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Canada's backyard

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Re Can Newcomers Be Told Where They Must Live? (Aug. 24): Newcomers are not interested in living in small towns and rural areas: Few there speak their language and it takes considerable time to get to an international airport or to reach out to people with a common cultural bond. So good luck to Immigration Minister John McCallum in scattering new immigrants throughout one of the world's biggest backyards.

My guess is that the Welcome to Peel Region sign (home to Pearson International Airport, Brampton and Mississauga) that 15 years ago claimed a population of 980,000 and today boasts of more than 1.4 million, sadly will top two million in another 15 years.

Meanwhile, the populations of towns like Dryden, Ont., and Pictou, N.S., likely will be much the same or in decline 15 years from now, because governments will have found few good reasons, beyond urban overcrowding, for newcomers or others to move to these communities.

Ian McKay, Georgetown, Ont.


Zero(s) anger

Your editorial, The Theatre Of A Politician's Expenses (Aug. 24), puts into perspective the furor over the equivalent of what amounts to .0007 per cent of the $1.5-billion to be allocated to critically needed transit. Conversely, the expenditure of billions, yes, billions, on a one-stop subway to Scarborough in Toronto (when an appropriately scaled light rail transit system, with more stations, which could be completed years sooner and was funded) gets little of the anger which $3,700 for a minister's car hire unleashed. To make matters worse, much of the $1.6-billion raised by the sale of Hydro shares will be wasted on an transit system that doesn't fit what's really needed. Here is something that should create a furor.

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A. J. Diamond, Toronto


The Globe's editorialists need to come down off their ivory perch and stop browbeating Canadians for caring about how their dollars are spent. There is only one pot of money to pay all government expenses – our pockets. Yes, I understand the figure of $3,700. That would pay for a big chunk of a year's worth of speech or occupational therapy for a special needs child. That little amount could make a difference in somebody's life. It is right for citizens to constantly remind those who control our dollars to think carefully about how they spend those funds, be it billions or thousands.

Wayne Nickoli, London, Ont.


Self-serving cabinet ministers' hiring of photographers is indeed small beer. The PM should up the ante to Stephen Harper's level.

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Mr. Harper's 24 Seven vanity videos (shockingly citizen-funded) really went over gangbusters. So Justin should have a videographer uploading his every move, too. Call it All Abs, All the Time.

Peter Ferguson, Kimberley, Ont.


In her honour

Re Thanks For The Olympic Memories (Aug. 24): In view of Penny Oleksiak 's spectacular and historic four-medal performance at the Olympics in Rio, it would be very appropriate to name a street in her honour in Toronto: Penny Lane.

Vipin Bery, Toronto

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Re Seeing Women Excel In Tough Sports May Change Kids' Ideas About What It Means To Be Strong (Folio, Aug. 22): Stephanie Nolen's article really struck a chord with me.

In 1990, when my daughter was 10, we took the family to Wales (my homeland) for our sabbatical year. The children had grown up in Montreal with a regular diet of swimming, skating and, of course, soccer: My daughter was in a double A team when we left.

We were disappointed in Wales to discover that the local elementary school's team sports – rugby, soccer, cricket – were boys-only. The girls played netball on the playground with their classroom teacher in her high heels and lipstick. After-school soccer leagues were also boys-only.

We managed to get her registered in a boys' team, but she had to prove herself over and over as they refused to pass to her (with little encouragement from the coaches, I must add).

So, what to do? I joined the PTA and agitated for team sports to be inclusive. It took most of the year, but by the end there were girls on all the teams. (I didn't have the same success with the sale of junk food at recess!)

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By the way, my daughter, Rhian Wilkinson, is on the Canadian soccer team that just did so well in the Olympics.

Shân Evans, Baie D'Urfé, Que.


Climate action

Re B.C. Plan Scales New Heights Of Political Cynicism (Aug. 22): Since 2011, we have repeatedly enhanced our original 2008 climate plan, including becoming the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the National Energy Code for large buildings; expanding the carbon-neutral capital program to include hospitals and universities and investing in infrastructure to electrify gas production in the Montney Basin.

Prof. Mark Jaccard claims our Climate Leadership Plan is reliant on incentives to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector. In fact, our plan commits to hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to further electrify production in the upstream, as well as regulations to reduce methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025 – an initiative that mirrors the commitment made by Alberta in its highly praised climate plan.

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Our carbon tax remains the highest, most comprehensive in North America. Even Alberta's celebrated new tax will not reach B.C.'s level before 2020, according to the Ecofiscal Commission.

Many will say we should do more, and we agree. New initiatives will be needed every year to reach our 2050 target. Even so, this plan is a significant step and continues to put B.C. out in front.

Mary Polak, B.C. Minister of Environment


Reducing energy use is a recurring theme in plans to regulate climate. How is that going?

Ontario is dumping excess green power into New York and Michigan below cost, giving great benefit to those states' citizens and industries. Costs to Ontario consumers and industries are rising as they reduce power consumption. The Global Adjustment factor increases as consumers use less power, and compensates power producers to not produce – even as more unneeded production is built and more power is dumped.

Add to this mess ever-increasing carbon taxes and the fact that any fractional decrease in Canada's minuscule share of the world's carbon emissions will be overwhelmed by a tsunami of offshore emissions. Energy poverty is clearly not the answer.

Richard Zylka, Calgary


Tune in, turn on …

Re Rats Stay Dopey On Medicinal Part Of Pot, UBC Study Finds (Aug. 24): A new study shows rats given THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, while still capable of handling harder challenges, tend to choose the easy way out even though they then forgo the reward of sweet treats. In other words, they tune in, turn on and drop out of the rat race. Far out!

But I'd be leery of drawing conclusions too early. The munchies might reignite motivation.

Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.

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