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Canada accounts for about 2 per cent of global GHG emissions.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Carbon shambles

Re Curbing Carbon: How It’s Done (letters, Oct. 10): Many people are against carbon taxes because they see them as governments simply finding a way to increase their revenues in the name of saving the planet.

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If you shut down the entire Canadian resource sector and removed all fossil fuel engines from the country, it would make little to no difference to climate change. Canada contributes less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually.

The Saudis, Russians and, yes, the Americans would simply profit from this situation and global emissions would remain at current levels. When all countries are willing to cut back on carbon and take their share of the economic pain that goes with that, then we should do our fair share, too.

I am not a climate change denier. Are you a tax-collection denier? Because carbon taxes sound more like a revenue-raising program than an attempt to improve the climate.

Dan Petryk, Calgary

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Re Will A Coalition Of Premiers Put Scheer In Power? (Oct. 10): What can we do about the anti-environmental shambles that masquerades as conservatism in Canada? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we have 10 years to avoid a planetary disaster. Yet Conservative politicians and backroom operatives minimize its reality and use a scheme of opposing carbon taxes to win elections (To Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change, We Need Carbon Pricing – Oct. 10).

Former PM Stephen Harper and his dutiful executor John Baird did their best to ignore the problem at home, denigrate science, and kill the Kyoto accord.

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Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips’s response to a lengthy report by the Environmental Commissioner on the consequences of scrapping the province’s cap-and-trade agreement was downright snotty: “I want to respectfully advise that any suggestion we should pursue policies that betray commitments we made to the people is not well taken … carbon pricing schemes imperil the job security of workers.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford seems to take his lead from the scientific “wisdom” of his enthusiastic advocate and supporter, the powerful evangelical leader Charles McVety, who was instrumental in helping to get him elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

Mr. McVety has been reported as claiming environmentalism leads to worship of the Earth and the abandonment of God, and puts it in league with the anti-Christ.

Award-winning Canadian poet Jan Zwicky has some prescient advice for such thinking in Courage:

And now you know that it won’t turn out as it should,

that what you did was not enough,

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that ignorance, old evil, is enforced

and willed, and loved, that it

is used to manufacture madness, that it is the aphrodisiac

of power and the crutch of lassitude.

Greg Michalenko, Waterloo, Ont.

Safety: Gone to pot?

We have known since the federal Liberals were elected that legalization of cannabis was going to be a reality. Yet workplaces are still struggling to come up with coherent policies for cannabis usage.

One just has to look at the law enforcement industry (Officers Decry ‘Offensive’ Plans For Off-Duty Cannabis Use – Oct. 10). Why is it fine for officers in Ottawa and Vancouver to consume cannabis so long as they show up “fit for duty,” while the RCMP wants to forbid its officers from using cannabis 28 days prior to working?

What policies will be implemented for air-traffic controllers, long-haul truckers and doctors and nurses? Will they vary from province to province, city to city or even hospital to hospital?

These issues should have been addressed long before now.

Michael Gilman, Toronto

‘Evidence’ on PR

Re The Evidence Is Clear. Canada Urgently Needs Proportional Representation (Oct. 9): The question is no longer do we need the democratic legitimacy conferred by PR, but rather what kind of PR? Single transferable vote? Mixed member? Party list? Because pure PR is as undemocratic as first-past-the-post, almost always resulting in coalitions where a marginal or extremist party controls the balance of power. Whatever system ultimately wins, its essential litmus test must be the degree to which it fosters moderation. Does it incentivize parties to reach across the aisle and appeal to the middle?

We need only look to the U.S. to see the damage done by the opposite dynamic.

Brian P.H. Green, Thunder Bay, Ont.

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In its purest forms, PR entrenches party politics while gutting the connection between candidates and local politics. There are many perfectly sensible alternatives to PR – for example, a ranked ballot would require no major change to our system, other than to the mechanics of counting ballots.

Brian J. Lowry, Fredericton

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PR is simple and fair. If a party gets 39 per cent of the popular vote, it will only have 39 per cent of the seats. PR has been used for decades in most of what we call successful Western countries.

It’s true that it may require our MLAs to work together respectfully in somewhat the same way Lester Pearson (a Liberal) worked with the NDP to conceive and implement our health-care system.

First-past-the-post has many problems. Most importantly, a party often gets 100 per cent of the power to govern with as little as 39 per cent of the popular vote. Most of that power is focused in the hands of just one person – the premier or prime minister. The result is division and bickering in legislative bodies.

As in the United States, disaster may be just around the corner for us, too.

Glen Jones, Summerland, B.C.

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Hugh Segal and Ed Broadbent express deep concerns that in minority situations created by FPTP, political parties “engage in a constant game of chicken, continually jockeying for advantage with an eye to a snap election.” If we go to a PR system, every election would produce a minority government, where constant games of chicken and backroom horse-trading would be a regular feature.

Have these two not witnessed the backroom dealing in B.C. between the NDP and Greens after the last election?

What do they think is going on now in various backrooms in New Brunswick? The very same kind of jockeying and horse trading that goes on whenever a minority parliament is elected. Thankfully, that kind of unstable situation is less common in the first-past-the-post system.

Former PM Jean Chrétien, an unequivocal supporter of FPTP, had this to say about PR’s ills, and he was bang on: “For all the professors who want to sit in Parliament but who can’t even get themselves elected dogcatcher, sure, it’s a good system.”

For the rest of us, not so much.

Jae Eadie, Winnipeg

Welcome to the ’hood

Re Leafs’ Tavares Buys Home In Toronto High Park Area (Oct. 10): Nice house, but was the photo really necessary? Surely new Toronto Maple Leaf John Tavares and his family are entitled to their privacy. This just guarantees Halloween visitors in Habs costumes.

Trish Crowe, Kingston, Ont.

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