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Gong and gone-show
Re Michaëlle Jean Is Living In A Fantasy – But Trudeau Bought Into It (Oct. 11): Michaëlle Jean’s chimerical bid for a second term at the helm of La Francophonie recalls Martine Ouellet’s quixotic attempt to remain leader of the Bloc Québécois.
Vaudeville without the hook.
Howard Greenfield, Montreal
Re Stronach Sues Daughter For Control Of Family Firm (Oct. 11): If I could address Frank Stronach, this is what I would say: You and I are senior citizens with strong-willed, successful daughters. I am passing on my wealth, since soon I shall have no further use for it. I enjoy my daughters’ company, and I am proud of my contribution to their knowledge, self-assurance and determination.
My role now is to identify significant questions for their consideration, based on my life experiences. I don’t claim to have reliable answers relevant to their futures. When they defeat me in argument, it is a measure of my success. Be proud of your daughter – or are you now testing the determination and strength you taught her?
Ronald Bayne, Dundas, Ont.
Listening, on carbon
Re The World Is Burning. Where Are Our Leaders? (Oct. 11): Pausing while nodding in agreement as I read Gary Mason’s column, I closed the windows to shut out the air and noise pollution from the grass-clipping blaster the lawn-service crew had started up across the way. I could have seen and raised the lawn guys’ carbon emissions by starting my AC, it being an unusually warm fall morning here. Thinking of the images of Hurricane Michael, I resisted.
Mr. Mason is right, soon there will be blood on the hands of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenny et al. But they won’t notice: They will probably have retreats in the Far North, where summer for climate migrants will be good.
I agree with Mr. Mason that voters are complicit in fuelling climate change, too addicted to consumption. But committing sociology for a moment, people live within a culture. Most don’t have much voice in shaping that culture. But “leaders” do, not just elected ones but all those with money and power. The best worldwide protest vote from the masses might be to stop having babies: It will be no fit world to bring children into, it would reduce the human footprint, and if there’s one thing the powerful fear, it’s a contraction of the tax base and the consumer market.
John Goyder, Oakville, Ont.
Gary Mason writes that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other Conservatives – and I suppose by extension, their supporters – seem only to care about paycheques, and not about pollution. Mr. Mason clearly hints that those supporters may be too stupid to figure out they are being misled.
Here is why I oppose a carbon tax: Though it takes fossil fuels to heat and cool our house, and to get to and from work or school, my family doesn’t consider itself “a polluter.” Yet the funding for some unclear, large government spend that is meant to “fix” the climate will be on our backs. So many government schemes have failed. When this one fails, is there any doubt the government will say my family again needs to pay for the next big idea (which corrects the last big idea)?
Show me a plan that will work, convince me it is better for me to spend money on that plan than on my family, all without insulting me, and you’ll get my attention. Who’s listening? So far, just those winning elections.
Peter Smith, Winnipeg
A carbon tax is not a tax grab, it is a means of tax redistribution. Taxes collected from activities that pollute our air and warm our planet to potentially catastrophic levels are returned to the citizens in the form of income tax reductions or something similar. It is the least heavy-handed way of reducing greenhouse gas, and of changing our destructive behaviours. It is the remedy of choice of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics winners, and the recommendation of many economists. It is neither progressive nor regressive by nature, but can be designed to positively benefit our poorer citizens.
As to the idea there is no point trying to reduce our carbon footprint because some other nations aren’t, I hardly know where to start (Carbon Shambles – letters, Oct. 11). Should we all sit around a table until everyone agrees on all the details, then scurry off and start implementing? Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, and lead by example.
Luke Mastin, Toronto
Those who argue that Canada contributes less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually never seem to mention we have less than 0.5 per cent of the global population. As a result, we pollute well above our weight.
And those who oppose carbon taxes rarely recommend alternative actions to address the climate crisis. There’s no one right answer, but cynicism and selfishness are just another means of denial.
Jason Scott, Ottawa
Re Foreign Muddling (editorial, Oct. 11): To all but the punditry and chatterati, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s recent visit to India was a clever and distant campaign stop. Contrast Mr. Scheer’s trip with what amounted to the Prime Minister’s family vacation, which was an embarrassment to both the host nation and Canadians.
The PM-in-waiting’s handlers know a good opportunity to generate some “look at our guy” material for the next election. The Liberals hope and pray for a PR disaster greater than their leader’s Indian misadventure.
Clay Atcheson, North Vancouver
While I, too, refuse to defend Justin Trudeau’s shambles of a trip to India, the Prime Minister’s travels were at least well-intentioned. The transparent, self-serving, partisan nature of Andrew Scheer’s trip, however, reaches a new low in “shallow domestic politics.” You are right: “His visit has to be classed a failure.”
What they must think in India of our foreign ineptitude …
Sarah Kumar Patel, Montreal
Banksy on it
Re Shredded Banksy Work Will ‘Elevate His Prices,’ Art Dealer Says (Oct. 8): Banksy, the artist as artefact and artifice, wears the humourous masque of an anagram for his moniker. The anagram for Banksy is “sank by,” which aptly describes what his shredded, overpriced work became for the world of art as investment and status. The image characterized in Girl with Balloon captures the irony: an innocent child grasping for, or saying goodbye to, a toy, a heart/love-shaped balloon that floats away because it’s full of hot air. Shredded hope? Pardon me if I don’t shed a tear for this shredded tear in the fabrication of Truth in High (Priced) Art circles.
Banksy’s art did more than double
In price, anxiety and in trouble
Burst the Girl with Balloon bubble.
Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.