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The Bank of Canada is warning that high levels of household debt taken on during an extended period of low interest rates and a frenzy of real estate investment could destabilize the economy as rates start to rise.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Boycott Beijing?

Re The Problem with A Beijing Boycott (Nov. 24): Recent news has emphasized the International Olympic Committee’s pronouncement of the need not to politicize the Olympics in China. This while many countries are still sore from human rights abuses that China is said to be responsible for, and detainments or incarcerations that seek to muzzle some while playing hostage diplomacy with others.

When are the Olympics not a political event, with all the flag-waving and international competition? Perhaps the IOC needs to be put under a spotlight and dissected like every other supposed “international” organization should be in this age of “territorial egoism.”

J. David Spencer Iwata, Japan

To boycott the Beijing Olympics or not? The more relevant question should be: Why was the city awarded these games?

Beijing first hosted the Summer Games in 2008. There were reports of China committing human rights abuses long before the awarding of that event. All this the International Olympic Committee seemed to overlook, with the knowledge that China would ensure a successful spectacle that enriched the organization.

The international community should examine the principles and values upon which the IOC currently stands. Those countries finding them inconsistent with their own should publicly withdraw support. Since virtually all Olympic events have their own international bodies or world championships, how much would the IOC really be missed?

Mark Roberts Calgary

Animal welfare

Re Drowned Animals Are Further Evidence Of A Flawed Farming System (Nov. 23): Although we sympathize with the many farmers in the Fraser Valley who have suffered as a result of floods, it is refreshing to read about the disaster through the lens of the animals affected.

Many thousands have died because of the industrialized methods of farming in Canada. If we all decreased our consumption of beef, pork and poultry, not only would we be sending a message to the agricultural farming industry, we would also be helping to save the planet from climate change.

Robin Bassett Sidney Island, B.C.

Contributor Jessica Scott-Reid paints a vivid picture of current animal agriculture practices that are bad for both animals and people. With climate change accelerating, we will see more adverse weather events and likely more mass deaths of farm animals.

So many of us love our animal companions, dogs and cats, pampering them and sometimes treating them like members of the family. Yet, we often turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of other animals, like cows and pigs, that are really not much different than the pets we love.

It looks like George Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Kirk Szmon Caledon, Ont.

Apart from the fact that massive animal agricultural operations are bad for the environment – pumping out greenhouse gases, consuming potable water, driving deforestation and taking over arable land for growing livestock feed – it seems to me they are simply ethically wrong.

These are not “farms” as we used to know them. They are factories and the products therein are living beings who, in the recent disaster, could do nothing but drown by the thousands.

The governmental-subsidy dinosaur should turn away from the problematic intensive animal agriculture sector and support plant-based farming, which has a hope of taking us into a kinder, more sustainable future.

Cheryl Simpson Stratford, Ont.

One person, one vote

Re Rep By Pop? What A Good Idea (Editorial, Nov. 20): The question of “rep by pop” assumes that we vote based on our residence in an area. This is essential when we vote by walking to a polling station, but it also restricts representation of populations that are widely and evenly distributed.

For example, if 20 per cent of Canadians identify as humanists but are not concentrated in any ridings, they cannot easily elect someone with their voting interests. I propose that at least one level of governance, such as the Senate, be elected through a countrywide electorate via remote voting, without location being an issue. “Rep by pop” would be assured in such a system.

This idea would need a lot of effort. But compared to failed efforts to improve the current first-past-the-post method, I think it worthwhile considering.

Tim Moore Ottawa

Most citizens would endorse the electoral principle of “rep by pop” and also abhor gerrymandering. But to correct the misrepresentations that have accumulated by adding seats to an already bloated Parliament?

Canada has roughly 1/10th of the population of the United States, yet has 338 seats in the House of Commons compared to 435 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our Senate is larger as well.

Do we really need more legislators? While we’re at it, perhaps we might also address the size of the standing-room-only cabinet.

Ken Mackenzie Calgary

Buyer beware

Re BoC Warns Of A Destabilized Economy With Rates Set To Rise (Nov. 24): Many factors are working to fuel the increase in housing prices. The Bank of Canada is noting investors, while supply issues, low interest rates and the fear of missing out also share some blame.

What the investment world calls the “greater fool theory” is also in play. It doesn’t matter how much one pays for a stock (or, in this case, a house), there’s always someone willing to pay more.

We have not yet run out of overenthusiastic (dare I say foolish) buyers.

Peter Hambly Hanover, Ont.

Come together

Re Beatles Bingeing: A Primer To All Things Let It Be (Nov. 23): It is fascinating how things come full circle. The Get Back Disney project reunites the Beatles on screen and reminds viewers that things weren’t as bad as depicted in the original Let It Be film.

It’s the least Disney could do, given that they played an indirect role in the final demise of the group: John Lennon signed the final papers dissolving the Beatles at none other than Disney World on Dec. 29, 1974.

David Bryce Ottawa

Another life

Re Come To Life (Letters, Nov. 24): A letter-writer fondly recalls Life magazine as a magical education experience while growing up in New York. Imagine what Life was to a child growing up on the other side of the world.

Life was a window to the United States for many in the world.

Asad Ansari Oakville, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

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