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Hey! It’s Samantha and Jack, the editors of Well-Versed. We’re happy that you’re joining us for the next six weeks. We’ll be with you right up until the federal election. This week, we got you well-versed on carbon policies − in case you missed that edition, you can find it here.

We’ll be rounding up the most thoughtful reader opinions every week and featuring them in Thursday’s newsletter. Confused about something we covered in our Sunday edition? You can send in your outstanding questions and we’ll answer the most frequently asked ones.

If you’d like to be part of the conversation, e-mail − include your first name, age and city, if you’re comfortable with sharing.

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Reader responses may be edited for length and clarity.

Well-Versed is The Globe and Mail’s twice-weekly newsletter that aims to jump-start your conversations about the 2019 federal election. Write to us about which issues you want to hear about and express your opinion on the policies and people we’ve examined.


Austen: Emissions already have a price: taxing them ensures that more of that cost is paid by those who incur it. Carbon pricing both helps to financially account for the effects that emissions have on our planet – including the economic consequences of extreme weather events and sea-level rise – and disincentivizes emitting in the first place, encouraging adoption of greener technologies and practices. Without a universal carbon pricing system in place, industry and individuals don’t directly pay for their contributions to climate change, leaving the population as a whole to pay the social, economic and health-related costs.

With the right implementation, carbon taxes have the potential to be highly progressive and very effective at fighting climate change. While carbon pricing is not the be-all and end-all solution – and has many fairness and competitiveness implications that need to be considered – it’s a step in the right direction

Bob Halliday: The Liberals are fond of saying that carbon pricing is just one of 50 measures they are taking to deal with the climate-change crisis. I have no idea if that’s true but it does a disservice to your readers to cast your article so strongly as a review of the carbon tax. The real question is what does each party offer in terms of coming to grips with the problem? As The Globe’s primer indicates, not very much. That is the real story – don’t play the conservative politicians’ game of making it about the carbon tax.

app_64670302: Carbon taxes seemed to have had an effect in B.C., with large sales of EVs and largest use of bicycle and transit in the country, with no GHG growth despite a 40 per cent increase in GDP over the years. Along with closures of coal plants, carbon taxes will improve our climate performance catching up with China’s 40-per-cent improvement in carbon intensity with new nukes, wind/solar and hydro and replacements of old coal with modern ultra supercritical plants.

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Sandra Bray: Re: Declaring a climate emergency one day and approving a pipeline the next day – for the majority of Canadians who want to meet our Paris obligations, this seems almost deliberately schizophrenic, and certainly frivolous …

There is a lot at stake with the response to this defining issue. For a serious advocate for our children’s future, this incongruity messes with our mental health, our trust in civil institutions. The breakdown of civil society is on the horizon. I want Canada to be well-positioned and competitive, not propping up a dying fossil-fuel sector as the rest of the world goes to cheap, clean electricity and produces/distributes goods/services with free energy from infrastructure they invested in pro-actively.

Hans55: Redistribution “carbon” tax is designed to take from suburban/rural commuters and pay for urban transit with something extra for the poor. Really not much to do with the environment

Jim Tobin: Is it just me who despairs about humankind’s ability to enact what has to be done to prevent catastrophic climate change? Not just in Canada but worldwide there is argument, disagreement and denial, all driven by self interest and ‘blindsightedness’ (is that a word?). All of this is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need this planet, this planet does not need us.


Here’s a roundup of what writers at The Globe have been saying about climate policy and the environment as it relates to this election, paired with reader reactions from social media and our comments section.

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Konrad Yakabuski: As the election campaign begins, let’s tone down the climate rhetoric

“The truth is that what looks like political polarization is mostly political theatre. The Liberal climate plan is hardly a radical one.”

  • Jeff Bubyn: Unfortunately, climate change is the most important issue facing our planet today. So, we should be focusing MORE on solutions and stop trying to ignore them.
  • Paul Prendergast: Climate-change policy, economic and job development and energy policy do not have to be looked at as zero-sum games that are mutually exclusive. Some pipeline expansion is needed but so is some sort of carbon tax or cap and trade system … Simple austerity and spending cuts won’t accomplish anything, nor will a straight carbon tax without spending the proceeds on technological and economic development.

Bernier’s vitriol toward Greta Thunberg showcases a wider trend of contempt by political figures

John Ibbitson: “The Leader of the new People’s Party seeks to bring to Canada a poison afflicting many democracies: the collapse of convention. That approach is working for politicians in other countries. We can only hope it fails here.”

  • coolman: The other thing I do not understand is: “Why should climate change be a left versus right issue?” I cannot believe that a conservative cannot not also be concerned about the planet’s future. Would it really kill us if we curtail our voracious appetite of ever increasing consumption without considering the consequences?
  • Judith M.: No political leader in our country should be willing to stand by Mr. Bernier in an electoral debate. He represents everything we must make a great effort to resist.

The ‘Green Shift’ bombed in 2008, but now it’s taking centre stage

Globe Editorial: “The carbon tax catches a lot of heat, sitting as it does at the centre of the Liberal plan, and as the focus of Conservative criticism of the Liberals. But it isn’t the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There’s room for pairing it with smart regulations, from vehicle fuel standards to energy efficiency rules in building codes.”

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  • Jcpro: If climate is such a big deal these days, why don’t we create a universal climate fund and see how many Canadians actually donate. Talk is cheap – a truism that politicians and journalists seem unaware of.
  • AdamTGAM: The fact of the matter is, nothing Canada does can even move the needle on worldwide emissions. The carbon tax is futile at best. This is a worldwide problem that requires worldwide solutions. To me, the low-hanging fruit is in electricity generation. Coal is by far the dirtiest, most polluting source of electricity, which causes all sorts of health problems in addition to being a major contributor to CO2 emissions. In Ontario, we shut off all of our coal plants years ago. China … is still building new ones.


  • The Globe and Mail learned earlier this week that the RCMP’s investigation into the potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the SNC-Lavalin case has been hindered by Ottawa’s refusal to lift cabinet confidentiality for witnesses. Former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould is one of those affected. She spoke with The Globe yesterday and confirmed the RCMP had interviewed her about the SNC affair. She’s calling on the Trudeau government to waive cabinet confidentiality for her and all other witnesses.
  • As you probably already know, THE CAMPAIGN IS ON! This means we’re looking at a 40-day campaigning period before the election on Oct. 21.
  • The Conservatives got Jim Vallance − Bryan Adams’ long-time hitmaker − to write their campaign song. Lyrics include “A brand new day, a better way, it’s time for you to get ahead.”
  • Tuesday’s provincial election in Manitoba saw Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservatives re-elected with a large majority government. Pallister is part of a bloc of conservative premiers rallying against Trudeau policies like carbon pricing.
  • Political scientists say that the social-media bots used to try and manipulate Alberta’s provincial election last spring might be a threat this fall.

This Sunday, we’ll get you well versed on housing affordability and the rising cost of living. Have something to say, have a question or just want to chat? Drop us a line at

If you’re a Globe subscriber, be sure to also sign up for our regular Politics Briefing newsletter, written every weekday by deputy politics editor Chris Hannay. He will be ramping up his election coverage of all the big headlines and campaign trail news to keep you informed.

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