Re Couillard Nudges Wynne On Cap-And-Trade (Jan. 15):
A carbon tax and cap-and-trade are equally effective in an abstract world: Both put a price on carbon and incentivize the efficient allocation of emissions and reductions.
But a carbon tax works much better in the real world for two reasons. First, it requires the negotiation of a single variable (the tax level) rather than several (the cap and permit allocations). Second, it adds far fewer transaction costs because it does not require the creation of a whole new permit market. Indeed, evidence from places that have put one policy or the other in place has tended to point to a carbon tax performing better, both environmentally and economically.
Thus, while I applaud the governments of Quebec (my first home) and California (my current home), I hope Ontario will look to British Columbia for its carbon pricing model.
Matt Burgess, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Ontario should indeed look to B.C.'s revenue-neutral model for its carbon pricing policy, but with some adjustments. A strong policy prices carbon at the point when it spills into the economy, and raises that price by $10 per carbon ton every year. This will send a price signal to everyone to conserve and invest in energy efficiency measures and clean energy alternatives, which will help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and diversify our economy.
Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
Bravo for your editorial (This Is Your Chance To Shine, Ontario – Jan. 14). Congratulations for coming on side with most of the major economists on the planet. Now all we need is for a major political party to have enough nerve to put it in their platform.
Ross Gould, Calgary
Budget shell game
Re Joe Oliver's pep talk in Calgary on Thursday (Federal Budget Delayed Due To 'Market Instability' – online, Jan. 15): The Harper government has failed to diversify Canada's economic future. Now, the Conservatives need to find the money somewhere to bribe their base to secure another majority.
It behooves the rest of us to increase our vigilance on the shell game playing out behind closed doors in Ottawa.
Eve Giannini, Toronto
If I screwed up at my job, it sure would be nice if I could change the metrics such that my failure would suddenly be considered success!
Thor Kuhlmann, Vancouver
Yves Boisvert resurrects familiar half-truths regarding the regulation of hate speech (Quebec Doesn't Need A New Hate Law – Jan. 15). "Unlike other provinces," he says, "Quebec's human-rights commission does not have jurisdiction over what is published in the news media [or] on the Internet."
Not exactly. While no province controls the Internet (only the feds do), four can regulate publications or statements. The Supreme Court has twice upheld such powers as reasonable, including in the 2013 Whatcott ruling. There has never been a case in Canada where merely "offensive" speech was banned. The test is: Does it incite hate? Advocate murder, public vilification and the exclusion of people from human society?
This is not speech that can be countered by more speech. Quebec's commission is on the right track.
Pearl Eliadis, human-rights lawyer, Montreal
Shelley's 15 minutes
Re Power Flows From People, Not From Above (Jan. 14):
Gordon Gibson's column was articulated by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley 200 years ago in his Ode To Liberty: "He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever Can be between the cradle and the grave Crowned him the King of Life."
Sometimes these ideas take a little time to catch on.
David Lindsay, London, Ont.
PM did his part
Lysiane Gagnon exploited the Paris shootings to fire a few foul cheap shots at Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Harper's Parisian No-Show – Jan. 14). Although dozens of world leaders attended, about 150 others did not. Were they all "indifferent"?
Mr. Harper expressed his horror at the barbaric shootings and his deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed.
David Beattie, Chelsea, Que.
What's in the hole
Letter writer Elie Mikhael Nasrallah confidently observes that "Western civilization succeeded in reconciling reason and faith, faith and freedom, science and the religious narrative" (War With Modernity – letters, Jan. 12).
I hate to prick that balloon, but there are plenty of pockets of religious extremism within the Christian right throughout North America and Europe where there is very little reconciliation between reason, faith and science. And although most respect the rule of law, many espouse a dangerous formulaic mixture of nationalistic-based faith that blends creationism with apocalyptic salvation for the exclusive country-club set.
Islam is not in a "black hole." In the context of the emerging cosmology that humankind now knows, combined with the current fragility of all life forms on our planet, it is humankind's thinking that is in a black hole.
Leo Deveau, Halifax
Re Ottawa Sets Cost To Boost Cybersecurity At $100-Million (Jan. 14): The allegation that China is sponsoring hackers to penetrate into Canadian government computer systems is unfair and completely groundless.
China is also a victim of cyberattacks, and opposes and cracks down on any form of cyberattack or cyberterrorism. The Chinese government advocates joint efforts with the international community, including Canada, to create a peaceful, secure, open and co-operative cyberspace.
While rejecting all hacking allegations against China, we appreciate the efforts set by Ottawa to enhance cybersecurity and we are willing to co-operate with Canada in this regard.
Yang Tianwen, deputy spokesperson, Chinese embassy, Ottawa
Chills and hills
I broke my knee in Grade 3 sliding down the hills during recess at my elementary school in Guelph, Ont. No lawsuits, just a sentence of eight weeks in a straight-leg cast while everyone else carried on sliding for the rest of the winter (Don't Make Children Pay For Liability Chill – Jan. 14).
I now live in Manitoba, where my children will never suffer the same fate. So you want to go tobogganing – who's pushing?
Stephen Jones, Winnipeg