gut Check: The New Crisis Of Plastic In The Human Body (Opinion, Nov. 10): While I’m in agreement with the problem Rick Smith identified – I suspect one day we will wake up to realize that plastic is the new lead – I’m astounded at the apparent self-obliviousness of overflowing giant recycling bins. My family of four doesn’t fill half a large bin most of the time, frequently it’s considerably less than half full. And my bin is in Calgary, where “everything” goes in the same recycling bin: plastics, mixed paper, cardboard, newsprint, glass.
Breaking news: One doesn’t have to buy lettuce that comes in a hard plastic case. While this sermon on plastics desperately needs to be heard, I would suggest that a preacher might be taken more seriously if he starts to be the change he hopes to see.
Edward Parker, Calgary
Re Calgarians Choose Enrichment Over Olympics (Nov. 16): The Olympics have come more and more to resemble an Elizabethan Royal-Progress. English towns were expected to pull out all the stops, spruce up their homes, lay out food and drink, and provide entertainment for the queen and her sizable entourage of nobility and hangers-on. But unlike a feudal monarch’s vassals and lesser subjects who had no choice but to play host or face royal displeasure, Calgarians saw no reason to empty the public treasury for a group of entitled freeloaders (the athletes excepted).
Steve Mertl, Vancouver