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An empty classroom in Toronto on Sept. 14, 2020.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Stay on

Re “Beverley McLachlin’s strange lack of judgment on Hong Kong” (Editorial, Dec. 18): I think it’s absolutely right that Beverley McLachlin stays on.

In oppressive societies, good people should almost always enter reactionary institutions and do their utmost to ameliorate the effects of oppression. Boycotts are often of limited use, only effective in circumstances where there is a real prospect of changing the oppressive regime or dismantling it.

In Hong Kong, there is no prospect of that happening within the foreseeable future. Ms. McLachlin resigning would be like a damp squib, noticed for an instant and disregarded. She would be replaced on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, most likely by someone with much less courage, humanity and tenacity.

Much better her remaining there and bringing the force of her knowledge, commitment to human rights and persuasiveness to the court.

Christopher Albertyn Toronto

There is an assumption that corruption at the top of a political system, extending to the overriding of the rule of law, necessarily affects all parts of the legal system.

It’s a brave act for Beverley McLachlin to stand up for the rule of law against political power. But the risk is hers, and the chance that her presence may help to temper Beijing’s anti-democratic measures seems one worth taking.

Randal Marlin Ottawa

Re “In judgment” (Letters, Dec. 20): I was a judge in a British Overseas Territory and also once a member of the faculty of law at the University of Hong Kong. One of my former colleagues is facing a probable life sentence for advocating democracy.

I gasped when I read that a letter-writer believes Beverley McLachlin may “influence the outcome” in the Jimmy Lai trial. I can assure your readers that no independent foreign judge will ever be allowed anywhere near this litigation.

J. David Murphy Barrie, Ont.

Accounted for

Re “Did China and India meddle in the Conservative leadership race?” (Dec. 13): It is true: Hundreds of thousands of Canadians joined the Conservative Party to vote in the 2022 leadership race.

Every one of those was paid for by a personal credit card, personal cheque or similar traceable payment method. Membership applications with untraceable payments attached were declined.

On the last day of membership signups, I supervised that process personally.

Ian Brodie Chair, Leadership Election Organizing Committee (2022), Conservative Party of Canada Calgary

Climate crunch

Re “What the Liberals got wrong – and right – on the oil emissions cap” (Editorial, Dec. 14): Climate change has put us in dangerous waters. And Canada’s ship of state, surrounded by icebergs, appears rudderless.

The captain avoids the bridge and spends his time making eloquent speeches to the passengers, but this only increases their anxiety and sense of hopelessness. The crew are thoroughly dispirited.

Many passengers want to choose a new captain and crew who say the icebergs are an illusion and the ship should sail straight ahead. Others say the crew should mutiny, put the feckless captain in a lifeboat and choose a competent person to replace him.

What to do?

Norm Beach Toronto

Re “Alberta may cap water for oil and gas companies” (Dec. 16): Access to water, a key resource for extracting and processing fossil fuels, may be restricted next year because of parched conditions in Western Canada.

Greenhouse gas emissions are changing our climate in catastrophic ways, including more frequent and severe droughts. Fossil fuel production can now be added to the list of industries threatened by the effects of climate change.

The use of fossil fuels is playing a role in the phase out of the production of fossil fuels. How ironic.

Jeffrey Levitt Toronto

Re “Change of plan – we’re transitioning away from fossil fuels…” (Editorial cartoon, Dec. 16): COP28 reflects a softening in the efforts to battle climate change.

But 27 climate conferences could have been avoided, and more directed efforts could have commenced earlier, had the first conference observed that with the majority of world energy coming from fossil fuels, phasing down, and not phasing out, was the inevitable path forward.

John Budreski Whistler, B.C.

The fossil fuel industry thinks it can keep growing if it captures the emissions produced during extraction and refining.

However when these fuels are burnt, they will still release many times that amount of carbon.

We need to phase out fossil fuels. It is that simple.

Roberta Tevlin Toronto

Low charge

Re “Batteries required” (Report on Business, Dec. 16): China and other Asian countries are a decade ahead of Canada on electric vehicles in terms of market dominance, materials processing, expertise, speed of production and price due to cheap labour and cheap coal-fired energy for production.

If Canadians are forced to buy only EVs made in Canada, the price would greatly exceed those of Asian imports and likely result in yet more ruinous government subsidies. Can we please examine the cost of EV production in Canada compared with other countries?

Daniel McAlister Toronto

Re “Dear Ottawa: Mandating electric-vehicle sales is a bad idea” (Report on Business, Dec. 20): If all new cars must be electric by 2035, what policies will ensure that every house, condo, rental unit and residential downtown street has high-voltage chargers at every parking space?

The majority of EV charges occur at home, yet the only thing I hear about is building out charging infrastructure outside the home. If the government cannot force landlords, utilities, condo associations, cities and others to install high-voltage chargers, then it’s clear to me that many Canadians will not be able to use EVs until this situation is addressed.

David Tanner Calgary

With thanks

Re “Have gifts for teachers gone too far?” (Opinion, Dec. 16): I am a retired teacher and I know the gifts teachers gush about in the staff room.

No teacher I know speaks with a big smile of how many Tim Hortons or Indigo gift cards they received. Nope. The talk is all about the tally of liquor-store gift cards.

A friend wanted to send her child’s kindergarten teacher a gift and sought my advice. “LCBO gift card,” I said.

She was shocked. “But she’s a kindergarten teacher.”

My reply: “Especially for a kindergarten teacher.”

Jack Hanna Ottawa

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