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Pipeline pipes are seen at a Trans Mountain facility near Hope, B.C., on Aug. 22, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Capsize the vote

Re Why Doesn’t Every Vote Count? (Oct. 23): This election, the Bloc Québécois got about 8 per cent of the popular vote, while the Green Party got about 7 per cent. Here’s the kicker: That translated to 32 seats for the Bloc and three for the Greens. That’s not a typo.

How is that fair? Justin Trudeau promised the 2015 election would be the last one held using the first-past-the-post system. He broke that promise, but now is the time to make good on it.

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Jerry Steinberg Surrey, B.C.


Re Voter Turnout Dips To 66 Per Cent Compared With Enthusiasm That Brought Trudeau To Power Four Years Ago (Online, Oct. 22): I am one of the many Canadians disappointed that the Liberal promise of electoral reform didn’t come to fruition. However, after reading about this year’s lower voter turnout, my new goal for electoral reform is compulsory voting, such as in Australia, with a None Of The Above (NOTA) option, such as in India.

I suspect support for the NOTA party could be quite high. At any rate, non-voters would no longer have an excuse to take for granted a democratic right that billions of people throughout the world can only dream of having.

Beth Bailey Ajax, Ont.

Postscript

Re Vote In The Name Of Climate Change (Opinion, Oct. 19): I was disappointed to see that Margaret Atwood employed her prose in opposition to a much-needed infrastructure corridor in Canada.

Yes, global warming is real and, yes, we need to take realistic steps to remedy it. But, for now, what is wrong with a more efficient transfer of electricity, telecommunications, natural gas and, yes, oil across Canada? We would become less reliant on oil from the United States and Saudi Arabia. We would be building the safest means to transport oil.

I hope that while Ms. Atwood is seeding the troposphere with carbon in the name of book promotion, she reconsiders the manner of her argument.

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Murray E. Schneider Edmonton


Margaret Atwood ravages the idea of a national energy corridor. With her command of language she belittles the idea and the people behind it.

I would remind her that the first energy corridor in Canada was the railway. It brought waves of immigrants from our shores through our heartland to the hinterlands. Then, the “ribbon of steel” took the agricultural bounty and manufactured products of Canadians to markets. The St. Lawrence Seaway is another energy corridor in Canada, moving bulk commodities from the centre of the continent to the world. The Trans-Canada Highway is an energy corridor, whether moving massive amounts of freight by truck, or moving Canadians to action when Terry Fox used it for his Marathon of Hope.

I believe the transition to a carbon-neutral Canada is under way and would only be accelerated by a government that supports a national energy corridor.

Marshall Kern President, Bowman Centre for Sustainable Energy; Sarnia, Ont.


Margaret Atwood provides support for the Extinction Rebellion movement, a group whose explicit “net-zero by 2025” demand, I believe, would effectively destroy the world’s economy and any personal comforts and security we may now know. Most disturbing of all is this group’s other main demand to create an unelected citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice, with the power to direct our economic activities as it deems appropriate.

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That Ms. Atwood seems happy to midwife something so similar to the dystopian futures she writes about is disturbing indeed.

Stephen Wiseman Vancouver

Pipeline parity

Re Pipeline Completion A Priority: Trudeau (Oct. 24): When it comes to getting Alberta oil to tidewater, can we agree that politics is not the only context for a complicated issue?

For some, oil extraction and movement are understood as issues of business, employment and transportation. For others, climate change, climate science and environmental degradation are paramount. Yet, others place social issues in the foreground: Indigenous rights, resource stewardship and respect for international climate initiatives.

We should address all that as parts of a whole and acknowledge no one element necessarily outranks the others. Those who would argue that “all we need to do is X” oversimplify to the detriment of actual solutions. Those who claim to have all the answers are probably asking the wrong questions.

Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.

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A path to mental health

Re Who Deserves Mental Health? It Should Be Everyone (Opinion, Oct. 19): This new government should appoint a minister to move mental-health issues forward. Right now, only 7.2 per cent of health-care spending goes to mental health. If Ottawa can buy a $4.5-billion pipeline, then it can also find ways to fund mental health.

Columnist Elizabeth Renzetti cites the Conference Board of Canada, which reports that depression and anxiety cost a cumulative $50-billion in lost productivity. That’s a lot of pipelines.

Grant Bergman and Peggy Smith Halifax


Together, Elizabeth Renzetti and Naomi Buck (Why Did Our Children Stop Walking To School? – Opinion, Oct. 19): seem to point to a cause and effect. Possibly, there would be fewer cases of young people suffering from stress and other mental-health problems if they had to spend time each day walking to and from school.

Tannis Wightman Victoria


I appreciate that with so many neighbourhood schools closing, it is not possible for all children to walk to class. This is why we have school buses. It is astonishing to me the number of people who opt not to utilize that service and instead choose to drive their children, thus cluttering up the roadways and school parking lots. These same adults sit in those parking lots at the end of the day, engines idling, sometimes for 20 minutes or more.

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It feels like the age of entitlement, and it is unfortunate that these parents don’t seem to be giving much thought to the world they will leave to their children and grandchildren.

Margot McIntyre St. Catharines, Ont.


I would love for my kids to walk to school, which is less than 10 minutes away. However, they aren’t old enough yet to stay at home by themselves and walk on their own. As my husband and I both need to be at work before class even starts, the only way to get the kids to school is by car with us.

Let’s stop shaming parents for being overprotective. Instead, let’s talk more about the incredible demands facing families with both parents working full time.

Christina Charbonneau Woodbridge, Ont.


The most important reason for children walking to school may have been missed: It affords them time to visit with friends, plan a lunchtime activity and generally goof off.

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By the time the walkers arrive in the classroom, they are ready to learn – the most important work of the day already complete!

Jane Wright Surrey, B.C.


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