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The three Es
Campaign season has begun, and Canadians are being bombarded with policies, promises and well-manicured press releases aimed at capturing our votes. How can we judge whether our charismatic leaders’ policies will actually be effective?
For a given policy to demonstrate effectiveness, it must take close consideration of three major pillars: economy, environment and energy – the E3 nexus. The intersection of these three factors needs to be understood by the public. Any platform or promise that disregards one or more of these pillars would struggle with its implementation, and it should face rejection by those citizens who are concerned with Canada’s future.
Canadians can determine if a policy considers all three aspects by ensuring that it contributes to a sustainable economy, serves to protect our environment and makes our energy sector more reliable and resilient. If these criteria are met, then that is a holistic policy worth supporting.
So keep asking: Does this policy, platform or promise pass the E3 test?
Rosa Galvez Senator (Belford, Que.); Ottawa
The lay of the land
Re Not Even Justin Trudeau Is Above The Law (Sept. 12): I note that the contributor Brian Giesbrecht is a retired provincial judge and also a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a conservative think tank based in the Prairie provinces.
I understand where the West is coming from – I live here. Our economy here is primarily based on climate-changing, polluting oil extraction. But to save the planet for our children and grandchildren, we should end our dependence on non-renewable energy.
The unpleasant fact is that the Conservatives, and their conservative provincial counterparts here, do want to keep that engine running. Too many people’s bank accounts in the West depend on it. Jobs and money rule; the environment and future breathing seem to come a distant second.
If the Conservatives were to find a way to “conserve” the environment without costing the average Western Canadian their job (and their pickup truck), there could be a viable platform for the entire country. Right now, they seem to only represent those who live west of the Great Lakes and east of the Rockies.
Claudette Claereboudt Regina
The more you know
Re Vaping: What’s Known About The Lung Disease Racking The U.S., Risks To You And What Health Canada Is Saying (Online, Sept. 10): I taught children and young adults for more than 47 years and, whenever the topic of drugs arose, I made it clear: Buying drugs from anyone but a pharmacist is extremely dangerous. You don’t know who prepared the drugs, or what’s really in them. The drug could do what a dealer has promised, or it could leave you struggling to breathe, in a vegetative state – or dead.
Case in point: vaping. What’s in the “juice?” Has anyone along the line tampered with it to increase profit? What will it do to you? Such questioning need not only apply to street drugs – it seems equally appropriate toward legal products such as tobacco or opioids.
What kind of government regulations would allow a new drug without complete certainty that consuming it is safe, both in the short and long term, for both the users and those around them? I hope Health Canada is, as it has said, truly paying close attention to the developing situation with vaping.
Jerry Steinberg Surrey, B.C.
About that middle class
Re Stuck In The Middle (Letters, Sept. 13): While it’s true that Canada hasn’t had a class system like the British (not recently, anyway), economic stratification in North America seems obvious.
The “middle class,” here and in the United States, grew as a result of post-Second World War prosperity. It lifted many of the working class – no moral judgement implied – into the bracket of people who could own homes and send their kids to college. This was a good thing. It’s this middle class that has been under stress in the latest era of widening income gaps, higher home prices and declining union power.
Long live the middle class!
Philip Street Toronto
Re The DB Pension-plan Business Model Has Failed – And We’re All Paying A Price (Report on Business, Sept. 11): Contributor Brent Simmons does not acknowledge the many millions of Canadians who saved billions of their earnings in defined-benefit pensions, nor the tens of thousands who have lost significant savings due to corporate bankruptcies. He notes “everybody pays the price,” but only expands on the hurt to corporations and shareholders as the ones losing $158-billion over the past 20 years.
The solution to ensuring the long-term viability of DB pensions should lie in tighter regulations for corporations to “top up” their contributions, in order to keep these plans fully funded. We should also adopt bankruptcy laws that put pensioners on the same footing as banks when a failed company’s assets are divided up.
Martin Zichy Toronto
Re Canada Backs Taiwan Entry To Aviation Conference (Sept. 10): In an April communiqué, G7 ministers said they “support the substantive participation of all active members of the international aviation community in ICAO forums. Excluding some of its members for political purposes compromises aviation safety and security." Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization meeting in Montreal later this month seems critical to fulfilling that statement.
The Taiwanese capital of Taipei is a major flight hub and sees significant passenger and cargo volumes; the country’s participation would have nothing to do with Taiwan-China politics or Canada’s relations with China. The Canadian government should have no choice but to support Taiwan’s inclusion at the conference.
Susan Korah Ottawa
Supporting Taiwan’s bid with the International Civil Aviation Organization can help China improve its image as a responsible stakeholder. The international community now expects China to take greater responsibility in international affairs, in accordance with its increased power.
Now the key question for the country is whether it can develop a Taiwan policy that is not only responsible to the Chinese people on the mainland, but also to the people of Taiwan, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the international community as a whole.
Joseph Kwan Toronto
A final look
Re Finding Robert Frank (Opinion, Sept. 14) and Pioneering Artist Revolutionized His Medium (Obituaries, Sept. 11): While it hardly compares to his photography in The Americans, I think it’s safe to say that many of us in our 50s and 60s had our first introduction to Robert Frank’s masterful work when we purchased the Rolling Stones’ last great record, Exile on Main St. from 1972.
The black-and-white shots of a porno theatre in Los Angeles; the young people who stood beside a jukebox looking as though they might jump in; Mick Jagger and Keith Richards recording a vocal track with beer in hand and a bottle of whiskey on a music stand – Mr. Frank’s photos became intrinsic to the experience of that record.
Nigel Russell Toronto
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