Walk in the park
So the federal government will be “placing limits on the emissions from each barrel of oil, but not on the sector – an approach that would clear the way for the oil sands to double production” (Feds Bow To Alberta On Carbon Rules – Report on Business, Aug. 9).
Has nobody told Stephen Harper that this is equivalent to limiting each dog in a city park to one heap of poop, but not limiting the number of dogs? Welcome to a walk in the Calgary park.
Walter Schwager, Toronto
Every Olympic Games ignites a battle between my inner curmudgeon (What a waste of money! What biased judging! What scandal!) and my inner competitor (Faster! Higher! Stronger!).
But watching our women’s soccer team win a hard-fought bronze medal (Canadian Women’s Soccer Team Wins Olympic Bronze – Aug. 9), I could only hear my inner patriot. I have never felt so proud to be Canadian.
Kate Soles, Victoria
Seventy-six years to score a medal in a “traditional team sport.” Maybe I gave up on the Leafs too soon. (If you think it’s tough rooting for them in T.O., try it here.)
Rick Martin, Edmonton (via Toronto)
Queen and province
Re Marois Sees The Queen As Symbol Of Federal Imposition On Quebec (Aug. 8): Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois has a short memory or one that is conveniently selective.
During the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty, among the Yes side’s billboards was one reading, “Oui – et ça devient possible” – with an out-sized loonie standing in for the “O” of the “Oui,” conveying the message that the Canadian dollar, Queen on the coinage notwithstanding, would be retained in an independent Quebec. (Then-premier Jacques Parizeau, ever reassuring, said that the rest of Canada couldn’t stop a sovereign Quebec from taking on the Canadian currency.)
“I’ll trade him the royalty for Quebec sovereignty,” says Ms. Marois, referencing the Prime Minister. Perhaps as premier, Ms. Marois would start by seeking to have the coinage airbrushed, one side only, mind you.
Peter Spohn, Barrie, Ont.
A YCYC (Your Canada, Your Constitution) survey conducted in May found that 52 per cent of Canadians want the monarchy removed as head of Canada (including 76 per cent of Quebeckers – which is likely why PQ Leader Pauline Marois is highlighting this issue in the Quebec election).
The survey also showed that support for this change among people younger than 34 is higher (57 per cent) than among people older than 35 (50 per cent).
These results are consistent with survey results over the past five years or so. The question is: Will politicians across the country make the changes in this area Canadians want?
Duff Conacher, Your Canada, Your Constitution
China’s embassy replies
Your accusation that the Chinese government restricts freedom of religious belief, and your criticism of China’s administration of religious affairs is groundless, and the Chinese Embassy would like to express its dissatisfaction with such comments (Pressure On Ramadan – editorial, Aug. 7).
The Chinese government protects citizens’ freedom of religious belief and normal religious activities according to the Constitution. For example, there are about 25,000 venues for religious activities, including mosques, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomus Region. Since the 1980s, more than 50,000 people from Xinjiang have made pilgrimages to Mecca.
The Chinese government administers religious affairs according to law to ensure no organization or individual may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order. These policies have promoted the harmonious coexistence of various religions in China.
Ji Ningfeng, counsellor, Chinese Embassy, Ottawa
Daniel Woolf (Real Change Must Be A Collective Process – Aug. 9) suggests that accountability requirements focus more on the results of education than the process: Are graduates ready for employment?
While they may be ready, many can still anticipate periods of unemployment in this “unstable economy.” What better way to stay out of trouble when you are unemployed, than by either being at school or having the benefit of a good education to keep you company?
A well-educated, skilled citizenry is an advantage, nationally and individually. Bring on more three-year degrees, accessible to more people, who could benefit from the process of education. It is not nearly as expensive as its alternatives in mental health and misery.
Susan Qadeer, Toronto
Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC) would welcome private property and home ownership rights on reserve lands, if introduced in a way that respects the legitimate concerns aboriginal communities have about non-native control or development (Tories Prepare New Native Land Plan – Aug. 6).
Through our Aboriginal Housing Program, we work with aboriginal communities to build affordable homes that we sell to low-income aboriginal families. However, we are only able to do so on or near settlement lands, where first nations have title. We encourage the federal government to work with us and our first nations partners to make affordable home ownership possible for low-income aboriginal families living on reserves.
Stewart Hardacre, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada, Waterloo, Ont.
If International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino is serious about improving efficiency at the Canadian International Development Agency, speeding up Canada’s response to crises like that in the Sahel should be his next move (On The Cusp Of A Humanitarian Crisis – Aug. 8).
The international community knew this famine was coming last year, yet Canada delayed serious action until now. Fast response should be Canada’s standard, not something applauded but expected. Mr. Fantino should make it happen.
Duncan Farthing-Nichol, Vancouver
Just bite it
I’m amused and slightly disappointed that the media is again suggesting that biting into gold or silver coins would leave a mark, thereby proving their authenticity (Biting Olympic Medals – Social Studies, Aug. 8). Biting coins predates the Roman empire but, upon biting, a “true” coin would not leave a mark. Those counterfeited using baser metals, such as lead, would.
It would make little sense to mint a coin that would be that malleable, as any imprint would soon be unrecognizable from all the tooth marks. On the other hand, those which did have a tooth mark would invariably be taken out of circulation as to the obvious falseness of their value.
Pick up a coin from the Canadian mint, the purest examples in the world (perhaps a silver maple leaf as the gold ones are kind of expensive) and see for yourself.
Bowen Alkemade, Calgary