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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at an event to mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Massey College in Toronto, on Sept. 30, 2021.Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Our part

Re Business As Usual Won’t Cut It. If Trudeau Is Serious About Net-zero Goals, He Should Create A Climate Super Ministry (Report on Business, Oct. 13): There seems to be a pervasive narrative that addressing climate change and reducing emissions is the responsibility of “the government.” If we have any chance of making a substantive difference to this climate emergency, this should change. We should change.

We continue to pretend that change can be achieved without any impact on our comfortable way of life. We continue to drive giant SUVs and trucks, demand cheap imports of clothing and other “stuff” and define personal success via conspicuous consumption and massive houses.

David Schenck Woodbridge, Ont.

How much?

Re The Minimum Wage And The Nobel Prize (Editorial, Oct. 13): No one expects Doug Ford to win the Nobel Prize in economics, but surely he can understand the Nobel-winning research of David Card demonstrating that raising the minimum wage does not result in lost jobs. That old chestnut of an argument to keep wages depressed has been fried to a cinder.

For me, however, it’s about how Mr. Ford justifies rolling back provincial minimum wage increases scheduled by the previous Wynne government. Recent Conservative attack ads warn that returning a Liberal government to power in Ontario next year would bring back Wynne-type policies. If that means realigning Ontario’s economic policies with top-tier research, bring it on.

Penny Gill Hamilton

The economic principle is that raising the cost of something while changing nothing else reduces units sold. In terms of minimum wage, a higher cost per hour should mean fewer paid hours, whether for more or fewer workers. We see this in self-serve retail: Many Canadian Tire stores offer more self-checkout kiosks and fewer knowledgeable staff; supermarkets and drugstores also encourage self-checkout.

Raising the minimum wage has knock-on effects for workers earning slightly higher hourly wages. Some, but unfortunately not all, workers will be able to find larger paycheques.

Howard Teasley Vancouver

Broken chain

Re IMF Cuts Its Global Growth Forecast, Cites Supply Chain Disruptions (Oct. 13): First our factories closed a month early for Chinese New Year, due to COVID-19 concerns in workers’ home provinces. Then we had products sitting for weeks half-finished due to a lack of circuit boards.

Now three shipments worth 20 per cent of our annual sales have been sitting in Vancouver, waiting to get on a train since September. They left our factories in July, and those shipments make the difference between profit and loss for our company. A profitable company pays taxes; an unprofitable one does not. At this point, the chances of the shipments arriving, being processed and invoiced out by our Oct. 31 year-end are slim to none.

Thousands of manufacturers and importers are in the same predicament. The most frustrating thing is that there is nothing we can do; it’s totally out of our control. 2021 has truly been an annus horribilis.

Jason Shron President, Rapido Trains Markham, Ont.

Law of the land

Re In Canada, The Rule Of Law Is Giving Way To The Rule Of Will (Oct. 13): Abuses of the rule of law are far from a new habit for the federal government.

One of the highest laws is a nation-to-nation treaty; Ottawa has signed dozens of them with First Nations. All those treaty conditions are the “rule of law,” and Ottawa has violated many of them since the day they were signed. It still does, every day.

The highest law in a country is its constitution, and ours gives responsibility for health, welfare, education and municipalities to the provinces. Ottawa has used its ability to collect money to force its way into those jurisdictions. Had it obtained amendments to the constitution for shared responsibilities (such as agriculture), then those federal programs would be constitutional. Since it did not, they are all violations of the “rule of law” – and more are on the way. That is welcome, but that is not the “rule of law.”

Ed Whitcomb Author, Understanding First Nations: The Legacy of Canadian Colonialism and Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces Ottawa

While I believe columnist Andrew Coyne is on the right track regarding the neo-authoritarian behaviour of some Canadian governments – François Legault’s approach to language and culture in Quebec, Jason Kenney’s “anti-Alberta energy activities” inquiry and Doug Ford’s restructuring of municipal governments in Ontario, among other things – his criticism of court responses feels too narrow and somewhat unfair.

Canada has been confronted with governments that have little regard for the conventionally understood constraints on executive power, a situation which our existing constitutional structures never contemplated. In that context, the courts have found themselves asked to act as a constraint of last resort. In the result, they are struggling with renewed questions about their roles in the identification and enforcement of constitutional conventions, particularly in the context of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mark Winfield Professor, York University Toronto

Firs forever

Re Fairy Creek Injunction Battle Needs A Justice-centred Approach (Oct. 13): When I was a young man, I lived in British Columbia from 1975 to 1981. I often walked in the forests among some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth, the Douglas fir.

Where these entities were oldest and tallest, one could feel the hollowness of the ground underfoot, the result of thousands of years of natural decay and the eventual natural toppling of former giants. This fertile undergrowth acted as a nutrient-rich nursery for the next generation of giant firs. This entire ecosystem acted as the Earth’s lungs, converting carbon dioxide back into oxygen.

Trees are living organisms of irreplaceable value to humanity. When we pillage forests through clearcutting, or create monoculture replacement forests after the desecration of their natural predecessors, it represents to me acts rivalling those depicted in Frankenstein.

Steve Sanderson Quispamsis, N.B.

Home of the brave?

Re Gruden’s Offensive E-mails Shouldn’t Come As A Shock (Oct. 13): Commentator George Will said that “football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.” U.S. football coach Jon Gruden’s apparent homophobic, racist and misogynistic character traits are surely products of the sport’s hyper-masculine culture that celebrates violent solutions and language.

Just as surely, Mr. Gruden was protected and nurtured by executives with a vested interest in the economic riches earned through violence. He is a product of this marketplace. The personal wealth he has earned will likely encourage others to enter and maintain it.

I therefore see no reasonable expectation that the influence of football on American life will be mitigated one bit.

Martin Birt Uxbridge, Ont.

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