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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 27.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Leadership material?

Re “Recent deaths of Canadian volunteer fighters in Ukraine illustrate brutality of new Russian offensive” (Nov. 25) and “Pierre Poilievre’s lousy week of leadership” (Editorial, Nov. 27): The contrast could not have been more stark.

On one hand, Canadian medic Josh Mayers was slain aiding Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression. He did not have to serve in Ukraine, but chose to put his life at risk to help Ukrainians.

On the other hand, Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives voted against a free-trade agreement with Ukraine, saying the legislation contained a “carbon tax.”

We Ukrainians honour our dead by declaring “Vechnaya Pamyat,” or “Eternal Memory.” Mr. Mayers has earned his memory in our hearts through his selfless sacrifice.

The Conservatives, though, have earned only eternal shame.

Terry Labach Waterloo, Ont.

Pierre Poilievre is probably Justin Trudeau’s greatest asset, because there is a feeling that Mr. Poilievre is not ready to take the reins of power. It’s the old adage: the devil you know and the devil you don’t know.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

It seems to me that your placement of the adjective “lousy” would be more appropriately placed immediately before “leadership.”

Kathryn Hamer Edwards Sackville, N.B.

So when?

Re “Alberta deploys sovereignty act, floats its own power corporation to defy federal clean-energy plan” (Nov. 28): When the federal government tries to negotiate with Alberta over energy policy, why not cut out the middleman and deal directly with the oil and gas industry? They seem to be calling the shots.

Jamie Alley Saanich, B.C.

Often I hear that as Canadians contribute less than 2 per cent of the annual carbon emitted to Earth’s atmosphere, why bother with reductions?

However, if we take into account all the countries with lower emissions (ranging from Japan at about 3.5 per cent to Malawi at 0.01 per cent) and add them up, that sum represents at least one-third of annual global emissions. Our emissions compared to China and the United States are paltry. But by imposing limits on ourselves, we may encourage other small emitters to follow suit.

Perhaps in total we may all make a difference that is important.

Mike English Waterloo, Ont.

Re “Don’t count on it” (Letters, Nov. 28): A letter-writer compares annual carbon emissions from the oil sands to worldwide annual carbon output. Better would have been to compare the oil sands to Canada’s total output. At approximately 672 million tons, this gives the oil sands a 12-per-cent share, which isn’t negligible.

If every country compared a large single source of carbon emissions to global production, nothing would seem like “real-life solutions.”

David Thomas Devine Aurora, Ont.

Electric avenue

Re “Why delay?” (Letters, Nov. 27): Letter-writers seem focused on fuel sources and generation for fossil-fuel cars. But there are also the carbon costs of making electric-vehicle batteries and the cost of their eventual disposal.

I believe that the total costs of the EV revolution should be more readily disclosed.

Richard Mertl Hampstead, Que.

A letter-writer recommends switching to electric vehicles now, since much of Canada’s electricity is generated by hydropower and other carbon-free generators. However, increased demand on the grid will likely be supplied by fossil fuels; new hydropower and nuclear power seem like distant possibilities.

When the grid becomes carbon-free, more EVs will reduce emissions. But does any province have a real plan to achieve an expanded carbon-free grid?

Donald Taylor Kingston

Re “Why government mandates on electric cars will not work” (Report on Business, Nov. 27): My wife and I have had electric vehicles for six and nine years, respectively.

She charges at night and every day she has a full tank. The cost to “fill up” our cars is $6 to $9. She gets 400 kilometres, I get 550.

When we travel (most recently to Lake Placid), our software suggested we charge in Kingston for 40 minutes. I was hungry and needed a comfort break anyway.

The only thing I have replaced in my car are the front brake pads, not because they were worn out, but because they were seldom used due to regenerative braking. Neither car needs spark plugs, oil changes, tune-ups or air filters; service, if any, is minimal and updates come online.

Most of the pushback on EVs seems to come from interest groups or people afraid of change. Our reality is much different.

Brian Layfield Oakville, Ont.

BloombergNEF, a leading forecaster, projects that 44 per cent of all passenger vehicles will be electric by 2030. EV mandates are decried, but Britain and the European Union are already adopting them.

Canada, as usual, acts like a laggard in this energy transition. Perhaps too many of our business elites are under the influence of the oil sector to understand what is really happening.

James Worrall Ottawa

Must have

Re “Take it back” (Letters, Nov. 28): I find it ironic that, on one hand, we want to encourage seniors to age in place. But on the other, we are discussing removing or drastically limiting a financial benefit that would help them do so.

An individual’s Old Age Security ends upon death; there is no “survivor’s benefit” to a spouse. OAS can, quite suddenly, become critical income for a widow who may not have a strong (or any) pension, especially if they stayed at home to raise children.

If we really want to get serious about saving taxpayer money, we should be discussing abolishing tax-free savings accounts, and not OAS.

James Phillips Toronto

A letter-writer suggests clawing back Canada Pension Plan payments, comparing it to “insurance.”

Perhaps he would also like registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds to be treated like insurance. After all, maybe people can also get by without these plans that they also paid into.

And why stop there? Tax-free savings and basic savings accounts are also there for the taking.

Or maybe the letter-writer should just donate all his stuff to charity.

Patrick Stewart Toronto

All in

Re “Yes, restaurant tipping has gone too far” (Report on Business, Nov. 23): I concur, and I doubt we are helping servers as much as we believe.

I think we are aiding management to underpay waitstaff. Why not tip salespeople? Librarians?

In Britain, restaurant prices commonly include tax and tip. Why not here?

Rick Walker Toronto

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