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Alberta’s sunny days
Re What’s The Economic Plan B For Alberta? There Isn’t One (Nov. 23): Gary Mason is correct. The long-term economic outlook for Alberta is bleak – but only if Alberta stays the course.
Yes, the short-term problems of getting oil to market are hugely costly, but that will be resolved in a few years. The Americans will allow Keystone to proceed, and our federal government is committed to the Trans Mountain pipeline extension.
The long term poses a greater challenge. Global demand for fossil fuels will decline. The slope and length of that curve are uncertain, but its direction is not, as the world adopts cleaner, renewable energy sources. But no other place in Canada is better positioned to lead the transition, rather than be bulldozed by it.
Alberta has a young, energetic (no pun intended), highly educated, entrepreneurial workforce, excellent infrastructure, an abundance of wind and Calgary has more hours of sunshine per year than any other place in the country. Time to broaden our definition of energy.
Mark Roberts, Calgary
Alberta has plenty of support in Ontario: Ship the oil, east or west; many Ontarians are on board. However, when Alberta Premier Rachel Notley plays the politics of division and says Ottawa would rush in “if there was this kind of economic crisis going on in the manufacturing centre in Ontario” I’m compelled to remind her this kind of crisis already happened (Alberta Looks At Buying Rail Cars To Break Oil Glut – Nov. 23).
It blossomed during the happy days of expensive oil, which drove up the loonie and put Ontario commodity manufacturing out of business. Remember?
Instead of playing the blame game, let’s be honest with ourselves: When economies are built on commodities and others control the price, we don’t control our destiny. Time to diversify.
Geoffrey Morgan, Toronto
I am not especially optimistic about Alberta coming up with a Plan B. Alberta has historically put all its eggs in one basket.
It has seen downturns before, and for some reason never seems to learn from its mistakes. If it had treated oil companies the way Norway does, it would at least have some money to fall back on.
It’s too late now. Its hubris is coming home to roost.
Jane McCall, Delta, B.C.
With Cenovus Energy Inc.’s CEO, Alex Pourbaix, calling on the Alberta government to require cutbacks in oil sands production, the solution seems clear: To stop the recurring boom and bust in the oil patch we need to … apply supply management and allocate quotas.
Hubert Hogle, Napanee, Ont.
Languages, count them
Re Indigenous Breakthrough (Nov. 23): A letter writer agrees that it would be desirable to have an Indigenous judge on the Supreme Court, and then says, “bilingualism on the court is not optional. Nor are being bilingual and Indigenous mutually exclusive.”
Indigenous people who maintain their traditions, and are functional in French and English, are not bilingual. They are trilingual.
Murray Citron, Ottawa
Is an East African Asian who learned English in schools then run by the country’s colonial masters, spoke Swahili to the Indigenous people, Gujarati at home and prayed in Arabic, bilingual? Not in Canada it seems.
Jaffer Sunderji, Toronto
Grading St. Mike’s
Re The Problem With All-Boys Schools (Nov. 23): My experience at St. Mike’s was exceptional. As in all schools, and reflective of a different age, there was some bullying. Hazing behaviour within sports teams, representative of a minority of students, did occur, as it does today. However, this was never enabled by the administration or teachers – an accusation the media seem to be pressing as they focus on “macho culture” or other “ills” of an all-boys school.
The alleged behaviour of the students who have been expelled was reflective of their own personal values, not the school’s. How could any person believe it is acceptable, or “all in fun” to abuse another person as these boys allegedly did? If found guilty, these individuals would be responsible for a criminal act and, while the school can certainly do more to condemn any such activity in its orientation and other programs, to suggest that the school is enabling a culture that fosters sexual abuse is sensationalist and wrong.
Joe O’Brien, St. Michael’s, Class of 1961; Halifax
That those students who were subjected to alleged abuse at the hands of their confrères at St. Michael’s College School are receiving counselling is as it should be.
That the alleged perpetrators of that same abuse have been expelled may also appear to be fitting retribution. However, surely these young teens are in desperate need of just as much, if not more, immediate help in dealing with the reprehensible behaviour that is alleged?
Whether or not the values fostered at St. Michael’s are partially responsible for what transpired, a Pontius Pilate-like washing of hands of one’s wayward charges cannot be considered adequate response on the part of any educational institution, Christian or otherwise.
Alan Scrivener, Cornwall, Ont.
‘Win at all costs’
Re Curling’s Drunken Weekend Sweeps Away Its Earnest Makeover (Nov. 21): Cathal Kelly writes that the Canadian curlers who went on the ice at Red Deer inebriated “have undermined the sport’s decades-long mission to be taken seriously outside this country.”
But Canadian curling’s image was tarnished much earlier, when Rachel Homan’s rink played the Danes at the Olympics back in February. And Mr. Kelly wrote about it then.
The Danes had inadvertently “burned” a rock by slightly touching it with a broom and they owned up immediately. Ms. Homan had three choices under the rules. She could have let the rock stay where it had come to rest, or reposition it after consulting with the Danish skip. Instead, in a jaw-dropping display of spite and poor sportsmanship, she contemptuously shoved it off the ice.
For this she was widely called a “jerk.” But what led to that action, as Mr. Kelly noted, was the “win at all costs” bacillus that has infested professional curling in Canada.
Peter Calamai, Stratford, Ont.
Every week I peek at the Bestsellers lists and wonder (sigh) if we Canadians will ever “discover” that there are many more great Canadian authors than Rupi Kaur, who seems to have taken up two of the Top 10 spots forever.
And lo and behold, in Thursday’s edition she took up three positions, even after the Giller Prize bump. Her Milk and Honey holds down seventh and eighth spots. Couldn’t we skip one of the two? I fear we Canadians are becoming obsessed.
Lance Evoy, Montreal