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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Mr. Trudeau’s office on April 15, 2018.

CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

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Pipeline posturing

Re Notley Ducks Premiers’ Meeting As Pipeline Deadline Looms (May 22): Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she isn’t going to the Western premiers’ annual gathering because she wants to focus on the May 31 deadline set by Kinder Morgan (a figurative spinoff of Enron), and Ian Anderson, the CEO of Kinder Morgan’s Canadian subsidiary. Here are some things Ms. Notley and other Alberta pipeline and tar-sands advocates can do this week to make the pipeline go ahead, rather than attend the Western premiers’ meeting and talk to the other leaders:

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1) Hold their breath until they turn blue;

2) Stamp their feet;

3) Repeat as loudly as possible, as many times as possible, “I want my pipeline!”

Lorne Salter, Gabriola Island, B.C.

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Re In Trans Mountain Dispute, Horgan Is Sticking Up For His Province (May 19): Gary Mason suggests that B.C. Premier John Horgan’s opposition to the pipeline expansion is based on concern for the environment and the potential for damage to B.C.’s coast. He suggests that Alberta’s anger at a premier sticking up for his province flies in the face of our admiration for Peter Lougheed’s principled stand with the federal government over the National Energy Program in the 1980s.

Principles have little to do with the B.C. government’s stand; maintaining a minority government with the support of the Green Party is Mr. Horgan’s overriding concern. Environmental concern would extend to supporting the Alberta NDP in working toward a pragmatic program of GHG-containment, rather than funnelling American coal to Asian power plants. Let’s see this for what it is: cynical political obstructionism to the detriment of the Albertan and Canadian economies and our environmental programs. A better argument against proportional representation could not be had.

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Joe Boivin, Calgary

OLG replies

Re Ontario Gets Taken To The Cleaners In Casino Deal (Report on Business, May 18): Your opinion piece miscasts this transaction as a simple one-time asset sale. That is not the case. The purchase price paid by Ontario Gaming GTA LP to Ontario Lottery and Gaming is for the gaming assets used to operate the gaming sites in the bundle, such as gaming equipment and gaming facility leases. This purchase price is only one minor component of the financial value of the transaction to OLG and the province.

In addition to the purchase price for the gaming assets, OLG retains all future gaming revenue from the bundle and is no longer responsible for capital and operating costs. Ontario Gaming GTA LP is paid a fee to operate the gaming facilities in the bundle and invest in its development and growth, which will increase revenue to OLG and the province.

Consequently, using only the asset purchase price to calculate an EBITDA multiplier to estimate the total financial value of the transaction (which was done in the opinion piece) results in a grossly understated and incorrect value. Moreover, an EBITDA multiplier valuation does not accurately reflect the true financial value for the GTA Bundle.

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario estimated the total financial benefit to Ontario to be $34.5-billion over 22 years.

The GTA bundle is also expected to create 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs, as well as about $2-billion in capital investment in the region. It is clear the GTA bundle transaction creates substantial and lasting financial and economic value for OLG and the people of Ontario.

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Stephen Rigby, president, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

Pick another bird

Re Gray Jay To Reclaim Its Canadian Identity (May 22): The problem with making the gray (Canada) jay Canada’s national bird is that it lives in the boreal forests.

Ninety per cent of the population has never seen this bird. We should pick one that most Canadians have seen.

Robert Stephens, Westport, Ont.

Sorry. Very sorry. Sorry

Re The Problem With Liberal Apologies (May 19): You make a number of good points in questioning the Trudeau government’s eagerness to apologize for historical wrongs.

What I find more troubling about the whole issue is the inability of the current government to apologize for its own mistakes (and there have been several).

Even when Justin Trudeau was found to be in breach by the Ethics Commissioner, he could not find it in himself to simply apologize, but took refuge in mindless platitudes about accepting responsibility, etc. Until the Prime Minister is willing to admit his government’s own failures, it is difficult to see his apologies for previous governments’ mistakes as being anything more than an exercise in public relations.

John Sutherland, Victoria

Sound of respect

Re There’s A New Sound Of Summer: Shhhh (May 21): Noise has been a huge issue at our Lake Muskoka cottage since a neighbour mounted enormous indoor speakers on his boathouse and blared Frank Sinatra and his contemporaries all over the lake.

Decades later, I still hate Frank Sinatra.

Over the years, we’ve been treated to many sleepless nights of revelry, blaring music and partiers who repeatedly take screaming plunges into the lake. One memorable endless night featured an exceptionally drunk man out on his dock bellowing off-key country songs and strumming his guitar until daybreak. I can’t count the number of nights I’ve slept wearing earplugs.

Respect, kindness and consideration cannot be legislated, and noise by-law enforcement only works in cities. A polite personal approach tends to either become combative or have brief effect.

So much for heading to cottage country to get away from it all.

Jane Hillard, Calgary

None of the above

Re Want To Vote ‘None Of The Above’ In Ontario’s Election? Here’s How (May 21): I have declined my ballot in the past and intend to do it again next month. I cannot in good conscience vote for any of the candidates on offer. Unfortunately, this form of protest, though heartfelt, is futile.

As John Ibbitson points out, few people are even aware this option exists. More to the point, the number of people who exercise this option is seldom reported. I might as well march around with a placard – all alone, at midnight in my basement.

The media reports in statistical detail about voter turnout, share of popular vote and any number of other indicators, but where are numbers and detailed coverage about the voters like me who are thoroughly disgusted with the choices we are being asked to make?

Barry Bower, Toronto

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A friend suggested “None Of The Above” should be included as a voting choice on the ballot. Who knows – None Of The Above might even get elected!

Ian Martyn, Toronto


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