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A swollen creek flows under a washed out bridge at the Carolin Mine interchange with Coquihalla Highway 5 after devastating rain storms caused flooding and landslides, near Hope, B.C., on Nov. 17.BC TRANSPORTATION MINISTRY/Reuters

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Re B.C. Under Third State Of Emergency This Year (Nov. 18): After viewing so many photos of the devastating B.C. landslides, I couldn’t help but notice the limbless, leafless, rootless tree trunks carried down by mud. I couldn’t see a single whole tree in the mess, except those holding strong along the edges of slides.

Could more careful logging, away from roads and communities, not avoid such slides in future?

Claudette Claereboudt Regina

Electric dreams

Re Will The U.S. Think Of North America Again? (Nov. 17): The U.S. government plans to subsidize electric vehicle production, yet it made no COP26 commitments to eliminate the use of coal to produce electricity.

If electricity is being generated by coal (or even natural gas), then switching to an EV does not reduce carbon emissions – it increases them.

Andrew Hodgson Ottawa

A better plan – at least from Canada’s perspective – would provide an incentive for all electric cars manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States.

Michael Greason Toronto

Can’t afford it

Re The Wrong Route To Affordable Housing (Nov. 13): There seems to be a myth that more supply alone will lower house prices. The problem in this housing market, I find, is that no matter how many high-end condos are built, prices will not fall. More high-end supply would only broaden availability to high-end earners and investors.

Vancouver has added more housing units per capita than any other North American city over the past 30 years, yet prices have increased the fastest here. Along with desirable Toronto, there will likely never be enough supply to exceed demand – unless most single-family neighbourhoods are aggressively densified.

Governments have tinkered with policies for 10 years, hoping the market would sort itself out – that hasn’t happened. They tried giving supports to first-time homebuyers – that just increased demand and drove prices even higher.

The bottom line: If more supply is the answer to affordable housing, then that supply must be affordable.

Arny Wise Urban planner and retired developer, Vancouver

Dual-class concerns

Re The Rogers Family Feud Does Not Make Dual-class Shares A Bad Idea (Opinion, Nov. 13): I believe columnist Andrew Coyne does readers a disservice in implying that the interests of institutional investors that comprise the members of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance are somehow in conflict with the interests of retail shareholders.

Our members invest on behalf of beneficiaries and clients made up of Canadians who are pension-plan members, receive or will receive benefits from the Canada Pension Plan or invest in a mutual fund or ETF through their bank’s asset management arm. Institutional investors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of those on whose behalf they manage assets.

As stewards of the assets under their care, our members are interested in well-governed companies that will create long-term sustainable value for the ultimate beneficiaries. Helping Canadians save for retirement is part of our members’ core responsibilities. They act on behalf of ordinary Canadians and not in opposition to them.

Catherine McCall Executive director, Canadian Coalition for Good Governance; Toronto

Apple, oranges

Re Down South (Letters, Nov. 13): A letter-writer thinks Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s pandemic response has been “spot on.” The state’s population is roughly 21 million; COVID-19 deaths are 60,000-plus. Canada’s population is roughly 38 million (almost double); similar deaths are 29,000-plus (less than half).

If that’s spot on, I’m grateful that so many areas of Canada are way off.

Alan Rosenberg Toronto

Pass it on

Re Scammed! (Opinion, Nov. 13): Thanks to contributor Barbara Gowdy’s honest description of a scam, I finally determined why I got fraudulent calls about my bank accounts or credit cards between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning. I always assumed someone had no time sense. Like her, I found the calls disorienting and disturbing.

Unlike her, I had the privilege of working with many bank employees over the years. I knew they would never phone me outside business hours, except to ask me to come into my local branch to deal with a breach like the one Ms. Gowdy thought she had.

No tax debt, bail or any government payment can be made with gift cards. For all the government’s many faults, it relies on snail mail for “bad news.”

I am slightly younger than Ms. Gowdy and sympathize with her.

Heather Fayers Delta, B.C.

How about a GoFundMe campaign to reimburse contributor Barbara Gowdy for her losses? If the fund goes over $15,000, the extra money could be used to educate people about scammers.

This would create a good feeling for those who contribute. It would certainly help Ms. Gowdy feel a lot better.

Don Cooper Toronto

Book boost

Re RSVP (Letters, Nov. 13): A letter-writer observes that the Giller Prize gala’s guest list is comprised of “publishing insiders.” I am a 25-year former invitee; this year there were only 200 people invited, with many of them perhaps Scotiabank employees or those invited by the bank. It now sponsors the prize, after all, and surely a big perk is going to the gala.

We don’t know how many of them actually read books, which is probably irrelevant. The bank gives big money to writers, and for that we should be grateful.

Diane Waldock Toronto

No laughing matter

Re Did You Hear The One About The Nine Judges And The Bad Joke? (Opinion, Nov. 13): While I’d like to have seen a different outcome in the case of comedian Mike Ward, I take contributor Peter Henein’s point about the need to weigh the societal harm of censorship in relation to freedom of speech, even when something offends.

I also appreciated his views on comedy. Stand-ups such as Richard Pryor pushed against certain boundaries. Shows such as Maude, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family and M*A*S*H opened my mind on many issues.

But when Mr. Henein says, “If nine of the smartest legal minds couldn’t agree … how can we?” I couldn’t help wondering what the decision might have been if the Supreme Court had a better mix of BIPOC and LGBTQ members and persons with disabilities. Justices may serve the public good but, as individuals, I believe they’ve benefitted in spades from systemic bias. Their definition of harm might vary significantly from ours.

Shirley Phillips Toronto

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