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Letters to the Editor Oct. 22: Carbon? Yes, but ... Plus other letters to the editor

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to supporters at an anti-carbon tax rally in Calgary on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. T

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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: letters@globeandmail.com

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Carbon? Yes, but …

While following the ongoing debate by letter writers about Canada’s fair share of carbon reduction – we only emit 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases, so why bother to reduce at all; yes, but we only represent 0.5 per cent of the global population, so we overemit; yes, but we live in a large, cold, thinly populated country, so per-capita measurements are unfair; yes, but we are highly urbanized and some colder countries have lower per-capita emissions than we do, so we overemit; yes, but – I am reminded of Robert Fulghum’s delightful book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. An important life-lesson was “clean up your own mess.”

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When I go to the nearby dog park with my grandchildren, they fully expect (demand) that I pick up after my dog (recycled for biogas). They see other dog poop left behind by irresponsible pet owners, but they would not dream of suggesting that this lets me off the hook in any way.

Canada should honour its international commitments and moral obligation to clean up its own mess as best it can.

It’s that simple.

Harry Sutherland, North Vancouver

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The current carbon-tax systems, globally, are like charging whisky bottlers the penalty for all the DUI penalties caused by people who drink their booze. The drunks just keep drinking unabated.

Tax carbon inputs, yes, in all raw materials consumed, yes – but at all levels of the economy, whether the materials are imported or locally produced. Then, the copper processed in Uganda will have all of its carbon expenditures charged to the wire manufacturer in the Netherlands, and that carbon tax will be passed along to the wire consumer in Sweden.

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This carbon formula works toward reducing carbon inputs globally by making buyers of commodities more carbon conscious in what they buy – not just in the producer nations. Each country under this formula has its “carbon footprint” charged on consumption, not based solely on the production and processing found in their respective backyards.

That way the focus is on global production and a global reduction of the human footprint worldwide. Not just this loosely developed hodgepodge of systems that accomplishes little to nothing globally. These current systems only look good locally and superficially. Politicians like to look good locally and superficially.

Cap-and-trade systems are little more than complex sleight-of-hand schemes.

Jim Le Maistre, Aldergrove, B.C.

To write without fear

It was very moving to read Jamal Khashoggi’s last column, presented with deep respect on The Globe and Mail’s front page (The Last Column Of Jamal Khashoggi – Oct. 19). We salute all the brave journalists who place themselves at risk, often extreme risk, on a daily basis, for doing their job. In a world where political and personal gain seem to take precedence over everything else, it is indeed moving beyond words to contemplate those who are putting themselves in danger for the sake of others. Thank you, one and all.

Clare Ford, Larry Pass, Port Perry, Ont.

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How Canada wins in the knowledge economy

Re How Does Canada Win The Knowledge-Economy War? (Oct. 19): Characterizing Canada’s need to win in the knowledge economy as “a war” is brick-and-mortar thinking. War is a win-lose affair. If Canada takes this approach, we will lose for sure.

Canada needs to actively participate in the knowledge economy by continually developing and marketing value-added products and services that offer competitive advantage to knowledge workers/customers worldwide. It is this active participation in the global market that keeps us at the leading edge of innovation in the knowledge economy. We need to welcome knowledge workers and companies from everywhere. We need to support their training and development constantly.

This is how Canada will win.

Gordon Birnie, Stouffville, Ont.

22 hours a day

Re Ottawa Moves To End Solitary (Oct. 16): Canada must stop kidding itself that isolating people for 22 hours a day is an effective means of incarceration. Replacing two forms of segregation – administrative and disciplinary – with “specialized living units” dodges the real issue. With no limit on the stretch of time somebody can be in segregation, Canada is condoning the open-ended use of conditions that subject inmates to severe psychological harm.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale calls the new legislation “world-leading.” The union president of correctional officers says no time limit on the use of segregation is good because of staffing restraints. If unlimited use of 22 hours a day without human contact is the best we can do, maybe it’s time to rethink if prisons even have a role in our society.

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Rebecca Ward, Ottawa

Peak ethanol?

Re Trump Tests The Limits Of Peak Ethanol (Report on Business, Oct. 15): Barrie McKenna points out we use more corn for ethanol than we did 18 years ago. Correct, but we also grow more corn. Ontario farmers produce more than enough corn to feed people and animals, and help the environment.

Only 39 per cent of the province’s corn is used for ethanol, and one of the best parts of our ethanol production is a byproduct – distillers grains – which is a form of livestock feed. About one million tonnes of high-quality, nutrient-rich feed is produced in Ontario through the ethanol process.

Some studies show that North American-made ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent, compared to gasoline. That reduction includes emissions in growing, treating, and harvesting corn, as well as conversion emissions at the ethanol end.

Mr. McKenna mentions the added costs refiners and car companies have making cars ethanol-ready. New cars have been ready since 2014 for ethanol, which sells for about 14 cents less per litre than gasoline. Even with any transition fees, pump prices are not impacted by ethanol.

Markus Haerle, chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

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Trade’s guiding lights

Re Free Trade With China Is A Losing Proposition (Oct. 19): Failing to pursue expanded trade relations with China would support the short-sighted, downright stupid foreign-trade and diplomatic policies being advanced by the administration across the border. It would hamper Canada in seeking a more open world in which it can better thrive as a trading nation. We would have far greater moral influence in China as an engaged economic party than as a hostile, self-righteous nagger.

Paranoia should not be Canada’s guiding light.

Hal C. Hartmann, West Vancouver

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The next time the U.S. demands trade concessions, here’s our offer. We’ll let them freely sell their milk in Canada, if they’ll let us freely sell our cannabis in the States. Both economies would benefit, and maybe American politicians would mellow out.

Michael J. Armstrong, associate professor, Goodman School of Business, Brock University

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