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The lone autocrat
U.S. President Donald Trump wants Russia invited back to the G7. Fine: Let Russia replace America in the G7. That way, at least the lone autocrat there won’t be one withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
Michael Armstrong, Niagara Falls, Ont.
Elected. In Ontario
It’s difficult to see how the NDP can spin the Ontario election result positively. Even running the likeable Andrea Horwath against the widely despised Doug Ford wasn’t enough to get voters to buy into the NDP platform. Had the Progressive Conservatives run Christine Elliott as leader, I suspect the NDP would be down in Liberal-land with 20 per cent of the vote. The key take-away for them should be that we like the NDP people just fine, it’s their policies we don’t want or trust. Similar to the situation with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the question is: How bad do you have to be to lose to Doug Ford?
Paul C. Bennett, Richmond Hill, Ont.
Perhaps NDP voters would now like to reconsider their opposition to Justin Trudeau’s preference for ranked ballots. Had Liberals been able to put NDP as their second choice, the NDP would now be forming the government.
Nicholas Tracy, Fredericton
Growing up in Alberta, I got used to people in other provinces thinking my home was run by ignorant populists, as opposed to the urbane, progressive leadership that came from the likes of Ontario. But in the past decade, Calgary has been run by Naheed Nenshi, Canada’s first Muslim mayor of a major city and voted the world’s best mayor for his determined efforts at balanced growth for his city. Other cities in Alberta have repeatedly elected young mayors who follow evidence-based policy making, and the NDP has been at the helm of the province for three years.
Toronto, meanwhile, voted in a crack-addicted, homophobic mayor whose most notable policy legacy was his profound ignorance about transit financing. And now Ontario has chosen his brother to be premier, after he ran on a platform of cheap beer and an uncosted plan of how he will “cut the fat” from government.
Alberta is not better than Ontario in overcoming the appeal that fear and ignorance can play in politics, but can we finally acknowledge that Ontario is certainly not better than Alberta?
Ryan Hoskins, North Vancouver
In the days since the election, the disaffected may have started to suspect Russian hacking, the meddling of shadowy oligarchs, and clandestine calls between the Kremlin and Doug Ford’s riding headquarters. Spare us a Robert Mueller-like investigation. The people of Ontario are a resourceful lot. We did it on our own.
Farley Helfant, Toronto
Re Why Nationalizing Kinder Morgan Is Undemocratic (June 8): Jacqueline Best argues that the proposed purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline was undemocratic because the “threat to the public good” was not great enough to justify executive action by the federal government. She bases her argument on the scale of the economic “crisis” which the failure of the project involved.
There is a much more important issue, the threat to the Canadian union. If the federal government allows one province to block a major project of another province, the entire confederation is weakened. What price should be put on that? The significant environmental issues that surround Trans Mountain can be managed. The previous B.C. government agreed to a package to address environmental concerns.
The constitutional and political effects of the blocking of Trans Mountain are far harder to predict and may not be manageable. The federal government has taken a long overdue stand in defending the political and economic unity of Canada.
Alan McCullough, Ottawa
How poor? That poor
Re If Canada Wants To Help The Poor, It Needs A New Measure Of Poverty (June 6): Michael Wolfson states that “It’s time the federal government established an official poverty line” to set targets for its poverty reduction strategy.
The problem is that Canadians are divided on whether income poverty is fundamentally a matter of inequality (having much less than middle-income households) or of lacking the income to maintain a decent standard of living. The two measures discussed by Mr. Wolfson – the Low Income Measure (LIM) and the Market Basket Measure (MBM) – are designed to measure the first and second concepts of poverty respectively. He proposes a combined measure based on the low-income measure but incorporating the standard of living measure’s sensitivity to geographical differences in the cost of rental housing. However, this combined measure is likely to disappoint partisans of both approaches to poverty measurement.
Instead, why not set separate targets for each measure? Based on past experience government policies are more likely to be effective in reducing standard-of-living poverty than low-income-measure poverty. Therefore the targets for reducing MBM poverty should be more ambitious than those for reducing LIM poverty,
Michael Hatfield, Ottawa
Mourning Daily Planet
Re Why Daily Planet Was More Than Just A Show (June 5): When my son was four, he got hooked on a unique new science information show on Discovery Channel. It wasn’t kid fare – it was a full-on TV magazine of news, features and profiles – and his dad and I loved watching him soak it all up as only a budding scientist can.
He particularly loved watching Alan Nursall’s experiments, conducted in places such as the Eaton Centre, with willing passersby recruited to help out. For years Discovery, later renamed Daily Planet, was an evening staple at our house, complete with many follow-up conversations around the dinner table and on car trips. Host Jay Ingram became as big a celebrity to our son as any of the faces on other science-themed shows aimed specifically at kids.
Our son is completing a physics and astronomy degree, with his sights set on graduate school. He was always going to be a science guy – but I can’t help wondering how much Daily Planet contributed to his growing interest and knowledge as he started out on this path. And I can’t help feeling sorry for that next young scientist who won’t have that opportunity, now that Daily Planet is gone.
Jean Mills, Guelph, Ont.
At that rate …
Re Quebec Judge Tosses Insider-Trading Case Against Amaya Ex-CEO (June 7): You report that Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) says that “it has prosecuted about 15 insider-trading cases over the past five years, winning most of them.” That’s three a year! They should keep up the good work. I’m sure all the insider traders in Quebec are shaking in their booties …
Kevin Finbar McCotter, St. Marys, Ont.