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The employment insurance section of the Government of Canada website on a laptop in Toronto on April 4, 2020.Jesse Johnston/The Canadian Press

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Hard road ahead

Re Climate Change Is Increasing Global Security Threats. Canada Can Help (Nov. 17): Contributor Colin Robertson notes that the United Nations count of displaced persons due to climate catastrophes is more than 80 million, and hundreds of millions more are threatened by rising sea levels. The big question for Canada should not be security, but rather our collective conscience.

These hundreds of millions of refugees will need to move somewhere on this planet. Apart from perhaps Russia, it is hard to think of another country with more space, more wealth and an increasingly conducive climate and topography to absorb a large share of refugees.

This will likely be one of the biggest moral challenges humanity has faced.

Bob Walsh Millbrook, Ont.

One or the other

Re A Conservative Party At The Crossroads (Editorial, Nov. 17): The Conservatives can position themselves to woo voters in key ridings to defeat the Liberals in future elections, or it can actually be a conservative party that champions conservative values like Stephen Harper did not so long ago. It can’t do both.

Trevor Amon Victoria

Provincial powers

Re Nationhood, The Last Resort Of A Premier (Opinion, Nov. 13): The vilification of Premier Moe for asserting that Saskatchewan be considered a “nation within a nation” is disheartening in that it does not reflect our “distinct” contributions to Confederation.

“Distinction” comes not from what Saskatchewan takes from Confederation, but by what we give to it. Distinct ideas have allowed Saskatchewan to punch above our federal electoral weight, not provincial rhetoric. Rural electrification, medicare, constitutional patriation, the child tax benefit, Treaty Land Entitlement and, yes, even provincial powers over natural resources are all rooted here.

If Saskatchewan wants to fight over equalization, abandon the argument about exempting non-renewable natural resource revenues (as Stephen Harper promised) and more meaningfully calculate hydro revenues into the formula. And if the province doesn’t have the tools to address climate change, then it should encourage Canada to make significant investments in the national electricity grid, utility-scale renewable energy projects or an innovation fund benefiting Western interests.

Christopher Adams Regina

Re Amid A Labour Crunch In Quebec, Legault’s Government Spurns Business Demands For More Immigrants (Nov. 17): François Legault’s claim that he is limiting the number of immigrants to Quebec to ensure future generations “continue speaking French” is dubious to me.

There are many potential immigrants who speak French fluently, but are not white. There are also people who are fluent in French and willing to resettle as refugees from countries in crisis. There are even French-speaking refugees already living and working in Quebec, yet they are in limbo without resolved status. Mr. Legault also opposed expanding a COVID-19 program granting permanent residence to people who worked in essential services, regardless of whether any potential applicants spoke French.

Language is not a skin colour.

Raoul Boulakia Lawyer, Toronto

Minority matters

Re Well Spent (Letters, Nov. 18): A letter-writer discussed the beliefs of a small minority of Canadians: extraterrestrials, racial superiority, climate change and vaccine hesitancy. If these are all the same people – I suspect they are – then why are some provincial governments wasting time, energy and money in pandering to them?

Bob Halliday Saskatoon

Long time running

Re CPP, EI Contributions Set To Surge Even As Businesses Struggle To Get Back On Feet (Report on Business, Nov. 13): Most Canadian businesses have received significant payroll support from the federal government during the pandemic. As well, the 2016 agreement between the federal and provincial governments to gradually expand the Canada Pension Plan occurred due to business’s retreat from sponsorship of decent workplace pensions.

Cries from some segments of the business community that planned CPP contribution hikes are not affordable are not new, and should be ignored. Hikes for employees and employers are necessary moves to stabilize the long-term retirement security of Canadians.

Paul Moist Winnipeg

Deal or no deal

Re Ford Says He Won’t Sign A ‘Bad Deal’ With Ottawa On $10-A-Day Daycare (Nov. 17): What’s so bad about accepting $10.2-billion for $10-a-day daycare? A bad deal is the $25,000 after-tax dollars my daughter spends annually on daycare for one toddler.

Daycare spaces are so scarce that they need to be booked a year in advance. Young parents are crying for help. Many wonder why Doug Ford is dragging his heels – and who they’ll vote for in the upcoming provincial election.

JoAnn Breitman Toronto

Dogging responsibility

Re Until We Can Ban Terrible Dog Owners, Banning Pit Bulls Is Necessary (Opinion, Nov. 13): More often than not, horrific dog attacks lead to calls for legislation to ban specific breeds, including pit bulls. This raises a question: Where would we start and where would we end?

Apart from the problem of breed identification, I believe bans fail to hold owners responsible for the behaviour of their dogs. Irresponsible individuals who want an aggressive dog will likely seek out an animal not included in a ban. It should be noted that the Labrador retriever, a common family pet, is usually responsible for most bites and attacks each year.

In Canada, animal control is largely a municipal responsibility. I have long advocated for a dangerous dog component within animal control bylaws and have encouraged the use of the Criminal Code when warranted by the Crown and the police. Ensuring that resources are in place to enforce bylaws would help communities protect its residents from aggressive dogs.

Emile Therien Public health and safety advocate, Ottawa

Stretched thin

Re Food For Thought (Opinion, Nov. 13): If people are fatter now than in the past, the principal reason seems to be that we are more prosperous.

I was born in 1952. My parents were children during the Great Depression and young adults during the Second World War; they were reflexively frugal.

When my siblings and I were growing up, food was rationed. Mom put food on our plates at every meal, and that was all there was. There might have been 10 meals every year when we actually ate our fill, although we were never hungry.

We walked to and from school twice a day. Television shows were primitive by today’s standards (and TV sets often didn’t work) so children went outside to play.

There were no fats, carbs, gym memberships, abs, personal trainers or stationary bicycles. We can’t go back to that time and place, and who would want to? But yes, obesity seemed rare.

Ian Coleman Edmonton

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